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The Costa Brava in Catalonia’s Girona Province attracts holidaymakers for all kinds of reasons: For families or young people out for fun in the sun there are resorts like Lloret de Mar and Blanes, laden with activities, nightlife and sandy beaches.
Sightseers can tour the walled medieval towns of Girona, Pals and Tossa de Mar, with centuries of heritage everywhere you look.
Epicurean delights also abound on the Costa Brava, which is replete with Michelin-starred restaurants and welcoming vineyards, while the rocky scenery away from the divine beaches will have you lacing up your hiking boots for a proper adventure.
If you like beaches and nature, the Costa Brava will offer you a fantastic combination of both. Its pleasant Mediterranean climate makes it a popular holiday destination too but you can always find hidden beach coves with much fewer visitors. They are further away from the urban centres but totally worth the effort to get there.
If you’re visiting the Costa Brava, you’ll almost certainly be looking for a beach or two, but what many don’t realise is that these are not just any old beaches. Even though the 'wild coast' technically begins with one or two more populist, built-up resorts closer to Barcelona, north of the bay of Palamos, you’ll find some of the most blissfully unspoilt, Blue Flag beaches in Europe.
This pine-fringed stretch of coast has crystal clear, clean waters and there’s variety here too from sweeping stretches of silky sand with family-friendly shallow waters to diving, sailing and scuba diving to secluded smugglers' coves and elegant horse-shoe bays lined with pavement cafés and restaurants.
Wine has been produced in the northeastern corner of Catalonia since Roman times.
Everything is just right for it here, from the mineral-rich soils to the warm climate that is flushed in winter by a brisk northerly wind.
Several villages in the region also produce that famous Catalan speciality, Cava.
The local DO is Empordà, and if you’re an oenophile there’s a huge array of things you could get up to along the designated wine route at cellars, co-operatives, vineyards and wineries.
At Castillo de Perelada and Celler Can Sais you can even indulge in wine therapies, where grapes and wine are incorporated into spa treatments!
The Costa Brava’s 200 kilometre-long coast has more than 30 PADI-approved dive centres and 17 marinas.
Within reason, any water-based activity you can think of will be available, including kayaking, kitesurfing, water-skiing, cruises and sailing.
Windsurfers and kite-surfers can catch those strong northerly breezes a few hundred metres offshore in the Gulf of Roses or at Pals Beach.
Dryer but no less intrepid are the network of cycling and hiking routes that trail off into the foothills of the Pyrenees or along Greenways, historic railway trackbeds coursing through Mediterranean farmland.
An easy drive into the northeastern Catalan countryside via Olot will take you to the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone.
It’s a large volcanic field that last saw an eruption 11,000 years ago, but is still occasionally the source of an earthquake, the last big one hitting Barcelona in the 15th century.
The reason you have to come is for the scenery, with 40 telltale volcanic cones ensconced in oak, beech and pine woodland.
The whole park is laced with inter-connecting trails that will guide you over basalt lava flows and up extinct volcanoes in scenery that is unlike anything else in Iberia.
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