About the Costa Brava

The Costa Brava is the area of that makes up Spain’s north-east coast, just south of the border with France. The name means the “rugged coast”, referring to the often dramatic coastline and although much of it is rocky there are also many long sandy beaches.

Map of the Costa Brava

Above: click on the pins and zoom in to get a closer look at the Costa Brava

Where is the Costa Brava?

The Costa Brava starts at Blanes and includes the Catalan comarques (districts or counties) of Baix Empurdà, la Selva and Alt Empurdà, although for the purposes of this website we also consider comarca of Gironés, the area in which Girona is found.

While the Costa Brava is sometimes seen as a synonym for low cost tourism with little regard for the region’s culture and history, there are also many areas of outstanding natural beauty and seaside towns that remain largely unspoilt.

The worst of the Costa Brava is undoubtedly Lloret de Mar. It was one of the first resorts to be developed and whatever charm it once had is now swallowed up in the mass of high rise apartments and hotels catering for holidaymakers looking to spend their entire holiday blasted on cheap booze. It is a real shame as Lloret has a wide sandy beach that without the town as it is would be ideal; it is also what made the over-development of Lloret inevitable.

However, not far south of Lloret things improve dramatically. The beach of Santa Cristina is perhaps ten minutes away from Lloret by car and absolutely beautiful. Although overlooked by a hotel, this small bay is perfect to spend a day or two sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling and a world away from Lloret.

The beach at Santa Cristina is a world away from Lloret de Mar. Photo by David Leigh.

If Lloret does the Costa Brava no favours, towns such as Cadaqués and Port de la Selva are real gems. The former is a bit too well known, perhaps due to its connections with Salvador Dalí, but Port de la Selva is remarkably quiet even at the height of summer. Mainly frequented by Catalans and Spanish, as well as foreign owners, it is ideal for families and anyone happy for a quiet holiday spent on the beach, in the water and perhaps with some good food too.

While officially the Costa Brava consists of Baix Empurà, la Selva and Alt Empurdà, at Costa Brava Lifestyle we like to extend that definition slightly. Therefore you’ll also find articles, advice, information and news on Girona and the areas inland from the Costa Brava proper.