Do you only have two days to discover the Costa Brava? It’s not long but, on the bright side, 48 hours is better than nothing at all. And it’s plenty of time to fall in love with a region that is a pure celebration of nature at its finest, home to a feast of outstandingly beautiful scenery, where you will find magnificent beaches, small, secluded coves, picturesque Mediterranean towns and a wealth of hidden treasures.
Girona’s two-hundred-kilometre-long coastline that stretches between Blanes and Portbou holds the key to an array of paradisical landscapes to be enjoyed at your leisure. But that’s not what you need to hear now, you’ve come here for some ideas on how to make the most of your two-day getaway to the Costa Brava. Selecting from the area’s extensive list of must-see attractions is no simple task as 48 hours will fly by far too quickly and some will inevitably have to be left for another time. But we have no doubt that this visit to the Costa Brava will be the first of many. So, shall we begin?
The Tudela site – a geological wonder
The Tudela site is one of the most iconic spots on the Costa Brava. A geological wonder that seems to be an openair museum displaying natural rock sculptures created by the force of the waves and the tramuntana wind over the course of millions of years. With a little imagination you will be able to pick out a camel, a rabbit and an eagle among the animal- and mythological-shaped rock formations. You are also sure to recognise the Roca Cavallera rock that Salvador Dalí immortalised in his painting, The Great Masturbator.
Follow the short, well-signposted hiking route no. 17 to discover some of Cap de Creus Natural Park’s most enigmatic spots and secluded coves, such as Cala d’Agulles, Cala Culleró and Cala Culip, by the Cap de Creus Lighthouse, where the sea laps against the rocks and you can enjoy the glorious experience of a refreshing dip.
Cadaqués, so much more than a picture-postcard town
Moving on from the Tudela site, Cadaqués awaits. Famed for being one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful towns, this charming former fishing village that marks the most easterly point of the Iberian Peninsula will soon have you under its spell, with its gorgeous collection of white houses dotted along the shore and the characteristic silhouette of the church of Santa Maria, built between the 16th and 17th centuries.
Contemplate the calm of the Bay of Cadaqués. Stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town. And enjoy one of its neighbouring beaches and coves. Cadaqués is and will always be an essential stop on any tour of the Costa Brava and makes an excellent base from which to explore Cap de Creus.
Salvador Dalí’s house in Portlligat
If you have a little bit of time to spare, treat yourself to a unique cultural experience by visiting the Salvador Dalí House-Museum in the small town of Portlligat, which is just a 15-minute walk from Cadaqués. This is the place the genius from Empordà chose to set up home and where he created much of his work, converting a collection of fishermen’s huts into a magical space surrounded by wild natural scenery and surrealist aesthetics.
The house museum in Portlligat is one of the three sites that make up the Dalí Triangle, a route that takes you on a journey to discover the artist’s universe that also includes the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres and the Gala Dalí Castle-Museum in Púbol.
Coastal trails and medieval towns
For your second day on the Costa Brava, we propose two authentic Girona experiences. To start with, a walk from Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc along a stretch of the Camí de Ronda coastal path, the ancient patrol routes that connect some of the region’s coastal towns and which, in times past, were traversed by fishermen, smugglers and surveillance patrols.
Then, just a stone’s throw away, you have Pals and Peratallada, two fascinating medieval towns that will take you back in time more than a thousand years.
The Camí de Ronda from Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc
The Camí de Ronda coastal path that connects Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc makes for a very pleasant 20-minute walk across the rocky stretches that separate the two towns. The route is not challenging although you will come across several sets of winding steps along the way.
Here you will be able to enjoy a small sample of the Costa Brava’s essential spirit: the fusion of verdant pine forests set against the sparking blue sea; picture postcard views; the maritime soul of Calella de Palafrugell, with its small beaches, narrow streets and white houses; and the serenity of Llafranc and its golden sandy beach.
Pals and Peratallada, take a trip back in time
The two small Baix Empordà towns of Pals and Peratallada are just a few kilometres apart. While you could easily visit both on the same day, we would recommend opting for one or the other to give yourself the time to explore it to the full. Both these medieval towns are beautifully preserved and would make the ideal backdrop to a film set in the Middle Ages. Walled courtyards, porticoed squares, watchtowers, a labyrinth of winding streets and numerous snapshots of bygone times that make these medieval towns two precious jewels of Costa Bravan cultural heritage.
The City of Girona, an unmissable stop
The Costa Brava does not make things easy for anyone who has trouble making up their mind. If you are yet to discover the delights of Girona, you may be tempted to devote an entire day to doing just that. There are no end of reasons for doing so.
The Old Town is home to an impressive collection of cultural and historical sites worthy of a visit, such as the Jewish Quarter (one of the best-preserved districts of its kind in the world), the iconic Girona Cathedral, the Arab Baths, the walking route along the old city walls, to name just a few.