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family trip to Costa Brava area

This is our families first trip to Spain. We are flying into Barcelona in June and will spend three days there. We plan to then take the train to Girona and spend 6 days in Costa Brava. We want to bop around and see different spots but we would prefer to have one or two spots to sleep. We will rent a car so we can travel more freely. My boys are 11, 17, and 18. My question is where should we stay? We were looking at the Hotel Clipper and Villa near L'Estartit and we looked at Aparthotel in Palomas. Does this make sense or would we be fine staying more central around Begur or Palafrugell? Or should we stay near Roses area and Palomas area? I am not sure how far in-between all these places will be. We don't want to stay anywhere that is too tourist trappy or too quiet. Ideally the older boys could walk from the hotel and get an ice cream on their own at night. My youngest I am sure would love the waterpark type thing but as a family we prefer kayaking, snorkling, hiking, via feratta type stuff and getting lost in little villages for dinner. Any advice or thoughts on this will be great.

Posted by
32 posts

I hope somebody replies to your message! We're looking for the same thing but will be traveling in July. I'm having a hard time finding advice /reviews on the Costa Brava from the Rick Steves crowd. I can't decide if Tossa de Mar or Palafrugell would be a better home base for my family with two teen girls. We'll be traveling by car.

Posted by
2686 posts

I can't decide if Tossa de Mar or Palafrugell

I assume you are talking about Calella de Palafrugell as opposed to Palafrugell town (which is inland)?

If that's the case I'd opt for Tossa de Mar, larger more "happening" beach town with shops and restaurants. Calella de Palafrugell is more along the lines of a quaint whitewashed fishing village, maybe a bit boring for teens lol!

Posted by
879 posts

In 2010 we spent 3 nights along the Costa Brava and inland to the Catalan Pyrenees. We were with our daughters who were about 30 and 28 at the time. They had boyfriends (although not with us on this trip) so they really weren't interested in partying or clubbing. So not sure if where we stayed would be interesting for teen-agers. We drove up along the coast and we did stop at Tossa de mar, which is beautiful with lots of restaurants, cafes, etc. and right on the water. So I think that could be a good place to spend a few nights. We did stop in Calallela Palafrugel, which is very cute, but I would describe it as a fishing village. We didn't have a lot of time there. S'Agaro was also nice, too.

Then we continued on to Cadaques where we spent one night. It's a beautiful town right on the water. Close to Dali's house in Port lligat, which is very quirky. You need to make reservations in advance. There is a natural park nearby. I forgot the name. This area is close to Roses and Figueres, I think. We loved our stay in Cadaques, but I wouldn't stay here 6 nights. We then spent 2 nights in Girona, which is inland, and spent a day driving into the Catalan Pyrenees and stopping at small towns, such as Besalu, Rupit, and Vic.

I recommend buying some guidebooks, such as Rick's book, Lonely Planet, and/or Fodors.

Posted by
228 posts

I have only stayed in Girona and Tossa de Mar. I recommend both. Tossa de Mar is a small town beachy place. Very beautiful. However, there's more to see in Girona. We took a day trip to Portugalete, which was fun. I highly recommend the Dali museum in Figueres and his home near Cadaques. I wish I had spent more than a day in that area. We drove from Barcelona. It was an easy drive, but the traffic in Barcelona was crazy. Other than that, the roads and the trip were fine. The GPS to Portllegat (Dali's house) was a little off and we ended up in someone's driveway. Oh, well. Have fun!