This month Tenerife Magazine launches a new series of travel guides featuring destinations that can be easily reached from Tenerife. To begin we’ve turned the spotlight on a region of Spain that many people might think they know, Costa Brava.
Tenerife Magazine’s Guide to Costa Brava
In the far north-east corner of Spain, Costa Brava is separated from France by the Pyrenees whilst its 158 kilometres of coastline is lapped by the Mediterranean. These factors lend it a personality that is quite different from other regions of Spain. The language spoken is Catalan which, even for people who can speak Castilian, can mean that menus might as well be written in a foreign language…if you know what I mean. Where the language can confuse, the scenery enchants. The coast is classic Mediterranean with sigh-inducing cove after cove of azure waters lapping beaches backed by scented pines. Inland, rolling hills surround perfectly preserved medieval towns and villages.
As for the food, this is the region where Michelin stars are positively commonplace and the cuisine is so good that it could curl a surrealist artist’s moustache.
Whether sun-seeker, nature lover, gastronome or cultural junkie Costa Brava has surprises galore that will thrill and delight new visitors.
Costa Brava for Sun Seekers
For a traditional sun and fun holiday we’d recommend either Roses or Lloret de Mar. Both have lovely long beaches and plenty of bars and restaurants. In Roses, the most interesting of these are located in the street behind the promenade. Lloret de Mar is probably the livelier of the two, especially in summer when young Spanish descend in their droves. Apparently Belgians consider it a party town.
Where to Stay in Roses and Lloret de Mar
The four star Hotel Terraza Spa in Roses is right on the beach front and is perfect for exploring the centre of town.
In Lloret de Mar, the five star Guitart Monterray is a short distance from the beach and the centre of town and has a casino straight out of Las Vegas.
Where to Eat in Roses and Lloret de Mar
Tramonti on the sea front in Roses serves the best pizzas in Spain – it’s got plenty of awards to back that claim up. Carmen’s in Lloret del Mar is a stylish bar with a dining area in the rear serving excellent traditional Catalonian cuisine.
What to do in Roses and Lloret de Mar
A trip to the serene and sublime Santa Clotilde Gardens is a must in Lloret del Mar. In Roses the Roses Express is cheesy fun. This 4×4 tourist train passes some hidden beauty spots on its way to captivating Cadaqués including the bay that’s home to the world famous El Bulli restaurant.
Costa Brava for Nature Lovers
There are any number of places to stay on and away from the coast which provide picturesque solitude, but two favourites are Santa Pau and Fornells.
Fornells is characterised by a Mediterranean coastline consisting of unbelievably beautiful coves and lush pine forests whilst Santa Pau is an absolute delight of an historic village dating from the 13th century with atmospheric old buildings erected around a plaza and castle.
Where to Stay in Fornells and Santa Pau
Hotel Aigua Blava at Platja Fornells not only occupies a location that, once seen you’ll never want to leave, it is also one of the friendliest family run hotels you’ll come across. Hotel Cal Sastre in Santa Pau is an eclectic treasure full of witty touches. The room reached from the narrow stairs leading from the bar is particularly appealing.
Where to Eat in Fornells and Santa Pau
In Fornells you won’t want to leave the hotel…and you don’t have to because the food in its restaurant matches everything else about the place ““ exquisite. Like Aigua Blava, the Cal Sastre restaurant is owned by the same family who own the hotel and its photogenic position, beneath old stone arches opposite the plaza, is also matched by divinely tasting local fare.
What to do in Fornells and Santa Pau
Enjoy nature in all its glory. In Fornells explore paths that stretch all the way along the coast before cooling off with a swim in crystal waters that demand your presence. The volcanic landscape around Santa Pau may not impress anyone used to Teide National Park on Tenerife…unless viewing it from a basket under a hot air balloon.
And in bite-sized chunks…
Costa Brava for City Slickers
Girona is an underrated city with a beautiful old quarter (Barri Vell) overlooking the river; it’s more charming and safer than Barcelona…so the locals tell me.
Costa Brava for Culture
The DalÃ Theatre-Museum, dedicated to Costa Brava’s most famous son, in Figueres is as delightfully potty as you’d hope and a rich roller-coaster ride of a cultural hit; add on a visit to the genius’s house at Portlligat for an enriching Salvador DalÃ experience.
Costa Brava for Adventure
Empuriabrava is a town whose streets of mainly canals are best viewed from the cockpit of a tiny Cessna four seater plane or, for the ultimate in getting a bird’s eye view of the scenery, whilst skydiving from 14000 feet about Terra Firma.
How to get to Costa Brava from Tenerife
There are no direct flights from Tenerife’s airports to Girona airport, so the easiest way is to catch a flight to Barcelona from Tenerife North (From €35 one way) and then a bus from Barcelona to Costa Brava (not much different from catching a bus from Tenerife south to Puerto de la Cruz).