This Region In Spain Is One Of The Most Underrated In Europe

Spain is a country that has long been popular for its beautiful beaches, from the sunny southern Costa del Sol to the party islands of the Balearics.

Although Spain is well-known for its beaches, there’s one region in particular that flies under the radar for many tourists: Costa Brava.

Located in northeastern Spain, Costa Brava is a stretch of coastline in the region of Catalonia.

It directly translates to “Brave Coast”, but brava can also mean rough or wild. The name fits the area perfectly — it’s full of rugged, rocky cliffs overlooking clear, pristine waters.

Sandy beach coves are tucked away between cliffs, and whitewashed villages dot the coastline. You can enjoy a relaxed pace of life in Costa Brava, and it’s the perfect summer getaway.

Although it’s not far from bustling Barcelona, many tourists to this popular Spanish city don’t realize that there’s a beach paradise less than two hours away.

Costa Brava Spain

Why Visit Costa Brava

Costa Brava is the ultimate summer vacation destination in Spain. Although it’s hardly unknown, it hasn’t become overrun with tourists in the way that some other popular European destinations have in recent years.

You won’t be fined $300 for stopping to take a selfie like you might in Portofino, Italy and you won’t have to elbow your way through the crowds like you might in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

sun boats and blue water in costa brava spain

Costa Brava is a laidback destination where you can spend your time exploring picturesque seaside villages, swimming in the clear waters of the Mediterranean, and enjoying paella and a glass of wine as the sun goes down.

If you’re short on time, you can even make a day trip from Barcelona to Costa Brava. It’s less than two hours away from the city, although train service is limited to the coastal towns, making a rental car your best bet for exploring this region.

aerial view of ocean in spain

It’s More Than Just Beaches

Beyond the beaches of Costa Brava, you can also discover beautiful scenery and quaint villages.

The countryside near the Costa Brava is filled with vineyards, apple orchards, and sunflower fields and is dotted with historic churches and fortresses on the hilltops.

Quaint medieval villages like Pals are the perfect place to visit on a day trip and stop for lunch in the ancient stone town center.

Pals Spain

Costa Brava is also known for its legacy of art and culture. Famous artists and writers like Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, and Truman Capote spend extended amounts of time living and working in towns along this picturesque stretch of the Spanish coast.

Recently, Vogue highlighted the resurgence in art and culture in Costa Brava, including buzzy new galleries and museums you can visit.

Where To Go In Costa Brava

Some of the best beach towns in Costa Brava include Cadaques and Calella de Palafrugell. Both of these destinations are the perfect place to base yourself for a few days to enjoy the beauty of Costa Brava.

Calella de Palafrugell Spain

Tossa de Mar is another great spot to visit, striking due to the expansive 12th-century castle fortifying the historic town.

And in Lloret de Mar, you can discover the scenic Jardines de Santa Clotilde, botanical gardens that overlook the sea.

Although it’s not on the coast, the medieval city of Girona is about an hour from many towns on the Costa Brava, and it’s well worth a day trip to see the impressive architecture and landscaped gardens. (Game of Thrones fans will also recognize a few filming locations!)

Girona, Catalonia, Spain

For more underrated places in Spain, check out these great destinations where you can avoid the crowds this summer.

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