Last fall we visited Costa Brava, Spain, just over the border from France, and we were enchanted by its serene, picturesque villages and gorgeous coastline. Click through to see the five reasons you should make this beautiful region of northeast Spain your next travel destination!
REASON #1: BURRICICLETAS!
While in Costa Brava, Spain, don’t miss the chance to rent an electric bike and tour the countryside. We rented e-bikes, which included a kids’ version for GeGe (who’s now 8) and a sidecar with adult bike (called a “burrito”) for Meimei, who at age 5 was still a little too short to ride the kids’ bike. Burricicletas Girona also provides a handy bike-mounted GPS with pre-programmed routes, so it was almost impossible to get lost on the little back roads we rode. I say almost because at one point I took a wrong turn and we ended up on a stretch of busy highway that my heart is still pounding over.
REASON #2: PICTURESQUE COUNTRYSIDE
The climate in Costa Brava, Spain is fairly temperate year round, making it an ideal off-season destination. In October, we enjoyed sunny days in the low-70s, with greenery still lush everywhere. The villages in and around Girona are made of sun-dappled stone, with vines creeping lazily all over them. It’s hard not to feel like you’re moving between an elaborate movie set, with village characters about to pop out of shuttered windows to engage in song. One of the villages we visited has only 39 full-time residents!
REASON #3: INCREDIBLE CATALAN TAPAS
I mean, isn’t the food a reason to go anywhere? We’ve made four trips to Spain in the last six months, and hands-down, the main reason is because WE CANNOT STOP EATING DELICIOUS SPANISH FOOD. Catalonia, the region of Spain where Costa Brava is located, is known for top-notch seafood, including crisp, lemony calamari that our kids devoured by the plateful. During our bike tour, we stopped by Restaurant Ca La Lola in the village of Ullastret. Known for its focus on organic vegetables, we snacked on roasted squash and onions drizzled with lots of fruity olive oil while sitting under a canopy of trees. It was basically the best day ever.
REASON #4: BEACH TIME
In addition to scenic countryside, charming medieval stone villages, Costa Brava, Spain is, by definition, on the coast. Check out the official tourism website for information on its gorgeous, yet relatively uncrowded, sandy beaches. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much beach time ourselves. We were headed to Platja de Canadell, an idyllic little sandy beach area one morning, when our rental car got a flat tire. Womp, womp. We ended up spending our morning at a very friendly but non-English speaking mechanic, learning all sorts of Spanish words we never knew before (neumatico, for example, is the word for tire).
Luckily, our kids are pretty easygoing when it comes to unexpected delays in travel. I bought them a €2 bag of pistachios, and they sat on the front stoop of the mechanic, cracking nuts and making each other giggle.
REASON #5: PEACE AND QUIET
Costa Brava, Spain, really feels like it’s off the beaten path for most tourists coming to Spain, but it’s only an hour and a half drive north of Barcelona. By getting outside of the bustle of Barcelona, you really get a sense of the incredibly relaxed Spanish way of life. We loved the miles of unoccupied country roads and slow pace. If you’re looking for a more relaxed trip (or a few days, at least), Costa Brava is an excellent addition to your Spanish vacation itinerary.