Costa Brava and Dorada: practical guide

10/08/2020

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Only a few hours by plane from Belgium and France, Spain is the perfect destination for those who want to escape to the sun for a family holiday. With its mountains, metropolises, typical villages, transparent water and fine sandy beaches, this country is a real treasure. Hotels, restaurants and other good addresses, Little Guest offers you a complete practical guide to help you during your future holidays on the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada!

 

little guest costa brava kids

 

Sommaire

      1. Spain in a nutshell
      2. The essentials
      3. Must-see cities
      4. Our selection of luxury hotels
      5. Our selection of restaurants
      6. Activités en famille
      7. The most beautiful beaches
      8. Last advice

 

1. Spain in a nutshell

State: Kingdom of Spain

Capital city: Madrid

Political regime: Parliamentary monarchy

Languages: Castilian, Catalan, Basque

Currency : Euro

 

2. the essentials

Located in the extreme north-east of Spain, in the province of Girona, the Costa Brava is a charming 160km coastline linking the towns of Portbou and Blanes.

In addition to its breathtaking countryside, travellers come here especially for the many white sandy beaches and the sunshine that is omnipresent throughout the year.

If you want to discover the best of Catalan festivals and traditions, ancient castles and picturesque small towns or unspoilt nature and pretty coves, this region is ideal for you and your little tribe!

The Costa Dorada is 216 km long in the south of Catalonia, and goes from Cunit to Alcanar.

Whether you’re a fan of peaceful walks among the palm trees by the water, historical city centres or lively evenings, you’re bound to find your happiness at the « golden coast »!

 

3. must-see cities

In addition to their beautiful beaches and coves, the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada also offer beautiful cities that you will want to visit.

Here is our selection of 4 towns and villages not to be missed during your holiday along the Balearic Sea :

 

Palamós

Palamós is the holiday destination that is sure to appeal to everyone. Hidden paradisiacal beaches, green and imposing nature, warm blue waters, old town, there is something for everyone.

This small coastal town has a very special connection with the marine world and everything that attracts people to it.

For example, don’t miss the famous Fishing Museum to discover all the secrets of this ancestral discipline through didactic exhibitions.

Palamós is also the ideal place to learn about diving thanks to the many companies and their qualified instructors who will be delighted to show you the Mediterranean seabed.

For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, head to the Explora Park to discover great rope courses for all levels, with the added bonus of a sea view. Success guaranteed for the whole family!

 

Girona

Famous for its medieval architecture and old town surrounded by ancient walls, the « City of a Thousand Seats » is a must if you visit the Costa Brava.

Walk along the ramparts to enjoy the best view of the city, before descending to the Rambla de la Libertat, Girona’s main artery where shops and restaurants mingle.

Also, don’t miss a visit to the Arab Baths, a mythical 12th-century place that has been remarkably spared by time.

To end the day in style, stroll along the banks of the Onyar river while admiring the view of the pretty, colourful houses.

 

costa brave doradada gerone

 

Barcelona

How could you see the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada without passing through the Catalan capital, which is located just between the two stretches of coastline?

The city is known from all for its cosmopolitan and festive atmosphere, but above all for the richness brought by the famous artists who chose it to settle down like Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró or Antoine Gaudí.

Between the Sagrada Familia, the Casa Batlló, the Montjuic Castle or the Picasso museum, art and history fanatics will find something to occupy their days.

Football enthusiasts, for their part, should not miss a visit to the legendary Camp Nou, located right next to the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I. We advise you to go there at the opening to avoid the crowds.

Finally, food lovers will also find what they are looking for in the small streets full of restaurants and shops to fall in love with! Don’t miss the Boqueria market and its colourful stalls.

 

Tarragona

Capital of the Costa Dorada, Tarragona is the ultimate port city!

Also known from all for its historical and architectural wealth, don’t miss the impressive Roman ruins classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Archaeological Museum for a fascinating journey back in time.

After your visits, you can take a stroll along the Ramblas Vella and Nova. At the end of the latter, don’t miss the Balcon del Mediterraneo for a breathtaking view of the sea.

Finally, take a walk around the port and head to the El Serrallo district, which boasts some of the best seafood restaurants in the area.

 

4. Our selection of luxury hotels

Hôtel Camiral ***** (Girona)

Housed in the heart of the PGA Catalunya Resort, this hotel is the perfect place for families in general and golf lovers in particular!

The Camiral enjoys an ideal location, set in a natural setting between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees, but within easy reach of the beautiful city of Girona (10 minutes) and Barcelona (1 hour).

Nothing has been left to chance when it comes to the decoration and furnishings of the 145 rooms and suites and the hotel in general. Indeed, the hotel has been entirely fitted out by a renowned Catalan decorator who has managed to perfectly combine pure architecture, large spaces and luxury.

A true paradise for children, they will not know where to start! The Forest Park with its zip lines, monkey bridges, and adventure trails will delight little daredevils (in complete safety, of course) while young nature and animal lovers will enjoy horseback riding or even the pontoon dedicated to fishing.

 

Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I ***** (Barcelona)

Looking for a luxurious haven of peace in the heart of vibrant Barcelona? We got it!

Nestled in the heart of stunning 25,000m² gardens, the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos is the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful retreat close to the heart of the action.

For the record, the hotel opened in 1992 to welcome the Spanish Royal Family for the Olympic Games and was completely renovated in 2019. A top-of-the-range establishment, therefore, with 432 comfortable and luxurious rooms and suites.

Of course, children are not left out to find something to do between the sports activities, culinary workshops and other activities of the various kids-clubs.

We are particularly fond of The Terrace, the hotel bar where you can enjoy a good coffee in the morning, a gourmet snack in the afternoon or a delicious cocktail at aperitif time!

 

costa brava dorada little guest hotel camiral

ME Sitges Terramar **** (Sitges)

Located a little away from the centre of Sitges, the ME Sitges Terramar, with its 415 rooms and suites, offers an ideal balance between the calm of the beach and the renowned festive atmosphere of the Catalan coast.

This hotel with its minimalist and chic architecture will delight adults who like to wake up with a sea view as well as the youngest guests thanks to the different kids-clubs present to entertain them. There is even a secure pool so that even the youngest children can safely enjoy the freshness of the water.

The ME Sitges Terramar makes it a point of honour to organise family activities such as an escape game or even family yoga sessions.

Our favourite place in the hotel? The mythical rooftop where you can enjoy cocktails at the bar while lounging in the pool!

 

5. Our selection of restaurants

What a pleasure to be in a country as rich in gastronomy as Spain!

In addition to the must-tries that never fail to delight our taste buds, such as the famous tapas, Iberian hams, and other paellas, we recommend that you try the regional specialities of the places you visit.

Why not try Trinxat, this dish of Catalan origin made with cabbage, potatoes, and ventresca (a salted product comparable to bacon) and finish on a sweet note with a crema catalana, a a dessert closed to a « crème brûlée » flavoured with aniseed and cinnamon.

Here are some ideas of restaurants where you and your family can enjoy delicious food during your stay on the Costa Brava :

  • The Cafe Federal in Girona is the ideal place to enjoy a good mixed salad, eggs benedict to fall for or homemade hamburgers. The perfect place if you want to eat well while avoiding your 10th paella of the stay!
  • During your stay in Empuriabrava, don’t miss the Bar Informal for copious and delicious cocktails and tapas. Croquettes, patatas bravas, fried squid and other tapas of all kinds, young and old alike will surely find what they are looking for.
  • As a little bonus, if you have something to celebrate while you are in Girona, do not hesitate to leave your little ones in the expert hands of the baby-sitters of the Camiral Hotel and go to El Celler de Can Roca, the famous restaurant awarded with 3 Michelin stars. This exceptional restaurant, which has been named « Best Restaurant in the World » in 2015 by Restaurant Magazine, is an address not to be missed for those who wish to experience exceptional cuisine during their holidays.

 

costa brava paella tapas

 

At the Costa Dorada :

  • In Tarragona, go to the Sentits Restaurant to taste charcuterie boards, fried squid, or pieces of quality meat. The whole family will find something to enjoy, with a special menu for children! The restaurant is located on the town hall square, which is beautiful when illuminated once evening falls.
  • While you are in Sitges, do not miss the Sitges Bon Estar restaurant. Here you can enjoy one of the best seafood paellas in the area or discover a typical Catalan dish, Fideua, made with vermicelli cooked in fish stock and also with seafood. A real delight! The place is very popular, so don’t forget to book in advance, especially if you go there in high season.

 

6. family activities

  • Thrill-seekers will find what they are looking for at PortAventura, the internationally renowned theme park on the Costa Dorada, just a few kilometres from Barcelona. Young and old alike will find their happiness in one of the park’s 6 universes: Mediterrania, Polynesia, China, Mexico City, Sesamoaventura and Far West. Between magical settings, roller coasters, mazes, water courses and attractions for the youngest, it’s impossible to get bored for a single second!
  • In the small municipality of Empuriabrava, live a moment of serenity and discovery in Butterfly Park, a magnificent tropical garden of 1000m², serving as a sanctuary for exotic animals. In addition to the butterflies, which are the stars of the garden, discover turtles, parrots and iguanas in an environment with an equally developed flora. A stroll that guarantees wonder and a change of scenery, nothing better during a family holiday!

 

costa brava dorada theme park kid

 

  • Sometimes it doesn’t take much to have a magical time. Let’s head for the Botanical Gardens of Blanes, this municipality in the province of Girona, one of our favourite destinations on the Costa Brava. Marimurta’s garden has more than 4,000 species of plants and is also home to colourful parrots that will accompany you during your visit in a magical setting by the water! In the Pinya de Rosa garden, you will stroll among palm trees, cacti and other impressive tropical plants. Combine the visit of these two areas and finish in beauty with a swim in one of the heavenly creeks located just below the gardens!

 

7. the most beautiful beaches

  • La Cala S’Alguer, Palamos :
    A sublime little place with colourful fishermen’s houses where you can stop for an afternoon stroll along the creeks. Take advantage of the pebble beach before diving into the clear water, equipped with your mask and snorkel to discover the wonderful seabed.
  • La Cala Treumal, Blanes :
    Located between the cities of Lloret de Mar and Blanes, this beach and its crystal clear waters is the ideal place to spend a relaxing afternoon with the family. Surrounded by beautiful nature and separated from another beach by a few rocks, this small beach with golden sand also has the advantage of having toilets and a restaurant nearby.
  • La Playa Riumar, Riumar :
    Within one hour’s drive from Tarragona, La Playa Riuma is 4km long and 150 metres wide. Characterised by its dunes, which are quite rare in the region, this beach made of white fine sand and shallow waters is the ideal place to have a good time with children. The nearby facilities (showers, bar, parking) are also very convenient to spend a relaxing time.

 

8. Last advice :

 

We hope that all these tips will be useful for your next holidays at the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada!

¡Hasta pronto!

 

Margaux, 24 ans, passionate about travelling, from Namur

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