Road Trip: Costa Brava

When it comes to holidays, there is nothing like the phrase road trip to summon up feelings of adventure and excitement, to set the pulse racing and the heart soaring. Holidaying in a car brings with it an indescribable sense of freedom, the sense of being completely unhindered by location or circumstance. With a car, you are free to go wherever the winds take you. You can get there comfortably and enjoyable. And you can stop wherever you like, whenever you come across something that interests, which calls and beckons you to take a longer look. Travelling at your own pace is undoubtedly one of the best things about travelling by car.

But often the best road trips have a route in mind, a list of destinations that sound appealing or intriguing, and a rough, or more specific, time frame in which to complete the trip. If time is limited, you may need to reach the final destination by a certain point, and it may be necessary to do a little planning. Plans, of course, can be modified, but the extent to which the itinerary is planned depends upon individual taste and external restrictions.

The coasts and landscape of Spain are an attractive prospect for a road trip, for many reasons. Beautiful scenery and beaches combined with charming fishing towns and villages run along the coastlines, and life can be taken at a leisurely pace. There are many options for road trips, but one of the most exciting and beautiful has to be to travel along the Costa Brava.

The very name conjures up images of adventure. Costa Brava means the wild coast, and amongst the manicured resorts, the graceful bays, Blue Flag beaches and stylish cafes, is indeed something wilder. There are glorious stretches of rugged coasts and many secluded, unspoilt coves to explore. Here you can delight in the traditional tourist trappings of sun and golden sandy beaches – or you can strike out and discover hidden treasures on your own terms. You may even want to do both!

The Costa Brava extends for 85 miles from Blanes, just north of Barcelona on the Spanish north west coast, all the way to the French border. It is not a huge distance, but this means you can take the time to get to really know the region. Three counties are encountered along the stretch – Selva, Baix Empordà and Alt Empordà.

Beginning at Blanes, in Selva, you can explore the botanical garden and take in the gentle coves and beaches around the town. Tossa del Mar is a popular tourist town on the route, with interesting sights including an ancient Roman villa and walled medieval Old Town. Here the road becomes more winding and some beautiful scenery can be encountered, with views stretching out over the expanse of the Mediterranean Sea.

Sometimes you have to go a little off the beaten track to find the best treasures, and the area around Llafranch and Begur is a superb place to explore, with rugged scenery and gems to be found both along the coast and slightly inland. Now in Baix Empordà, a region characterised by its charming elegance, there is the town of Begur, which has some fascinating medieval remains as well as some of the best beaches on the Costa Brava. The bays around Begur and neighbouring Palafrugell can be explored by an intricate system of smugglers’ paths. A little inland is the vibrant town of Girona and the ceramics town La Bisbal.

This, and neighbouring Alt Empordà is also a region associated with Salvador Dali – the castle bought for his wife at Púbol, the whitewashed village of Port Lligat, the wild, rocky peninsula of Cap de Creus and recognisable landscapes of deep blue skies, orange fired earth and sparse olive groves. Alt Empordà is also renowned for its gastronomic excellence.

Exploring the sophisticated, bohemian beauty of the northern areas, the medieval old towns and the spectacular landscapes of the Costa Brava could not be easier with car hire, and Spain will open up into a great travel experience. You can arrange to pick up and leave your car in different destinations, so there is no need to redo your trip in reverse – unless, of course, you want to.

Photo Credit: rosergoula