This 12-day tour kicks off in Barcelona where you'll explore the city's fascinating culture and architecture, including Gaudí's UNESCO-listed landmarks. Next, head north to the Costa Brava—a 125-mile (200-km) stretch of pine trees, golden beaches, and crystal clear water—for a blissful week on the Mediterranean while staying in a medieval town with great restaurants.

Highlights

  • Explore La Boqueria market, circa 1217, for the ultimate foodie pilgrimage
  • Day-trip to a scenic monastery and boutique winery in the mountains
  • Enjoy hiking, biking, and kayaking excursions—all led by local guides
  • See more than 1,500 works by Catalonia's native artist, Salvador Dalí
  • Hit the best beaches near your Costa Brava home-base of Begur

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Barcelona Barcelona
Day 2 Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Familia Barcelona
Day 3 Explore Barcelona Barcelona
Day 4 Monserrat & Winery Day-Trip Barcelona
Day 5 Pick-Up Rental Car - Drive to Begur Begur
Day 6 Kayaking Excursion in the Costa Brava Begur
Day 7 Wine Tasting in the Empordà Region Begur
Day 8 Bike Tour of the Baix Empordá Begur
Day 9 Dalí-Themed Excursion in the Costa Brava Begur
Day 10 Explore Beaches & Hiking Paths in the Costa Brava Begur
Day 11 Drive from Begur to Barcelona - Return Rental Car Barcelona
Day 12 Depart Barcelona  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona

Observation deck at Park Guell
An observation deck at Park Guell

Welcome to Barcelona! Upon arrival at either the airport or train station, you'll be greeted by a private driver who will transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Take some time to settle in and get your bearings before heading out to explore this beautiful and inexhaustible city. 

You'll have many options on what to see and do on your first day—and plenty of company. The cosmopolitan and bustling heart of Spain's Catalonia region is popular with domestic and international travelers all year round. With fantastic art and architecture, rich medieval history, clean urban beaches, world-class nightlife, and great shopping you'll be spoiled for choice.

A good place to start is by taking a stroll down La Ramblas, a sequence of promenades that runs from Plaça de Catalunya down to the waterfront. Near the opera house is the vibrant public market called La Boquería, which dates back to 1217 for the ultimate foodie pilgrimage. Centuries later, this is still considered one of Europe's best food markets and provides a great introduction to Catalan cuisine.

Day 2: Private Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

After breakfast, you'll start your day with a private guided walking tour of Barcelona, which includes its greatest monument, La Sagrada Familia, a spectacular Roman Catholic church and UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. During this half-day excursion, you will see some of the city's most emblematic spots and hidden corners while learning about Gaudí and his jaw-dropping masterpiece, which is still under construction.

Your guide will be on hand to answer all your questions including where to go for lunch! In fact, he or she will take you to a recommended tapas bar or restaurant before parting ways leaving you to enjoy the afternoon exploring Barcelona at your own pace.

Day 3: Explore Barcelona

Barceloneta Beach
Barceloneta Beach

Today is a free day to explore Barcelona any way you'd like! This enchanting, creative, and much-loved city offers plenty of options from cultural sightseeing to gastronomy tours. If you haven't experienced them yet, you'll likely want to check out notable attractions such as Park Guëll, Casa Milà, Casa Batllò, the Picasso Museum, Las Ramblas, La Boqueria market, Camp Nou football stadium, the Gothic Quarter, and Tibidabo amusement park.

If you're looking for a nature break, head to Barceloneta Beach situated against the deep blue Mediterranean sea where sun-drenched beaches create a pretty setting for a lazy day on the sand. There are also jogging and biking paths work up a sweat, or you can take a long leisurely stroll followed by a refreshing dip. Vendors on the beach offer kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and a range of sunset cruises options. Alternatively, head to Barcelona's surrounding mountains for a range of hiking and biking trails with spectacular views.

Day 4: Monserrat & Winery Day-Trip

Montserrat Monastery
Montserrat Monastery

After breakfast in Barcelona, you'll meet your guide for a trip to the Catalan countryside starting with a visit to the impressive Monastery of Montserrat with its commanding views. The monastery is notable not only for its stunning mountainous setting but also for enshrining the image of the Virgin of Montserrat. Founded in the 11th century, it still functions to this day with over 70 monks in residence.

You'll also have the chance to listen to a boys choir, visit the Moreneta de Montserrat, and take a light walk to Santa Cova where the black Madonna is said to have originally been found and rescued.

From here, you'll depart Montserrat and enjoy a fantastic lunch of rural Catalan cuisine in a traditional restaurant followed by a guided tour of one of the region's premier boutique wineries. There will be a chance to taste some of their wines and cavas before returning to Barcelona in the late afternoon.

Day 5: Pick-Up Rental Car - Drive to Begur

Begur's hillside setting
Begur's hillside setting

This morning, you'll meet a driver in your hotel lobby and transfer to Barcelona train station. This is where you'll pick up your rental car and begin the drive north towards the Costa Brava—a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coastline running just north of Barcelona all the way to the border of France. 

You'll first make your way to the city of Begur, where you'll check into your accommodations and settle in before enjoying the spectacular views and rural way of life. This pretty town an hour north of Barcelona offers fantastic restaurants and boutique hotels. In the last decade, the town has become popular with Barcelonians who have stylish holiday homes here. 

If you are anxious to get out and explore, there are plenty of beaches along the 133-mile (214-km) stretch of coastline, and even in the height of summer, you can often find a secluded sandy cove all to yourself. For something close to Begur, try Platja Fonda—a small cove and swimming spot known for its clear blue water and relaxed atmosphere.

You could also drive a short distance south to the coastal town of Palafrugell to visit the Cap Roig Botanical Gardens, which are considered to be among some of the best in the Mediterranean. Terraced gardens cascade from the hilltop castle right down to the beach and feature plants from around the world as well as sculptures by international artists.

Day 6: Kayaking Excursion in the Costa Brava

Kayaking adventure up the coast
Kayaking adventure up the coast

Today, you'll get to discover the stunning coastline of the Costa Brava through its hidden coves, caves, and headlands on a fun kayaking tour with a private guide!

During this half-day excursion, you'll visit idyllic corners of the coastline only accessible from the sea with your expert guide who will show you a trick or two in your kayak. The excursion can be adapted to your fitness level and preferred distance, and all equipment is included. 

At the end of the tour, you'll have the rest of the day to spend at leisure, perhaps heading to a pretty beach like Calella de Palafrugell.

Day 7: Wine Tasting in the Empordà Region

Many of the region's vineyards come with Mediterranean views
Many of the region's vineyards come with Mediterranean views

After breakfast in Begur, you'll be picked up for a fun and in-depth visit to a small local wine producer in the Costa Brava's Empordà region, which stretches from the town of Figueres in Catalonia, all the way to the French border. Historians say that vineyards have been in this area since the 5th century BC. Though it's not as big as other wine regions in Spain, Empordà is known to produce delicious wines, like White Grenache, Tempranillo, Macabeu, and Syrah, at terrific prices.

This 5-hour excursion includes private transport and a stop for lunch in a nearby town before you return to your hotel in Begur in the afternoon where you'll have free time to relax and, if you so choose, head to the beach and go for a refreshing swim before dinner.

Day 8: Bike Tour of the Baix Empordá

Discover the Catalan countryside with minimal effort on your e-bike!
Discover the Catalan countryside with minimal effort on your e-bike!

Today, after breakfast in Begur, your driver will pick you up for the short transfer to meet your guide in the heart of the Costa Brava. Upon arrival in Gualta—a small village in Baix Empordà—you'll get an introduction to your e-bike, and then begin an 'electric' ride through the region's breathtaking scenery while barely breaking a sweat.

The 18-mile (29 km) itinerary passes through several medieval villages, among the most representative of Baix Empordá. Most of the route passes along rural trails and farmlands and the terrain is mostly flat and undulating and, therefore, suitable for all levels. There will be plenty of time to stop for photographs and your guide will share local history along the way.

In the afternoon, you'll finish the trip with a ride back to Gualta through flower-filled fields and villages. Say farewell to your guide, and then transfer back to your accommodations in Begur to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 9: Dalí-Themed Excursion in the Costa Brava

Dalí Theatre in Figueres
Dalí Theatre in Figueres

Today is an excursion dedicated to Salvador Dalí! At the designated time, your guide will meet you at your hotel for the trip to the northern border of Catalonia where you'll experience where Dalí was born and raised, and later worked. You'll also discover the area's scenery, culture, and politic landscape, which helped shape and inspire this world-renowned artist.  

The day-trip tour includes the quintessential Dalí House Museum in Port Lligat, the town of Cadaques, and the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, with many stops (including lunch) and attractions in between. This is your chance to get to the heart of Catalan's Mediterranean culture, architecture, traditions, and delicious cuisine. 

Day 10: Explore Beaches & Hiking Paths in the Costa Brava

Lloret de Mer near the town of Girona
Lloret de Mer near the town of Girona

Today, you'll have a free day to explore the Costa Brava's best beaches and hiking paths along the Mediterranean Sea. This stunning coastal is a favorite holiday spot with locals from Barcelona, as well as those from Southern France who come for the area's idyllic scenery and superb cultural and leisure activities.

A good way to start the day is to take a fabulous coastal hike where you can get a real feel for the area and its incredible scenery, especially along the rugged GR 92 route, which hugs the shoreline. Then cool off by visiting one of the many beaches, with everything from big stretches of golden sand to hidden rocky coves and isolated beaches you can only reach on foot.

Day 11: Drive from Begur to Barcelona - Return Rental Car

Sunrise in the Costa Brava
Sunrise in the Costa Brava

This morning, it's time to pack up the car up in Begur and make the return drive to Barcelona train station where you'll drop off your rental car. From here, take a taxi to your hotel in the city center where you can settle in and enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the city however you see fit!

Day 12: Depart Barcelona

Goodbye, Barcelona!
Goodbye, Barcelona!

It's time to say farewell to Barcelona! Depending on the time of your flight or train reservation, squeeze in one more walk through the city, perhaps picking up some last-minute souvenirs. At the designated time you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport or rail station for your departure onwards. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 12 Days
Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 12 Days