The distance between the medieval city of Girona and the Costa Brava depends on where you're going in the region. The two most popular hubs tend to be Begur and the towns along its coastline and Cadaqués. The most convenient way to make the trip is by car, either a private transfer or a rental car.
The drive from Girona to Begur is just 31 miles (50 km), an hour-long trip via the C-65/31 roadways. From Girona to Cadaqués, plan for 46 miles (75 km) and one hour and 15 minutes. You'll still follow major roadways, including E-15 and C-260.
You could also take the bus to Begur, but it's inconvenient. That option requires a transfer and takes at least two hours. Surprisingly, getting to Cadaqués via public transportation is a little easier. Your options are to take a 1.5-hour train ride to Llança followed by a 30-minute private transfer or a direct bus taking about one hour and 45 minutes.
Since it's a relatively short journey, by car is recommended, especially since you could stop along the way and enjoy a few sites, like beach towns, medieval villages, wine regions, and/or museums. Consider combining your time in Costa Brava with Barcelona in this 8-day itinerary.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 1 hour / 1 hour and 15 minutes (standard highway route), 1.5 hours / 2.5 hours (recommended road trip route)
Hiring a private transfer or having a car gives you the freedom to explore the route between Girona and your accommodation in Costa Brava, perhaps taking a few side trips. The two most common hubs to base yourself in Costa Brava are Begur and nearby towns like Tossa de Mar, Platjo d'Aro, Calella de Palagrugell, and L'Estartit or Cadaqués (including adjacent villages like Roses and Llança).
Girona to Begur, Inland Route
The most direct route to the Begur area takes you south and then north along the coast—a 50-minute drive. But if you opt to cut through the countryside, you have a pretty nice road trip! Suggested stopping points include the Emordà wine area and the medieval hilltop village of Pals.
The Empordà region has over 30 wineries, so there are plenty of opportunities to taste delicious wines and learn about the local culture and history. Some of the top wineries to visit include Mas Llunes, Perelada, and Castillo de Perelada. Two of the area's towns, La Bisbal d'Empordà and Corçà, are known for local ceramics and pottery, so you can peruse the shops. For lunch, favorites include Bo.TiC (fine dining and a bit expensive), Restaurant D.o.Candelaria (charming place in historic Peratallada), and Mirador de Can Pi (great views and outdoor seating).
Pals is a picturesque medieval town with a well-preserved historic center filled with charming narrow streets, stone buildings, and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy wandering the old town, admiring the historic architecture, and exploring the many small shops and restaurants that line the streets. Highlights of Pals include the Torre de les Hores, a clock tower that offers stunning panoramic views of the town and surrounding countryside, and the Sant Pere de Pals Church, an impressive example of Romanesque architecture.
Girona to Begur, Coastal Route
If you'd rather enjoy some beach time along this route, we suggest sticking to the coastal areas south of Begur. Tossa de Mar is probably this area's most interesting and picturesque village, perfect for beach time. You could also consider stopping in one of the coves, such as Canyet de Mar.
Tossa de Mar
To start, you'll drive south via the C-65 highway and then cut across the Massís de les Cadiretes nature preserve. After about 45 minutes, you'll reach Tossa de Mar, an adorable seaside village known for its beaches, fishing ports, and medieval walled town. You'll find plenty of street parking and a few public lots/garages along Avinguda de sa Palma. Once you've parked your car, enjoy exploring this charming little hamlet.
Tossa de Mar is perfect for strolling along the beach and swimming in the sea at Platja Gran, though the smaller Platja Mar Menuda is just as sandy and nice, plus it has beautiful rock formations. You can also hire a boat to cruise along the coast or try water sports like kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. But the town's big draw is its walled castle with panoramic views and charming cobbled streets. On the path leading up to the castle, you'll find a lighthouse, Gothic church remnants, a stone tower, and a hidden beach perfect for swimming.
Canyet de Mar
Next, drive about 30 minutes along the twisty, curvy coastal road, stopping at a viewpoint or two as you make your way to Canyet de Mar, a small fishing village on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Here you'll find a collection of quaint restaurants and cafés, a beautiful beach, and plenty of opportunities to participate in activities like kayaking by the coves, hiking along the cliffs, or standup paddleboarding. You can find parking right by the beach at Platja de Canyerets.
From Canyet de Mar, we will make our way north via C-65 for about one hour until you reach Girona.
Girona to Cadaqués
When driving between Girona and Cadaqués, you'll likely take the E-15 highway until Figueres, then switch to the roads leading to the coast. This should take you about one hour and 15 minutes, but you could make a few cultural stops along the way.
Figueres is famous for being the birthplace of Salvador Dalí, one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and home to the Dalí Theatre-Museum, a surrealistic masterpiece that is a must-visit attraction for art enthusiasts. In addition to the museum, the city has a nice historic center with a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Some sites to see include the impressive Sant Ferran Castle, one of the largest military fortresses in Europe, and Parc Bosc, a perfect for a stroll through its gardens, fountains, and sculptures.
Besalú, Castellfollit de la Roca, and/or Lake Banyoles
If you're up for more of a detour, you could visit some of Catalonia's most beautiful villages, including Besalú, known for its iconic Romanesque bridge, medieval center, and Jewish heritage. Nearby is the enchanting clifftop town of Castellfollit de la Roca, with its terraced houses and picturesque church. And for a relaxing detour, stroll along Lake Banyoles, Catalonia's largest lake and the second-largest natural lake on the Iberian Peninsula. It's full of history and essential to the region's heritage.
Duration: 2 hours
You could also take the bus from Girona to Begur with the company Moventis, but it requires a transfer in Palafrugell. The early morning 7:00 am departure has a short transfer time, so it takes just one hour. But all the other departures have an hour-long transfer, so the journey is two hours.
Despite a longer distance, getting to Cadaqués from Girona via public transportation is a little easier. One option is to take a 1.5-hour train operated by Renfe Viajeros to Llança, followed by a 30-minute private transfer. The other choice is a direct bus with Moventis, taking about one hour and 45 minutes.