Best of the Costa Brava

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Costa Brava
The Costa Brava runs from Spain's Mediterranean border with France down to just north of Barcelona. It is renowned for its stunning coastal villages, rugged coastline with numerous idyllic coves, ports, and beaches, and hosts a superb offering of cultural activities and opportunities to relax. The Costa Brava is also home to some of the country’s best (albeit smaller) beaches, often hidden below soaring clifftops and unusual rock formations. Many of these can only be reached on foot, making the journey part of the fun, and you'll be rewarded by turquoise blue water with lapping waves. 

Not only is there plenty to see along the shore, but the Costa Brava also encompasses some beautiful inland villages and attractions, too. The Empordà wine region is also located along the Costa Brava. 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. Historians say that vineyards have been in this area since the 5th century BCE, and a tasting tour of the region's vineyards and bodegas is a great way to pass an afternoon.
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Beach at Palafrugell [Photo by Susan Flynn on Unsplash]
The Best Boutique Hotels on the Costa Brava

Catch some sun and seafood on the Costa Brava at these hotels, with lodging options atop cliffs, alongside crystalline coves, or in countryside vineyards. From these views, it's easy to see why this region of northern Catalonia has been drawing vacationers and artists to its picturesque shores for decades.

A coastal village and beach near the town of Begur
Map of Best of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 8 Days
Best of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 8 Days

This 8-day Catalonia tour kicks off in cosmopolitan Barcelona where you'll experience top-notch cuisine and modern architecture via foot and bicycle. Next, drive to the sun-kissed Costa Brava—a 125-mile (200-km) stretch of pine trees, golden beaches, and crystal clear water. Here you'll spend four blissful days exploring trails, medieval villages, and artwork thanks to its famous native, Salvador Dalí.

A coastal hiking trail in the Costa Brava
Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 10 Days
Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 10 Days

This exciting Catalonia tour begins in Barcelona where you'll experience tapas, architecture, and a nearby monastery in the mountains. Next, head to the sun-kissed coastline called Costa Brava—a 125-mile (200-km) stretch of pine trees, golden beaches, and crystal clear water. Here you'll spend five days enjoying the Mediterranean Sea while staying in a medieval town loaded with great restaurants.

Explore Parc Guëll and watch the setting sun over Barcelona
Map of Best of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 9 days
Best of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 9 days

This complete nine-day cultural itinerary features the vibrant and eclectic city of Barcelona, the quaint villages along the rugged Costa Brava coastline, as well as a day trip into the Montserrat mountains. You'll experience a broad range of cultural tours covering the history, architecture, and ancient and current traditions at the hands of knowledgeable private guides, with free time to go at your own pace. You'll drink wine, eat authentic Catalan fare, and swim in the Mediterranean.

Explore beaches near the village of Begur
Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 7 Days
Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 7 Days

This 7-day adventure combines a mix of private tours and free time for the ultimate introduction to Spain's Catalonia region. Kick off the week in cosmopolitan Barcelona for Gaudí architecture, tapas bars, and Mediterranean beaches. Then head north to the Costa Brava for kayaking, Dalí culture, and wine tasting—all while staying in a medieval town loaded with great restaurants.

A coastal trail dotted with pine trees in the Costa Brava
Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 12 Days
Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 12 Days

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.

View of Tossa de Mar from Vila Vella Fortress
Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava: Best Itinerary Ideas
Barcelona & the Costa Brava: Best Itinerary Ideas

Most travelers will find that 7 to 9 days is perfect for a well-paced Spain trip with stops in both Barcelona and the Costa Brava. It's possible to hit the highlights in 5 or 6 days if you don't mind a fast-paced journey. Or, extend your trip and explore more of the country—one of the best-loved trip extensions includes the medieval town of Vic. See more ideas and itineraries below.

Sant Joan Castle in Lloret de Mar
Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 6 Days
Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 6 Days

This 6-day tour is the perfect introduction to Spain's Catalonia region. Kick off in the capital of cool—Barcelona—for architecture, tapas bars, and hip neighborhoods before finishing with two nights in the Costa Brava for beaches and wine tasting. In addition to private excursions, you'll get plenty of free time to round out this fun adventure.

Calella de Palafrugell
Map of Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 14 Days
Barcelona & the Costa Brava - 14 Days

This two-week adventure kicks off in Barcelona where you'll explore fascinating art and culture, including Gaudí's UNESCO-listed landmarks. Then drive 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. Finish in Vic for medieval villages and hiking trails before returning to Barcelona for one more night on the town.

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Map of Off the Beaten Path in Madrid & Barcelona  - 10 Days
Off the Beaten Path in Madrid & Barcelona - 10 Days

This 10-day tour of Spain allows you to visit the highlights, like the plazas and palaces of Madrid, while also getting off the tourist track. This is a deep immersion into Spain's rich culture as you travel from the capital to Barcelona while also taking day trips to ancient villages like Pedraza and Segovia as well as countryside wineries. Throughout the adventure, you'll enjoy some delicious food as you stop at authentic tapas bars and covered markets. 

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Map of Highlights of Spain & Portugal: Cities, Beaches, & Culture - 15 Days
Highlights of Spain & Portugal: Cities, Beaches, & Culture - 15 Days

Get ready for an adventure on the Iberian Peninsula. This comprehensive 15-day itinerary covers the highlights of both Portugal and Spain, including the capital cities of Lisbon and Madrid as well as Mediterranean beaches and the wine country near Porto. You'll also visit historic architectural marvels like the Pena Palace in Cintra, the famous cathedral of Toledo, and the Catalan-modernist buildings of Gaudí in Barcelona.

Lisbon's Alfama district
Map of Highlights of Spain & Portugal: Cities, Beaches, & Culture - 16 Days
Highlights of Spain & Portugal: Cities, Beaches, & Culture - 16 Days

There's nothing quite like the Iberian Peninsula. It's home to Spain and Portugal, two distinct countries that feature some of the richest culture and most scenic locales in Europe. Over 16 unforgettable days, you'll visit the highlights of both nations, from Lisbon and Madrid to Porto and Barcelona—plus the Costa Brava, the Empordá wine region, and everywhere in between.

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Map of Highlights of Spain & Portugal: Cities, Beaches, & Culture - 13 Days
Highlights of Spain & Portugal: Cities, Beaches, & Culture - 13 Days

Why visit one beautiful country on Europe's Iberian Peninsula when you can visit both of them? This 13-day adventure begins in Portugal's historic capital of Lisbon and continues north to the equally stunning heritage city of Porto and the surrounding wine region. Then it's off to Spain, with not only stops at the best museums in Madrid but the best beaches in Barcelona and even further north along the Costa Brava.

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Map of Highlights of Spain & Portugal: Cities, Beaches, & Culture - 14 Days
Highlights of Spain & Portugal: Cities, Beaches, & Culture - 14 Days

If the idea of country-hopping in Europe is appealing to you, then you're going to love this two-week Iberian adventure. It begins in Portugal with visits to Lisbon and Porto plus the surrounding wine country. Then you're off to Madrid for art and culture tours, day trips to Toledo, and finally a jaunt to beautiful Barcelona and the equally enticing Costa Brava.

Placa Reial in the Barri Gòtic
Map of Highlights of Barcelona - 5 Days
Highlights of Barcelona - 5 Days

This 5-day tour is the perfect introduction to Spain's cosmopolitan hub of Catalonia. Let local guides show you Barcelona's best architectural sights, tree-lined streets, and tapas bars by foot and bicycle. You'll also take a sailing trip and a kayaking excursion in the Mediterranean to round out this fun adventure.

Other popular travel destinations in Spain
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