With more than 3,000 miles of coast, Spain can offer a Costa for every taste. Costa Brava is a hundred mile section of this coastline with golden beaches stretching from Blanes, 60km northeast of Barcelona, to the French border. Costa is the Catalan and Spanish word for 'coast', and Brava means 'rugged' or 'wild', and the area's rugged coast mirrors this with its rolling mountainous terrain and fine sandy beaches.
Part of the reason that Costa Brava holidays are so popular is the climate, with hot summers tipping 29 degrees Celsius and a more temperate autumn and spring ideal for lazing in the sun. Winter temperatures reach highs of 13 degrees Celsiuis meaning that holidays to Costa Brava are year-round crowd-pleasers.
But if you're planning a Costa Brava holiday then I recommend stepping off the sun-lounger to explore some of the region's rich heritage with its ancient ruins, Catalan culture and the more recent cultural contributions from artists such as Salvador Dali and architects including Antoni Gaudi. There are also many little gems like the towns of Tossa de Mar and Roses.
Costa Brava's Cultural heritage
Catalonia is an historical region, which once spread through northeast Spain, including what is now the Costa Brava. Throughout the region the Catalan culture can be seen with its distinctive food, language and heritage. The Catalan language, along with Spanish, is spoken widely in this area and the architecture reflects the ancient traditions and legends of the Catalonian people. There are also Catalonian days of celebration, including the Summer Solstice on June 23, when bonfires are lit and spectacular firework displays take place in all the towns and villages, along with live music and processions. Other days of celebration include St George's Day and Catalonia Day.
The artists who fell in love with Costa Brava
The Catalonian coast has inspired many famous artists. Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Yves Klein and Salvador Dali all fell in love with the area and you can see their works in many galleries and museums, and reproduced in gift shops, throughout Costa Brava.
The Picasso Museum in Barcelona provides a wonderful day out in beautiful surroundings, and the Dali Theatre-Museum in Salvador Dali's hometown Figueres presents a fantastically surreal experience for art-lovers. There is also the Salvador Dali House Museum in Cadaqués, where Dali produced much of his work. The outlandish architecture of Antoni Gaudi, who incorporated natural phenomena into his incredible structures, can be visited and gawped at in all its bizarreness in Barcelona.
Beautiful spots in Costa Brava
With its wonderfully varied combination of spectacular coastal scenery, hilltop medieval villages and ancient mountains, a Costa Brava holiday is greatly enhanced by walking tours to take in the beauty of the area, and there are many unspoilt towns to visit. Tossa de Mar, one of the prettiest towns in Costa Brava, was once a Mecca for artists including Marc Chagall. It is overlooked by an imposing 12th Century castle and has a strict rule of no high-rise buildings, meaning that its views remain gloriously unspoilt. The delightful town of Roses has the fascinating ruins of a 16th Century fortress, as well as hosting the remains of the Greek settlement Rhode. Both Tossa de Mar and Roses are famous for their excellent fish restaurants.
A holiday in Costa Brava is a brilliant way to escape from it all and recharge your batteries. Now you can make your escape into a real adventure by exploring some of this charming area's art, landscape and culture.