Embracing the Fresh Sea Air
One of the best things about living in a city like Barcelona, is leaving it for a weekend. And in this case, in the direction of Costa Brava, at the area of the Baix Empordá. In my opinion this is one of the most beautiful areas of Costa Brava and the closest to Barcelona. Whenever I can take the day off, a couple of friends and I take the car and drive towards one of our favorite restaurants in the sea town of Tamariu. This is, approximately, one and a half hours from the city and you will need a car to get there. So we can tell is a quick escape from Barcelona.
The drive goes very quickly and just after the first kilometers you start feeling the fresh sea air of the Costa Brava. And the stress of the week is replace by the freedom of the weekend.
First Day- Discovering the Baix Ampurdán and Costa Brava
But, let´s start from the beginning. Costa Brava is part of the beautiful and historical region of the Ampurdán (L´Émpordá in catalan) that takes its name from an old greek colony called Ampurias. The Ampurdán is a county in Girona, Catalonia divided in 2 areas: the High Ampurdán (Alt Empordá) and the Low Ampurdán (Baix Empordá). The High Ampurdán is bordered to the north by the Pyrenees which reaches the Mediterranean sea surrounded by natural wonders at Cape Creus and the beautiful town of Cadaqués, born town of the world famous catalán surrealistic painter Salvador Dali (1890-1985). And reaches beyond the long sandy beaches in the Bay of Roses, the Natural Park of the Marismas del Ampurdán and the dunes of San Pedro Pescador beach. And from this area i´ll make a special remark for the little town of La Escala, famous since SXVII for the trade and industry of anchovy salting, which currently has a quality designation. From this nice town you can make a walk to the old greek colony of Ampurias
But today I am gonna talk about the part located below, South of Montgri, the Low Ampurdán (Baix Emporda). In my opinion the most beautiful one and the closest to Barcelona. With its medieval villages perched on jagged hills, vast vineyards, rolling fields and all those Masias of SXII (rural constructionsIn this area I can remark the beautiful sea towns of Calella de Palafrugell, Llafranc and Tamriu and the Medieval villages of LLofriu, Pals and Begur. The Baix Emporda welcomes us as we approach the coast. The stunning Costa Brava, where the shore rises over the sea to form cliffs and coves. So, I´m gonna offer a beautiful and delicious bespoke itinerary to enjoy its secrets, gastronomy and its catalan tradition as a local.
Tamariu a culinary delight
As we know well our favorite places we take the direct row to our favorite restaurant. Coming from the Highway AP7 take the first 12A Exit to Costa Brava in the zone of La Selva. Take the interior highway C31 to Calella de Palafrugell. On this row you start discovering the rolling fields of the country side with medieval towns there´s nothing to envy the Toscana, this area is the perfect match between the country side and a stunning coast. And it is precisely in this area where we arrive to one of our favorite bays, Tamariu. To enjoy a simple but luxurious restaurant.
This restaurant is well known for its delicious fresh fish and its terrace with the best sea view. It has a family tradition and a very friendly service offered by the two brothers. The dishes are large and the fish is super fresh. And from the local market of Palamos. That’s why even in winter time the restaurant is crowded at peak times. So better arrive earlier.
If you decide on an appetizer of grilled Cuttlefish, Padron peppers or the famous Palamos prawns. They are all accompanied by “Pa amb tomáque” (toasted bread spread with tomato). The wine list is not extensive but there are some great white wine options. Such as an Albariño Denomination of Origin Rias Baixas or a Verdejo, D.O Rueda. Their deserts are simples and coffee, very important, is high quality.
After a delicious meal you have many options for further relaxation. We decided to throw a blanket down on the beach and take a nap before saying, “Let Rita work ! “.
Afternoon at the Faro of Sant Sebastian
Post-lunch nap, you can drive to the Faro de Sant Sebastian. This historic lighthouse, perched on a cliff, offers panoramic views of the Costa Brava. The area around the lighthouse has some beautiful walking trails worth exploring.
Evening Stay at Hotel Llafranc
Llafranc is a quiet and picturesque place, perfect for relaxing and disconnecting. You can just enjoy the natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere.
Hotel Llafranc offers guests an authentic Mediterranean experience. The sea-facing rooms and in-house Catalan restaurant make it an excellent choice for travelers. But the best thing about Hotel Llafranc is about its history that is palpable in its walls and rooms. Hotel LLafranch opened in 1958, days when the Costa Brava was already recognized in the world as an important tourist destination because of the beauty and warm water of the mediterranean.
The hotel was owned by three charismatic and popular brothers, Manel, Josep, and Mario. And the character of the place was infused by a familiar, artistic and excentric personality of these 3 guys that loved to party. So soon became a unique and cosmopolitan place with a very special atmosphere. People as, Salvador Dalí, Rock Hudson, Sofia Loren, Kirk Douglas or Elisabeth Taylor, up to Juan Manuel Serrat, Carmen Amaya or Antonio Gades, Paco de Lucía, Xavier Cugat and the Chunga, went through the Hotel Llafranc leaving fantastic moments of joy and fun printed in a big photo collection.
The Hotel Llafranc has been able to maintain it’ s familiar style, traditional and perculiar which has always characterized it. Adelita continues making some of the most delicious traditional dishes of the Ampurdan, like “El Niu” or desserts of all types: “buñuelos”, “confituras” and home made cakes. The traditional Suquet and the authentic black rice, still follows the recipe of Josep Bisbe. So, you can have a very good dinner at the hotel to finish your first day.
Second day- Beaches, relax and Camino de Ronda
Morning breakfast at the Hotel would be fine. But if you prefer you can walk along the promenade and port area and choose one of the bars to have a traditional breakfast infornt of the sea. After that Llafranc has beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. You can relax on the beach, swim, sunbathe or practice water sports such as snorkeling and diving. If you like water sports, you can rent kayaking equipment, paddle surfing, or snorkeling to explore the area’s rich marine life.
Or the Costa Brava is an ideal place to practice hiking. You can explore nearby routes such at the Camino de Ronda, which will take you to beautiful cliffs and hidden coves.
And in the evening, for dinner time you can walk through Camino de Ronda until Calella de Palafrugell: another spectacular and beautiful little town of Costa Brava where you can find many delicious restaurants with traditional and fresh sea food.
Third day- Visiting around the medieval towns and having dinner in a great spot
Llafranc is an ideal starting point to explore other towns on the Costa Brava. The Baix Empordà area of the Costa Brava, which includes places such as Pals, Begur and Peratallada, you will find a wealth of historical and natural charms. We will recommend you best places to visit around in this third day of your getaway
This medieval town on the Costa Brava, has a history dating back to ancient times. Its origins date back to Roman times, but the way it looks today, with its characteristic medieval architecture, developed mainly in the Middle Ages. It´s a great place to appreciate historic architecture.
The historic core of Pals has been restored and preserved over the years, and much of its medieval architecture has survived. However, it is difficult to establish an exact year of foundation, since the evolution of the city has been a process over several centuries. The old town of Pals is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets, well-preserved stone houses and buildings with medieval charm. Exploring these streets is like taking a step back in time.
The Torre de les Hores, one of the most iconic structures in Pals, dates back to the 12th century, indicating the historical presence of the town in that period. This medieval tower, offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. You can enjoy the views to the Medeas islands and the beautiful geography of the Baix empordá.
The Church of Sant Pere is a 13th century Gothic church and another point of interest in Pals. Its structure and interior decoration are notable from an architectural point of view.
This charming little medieval town is famous for its stone architecture and narrow streets. It´s very impressive to walk through its small streets. Being in the middle of this town surrended by its walls is a trip back in time. You can have a coffee in the square of town imagining the life centuries ago. Visit the castle and walls. And the Peratallada Botanical Garden. Explore this beautiful garden with a variety of Mediterranean plants.
Begur has a rich and varied history. During Roman times, the city was called “Begurium”. In the Middle Ages, Begur Castle provided an important role in defending the coast against pirate attacks. During the 19th century, many people from Begur emigrated to the Americas and returned with fortunes, leaving a mark on local architecture. This period is known as “the time of the Indians”, and is an important part of the history of Begur.
Today, Begur is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty, beaches and historical heritage. Its medieval charm and the influence of the Indian era can be seen in its architecture and general atmosphere.
Take a walk through the Historic Center with its cobbled streets and discover the historic architecture. And if you are in good shape to make a hike visit Begur Castle. You can explore the ruins of this medieval castle with spectacular views.
Late lunch or early dinner at a great spot
Please choose one of these beautiful Begur Beaches such as Sa Riera, Aiguablava or Sa Tuna to finish your weekend enjoying an early dinner. At the beautiful and small Cala Sa Tuna you can try at the restaurant Es Furió. With incredible beachfront location and delicious seafood dishes. A restaurant not as expensive as it could be.