With a castle towering above, Tossa de Mar provides the Costa Brava with one of its most iconic images.
Before the arrival of mass tourism in the 1950s the primary industries of Tossa de Mar were grapes and cork. Much of the surrounding area consists of forest with cork oak. This was shipped to the Americas in the 18th and 19th centuries. It also had a small fishing fleet on which the population relied when times got hard.
In 1950s the town was famous for the arrival of Ava Gardner to film “The Flying Dutchman” with James Mason. In 1998 a bronze statue was erected within the castle walls to honour her.
Today Tossa remains a popular tourist destination, with a sandy beach and castle overlooking the modern town. Within the castle walls lies the original medieval town, and the area just outside the castle walls are distinctly old world. Here you’ll find plenty of restaurants next to the beach, although it is slightly spoiled by the stream that runs in the sand parallel with to the sea in this area.
The northern end of the beach is less authentically Catalan with a number of three or four story apartment buildings and hotels. Although not really in character of the true Costa Brava, they at least don’t dominate the seafront like in other towns.
As well as the main town beach and a couple of others nearby you might also like to explore further afield. Drive along the winding coastal road toward Sant Feliu de Guíxols or southbound towards Lloret de Mar and explore some more secluded beaches and coves along the way. Read about the beaches near Tossa de Mar here.
Things to do
Tossa de Mar is well known for the image of the castle above the beach. You can explore the vila vella (old town) inside the castle walls as well as the newer part of town outside. The views from up there are spectacular as you get a great view out to sea as well as up and down the rocky coast. But as well as taking in the history Tossa also has a variety of other activities. Water sports are a given, including several diving centres. Check out what Tossa has to offer here.
In many restaurants in Tossa you’ll see a local speciality called cim i tomba. It’s a stew of fish, potatoes and onions with a few other ingredients and originally cooked by local fishermen while away at sea. As you’d expect many restaurants serve fresh fish and seafood dishes, but you’ll also find plenty of meat too. Check out this page for more information on Tossa’s restaurants.
How to get to Tossa
You can drive to Tossa de Mar from Girona-Costa Brava airport in around 40 minutes. The last section of road after you leave the C-35 near Llagostera is rather mountainous but spectacular. From Barcelona airport it takes around 90 minutes on the AP7 and joining the C-35 at the turnoff for Platja d’Aro. An alternative is the C-32 via Blanes and Lloret de Mar. Once again though, the last stretch of road is mountainous.
You can also get to Tossa from Girona by bus in the summer months. The journey is about an hour. From Barcelona airport the trip is about two hours. The service operates year round but more frequent in the summer.