Here at Spain Savvy, when someone asks us where they should take a day trip from Barcelona, our first answer is always the beautiful Costa Brava. Consulting with our guests first on their specific interests, activity level, and the ever-present travel bucket list, we create a variety of itineraries for day trips to Costa Brava, including overnight stays. We work with local travel professionals who accompany our clients on private tours, and can also arrange small or larger group excursions, depending on budget and availability. Some clients will also be adventurous and rent a car to explore the terrain on their own with our tips and customized Google maps. There are many different ways to visit this beautiful coastline. Below are just a few of our favorites!

About La Costa Brava

La Costa Brava, which literally means the ‘brave,’ ‘wild,’ or ‘rough coast’ in Spanish, is a stretch of coastal land in Catalonia that starts from above Barcelona all the way to the French border. The rugged and rocky coastline is dotted with quaint villages, forested mountains, majestic beaches, and some of the most picturesque coves you’ve ever set your eyes on. Along with natural wonders, a day trip from Barcelona to the Costa Brava means visits to historic sites, viewing exceptional art, and indulging in award-winning gastronomy. It’s a destination that offers something for every sort of traveler and for folks of all ages. It’s why our clients always leave the area in awe and wonder.

For Art Lovers: The Dalí Triangle

Cadaqués Costa Brava

Famous Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dalí was a resident of the Costa Brava. To hit up all the major spots in Dalí’s life, we recommend a longer day trip (or 2-day jaunt if you wish to have more time) from Barcelona. Start in Figueres. Here, you can visit the famous Dalí Theatre Museum  inaugurated in 1974 with the aim of “giving visitors a tangible experience of being inside his unique, captivating world.” He is buried in the crypt here and there are other works featured from the likes of Pujol, Duchamp, and even El Greco.

Next, head to the coastal town of Cadaquès and visit Dalí’s Portlligat home, where he lived and worked from 1930 to 1982. Dalí’s family summered here and his parents built Salvador’s first art studio here. There is another home nearby (about 1 hour away in Pubol) you can visit, called Pubol Castle. Dalí bought the home for his controversial wife and muse, Gala Dalí. To learn more about Gala, read the engrossing Vanity Fair article, “Dali’s Demon Bride”.

For History Buffs & Foodies: The Cultural Jewel of Girona

Girona canal, Spain

Girona, original Roman city Gerunda on the Via Augusta, is a collection of cultural riches with a gorgeous walkable city cente. The beautiful Gothic church, featuring the Romanesque treasure, Tapestry of the Creation, is a centerpiece of the town. Girona also home to the biggest Jewish ghetto in all of Europe, memorializing the community that was eventually ousted in 1492 during the Inquisition.

If you’re driving to Girona from Barcelona, we will also recommend you swing by the gorgeous town of Besalú, where you will truly feel like you have stepped into a time machine to medieval times. Especially stunning is the 12th-century Romanesque bridge crossing the Fluvià River.

Are you a total foodie? This is the area where the famous El Bullí was born! While that restaurant closed years ago, its legacy lives on in other establishments around the country. We recommend trying to get a coveted reservation at Michelin-starred Celler de Can Roca. If you book your trip well in advance, your travel designer can help you snag a reservation. You an also check out L’Alquería for amazing seafood rice dishes.

For Beach Hopping: Blanes, Tossa del Mar, Palamòs, & Parafrugell

Catalonia Costa Brava sail boat You can’t come to the Costa Brava without hitting the beach. Sitges and Blanes are some of our prime stops for a day trip to the Costa Brava, all within an hour of the city. Sitges, while not technically on the Costa Brava (it’s southwest from the Barcelona), is so close that it’s worth mentioning. Blanes, just an hour northeast of the city, is part of the Costa Brava. It’s a great first stop on your day trip to the Costa Brava and has some truly spectacular beaches and coves, like the secluded Cala Francesc.

Tossa del Mar is the perfect second stop, just a half hour up the coast from Blanes. This fairytale coastal town, along with its winding cobblestone streets, is encircled in a fortress and defensive towers dating back to the Middle Ages. After you’ve explored the impressive vantage points, head down to enjoy the crystal blue waters. Spend some time in the sand at our personal favorite beach, Cala Mar Menuda.

Tossa de Mar Costa Brava

Then it’s on to Palamòs where you can experience village fishing village life. Or to the beautiful Calella de Parafrugell (don’t miss a stop at the gorgeous Cap Roig Botanical Gardens). Both of these areas have truly spectacular beaches and breathtaking coves. Check out the quaint Cala Margarida near Palamòs or the Cala El Golfet in Parafrugell.

For an Overnight Stay: Our Fave Hotels

Aigua Blava hotel Costa BravaWhile you can easily head back to Barcelona after a beach visit, you may find the Costa Brava beckoning you to stay overnight. Go ahead and relax into its oceanside rhythms! Palamós is a great area to land, and the perfect excuse to stay at Hotel la Malcontenta. This elegantly designed five-star property surrounded by nature and some of the most breathtaking beaches in the Costa Brava. Between Blanes and Tossa del Mar sits another fantastic property, the Santa Marta Hotel right on the Santa Cristina beach. We also love to send our clients to Hotel Aigua Blava. This four-star accommodation up from Calella de Parafrugell is nestled into an idyllic blue cove.

Ready to head out your day trip to the Costa Brava or overnight stay? We can help you design the perfect route, with restaurants and other Spain Savvy insider gems included. Contact us today to plan your amazing Costa Brava experience!