November 28th, 2011
The stunning region of the Costa Brava in Catalonia has been voted as one of the world’s Best Travel Destinations 2012. The awards which were presented in the National Geographic Traveler Magazine, chose 20 destinations, which they claim all hold promise for improving mind, body and spirit.
I wholeheartedly agree with their decision to include the captivating Costa Brava region, which is situated in the Girona province of Catalonia. It combines an alluring coastline of pine-backed bays and coves, with the artistic and cultural heritage of towns such as its capital Girona, and the outstanding natural beauty of the Catalonia Pyrenees.
Some of the areas and most admiral attractions highlighted in the wonderful photo editorial gallery of the region included the charming town of Tossa de Mar. A mix of narrow cobbled streets, built around an ancient castle, with its backdrop of mountains, lush green valleys and gorges. On the flip side you have the wonderful beaches and coastline of the local area. Which all makes for a superb location of a family or laidback holiday destination.
If it’s history you want, head to Girona, the capital of the province of the same name, Girona appeals to visitors who want to ‘feel and live’ the historical and cultural heritage of their destination. The city’s history is immense and eclectic and it lies just 20 kilometres from some of the best beaches in Spain and the Cap de Creus National Park, a coastal area of outstanding natural beauty and ecological importance.
El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona, about an hours drive from Barcelona, was named the second best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine. Run by three Roca brothers, El Cellar de Can Roca is a serious diner, with a family feel, which promises a menu of ‘emotional cuisine’, with ingredients that can trigger childhood memories or take you back to a specific place in your past. I hope that’s not sausages in batter that they used to serve up in my primary school. Not one of my best childhood food memories! Check out their intriguing gastronomy proposal on the official El Cellar de Can Roca website.
Pals, oh Pals. Cobbled streets that twist and turn, around this picturesque, medieval town. The ancient town itself perches neatly on a hill overlooking the Platja de Pals, Playa (beach) Pals, a four kilometre bay with beautiful, white sandy beaches, surrounded by pine trees. Charming, elegant, convenient and centrally located. Yes Pals is a definite must-visit on the Costa Blanca.
The town of Figueres is home to the Dali Theatre and Museum and was the hometown of Salvador Dail. The museum has been highlighted as a top attraction to visit on the Costa Brava. The building itself is suitably surrealistic and the collection inside impressive. The Mae West Room, based on Dali’s 1935 piece, “Face of Mae West Which May be Used as an Apartment” is particularly absorbing. Figueres, Catalan for Fig Trees, has its own castle, Sant Ferran Castle and lies around 40 kilometres from Girona and 140 kilometres from Barcelona.
If you are looking for that ultimate beach destination then Sant Feliu de Guixols comes highly recommended both by me and by Traveler Magazine. Enjoying a privileged location, with its tranquil bays surrounded by pine forest, the town is full of Catalan character and is a popular, yet laid back resort. It doesn’t rely on tourism and so retains a certain air of nonchalance about it. It’s extremely popular with the boating brigade, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts.
The Costa Brava doesn’t stop there, far from it. Traveler Magazine highlighted just a few of the attractions of this glittering jewel of a coastline. For more information check out our Costa Blanca holiday guide and video, or dive straight in to our self-catering accommodation in Costa Blanca section.