I am lucky to say I have covered quite a bit of ground around the Iberian peninsula, but I had never explored Costa Brava, even though I've moved to Barcelona almost 2 years ago. I had high expectations and it did not disappoint.
If you take a look at Google Earth, you can immediately tell that Costa Brava is a very green and hilly place, just next to a very blue and calm sea. The valleys descend to the sea and break through the cliffs at regular intervals, resulting in curiously detailed contours, and some pretty special spots.
Tossa de Mar
Last weekend, we booked a couple of nights in Tossa de Mar and took the bus from Barcelona. That's just over 1 hour and 12 EUR to get there.
Tossa is a classic postcard place, with a medieval walled town and a lighthouse at the top of this curious hill. You can tell that the entire place is devoted to tourism and I would not recommend visiting in the crowded months. But this year, summer had a slow start so we were pretty lucky here.
It seems like this was one of the first places in the region to be hit by mass tourism, back in the 1950s. The local narrative attributes this to the movie Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), Ava Gardner's long stay in town, and Frank Sinatra's jealous visit.
Actually plenty of sculptures all around town, almost every corner, almost too many. Again, no pictures of those, but a quick google search for "Tossa+de+mar+Escultura" does the trick.
The calas around Tossa
Now for the really interesting part. Cala is Catalan for cove or small beach. If you ask the tourism office for interesting trails, they'll give you detailed instructions on how to get to Cala Bona and Cala Pola.
You have to walk up and down some hills for over an hour with not much shadow or places to rest. Again, we were lucky with the weather. I don't recommend doing this in summer heat peaks. 😓
It's all downhill from here. You'll arrive at a camping site, the road cuts right through it, and there it is!
This one is called Cala Pola. Probably way too busy in peak of summer, as today it was already quite crowded.
But there is more. Get back on the trail and walk another 30 minutes, this time alongside the coast.
Suddenly, you are just on top of Cala Bona, wondering if the boats are floating in the water or actually hovering a bit above it.
There is almost no sand here and I can imagine this place becoming a total nightmare in busier days. But with a few groups of people scattered on both banks of this little cove, it's pretty awesome :-).
Now, this was an extra treat. Our hotel was not too far from the bus station, and right behind the station, a brand new skatepark. So, if you have one, take it with you. We did and it was totally worth it.