The Best of Costa Brava: 4-Day Itinerary

The Best of Costa Brava: 4-Day Itinerary

If you are planning on visiting Spain, you can’t go past visiting Costa Brava. With fairytale towns, pristine beaches and delicious food Costa Brava is a traveller’s delight, and all within easy reach from Barcelona.

The region of Costa Brava stretches along 200 kilometres of coastline from Blanes to Portbou. If only we all had the time to explore it all! If, like us, you don’t have the luxury of time to explore it all, here is a 4-day itinerary of the best of Costa Brava. Of course, the more time you have the better, but this itinerary has a good mix of beaches, charming towns, food and culture. Note, this one is best if you have a hire car.

Day 1- Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar has the undeniable charm of a fishermen’s village combined with rich history, dating back to the 1st century. The most spectacular characteristic of Tossa de Mar is the medieval fortified village, Vila Vella, complete with picturesque streets and fortress walls offering views of the precious bay below.

Tossa de Mar is a must at Costa Brava

AM – Tossa de Mar has a stunning coastline that can be enjoyed by foot or boat. There are plenty of hiking trails and mountain bike trails, or you can hire a kayak and make your way along the coast and stop in at some beaches at your own leisure. As the weather in September is glorious for the sea, we opted to kayak and enjoyed the pre-lunch workout.

Lunch – Even though Tossa de Mar is a small town, you are spoilt for restaurant options. There are a lot of ‘touristy’ places along the beach offering Menu del Días (Menu of the Day), but walk into the old quarters, and you’ll find a good variety of cuisines. Our personal favourite was La Grotta, offering delicious handmade pastas and wood-fired pizzas, in a cute setting just by the old walls.

PM – Tossa de Mar is a town made to be enjoyed on foot, so spend the afternoon strolling through the town and soaking up the history and charm. Visit the 1st century Els Ametllers Roman villa, (which has been immaculately preserved), enjoy the charming fairytale-like streets of the old town and admire the simplicity of the Chapel of Mare de Déu del Socors. Of course, the highlight is walking along the fortified walls of the Castillo de Tossa de Mar, where you can admire the quaint storefronts and wonderful views of the town and bay.

Dinner – Enjoy traditional recipes and local produce at Bahia Restaurant. Bahia Restaurant is one of the first restaurants to introduce traditional Catalan and local dishes from the area, and a lot of the menu are still original home recipes. One of their specialties is cim i tomba – a Tossa de Mar flavoursome stew consisting of fish and potatoes.

Where to stay: For comfortable apartments and views of the castle, check out Pierre & Vacances Villa Romana.

Feeling pinspired? Hover and click on the images to save them to your Pinterest boards!

Tossa de Mar is a must see in Costa Brava
Kayaking is a great way to see Costa Brava

Day 2

Leave Tossa de Mar and drive up the coast to visit an abundance of beaches at your leisure.

Platja d'es Codolar is a favourite beach in Tossa de Mar
Lloret de Mar beach

Costa Brava boasts 200 kilometres of spectacular coastline, so it’s bound to have beaches and coves to please all tastes. Some will have restaurants and facilities nearby, while others are surrounded by nothing else but wonderful nature. Here are some of the locals’ picks:

  • Cala Giverola
  • Platja d’Aro
  • Aiguablava
  • Tamariu
  • Sa Tuna
  • Cap de Begur
  • Platja El Golfet
  • Cala Montgó

Once you’ve had your fair share of beach, it’s time to head to Girona.

Where to stay: Nothing beats enjoying a coffee on the balcony at Apartamentos Casa Flora

Girona is picturesque at any time of day

While you’re visiting Costa Brava, why not check out my favourite city, Barcelona.

Day 3

AM – As Australians, we are coffee snobs, so when we find great coffee around the world, we make sure we save that info for future use! It turns out that Girona also has a good coffee culture (must be from all the expat cyclists that live there!) and a good place to start the day is at Espresso Mafia. These guys take their coffee seriously and they are situated in a pretty alley in the old town.

Once awake, stroll over to Local Market for a local food experience or cooking class. The girls here are passionate about food and local produce, and your tastebuds will thank you for the experience. Bookings are essential, and both Irene and Mariona speak perfect English and can help you decide on what to book.

Local Market Cooking school in Girona

Lunch – If you aren’t already full from the food tasting at Local Market, you can find an array of excellent places to eat within the old town. The locals take their food here seriously and you are bound to enjoy whatever you find in the area.

PM – Did you know Girona was selected by the producers of Game of Thrones to film Season 5 for the colour of the city’s stones and its medieval feel? In fact, not much had to be done to the city to convert it into the streets of Braavos and Kings Landing (apart from a bit of CGI here and there). Game of Thrones fan or not, Girona is incredibly picturesque and it’s worth spending a few hours wandering through the old town, crossing the Eiffel Bridge and admiring the colourful apartments that adorn the banks of the river. If all that walking requires a little pick-me-up, treat yourself to a famously quirky ice-cream from Rocambolesc.

Crossing the Eiffel Bridge in Girona is a must!

Dinner – It’s too hard to pick just one place for dinner, so here are some of the local’s top picks below.

  • Le Bistrot – Situated on the romantic Pujada de Sant Domènec and serving delicious pizza and pasta.
  • Draps – Great place for sharing food.
  • Llevataps – Here you will find delicious and creative dishes, all perfect for Instagram.
  • Brots de Vi – Simple food and good wine.
  • La Simfonia – The place to go if you love cheese and wine.
  • El Celler de Can Roca – Voted in the Top 50 restaurants in the world, you are bound to be delighted. The wait list is long (and prices justifiably high), but if you are willing to splurge and treat yourself, this is the place to do it.
Girona Cathedral was featured in Game of Thrones

Day 4 – Get surreal in Figueres

AM – Today’s a big day, so you should start your morning with a delicious breakfast at our favourite breakfast franchise, Federal. This café is an Australian franchise, so the menu is filled with delicious options, from pancakes to bacon & egg rolls, and delicious coffee.

Drive to Figueres and get surreal. If you are a fan of art, then the Dalí Theatre-Museum should not be missed. Whilst Salvador Dalí is most famous for his surreal art, the museum displays all of the styles he’s explored and it is bound to please any art lover. Tickets are €14 per adult. For up-to-date opening days and hours (they are often closed on Mondays), check the website.

Lunch – If you like a good Italian meal, wander over to our favourite Italian chain, La Tagliatella, conveniently located around the corner of the Dalí Theatre-Museum. Our pick? The Tagliatella Casalinga.

Dalí museum in Figueres for the art lovers
Besalú's medieval bridge is spectacular in Costa Brava

PM –25 minutes from Figueres, is another gem of the Costa Brava region, Besalú. Besalú is a small medieval village, with a striking 11th century bridge. If you love the idea of wandering through enchanting cobblestone streets, then this is the place for you. Make sure you bring your camera, as there are plenty of picturesque corners, waiting to be captured.

Dinner – Head back to Girona and try one of the other restaurants listed above.

 

Besalú is an enchanting gem of Costa Brava

If you have more time….

Of course, the more time you have to explore Costa Brava, the better, so if you are fortunate to have more time, you should spend a couple more days in Tossa de Mar and Girona, or you can check out the following:

  • Blanes – The ‘Gateway to the Costa Brava’, this seaside village has an extravagant botanical garden, Marimurtra, that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Ruins of Empúries – If you love Roman ruins and the sea, the Ruins of Empúries, dating back to 6th Century B.C. are worth a visit.
  • Cadaques – The easternmost point in Spain, this is a picturesque fishing village of white buildings overlooking the sea and part of the Dalí Triangle.

Best time to visit – if you want to enjoy the best of Costa Brava and its beaches, but don’t like to share it with the summer crowds, early June and September are the perfect months, as the weather is still perfect and the crowds are minimal.

So there you have it, the best of Costa Brava in 4 days! It’s the perfect combination of medieval cities, spectacular beaches, delicious food and surreal art! If you are a lover of any of these things, then Costa Brava should be on your next Spanish itinerary.

Picturesque sunsets in Girona

Have you been to Costa Brava? Have we covered the best sights to see? Where else should be on the Costa Brava itinerary?

A huge thanks to Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava GironaTossa de Mar Tourist Office, Kayaks Nicolau and Local Market Girona for showing us some of the best sights, sounds and tastes of Costa Brava

This post contains some affiliate links. Booking via these links won’t cost you any extra, but will help us continue to bring you plenty of travel inspiration!

Want more travel inspiration?

The Ultimate Tokyo Itinerary – For Big Kids!

  You think you know Tokyo, but you haven’t truly experienced the exuberance of Tokyo until you fight a sumo, eat rainbow spaghetti, watch robots dance, make your own udon noodles and go-kart through the streets in an adult-sized Mario onesie…. Tokyo is seriously a...

Hakone Kowakien Yunessun – Big kid fun outside Tokyo

Imagine bathing in a pool of sake, having buckets of it flung into your face while young people scream in glee around you. You might be tempted to think this is some sort of foam party with a bunch of university students, but it’s actually one of the many quirky...

MariCar – The Craziest Way to See Tokyo

There was chaos all around me. Colourful characters swerving and speeding through the streets of high-rise buildings and temples. Blinded by the neon lights and deafened by the roaring electronic soundtrack, I gathered all my focus towards pole position. Despite all...

Street XO Madrid – Restaurant Review

Street XO Madrid – Restaurant Review

Street XO Madrid

Situated just a short walk from the hustle and bustle of central Madrid, Street XO is three star Michelin chef David Muñoz’s side project and gift to the masses. If innovative and creative gourmet dishes served amongst a loud and theatrical environment and at reasonable prices are your thing, then Street XO is an absolute must when you visit Madrid.

Entry to Street XO Madrid

The entry to the restaurant gives you an indication of what is to come

While Madrid has its fair share of foodie restaurants, they often come with extravagant price tags and must be booked well in advance for that ‘special night’. This is how we found ourselves scouring the internet trying to find fine, but creative dining without a reservation in Madrid and by chance, stumbled upon Street XO.

Spanish wonder-chef Dabiz (aka David) Muñoz is well known within the culinary world for his three Michelin starred restaurant in Madrid, DiverXO. But his side project, the gourmet street food project Street XO, has rapidly gained the attention of the masses. This project aims to bring Michelin starred quality and flavour to everyday people at a price they can afford.

Crazy interior of Street XO Madrid

Not what you might expect from a Michelin starred restaurant, right?

Taking the elevators to the 7th floor of the El Corte Ingles on Calle Serrano (see the map at the bottom), you emerge into a real foodie heaven. The floor is a gourmet experience, as beside Street XO sits an artisan ice-creamery and a cool little cocktail bar for
pre-dinner drinks.

View of the kitchen in Street XO Madrid

The view directly into the kitchen where the magic happens

We joined the queue waiting for seats in the restaurant around 9:30pm (this is Spain after all) and a short time later we were seated inside with an unobstructed view to the kitchen and the organised chaos which ensued. We took our friendly waitress’ recommendations on cocktails (they were fantastic!) and started to peruse the many delights on offer on the menu.

Street XO Madrid cocktails
Street XO Madrid cocktails
Street XO Madrid cocktails

For the first course, we chose a sharing dish, the Pekinese dumplings and Pig’s ear with strawberry hoisin sauce. We were hooked straight away! The dumplings were fluffy and juicy and the pig’s ear, while a first for both of us, was paired perfectly with the strawberry hoisin sauce.

Pekinese dumplings and Pig’s ear with strawberry hoisin sauce

Our first course: Pekinese dumplings and Pig’s ear with strawberry hoisin sauce

So it was with much anticipation that we were delivered our next two dishes, served with excited explanations by the chefs themselves. The first dish: suckling lamb shanks, Jabugo soul glace with chilli garlic fried udon, vegetables and corn; and the other dish, skate ribs on banana leaves with Indonesian Sambal sauce and creamy, spicy ‘salmarejo’. The lamb shanks were roasted to perfection with meat falling off the bone and the skate ribs were basted in a tasty, but not too spicy sauce. Both dishes did not last long before we inhaled them.

Lamb shanks from Street XO Madrid

Suckling lamb shanks, Jabugo soul glace with chilli garlic fried udon, vegetables and corn

Skate ribs from Street XO Madrid

Skate ribs on banana leaves with Indonesian Sambal sauce and creamy, spicy ‘salmarejo’.

By now hooked on the amazing flavours, we decided to go for broke and ordered two more dishes: the Korean lasagne with old Galician beef and goat’s milk béchamel sauce, shitake mushroom wontons and spicy marinated tomatoes; and the roasted bone marrow with churros and an ‘almost jalapeno’ gazpacho.

Korean lasagna

This was amazing: Korean lasagne with old Galician beef and goat’s milk béchamel sauce, shitake mushroom wontons and spicy marinated tomatoes

Roasted bone marrow Street XO Madrid

Roasted bone marrow with churros and an ‘almost jalapeno’ gazpacho

We didn’t think our night could get much better, but we were so very, very wrong. The Korean lasagne was the highlight and skilfully mixed kimchee and Korean flavours with an eternal favourite, the traditional Italian lasagne. Although the roasted bone marrow was probably a little rich for our tastes, we enjoyed every mouthful and happily devoured every trace of it.

Feeling Pinspired? Hover and click on the images to save them to your Pinterest boards!
eating at Street XO Madrid

Satisfied we had tasted our way through the very best that Street XO could offer, we departed content and very pleased with what had been a stunning introduction to Madrid’s gourmet food scene. In total, the five dishes plus four cocktails cost €110-120. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than your regular ‘Menu del Día’ at €10, but the food quality and overall experience is priceless. If you’re looking for a funky, creative food experience that won’t require a second mortgage, then be sure to give Street XO a try.

Street XO customers

Two very contented customers!!

Street XO has since changed their menu since we visited, but we are confident the food will be equally as titillating and delicious as the dishes we tried. Enjoy!

Where to find Street XO:

Calle de Serrano, 52, 28001 Madrid, Spain (on the 7th floor of the El Corte Ingles building – Metro – Serrano station)

Have you had a unique dining experience while travelling?

Tell us about it below!

Torrijas Recipe: A Heavenly Dessert from Spain

Torrijas Recipe: A Heavenly Dessert from Spain

Torrijas6Torrijas (pronounced tor-ri-ha-s) are one of the many guilty pleasure treats I learnt to make whilst living in Spain. When I first tasted them, I was surprised at how delicious and full of flavour a simple dessert could be. I swear from the first bite, my eyes became dilated and I felt like I had been transported to some part of culinary heaven. Guy, too, was pleasantly surprised when he had his first taste, quickly going back to the store for seconds! What are Torrijas? It’s the Spanish version of French Toast – but way better. Better because it packs a punch of flavour with the cinnamon and sugar added to the milk (or wine, if you are a little more adventurous!), and oh-so-decadent as it’s deep fried (like most of the delicious Spanish delicacies we tasted!).

(more…)

Feria de Abril – Sevilla’s Biggest Party

Feria de Abril – Sevilla’s Biggest Party

April and May are typically the time of year where every Spanish woman regrets having that extra piece of torrija (a delicious sweet fried bread consumed during Easter) and tries to squeeze herself into something which was neither created for speed nor comfort. I’m talking about the traje de flamenca (the iconic Spanish flamenco dresses) for the annual Feria. We were fortunate enough to experience Feria in Sevilla last year and we are still coming down from the buzz.
(more…)

Semana Santa: Spain’s Holiest of Weeks

Semana Santa: Spain’s Holiest of Weeks

SemanaSanta38

Experiencing Semana Santa in Spain is something that we’ll never forget. There was so much passion, emotion and a sense of something greater and bigger than all of us, bringing strangers together to commemorate Easter. I contemplated writing a full post about the experience, but felt that the pictures and video really speak for themselves, so without further adieu, here’s our experience of Semana Santa in Málaga, Spain, through images (and, as I can’t help but be a talker, some words)… (more…)

Pin It on Pinterest