When considering a holiday in Spain, a road trip is one of the best ways to discover some of the lesser-known gems and the incredible Spanish coastline. The Costa Brava is a beautiful stretch of coast in the Northeast of Spain. It begins just north of Barcelona in the seaside town of Blanes and stretches up to PortBou on the French border. There are many wonderful spots along this route, so we have picked out a few of our favorites. So, pack your road trip essentials and remember that you could do these as a complete road trip, or as day trips or weekend trips from Barcelona. Whatever you choose, start planning your family road trip now!
Related Read: Learn how to make sure your car is ready for a road trip!
Road Trip Costa Brava
Lloret de Mar
The first stop on our Costa Brava road trip is the friendly coastal town of Lloret de Mar. With its array of lush Mediterranean beaches, this picturesque town is just north of Barcelona and marks the Southern edge of the Costa Brava. Lloret de Mar is popular for its beautiful, clean beaches and interesting cultural sites within the town. Some must-see spots are the beautiful cove of ‘Playa de Fenals’ and the serene, romantic gardens ‘Jardins de Santa Clotilde’ which overlook the sea.
Lloret de Mar is also home to one of the top-rated casinos in Spain. The luxurious casino resort is particularly popular with French tourists due to the town’s proximity to the French border, making this a perfect spot for combining casino entertainment with a relaxing beach holiday. Visitors can enjoy playing different versions of roulette, blackjack, and Caribbean poker, whilst soaking up the Mediterranean surroundings.
Fittingly, these games carry a lot of history; the game of roulette and its methods first originated in France in the 18th, and the name roulette means ‘little wheel’ in French, giving this resort an added element of charm and tradition. Blackjack is also believed to have originated in France around 1700. The French cards were initially called ‘Vingt-et-Un’ or Twenty-One, and the game was popular among the French Royal family.
Heading north and slightly inland, you will find the charming town of Girona. Whilst not directly on the coastline, we recommend Girona as part of your family road trip and as a refreshing cultural break from the beaches. Girona has one of the main airports in Costa Brava, so you may choose to begin your holiday here as an alternative to the popular Barcelona. This is a town steeped in history, beginning with its ancient, sloped fortress walls, which you can explore at leisure while admiring the magnificent views. There is also the beautifully preserved Jewish Quarter, Arab baths dating back to the 11th century, and the breath-taking Cathedral de Santa Maria.
The Cathedral square is a sight to be marveled, with a magnificent Baroque staircase leading up to the Cathedral doors, which you may recognize as ‘King’s Landing’ in Game of Thrones. In fact, Girona has been placed on the map for Game of Thrones fans, with famous scenes in the town of ‘Bravos’ having been filmed in Girona’s old town. Another must-see spot is the River Onyar with its unique bridges and the distinctive multi-colored houses sitting along either side.
After a morning of sight-seeing, we recommend indulging in one of the many high quality restaurants and enjoying the ambience of the friendly streets. We recommend ‘El Pati de la Veina’ for a wonderful evening meal in a quirky, cozy restaurant.
After taking in the rich history of Girona, it is time to head north to the magical coastal village of Cadaqués. The quaint, whitewashed buildings of Cadaqués sit among its green surroundings and shine above the blue waters and pebbled beaches, giving the whole place an idyllic postcard feeling. Cadaqués is known for having inspired famous artist Salvador Dali, who spent holidays here during his youth.
Thanks to its popularity, Cadaqués is not only an idyllic beachside village but also a vibrant cultural destination, especially during holiday season. Lots of events and festivals take place here throughout the year, and you can feel the buzz amongst the streets in the evenings. So, depending on what type of holiday you are looking for, you may wish to choose your time to visit. Between its serene appearance and vibrant streets, Cadaqués achieves a balance of sophistication and a Bohemian vibe, which makes it our favorite spot on the Costa Brava.
We hope this article has given you inspiration for your holidays in the beautiful Costa Brava region of Spain. We have mentioned just a few places, but the best thing about a family road trip is that it has a ton of benefits, also you can stop and discover all the mini paradises along the way. Enjoy exploring and discovering this scenic coastline.
If you enjoyed this post, you should read my 5 day itinerary road trip from Barcelona.