Top towns and villages in Costa Brava

From buzzing Barcelona to sleepy mountain villages, you won’t be short of ideas for your itinerary. Here are just a few places to get you started:  

Barcelona – the high-vibe Catalan capital combines history, architecture, and culture with busy beaches and bustling bars. Its major airport and rail links make it ideal for a weekend break or as a pitstop before continuing further afield. 


Tarragona – many vestiges of this ancient Roman city still remain, including a relatively intact amphitheatre that looks out over the sea, a delightful old town with narrow winding streets and squares, and a beautiful Gothic cathedral. It also has long stretches of sandy beach. 


Girona – the Onyar river runs through the town, with both sides flanked by colourful facades and connected by various bridges including an iconic red lattice work bridge and a traditional old stone bridge. Big enough to bustle but small enough to find your way around easily, make sure you visit the cathedral, walk along the ramparts and sup a sangria under the arcades. 


Cadaqués – a picture-perfect harbour town that so inspired Salvador Dali that he set up home here. Azure-blue skies, whitewashed houses and fishing boats that bob on sparkling waters give the town a decidedly Mediterranean feel, and you can choose from soaking up the sun on fabulous beaches or walking around the dramatic rocky headland to Portlligat. 


Begur and Palafrugell – these neighbouring towns lie south of Cadaqués. Begur is a pretty hilltop village slightly off the coast road which has a mediaeval castle, vibrant old town and spectacular views. Just down the road, the harbour town of Calella de Palafrugell has long sandy beaches, whitewashed houses and terracotta tiles. The coastline between the two is dotted with romantic coves, rocky creeks and clear waters, perfect for escaping the throngs on the beaches in more touristy areas. 

Begur pallafrugel

Pubol – another beautiful medieval village and another strong link to Salvador Dalí – his castle is the main attraction here and houses a collection of his wife’s glamourous dresses. 


Peratallada – head inland to discover what is rightly reputed as being one of the most beautiful villages in the region. Its cobbled streets, honey-coloured stone buildings, fortress castle and flower-decked walls ooze all the charm of centuries past. 




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