Estartit was once a small fishing village that became popular in the 1950s and 1960s when the Costa Brava was first put on the map and like many coastal resorts on the Costa Brava saw a boom in construction that overtook the original village.
My parents visited Estrtit in the early 1960s and fell in love with the town and took us to nearby Els Griells on holiday a couple of times in the 1980s. After spending a day on the beach there we would sometimes walk along the beach into Estartit for a meal, or simply to wander through the narrow streets and the shops selling seemingly exotic merchandise; today I’d call it tourist tat.
While Estartit has changed massively since the early days of mass tourism put it on the map for beach holidays, much of the town does retain its charm and it compares favourably with towns such as Lloret. For sun lovers Estartit has a fantastic beach running several kilometres south past the mouth of the river Ter, which flows through Girona, and down towards Sa Riera.
Tourists in Estartit tend to come from France, the UK and Ireland, as well as Germany and Holland and as well as staying in he many private holiday apartments and villas there are a number of hotels and campsites.
While it is true that much of Estartit consists of rather charmless holiday homes, the heart of the village does still retain much of its charm and that combined with a gloriously long beach make it a fantastic holiday destination for families.
It is a shame that so much of the hillside was allowed to be built on, but more recent laws have sought to slow down such pace of development. The property bubble finally burst in 2008 and the economic mess suffered by Spain ever since have been the main factor in a reduced appetite for construction though.
The town has a large marina focused on leisure boats and during the summer there is much activity in the marina area. And just a kilometre or so off sure are the Medes Islands, an archipelago that has enjoyed protected status since the 1990s to allow the regrowth of coral and marine life in the area.
Traffic to the Medes Islands is controlled and nothing may be taken from there. Diver numbers are strictly controlled and divers must pay a small tax for the privilege of diving there. The result is some of the best diving in Spain, let alone the Costa Brava, with tame groupers of a metre or more in length swimming with divers. There is a cavern system in which divers can safely enter and the groupers will join divers as they go through – it’s incredible to experience.
Estartit has a beach that runs 2 1/2 kilometres south from the marina and disappears down past Els Griells and beyond. The beach is wide and sandy, with plenty of room although it can get packed in August.
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