Close your eyes and imagine driving along the scenic road from Tossa de Mar to Sant Feliu de Guíxols knowing that you're about to start a fantastic sea-mountain food and wine tour
Where you’ll get to taste the best prawns and sea urchins in Palamós and anchovies in L’Escala, and where you’ll discover the secret of Empúries wine among its Greek-Roman ruins, the acclaimed Ventalló olive oil and Siurana’s farmhouse cheeses.
Tossa de Mar is definitely not to be missed. You’ll love this walled town with its paved streets, which has long been a favourite location for artists and film directors. Afterwards, in the afternoon, you can take your time driving the 21 kilometres to Sant Feliu de Guíxols along one of the most beautiful coastal roads in Catalonia, with various viewpoints and spots along the way that are ideal for amateur photographers … and Instagrammers, too, of course!
The sea is the essence and lifeblood of Palamós. Fishing, boats, beaches, winds, gourmet food… Everything in Palamós bears the stamp, aroma and colour of the sea, which explains why it has become the Costa Brava’s mecca of seafood tourism experiences. There’s the Fishing Museum, seafood workshops and cooking demonstrations at the Espai del Peix, public auctions at the fish market and fishing tourism activities.
Palamós is also the home base for two of the region’s most unforgettable experiences. In the first, you’ll set off on the Sant Rafel, a boat operated by Tela Marinera, to sail around the Costa Brava coves while sampling two of the village’s finest products: sea urchins and prawns. The second involves an abundant meal and wine tasting in the coolest coves of the Costa Brava aboard General Nàutic’s Popi, an experience made possible by La Gastronómica.
But Palamós is not all about the sea. There are also two wineries you can visit: Brugarol, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning RCR Arquitectes, is a jewel of modern architecture, and Celler d’en Marc is a small family-run winery built with much love.
The emblematic coastal path hugging the rugged Costa Brava coastline from Blanes to Portbou rewards us not only with beautiful scenery, but also with distinctive flora. La Gastronòmica offers a food and wine route known as “The Sea Path”, which begins at La Fosca beach in Palamòs, runs along the coastal path and ends at S’Alger cove, where sommelier Clara Antúnez will be waiting to host a pairing of local wines and tapas.
Did you know that Girona is the top producer of cava and champagne corks, accounting for 50% of all production? Or that it is one of the few regions where grapevines and cork oaks grow side by side? If you’d like to discover the past, present and future of cork making or enjoy a meal of traditional cork makers’ fare, then head for the Palafrugell Cork Museum, where you’ll find all this and much more!
Once the tour is over, you’ll be very close to some of the most charming fishing villages on the Costa Brava. Go for a stroll by the sea under the arches in Calella de Palafrugell and then take the emblematic coastal path to Llafranc, where you can’t leave without going up to the Sant Sebastià Lighthouse to take in one of the most stunning views of the Mediterranean. And if you’re curious to discover more of the area, you can go on to Tamariu and visit one of the prettiest coves on the Costa Brava.
A visit to L’Escala is a must while you’re in Alt Empordà. This old fishing village situated near the Greek and Roman ruins of Empúries boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline on the Costa Brava.
The old part, particularly around the beach, is the epicentre of nearly all the major events that take place here throughout the year. But, of course, for a true gourmet like you, a visit to L’Escala is not complete without visiting the Anchovy and Salt Museum and tasting the town’s famous anchovies. And, naturally, you’ll want to wash them down with a delicious DO Empordà wine!
Winemaking and wine trading arrived in Catalonia in about the 6th century B.C. thanks to the most important Greek colony in the country, Empúries, the city that would eventually give its name to the whole Empordà region. Want to find out more about it? The archaeologists from Glops d’Història will take you round the Empúries ruins and reveal all their secrets.
At Oli de Ventalló you’ll venture into the olive groves to learn all the secrets of extra virgin olive oil. You’ll walk among centuries-old olive trees and through beautiful countryside before finishing up with an olive oil tasting, a chance to sample the most typical local produce or to take part in a workshop on allioli and sauce making. And don’t worry, you won’t come away hungry! You’ll be surrounded by over two thousand years of Mediterranean gastronomy featuring locally sourced ingredients, which you can sample by booking the olive oil tasting menu “From the Olive Grove to the Table” offered by La Bassa, a restaurant located in the village of Ventalló.
Driving along secondary roads through little Empordà villages and farmland you’ll come to Siurana d’Empordà, where you can spend the day discovering and tasting two of the region’s most important products: sheep’s cheese and wine.
At Mas Marcè you can tour a Ripollesa sheep farm run by a family of shepherds going back more than six generations. You’ll learn all about the world of sheep, how the farm is worked and how their organic dairy products are made. You’ll be able to pet and feed the smallest lambs in the flock or take part in a workshop to learn how to make cottage cheese or traditional-style wool. The tour also includes a chance to sample their cheeses and other dairy products, washed down, naturally, with a porron of young Empordà wine.
The other hidden gem in the village of Siurana d’Empordà is the Vins de Taller winery. Known as Empordà’s green winery, it makes organic and biodynamic craft wines in a stunningly beautiful setting. Besides the standard winery tour, it offers all sorts of wine tourism experiences, including picnics and lunches in the vineyards and horse rides!
Mas Alba is an exceptional farm guesthouse surrounded by nature and an artisan dairy in the village of Terradelles.
If you book a guided tour of the dairy in advance, you’ll be able to go with the owners to milk their herd of goats, see how they make their cheeses every day, and then round off the experience with a tasting of Mas Alba’s entire selection of cheeses, made exclusively with milk from their herd.
The colourful houses lining the Onyar River, the Eiffel Bridge, the lioness’s backside, the Cathedral, the centuries-old shops, the bustling Lleó Market… We all know that you don’t need much of an excuse to explore Girona. If you also want to discover its gastronomy, we suggest attending a local cooking workshop with Xevi at Tots a Taula or hiring a local guide from Girona Food Tours. And, if you haven’t managed to get a table at the 3-Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca, one of the best restaurants in the world, you can always console yourself by savouring an ice cream at Rocambolesc, Jordi Roca’s ice cream shop in the city centre.
Where to shop: Abricoc, Vins i Licors Grau
Where to eat: La Sala de l’Isaac, La Barberia, Empòrium, Divinum, Casa Marieta, Casamar, El Celler de Can Roca, La Cuina de Can Simon, Godard S’Agaró
Where to stay: Sa Rascassa, Ses Negres, Sa Teula, La Fosca, Alga Hotel, Es Portal Restaurant & Hotel, Can Barull, Mas Alba, Albons, Mas Lazuli, Mas Espelt, Mas Vivent, Mas Joncar