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Train-based Costa Brava: Portbou and Colera?

We will be staying in Girona for a few nights and will be using trains only. I know most of the Costa Brava is only accessible by car, but it appears there are two towns on the rail system: Portbou and Colera. So first question: Am I correct in that? Have I missed others?

Second question: Assuming those are train-accessible from Girona, are they worth visiting? Both seem pretty quiet, but we don't mind that if they are still picturesque for photography, or there's great food, or there's a historic gem worth visiting, etc. I should mention this will be in the spring, so definitely not going for swimming and beach sun-bathing! Worth doing to still experience the Costa Brava or skip it?!

Posted by
24089 posts

I don't know whether other coastal towns are train-accessible (hope someone else answers that question soon), but you can get to Cadaques by taking the train to Figueres (location of the Dali Theatre-Museum) and then a bus. The bus route is highly scenic. Cadaques is a lovely white-cube former fishing village dripping with bougainvillea (not sure whether it will be blooming when you'd be there). It was discovered by tourists long ago, but I enjoyed seeing it. There's a second Dali-related site (his wife's home, I believe) a 15- or 20-minute walk away in Port Lligat.

The bus to Cadaques departs from in front of the Figueres train station. That's where the regional trains stop. The fast trains from Barcelona/Girona stop at a different station, Figueres Vilafant. The Dali Theatre-Museum is sort of between the two stations. There's a local bus linking the two stations. Its schedule seems tied to the fast-train schedule, but the bus won't hang around long if the fast train is late.

Another worthwhile destination from Girona is the medieval town of Besalu. It is inland and also requires taking a bus.

Posted by
3380 posts

Yes please don't forget about our buses, just as good as the commuter train, clean safe comfortable, but with much more connections, nothing like the buses you find in the USA lol! With a bus you can easily visit many Costa Brava spots from Girona, looks like Calella de Palafrugell is only 1:30 hr on bus, that would be my recommendation.

Posted by
325 posts

Thanks acraven and Carlos! Yes, we definitely had Besalu on our itinerary, and we're open to buses (should have been more specific). Carlos, I'm having a hard time finding the route to Calella de Palafrugell you suggest. I'm on the Sarfa website and finding tons of service to Palafrugell, Estacio; however, I can't get it to generate anything resembling Calella de Palafrugell. Is there another station name? Also, since there are multiple bus companies out of Girona, is there a good website that searches them all? Thanks!

Posted by
325 posts

Thanks for all the feedback. I may have hit on another option, which is to take advantage of the high number of buses from Girona to Lloret del Mar and then continue by boat to Tossa del Ma. From the water seems like a great way to appreciate the Costa Brava, which I hadn't thought of before. And Tossa del Mar looks beautiful. I've written one of the boat companies and they said while they don't have their 2023 schedule yet, they generally are up and running by April. I know Lloret del Mar at night is a big party scene (NOT our scene), but during the day both Sant Roma and the Modernista Cemetery looked interesting. Any thoughts or feedback on this idea? I'd especially welcome more information about the boat companies that offer service between Lloret del Mar and Tossa del Mar.