Last year Audrey and I were fortunate enough to visit Spain for the first time. With limited time in the country, we keyed in on Madrid and Barcelona and really enjoyed both cities, however, we left Spain feeling as though we had only scratched the surface of what the country has to offer.
With this in mind when we had the opportunity to head back to Spain and visit a different region (Costa Brava) we jumped at the opportunity. We’re realizing as of late that we enjoy a slower pace of travel and we are wanting to spend more time in nature, eating slow food and really immersing ourselves in local culture.
Costa Brava, the Catalan ‘wild coast’ situated in the coastal region of northeastern Spain, offered exactly that!
For those who fancy relaxing sailing trips, fresh seafood, inviting vineyards, adventurous hot air balloon rides and slow dining over many glasses of wine, join us as we share our journey from Cadaqués to Girona featuring all of the travel and food highlights in between.
Costa Brava Food Guide For Hungry Travelers!
VIDEO: Costa Brava Travel Guide for Food Lovers
Sailing and Seafood
Driving late at night down a serpentine road we arrived at Cadaqués. Given it was around midnight when we checked in, it wasn’t until the following morning that we were truly able to appreciate just how cute and picturesque the town really is.
After enjoying a leisurely walk down to the harbour, that morning we set sail aboard Charter San Isidre touring Cap de Creus Natural Park. On board the sailing boat we had ample time to relax and really take in the scenery.
After anchoring the boat and enjoying a bit of swimming it was time for lunch and our crew had a real treat prepared for us. As a lover of fresh fish and seafood, I enjoyed every bite of fideuà, mussels and drunken sponge cake (bizcochos borrachos) from a generous spread laid out before us.
Out of everything served, my favourite had to be the drunken sponge cake with its syrupy liquor that soaked into the cake. It was ever so sweet, yet it burned a bit as it went down my throat.
Grape Harvesting and Wine Tasting
I’ve been on some rather dull wine tours before – the kind where facts are heavy and experiences are light. Fortunately, our visit to La Vinyeta Cellar was anything but that! In fact, I’d go as far as saying it was the most immersive vineyard experience I’ve ever had.
Aside from getting to harvest the grapes (yes, they put us to work) we then had a chance to stomp them in a barrel before sampling a generous spread of cheese and meats to go along with our wine.
That afternoon was the classic example of why I enjoy travel; it all has to do with being surrounded by great company, experiencing new things and enjoying incredible food and drink. Check. Mate. Over 🙂
Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you’ve been following my travel blog for a while you’re well aware of the fact that I’m terrified of heights. The allure of going on my first ever hot air balloon ride and having the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone was at a tug-of-war with my fear and anxiety.
I actually plan on writing an entire post on that experience, so I’ll keep this very brief. I’m sure glad I did it. I was nervous, but it got better as the journey progressed and the views of the Pyrenees were incredible.
2nd Best Restaurant in the World!
Well, let me start off by saying that it is not exactly every day that you get to eat at the second best restaurant in the world.
Having an opportunity to gormandize on a spread of appetizers was one of the highlights of being in Girona.
Food that only can be imagined by creative geniuses was served to us as I got to sample exotic delicacies such as anchovies ice cream. However, my favourite one of all was a platter called Around The World with many Asian inspired bite-sized treats.
Having an opportunity to be a fly-on-the-wall inside of the kitchen really gave me a greater appreciation for the level of detail that is involved at this restaurant.
Girona Walking Tour
Girona is one of those cities that has a town feel. You wander around and you have all the attractions of a bigger city yet without the hustle and bustle and grittiness that often defines it. Although we only had a brief walking tour with a gelato in hand, I was impressed by the colorful apartments, historical architecture and general laid-back vibe of the city.
I’d love to return again someday and shoot a city video guide focusing on the town’s architecture, narrow pedestrian streets and ancient city walls.
Food and Wine!
The food and wine we experienced on our trip was simply splendid. We didn’t have one single bad meal. What really stood out for me was the quality of the cheeses and meats.
At every meal I struggled to control myself even though I had every intention of not stuffing my face.
My favorite experience was learning how to drink wine from a traditional porró. Best described as a traditional wine pitcher, it resembles something of a wine bottle morphed with a watering can. The goal is to pour wine directly into your mouth from as far away as possible.
I must have had some beginners luck because it wasn’t until near the end that I sprayed it all over face 😉
Costa Brava Photo Essay
Top Things to Do In Costa Brava
Nestled along the sun-kissed shores of northeastern Spain lies the enchanting region of Costa Brava. Here, a tapestry of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and delectable cuisine awaits those who seek an unforgettable adventure. With its captivating coastline stretching over 200 kilometers, a plethora of pristine beaches, charming medieval towns, and stunning hiking trails, Costa Brava beckons travelers from all corners of the globe to experience its magic.
The region’s beaches are a magnet for sun-worshippers, with a diversity of options ranging from secluded coves to bustling resorts with all the amenities. Plaja d’Aro, Tossa de Mar, and Calella de Palafrugell are among the most awe-inspiring and awe-inspiring beaches of Costa Brava, offering picturesque vistas of the azure Mediterranean Sea.
For those with a penchant for exploration, Costa Brava offers an array of hiking trails that snake along the coast, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The Camí de Ronda is an iconic coastal path stretching from Blanes to Portbou, unveiling hidden coves, charming fishing villages, and dramatic cliffs along the way. With varying levels of difficulty, the trails cater to all levels of hikers.
Costa Brava is also home to a wealth of medieval towns that provide a window into the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. Girona, with its stunning cathedral and well-preserved Jewish Quarter, is a must-visit destination. Other towns like Pals, Besalú, and Peratallada offer a glimpse into a bygone era with their quaint streets, ancient architecture, and historic landmarks.
And let’s not forget about the region’s delectable cuisine. A fusion of Catalan and Mediterranean flavors, Costa Brava’s gastronomy is a feast for the senses. From succulent seafood to fresh produce and exquisite wines, the region’s cuisine is a culinary adventure waiting to be savored. Do not miss the opportunity to try the region’s signature dishes such as suquet de peix, escalivada, and pa amb tomàquet.
For thrill-seekers, Costa Brava’s crystal-clear waters offer endless opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. The Medes Islands, a marine reserve off the coast of L’Estartit, is a paradise for underwater enthusiasts, with a rich diversity of marine life to discover. Exploring underwater caves, tunnels, and rock formations that line the coastline is a surreal experience that should not be missed.
When the sun sets, Costa Brava comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene that caters to all tastes. Lloret de Mar is famous for its lively bars and clubs, while other destinations such as Tossa de Mar and Platja d’Aro offer a more relaxed atmosphere, with plenty of restaurants, bars, and cafes to choose from.
And last but not least, Costa Brava is also the birthplace of one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, Salvador Dalí. The Dalí Triangle, which includes the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, the artist’s birthplace in Cadaqués, and the Castle of Púbol, is a mecca for art enthusiasts, showcasing surrealistic works of art and stunning architecture.
Costa Brava is a tapestry of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and unforgettable experiences, offering something for every traveler. With its charming towns, stunning coastline, delectable cuisine, and vibrant nightlife, Costa Brava is a must-visit destination that will leave an indelible impression on your soul. Come and experience the magic of this enchanting region for yourself.
What To Eat in Costa Brava
Costa Brava is a region in Spain that boasts not only stunning landscapes and azure waters but also a mouth-watering cuisine that’s a reflection of the region’s rich cultural heritage and culinary prowess. From hearty stews to fresh seafood and delectable desserts, Costa Brava’s cuisine is a symphony of flavors and aromas that will take your taste buds on a thrilling journey.
One of the most beloved dishes in Costa Brava is the Suquet de Peix, a sumptuous fish stew that’s perfect for cooler evenings. Made with a medley of fresh fish and shellfish, this savory and aromatic dish is infused with paprika, saffron, and bay leaves, which lend it a rich and distinct flavor. It’s often served with crusty bread or potatoes and paired with a glass of crisp white wine, making it a gastronomic treat for the senses.
Another dish that showcases Costa Brava’s culinary expertise is Escalivada, a traditional Catalan dish that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Roasted over an open flame, a selection of vegetables, including bell peppers, onions, eggplants, and tomatoes, are drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, giving it a smoky and irresistible flavor that lingers on the palate. Whether served as a side dish or as the main course, Escalivada is a culinary delight that’s not to be missed.
For those who enjoy meat-based dishes, Carn d’olla, a hearty meat stew, is a must-try. This delectable dish is made with a blend of beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables, including turnips, potatoes, and carrots, which are slowly cooked to perfection in a savory broth until they’re tender and succulent. Served with a side of bread or rice and complemented with a glass of full-bodied red wine, this stew is a tribute to Costa Brava’s robust and flavorful cuisine.
When it comes to seafood, Costa Brava has a rich selection of fresh catches from the Mediterranean sea. From grilled or fried squid to prawns sautéed in garlic and olive oil, and clams in white wine sauce, the seafood dishes in Costa Brava are simply divine. Each dish is imbued with fresh flavors and seasoned to perfection, making them a culinary highlight that’s worth exploring.
To round off your gastronomic journey in Costa Brava, indulge in some of the region’s sweet delights. Crema Catalana, a creamy custard dessert that’s similar to crème brûlée, is a popular choice. Served chilled, this dessert is made with egg yolks, sugar, milk, and a touch of cinnamon or lemon zest, creating a luscious and creamy sensation on the tongue. Panellets, small almond cakes that are traditionally eaten during the All Saints’ Day festival, are another must-try dessert. These delightful treats are made with marzipan, sugar, and almond flour, and topped with pine nuts, resulting in a crunchy and sweet sensation that’s sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Costa Brava’s cuisine is a testament to the region’s culinary expertise and passion for fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. From the hearty stews to fresh seafood and decadent desserts, every dish is crafted with precision and care, creating a symphony of flavors and aromas that will leave a lasting impression. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable culinary experience, make sure to explore the delights of Costa Brava’s gastronomy on your next trip.
Where To Stay In Costa Brava
Costa Brava, located in the northeastern region of Catalonia, Spain, is a popular destination among tourists for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque coastal towns. If you’re planning a trip to this region, finding the right place to stay can be a daunting task. However, there are several areas in Costa Brava that offer different types of accommodation to suit different budgets and preferences.
One of the best areas to stay in Costa Brava is Girona, which is the largest city in the region. This city is an excellent choice for those looking for a vibrant urban atmosphere. There are plenty of accommodation options in Girona, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. The city’s Old Town area is a must-see attraction with its winding streets, picturesque architecture, and vibrant local markets.
Tossa de Mar is another great area to stay in Costa Brava, particularly if you’re looking for a beach holiday. This charming coastal town boasts beautiful beaches and a medieval castle that is worth visiting. There are several hotels and resorts in Tossa de Mar that offer stunning views of the sea. The town’s old quarter has a variety of restaurants and bars that serve delicious local cuisine.
Lloret de Mar is a popular resort town in Costa Brava that is known for its lively nightlife and beautiful beaches. The town has plenty of accommodation options ranging from budget-friendly hotels to luxury resorts. Lloret de Mar’s main beach, which is located in the heart of the town, is a hub of activity during the summer months.
For those seeking a more peaceful retreat, Begur is an excellent choice. This picturesque town is nestled in the hills of Costa Brava and has a variety of accommodation options, including traditional Spanish villas and luxury hotels. Begur’s cobbled streets and historic buildings make it a charming place to stay, and its proximity to several beautiful beaches is a bonus.
Cadaqués is another great area to stay in Costa Brava. This stunning coastal town is known for its white-washed buildings, crystal-clear waters, and peaceful ambiance. There are several hotels and apartments in Cadaqués that cater to different budgets. The town is also home to several art galleries and museums, making it a great destination for culture lovers.
In summary, there are plenty of excellent accommodation options in Costa Brava that cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a bustling urban atmosphere or a peaceful coastal retreat, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful region of Spain.
That is a wrap from beautiful Costa Brava! Have you visited this beautiful region before? Do you want to go? Let me know in the comment section below.
This post was brought to you as a result of the #EuroFoodTrip campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Costa Brava & Girona Pyrenees and Emilia Romagna Tourism. As always, all thoughts remain my own.