Barcelona is a pretty amazing city. But one of the best things about living in Barcelona is being able to venture out of the city from time to time and explore the magnificent coastline.
Costa Brava is a region on the coast of Catalonia in northern Spain. It’s well known for its beautiful beaches and rugged landscape (hence the name: Costa Brava. “Brava,” as it relates to geology, means “rugged” or “rough” in Spanish).
There is so much to see and do in Costa Brava…If you can, I suggest renting a car and spending at least a week exploring the coastline (something which I have yet to do myself).
But if you don’t have much time or just want to get out of Barcelona for a day, there are some quick and easy day trips that you can take too. Yesterday, I did one of them.
I spent the day in Tossa de Mar and Lloret de Mar, two towns a 20-minute drive away from one another.
How to Get There
To get there, I took the bus from Barcelona with a friend. Our trip was organized through her language school, which made things easy. But there are a lot of busses running from Barcelona Nord station, which run pretty much every hour.
You could also catch a ride with someone via BlaBlaCar, a website where you can share rides with drivers headed where you’re going (and pay for a share of the gasoline). It’s often cheaper and faster than public transportation. I’ve used this several times (in France and Brazil) and had only positive experiences.
The bus from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar takes about an hour and a half without traffic. But we went on a Saturday morning (leaving at 10:30AM) and encountered some traffic towards the end of our trip. So the whole trip ended up taking about two hours.
We spent the afternoon exploring the town of Tossa de Mar, a walled-off medieval town and ancient fisherman’s village that is incredibly charming albeit completely overrun with tourists.
The narrow, cobblestoned streets are lined with little shops and restaurants, leading up to a massive 12th-century castle that sits atop a hill overlooking the adjacent beach and coastline.
After exploring a bit of what this beautiful town had to offer, we hopped on a boat to check out a nearby beach. The boat cost 10 euros round trip and took about 40 minutes to get to the beach and 30 minutes back.
We did a bit of sightseeing on the way there, stopping in various caves to admire the multicolored rock and hordes of little black fish swimming in the translucent water.
And then, we arrived at our destination…
Paradise, I know. We took a dip in the water (which was a bit cold but felt super refreshing!) and stayed for about an hour before heading back to the main beach at Tossa de Mar.
Then we spent a little more time exploring before taking the bus to our next destination: Lloret de Mar.
I have to admit: I had high expectations about this place and was a bit disappointed overall. Lloret de Mar is known for its nightlife, so there are some trashy-looking discotecas all along the main strip. And the main beach is so overcrowded that there is barely anywhere to sit. My first impressions? Not so impressed.
But then we walked down a path (from the main beach) that led us to the other side of the hill. And the difference was like night and day. It was much more calm and peaceful. And just look at that view…
We walked down that path for a few minutes and then stumbled upon a multilevel outdoor and indoor bar/restaurant that overlooked the surrounding coastline.
Then we sat and enjoyed some sangria for a bit before heading back to Barcelona. Not a bad way to end the day…
Note: I think that Lloret de Mar does have more to offer than what we saw, but you might have to venture a bit outside of the city center to see it.