Costa Brava Food Guide: Regional Cuisine for Foodies!

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.

Our lovely boat the Charter San Isidre that took us sailing along the Cap de Creus Natural Park
Our lovely boat the Charter San Isidre that took us sailing along the Cap de Creus Natural Park

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!

Snails as an appetizer for dinner during our Euro Food Trip
Snails as an appetizer for dinner during our Euro Food Trip

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

Things To Do In Costa Brava

Views of Cadaqués from our sailboat on Cap de Creus Natural Park
Views of Cadaqués from our sailboat on Cap de Creus Natural Park

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.

Delicious seafood pasta (Fideuà) for our main course during our sailing trip in Costa Brava
Delicious seafood pasta (Fideuà) for our main course during our sailing trip in Costa Brava

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.

Experiencing Sailing and Seafood in Cap de Creus Natural Park

Imagine gliding over turquoise waters, surrounded by rugged cliffs and hidden coves. With the salty breeze in your hair and the tantalizing scent of fresh seafood in the air. Welcome to Cap de Creus Natural Park, a breathtaking coastal gem in Costa Brava. This unique experience combines the thrill of sailing with the delights of local seafood.

Cap de Creus is a place of raw, untouched beauty. The dramatic landscapes, with their jagged cliffs and crystal-clear waters, create a stunning backdrop for any adventure. Sailing through these waters allows you to see the park from a perspective few get to enjoy. It’s nature at its most spectacular.

Culinary Delight: Costa Brava is renowned for its seafood, and Cap de Creus offers some of the freshest catches you’ll ever taste. Picture yourself savoring a platter of just-caught prawns, mussels, and octopus, all prepared in traditional Catalan style. The combination of pristine nature and exquisite food is a feast for all your senses.

A Seamless Blend of Adventure and Relaxation: As you navigate the sparkling waters, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and adventure. Yet, there’s also a peacefulness to be found, as you anchor in secluded coves, swim in the warm Mediterranean Sea, and bask in the sun.

How to Arrange the Experience?

Getting There: Cap de Creus is accessible from several towns along the Costa Brava, with Roses and Cadaqués being popular starting points. These towns are well-connected by road, and nearby airports in Girona and Barcelona make it easy to reach the region.

Booking a Tour: There are numerous operators offering sailing and seafood tours. Whether you prefer a half-day trip, a full-day adventure, or a multi-day excursion, you’ll find a tour that suits your schedule and budget. Book in advance, especially during peak season, to secure your spot.

What to Bring: Pack light, breathable clothing, swimwear, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen. Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the stunning landscapes and unforgettable moments. A reusable water bottle is also a good idea to stay hydrated.

Tips for Visitors

  • Check the Weather: The Mediterranean weather is usually pleasant, but it’s always a good idea to check the forecast.
  • Ask About Dietary Preferences: If you have any dietary restrictions, inform your tour operator in advance.
  • Be Adventurous: Take the plunge and swim in the secluded bays. The water is irresistible!
Nomadic Samuel I had a chance to harvest grapes during our wine tasting tour at La Vinyeta Cellar
Nomadic Samuel I had a chance to harvest grapes during our wine tasting tour at La Vinyeta Cellar

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.

The owner of La Vinyeta Cellar (Mollet de Peralada) harvesting grapes with a big smile on his face in Costa Brava
The owner of La Vinyeta Cellar (Mollet de Peralada) harvesting grapes with a big smile on his face in Costa Brava

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 🙂

Experiencing Grape Harvesting and Wine Tasting at La Vinyeta Cellar

La Vinyeta Cellar in Costa Brava winery offers a unique blend of tradition, hands-on engagement, and exquisite flavors, making it a must-do for anyone visiting the region. Grape harvesting at La Vinyeta is a deep dive into the world of winemaking. You’re not just observing; you’re participating. From picking grapes off the vine to learning about their journey from vineyard to bottle, it’s a hands-on experience. It’s an opportunity to be part of a centuries-old tradition.

Authentic Wine Tasting: After the hard work comes the reward. La Vinyeta offers an authentic wine-tasting session where you can savor the fruits of your labor. Taste a variety of wines, each with its own story and character, crafted with passion and precision. The flavors are rich and varied. They provide a true taste of Costa Brava’s terroir.

A Day in the Life of a Winemaker: There’s something incredibly special about stepping into the shoes of a winemaker, even if just for a day. You’ll gain a new appreciation for the artistry and effort that goes into every bottle of wine. From the careful selection of grapes to the meticulous winemaking process, each step is a revelation.

Stunning Scenery: The vineyard itself is a sight to behold. Nestled in the heart of Costa Brava, La Vinyeta is surrounded by picturesque landscapes that add to the overall experience. The sweeping views of vineyards stretching towards the horizon, framed by the rugged beauty of the Pyrenees, create a perfect backdrop for your adventure.

How to Arrange the Experience?

Getting There: La Vinyeta Cellar is located in the heart of Costa Brava, easily accessible by car from nearby towns like Figueres and Girona. Ample parking is available on-site. For those relying on public transport, check local bus services or consider a taxi for convenience.

Booking a Tour: Visit La Vinyeta’s official website to check the availability of grape harvesting and wine-tasting tours. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during the harvest season, to secure your spot. Some tours offer additional activities like guided walks through the vineyards or visits to the wine cellar.

What to Bring: Dress comfortably and wear sturdy shoes suitable for walking through the vineyard. A hat and sunscreen are also recommended, especially during the warmer months. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful scenery and memorable moments.

Tips for Visitors

  • Stay Hydrated: Harvesting can be hard work, so bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Ask Questions: The guides are a wealth of knowledge. Don’t hesitate to ask about the winemaking process, the history of the vineyard, or tasting notes.
  • Enjoy the Moment: Take your time to savor the experience. Whether you’re picking grapes or tasting wine, immerse yourself fully in the moment.
Preparing our hot air balloon for our ride over la Garrotxa
Preparing our hot air balloon for our ride over la Garrotxa

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.

Experiencing a Hot Air Balloon Ride in La Garrotxa

Imagine drifting silently above rolling hills, ancient volcanoes, and the majestic Pyrenees. All with the landscape bathed in the soft light of dawn. Welcome to hot air ballooning in La Garrotxa. It is one of Costa Brava’s most unforgettable experiences. This unique adventure offers a bird’s-eye view of Catalonia’s stunning natural beauty, making it a must-do for any traveler seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Unmatched Scenic Beauty: La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park is a breathtaking mosaic of lush forests, verdant valleys, and ancient volcanic landscapes. Floating above this diverse terrain, you’ll witness a panorama of natural eye candy. The Pyrenees in the distance provide a dramatic backdrop, enhancing the sense of wonder.

Peaceful and Exhilarating: A hot air balloon ride offers a rare combination of tranquility and thrill. As you ascend, the world below becomes a patchwork of colors and textures, and the only sounds are the occasional bursts of the burner and the gentle rustling of the wind.

Sunrise Spectacle: Most balloon rides start at dawn, giving you the perfect opportunity to watch the sunrise from a vantage point like no other. The sky transitions from inky blues to vibrant oranges and pinks, casting a magical glow over the landscape.

A Unique Perspective: Seeing La Garrotxa and the Pyrenees from above is a perspective few get to experience. The aerial view reveals the intricate details of the volcanic terrain, the winding rivers, and the dense forests. It’s a distinct way to appreciate the region’s geography.

How to Arrange the Experience?

Booking Your Ride: Several operators offer hot air balloon rides in La Garrotxa. It’s best to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Check reviews and choose a reputable company that prioritizes safety and customer satisfaction. Some operators also offer packages that include transportation to and from your accommodation.

Preparing for the Flight: Dress in layers to stay comfortable as the temperature can vary. Wear sturdy shoes, as you’ll be standing for the duration of the flight and walking through fields during take-off and landing. Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the stunning views.

What to Expect: Plan to arrive early, as flights typically start at dawn. The entire experience, including preparation, the flight, and landing, usually lasts about three to four hours. Pay attention to the safety briefing and follow the pilot’s instructions to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

Tips for Visitors

  • Weather Check: Balloon flights are weather-dependent. Be flexible with your schedule in case of changes due to weather conditions.
  • Stay Hydrated: Bring a bottle of water, especially if you plan to explore the area further after the flight.
  • Enjoy the Moment: Take time to look around and soak in the experience. It’s a rare opportunity to see the world from such a unique perspective.
Sampler plate at Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Catalan, Spain
Sampler plate at Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Catalan, Spain

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.

A behind- the-scenes look of the kitchen staff hard at work at Celler de Can Roca in Girona
A behind- the-scenes look of the kitchen staff hard at work at Celler de Can Roca 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.

Experiencing a Meal at Celler de Can Roca

Celler de Can Roca in Girona is a culinary haven that has earned its place among the top eateries globally. A meal here is not just dinner; it’s an unforgettable experience that blends innovation, tradition, and unparalleled creativity.

Culinary Excellence: Celler de Can Roca is run by the three Roca brothers—Joan, Josep, and Jordi. Joan heads the kitchen, creating exquisite dishes; Josep curates the perfect wine pairings as the sommelier; and Jordi crafts extraordinary desserts. Their combined expertise makes for an extraordinary dining experience.

Innovative Menu: The restaurant offers a tasting menu that changes with the seasons. It reflects the freshest ingredients and the latest culinary innovations. Each dish combines unexpected flavors and textures. It’s truly a journey through modern Catalan cuisine.

World-Class Recognition: Celler de Can Roca has been awarded three Michelin stars and has topped the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants multiple times. Dining here means experiencing the pinnacle of gastronomic achievement. The accolades are well-deserved. And the restaurant continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the kitchen.

A Feast for the Senses: From the elegant presentation of the dishes to the thoughtfully designed dining space, every aspect of your meal is a sensory delight. The flavors are bold and intricate. The aromas are tantalizing. And the visual artistry of each plate is stunning.

How to Arrange the Experience?

Getting There: Celler de Can Roca is located in Girona, a charming city in Costa Brava. It’s easily accessible by train or car from Barcelona. The restaurant is a short drive or taxi ride from the Girona train station, making it convenient for visitors from near and far.

Booking a Table: Reservations at Celler de Can Roca are highly sought after and should be made well in advance. The restaurant’s website offers an online booking system where you can check availability and secure your spot. Be prepared for a wait, as tables can be booked out months ahead.

What to Expect: A typical meal at Celler de Can Roca lasts several hours, allowing you to savor each course at a leisurely pace. Dress smartly to match the elegant setting, and come with an open mind and a hearty appetite. You’ll want to fully immerse yourself in the experience.

Tips for Visitors

  • Arrive Early: Give yourself time to settle in and enjoy a pre-dinner drink at the bar.
  • Ask Questions: The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and happy to explain the nuances of each dish and wine pairing.
  • Savor Each Moment: This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. Take your time to appreciate every detail.
Gorgeous colorful architecture and reflections in the water during our Girona walking tour
Gorgeous colorful architecture and reflections in the water during our Girona walking tour

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.

Experiencing a Girona Walking Tour

Picture yourself strolling through cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings. Somewhere that you find ancient stone walls and charming plazas. A walking tour here isn’t just a casual stroll—it’s a deep dive into centuries of culture, architecture, and vibrant local life. If you’re in Costa Brava, a Girona walking tour is an absolute must.

Rich Historical Tapestry: Girona is a city with over two thousand years of history. From its Roman origins to its medieval Jewish quarter, the city’s past is woven into every corner.

Architectural Marvels: The city’s architecture is a stunning mix of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque styles. The Girona Cathedral, with its towering facade and wide nave, is a masterpiece. Crossing the iconic Eiffel Bridge, designed by Gustave Eiffel himself, is memorable.

Game of Thrones Fame: For fans of the hit series Game of Thrones, Girona is instantly recognizable as the backdrop for many scenes. From the Great Sept of Baelor to Arya’s daring chase scenes, you’ll walk through locations that brought Westeros to life. It blends fiction with history.

Hidden Gems: Girona is full of surprises. Discover hidden gardens, secluded courtyards, and tiny artisan shops tucked away in the narrow streets. These little random finds are what make the tour truly special.

How to Arrange the Experience?

Getting There: Girona is easily accessible by train or car from major cities like Barcelona. The train ride from Barcelona takes about 40 minutes. It makes it a convenient day trip. If you’re driving, there are plenty of parking options in and around the city.

Booking a Tour: There are many tour operators offering guided walking tours of Girona. It’s a good idea to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. You can choose from general city tours or specialized ones focusing on specific themes like history, architecture, or Game of Thrones.

What to Bring: Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be walking on uneven cobblestone streets. A hat and sunscreen are also recommended, especially in the summer months. Don’t forget your camera or smartphone for all those fantastic photo opportunities. And a bottle of water will help keep you hydrated.

Tips for Visitors

  • Engage with Your Guide: Ask questions and interact with your guide to get the most out of the tour.
  • Explore Beyond the Tour: After your guided tour, take some time to wander on your own. There’s always more to discover.
  • Enjoy Local Delicacies: Take a break at one of the many cafes or restaurants. Try local specialties like xuixo, a sweet pastry, or a glass of local wine.
A delicious spread of meat and cheeses to accompany our wine during our visit to La Vinyeta Cellar
A delicious spread of meat and cheeses to accompany our wine during our visit to La Vinyeta Cellar

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.

Nicholas Montemaggi showing us how to drink wine from a traditional porró
Nicholas Montemaggi showing us how to drink wine from a traditional porró

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 😉

Experiencing Local Food and Wine in Costa Brava

Experiencing the local food and wine of Costa Brava is a celebration of the region’s rich culinary heritage. For food and wine lovers, this is an essential adventure that tantalizes the taste buds and immerses you in Catalonia’s vibrant culture.

Authentic Flavors: Costa Brava is a paradise for gastronomes. The region’s cuisine is a delightful blend of Mediterranean and Catalan influences. It features an abundance of fresh, local ingredients. From succulent seafood dishes to hearty mountain fare it’s all a tasty treat.

Renowned Wines: The wines of Costa Brava are equally impressive. With a climate perfect for viticulture, the region produces a variety of exceptional wines. The DO Empordà wine region is known for its robust reds and crisp whites.

Diverse Culinary Experiences: Costa Brava offers a wide range of dining experiences. Enjoy a casual meal at a seaside chiringuito. Where the catch of the day is grilled to perfection. You can also indulge in a multi-course tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Historical and Cultural Depth: Traditional dishes have been passed down through generations, each telling a story of the land and its people. Participating in local culinary traditions, like a seafood paella cooked over an open fire or a festive wine harvest celebration, adds depth to the experience.

How to Arrange the Experience?

Finding the Best Spots: Local recommendations and reviews can guide you to hidden gems and popular spots alike. Booking in advance is a good idea, especially for high-demand restaurants and tours.

Joining a Food and Wine Tour: Consider joining a guided food and wine tour. These tours often include visits to top wineries, cooking classes, and meals at renowned restaurants. They provide a curated experience which takes the guesswork out of planning.

Tips for Visitors

  • Try Everything: Be adventurous with your choices. Try local specialties and new flavors.
  • Pair Wine and Food: Ask for wine pairing recommendations to enhance your meal.
  • Learn the Stories: Engage with chefs, winemakers, and guides. Their stories and insights add richness to your experience.

Costa Brava Photo Essay

Views of the gorgeous white architecture of Cadaqués from our sailboat in Costa Brava, Spain
Views of the gorgeous white architecture of Cadaqués from our sailboat in Costa Brava, Spain
Delicious mussels served for lunch during our Cap de Creus Natural Park sailing trip
Delicious mussels served for lunch during our Cap de Creus Natural Park sailing trip
For dessert we had drunken sponge cake (Bizcochos Borrachos)! It was delicious.
For dessert we had drunken sponge cake (Bizcochos Borrachos)! It was delicious.
Audrey Bergner and our Costa Brava leader Jaume take a break from squashing grapes to smile for the camera
Audrey Bergner and our Costa Brava leader Jaume take a break from squashing grapes to smile for the camera
Close up shot of someone’s feet stomping on grapes at La Vinyeta Cellar
Close up shot of someone’s feet stomping on grapes at La Vinyeta Cellar
The grape stomping squad at La Vinyeta Cellar (Mollet de Peralada) in Costa Brava
The grape stomping squad at La Vinyeta Cellar (Mollet de Peralada) in Costa Brava
Audrey snapping photos during our hot air balloon ride in Costa Brava
Audrey snapping photos during our hot air balloon ride in Costa Brava
Stunning views from above during our first ever hot air balloon ride
Stunning views from above during our first ever hot air balloon ride
A family enjoying a selfie portrait on the steps of the cathedral in Girona
A family enjoying a selfie portrait on the steps of the cathedral in Girona
A shot of the cathedral in Girona from a low vantage point
A shot of the cathedral in Girona from a low vantage point
Figs with goat cheese. One of my favorite appetizers we had for dinner during our Costa Brava food trip
Figs with goat cheese. One of my favorite appetizers we had for dinner during our Costa Brava food trip
Sun reflecting off of the water during our sailing trip in Costa Brava
Sun reflecting off of the water during our sailing trip in Costa Brava

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.

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23 Comments

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  1. Hi SAMUEL JEFFERY,

    Nice blog. This blog gives a complete idea about COSTA BRAVA. I am planning to do my next trip to Costa Brava. From this blog it is clear that COSTA BRAVA is a perfect tourist spot for travelers. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

    I know you are a travel blogger. Did you ever visit Kerala, the god’s own country. The houseboat cruise in kerala especially in Kumarakom will bring you an awesome experience.

  2. says: Formentera

    Great pictures! The Costa Brava has some seriously gorgeous coastline places to visit that actually not too many know about. Might be because of the party towns around however even these have great surroundings.
    Great place for food and wine and reasonably cheap still to go to!

  3. says: leather cord

    This looks amazing! I have always wanted to visit and travel guide food lovers, and these photos make me want to go even more badly! Thank you so much for sharing it.

  4. says: Alan

    I love Spanish food, but you really have to find a good place as often it can also disappoint in terms of quality of the cooking, I now only eat at recommended Spanish places, but that way I am always satisfied,

  5. says: Duy Ducivan

    Last year, got to visit here and I really love the clifftop of El Far that gives the most spectacular panoramic views on the Costa Brava and Palamos prawns impressed me. Really love this place

  6. says: Best Flight Deals

    Madrid and Barcelona both are Wonderful place,your travel blog is always have some unique,food looks so tasty,thanks for sharing your blog..