WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT COSTA BRAVA?
There are few traveling pleasures that surpass visiting a corner blessed by nature. If we add a singular identity and a seductive lifestyle to this, we have the perfect plan: a getaway to the Costa Brava. Not forgetting that in a cove near Rosas, in Cala Montjoi, the most powerful culinary revolution of the contemporary era was forged, thanks to the work carried out at elBulli by Ferran Adrià and his team.
Medieval villages, cliff-side beaches, freshly caught fish, and rich flavors get lost in Catalonia’s rugged countryside along Spain’s northeastern coast.
1. Biking festival: the winding GI 682, which is probably the most beautiful coastal road in all of Catalonia. From Tossa de Mar to Sant Feliu de Guíxols, this section is a journey in itself as it passes through unique landscapes and centuries-old towns. It is advisable to have the camera at hand: the views, of heart attack, are really unique.
2. Hiking along Camí de Ronda: This famous route takes up the long coastal path, very useful for fishermen and to monitor smuggling, today it is, in sections, one of the emblematic routes to travel on foot while in the Costa Brava. Or hiking in Cap de Creus Natural Park, the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, Cap de Creus is the place where the Pyrenees end up in the Mediterranean in an exceptional union between land and sea.
3. Dali’s surrealistic world: immersing in Dali’s work is simply fascinating. From the unique Dali Museum in Figueres to his atelier in Portlligat. With a privileged location on the shores of the Mediterranean, the current Portlligat House-museum was Salvador Dalí’s only stable home. Here he lived and worked regularly until, in 1982, with the death of Gala, he settled in the Castle of Púbol. His visit is one of the most humane, and even intimate, ways of getting closer to the Catalan genius.
4. Cadaqués: the Pearl of the Meditearranean…
5. Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery: Declared a Historic-Artistic Monument, it is the most notable example of the Catalan autochthonous Romanesque. Located, imposing, in the Alt Empordà region, the Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery enjoys one of the best views of Cap de Creus, and is, perhaps also, one of the most architecturally sophisticated. So much more than a monastery, the best way to get to know it is through a guided tour or, even, thanks to the many concerts that it hosts in the summer.
6. The Medes Islands: The pilgrimage the Medes Islands responds to the beauty and natural wealth that hides under its waters, however it is one of the most famous underwater corners in the world, and where divers and curious people come year after year to enjoy the amazing life of its protected seabed. Amateur or professional, the experience is completely unique.
7. Begur coves: https://visitbegur.cat/en/beaches-and-coves/ Ode to bathing, tradition and the Mediterranean on some of the most desirable beaches; it is the place where summer lives: towels, beach bars, sunset cocktails and crystal clear waters where you can dive.
8. Bay of Roses: one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Word of UNESCO. And the seafaring city of Roses is a lucky place not only for this beautiful bay, but also for its rich culture, its gastronomy and its people with a free soul. But going back to what concerns us, to get the best panoramic view of the bay you have to go up to the Santa Rosa de Puig Rom viewpoint and there, now, take a beautiful postcard image of a bay that stretches along L’Escala, Sant Pere Pescador, Castelló d’Empúries and Roses.
9. Inland, small Medieval towns such as Monells, with its beautiful porticoed square, or Peratallada, a jumble of winding streets that connect the main square and the wall; or in the Iberian town of Ullastret, with its defensive watchtowers and the museum that explains the life of this civilization in the 6th century BC.
It is impossible to list all the secrets and pleasures Costa Brava has to offer, sailing in the summer and reaching hidden deep blue coves is a dream, and golf lovers will find excellent options.
FOOD & WINE
The province of Girona (northern Barcelona, where Costa Brava is nestled) can be considered the Sillicon Valley of gastronomy. From Ferràn Adrià to El Celler de Can Roca, the region is inhabited by some of the most creative minds culinary speaking. The well-rooted cuisine recipes, the access to best produce and the French influence make from Costa Brava a real gourmet gem, and these are some of the must-have-a-bite specialties:
✧ FOODS NOT TO MISS
- Red shrimp from Palamós the gamba roja is one of the most select ingredients of any dish of Mediterranean gastronomy. Controlled fishing, and also protocolized, the sea has endowed the red prawn with a unique flavor and texture, it is one of the most famous foods.
- Suquet: a very simple fish stew made by fishermen, it is one of the most famous recipes. Traditionally cooked in an iron casserole, we add the raw fish, potatoes and herbs all together with a drizzle of virgin olive oil, salt, cover it with water to cover and cook it. The final result is spectacular.
- Sea urchins (locally names grotes in Catalan) are also pretty popular, and eaten raw. In fact any kind of seafood is on everyday table.
- Rices in different ways, most of them creamy – meaning not soupy, but not completely dry like a paella – even if paella style is also very common. It is known by the Spaniards that the best rice specialties are cooked along the Mediterranean, from the Costa Brava to Alicante; as a rule never order a rice in the north of Spain.
- Mar i montanya, meaning “sea and mountain” in Catalan combining meat and seafood is very popular in Costa Brava and Empordà. Among all the possible combinations, chicken with lobster (or crayfish) is the most popular. Studies say that this combination was created paradoxically to “add more food” to the chicken stew, because it was less expensive buying a lobster than growing a chicken for eight months.
- Anchovies are another must. You’ll see anchovies in almost every menu, they’re soft, velveted like nothing you have tried before! They are expensive, be ready to pay up to €3.5 to €4 per fillet, all manually prepared one by one. The best way to have them: on a piece of good toasted bread and with extra virgin olive oil. The tradition comes from Greeks and Romans who invented the preserving technique of salty food.
- Espardeñas: the sea cucumber is one of the most expensive ingredients, simply grilled or added to a seafood rice, they’re delicious.
- Cim i tomba, another fish stew, this time with aioli and potatoes, it is originally from the coastal town of Tossa de Mar. The aioli can be Catalan, Provençal, Carthaginian or Greek, but it’s in the Costa Brava where it reaches its fullness. Garlic and extra virgin olive oi at their best.
- And what are some of the most traditional sweets? Bunyols de l’Empordà are gorgeous airy fritters. Taps de Cadaqués (where “tap”means cap referring to its shape similar to a sparkling wine cap) were born in the 18th during the trade route between Cuba and the Costa Brava, and fishermen discovered that by soaking the biscuits in the rum that the Cubans brought, they were much more spongy and delicious. When in Cadaqués go to the pastry shop la Mallorquina and get some! And finally the recuit de drap is the lightest of all, it is a fresh cheese (from cow or goat milk) drained and wrapped in a cloth and served with honey and walnuts.
✧ WINES REGIONS AROUND
The island cultivates vines since…
- DO Binissalem
- DO Plà i Lleva
WHERE TO STAY?
Top: Hotel La Gavina, 5* GL | Bottom left: Hotel Mas Torrent | Bottom right: Hotel Mas Torrent, The Residence Suite.
We’ll just mention two indispensable, one by the sea and the other inland. Hotel La Gavina opened its doors in 1932 and since 1962 has been a member of The Leading Hotels of the World, it became an unbeatable set for Hollywood movies in the 50’s. Ava Gardner, Orson Wells, Sofía Loren, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne or Elizabeth Taylor all fell in love with Costa Brava.
Mas de Torrent is a charming Relais et Châteaux in the little town of Torrent, it set in a historical countryhouse from 1731. Rooms, suites with private pool and even a Residence Suite for long family stays. We’ll help you find your best home out of home.