When it comes to travel, we are often asked about our preferences. Do we prefer the sea or the mountains? Skiing or swimming? The atmosphere of small villages or that of big cities? Do we prefer sports or gastronomy? What if a destination offered us the possibility to combine all these experiences? A place where you could go from a hike in the mountains to a swim on crystal clear beaches. A region where you could stroll through museums and party in a big city as well as enjoy the calm of the narrow streets of the villages of autan. And finally, a region where, after enjoying outdoor sports activities, you can sit down to enjoy local specialities and a good glass of wine. This territory exists in the north-eastern part of Spain, and it is the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees of Girona. You can enjoy an area of 6,000 km2 and extraordinary and varied landscapes to discover all those activities that promise an unforgettable stay. Sport, culture, nature, gastronomy, there is something for all tastes and all traveller profiles. It's time to stop choosing and enjoy a territory that has everything, in short, to live double! The Costa Brava and the Girona Pyrenees are a safe destination, which respects the protocols and safety measures
Varied landscapes and a multitude of activities in all seasons
This is the strength of the Costa Brava and the Pyrenees of Girona, a territory where you can go from the mountains to the sea in no time. To admire the shades of blue of the Mediterranean Sea, one does not hesitate to reach the most beautiful beaches and coves of the Costa Brava. After hiking along the steep cliffs of the Cap de Creus Natural Park, we stop at Cala Taballera to swim in the refreshingly clear waters. You can also enjoy the sea from the Cap Roig beach in Calonge or in Lloret del Mar, laying your towel on the sandy stretch of Sa Boadella or in Cala Treumal. From these places, you can take a walk to admire the sea and the coast from the heights, and then of course you can put your towel on the sand, before grabbing your mask and snorkel and going to explore the richness of the sea bed. Not forgetting, of course, the possibility of water activities: paddle, canoeing, diving, water skiing!
On the mountain side, the Girona Pyrenees are home to contrasting landscapes dotted with peaks approaching 3,000 metres in altitude. In winter, skiers enjoy the snowy slopes of the Vall de Núria, Vall de Núria, La Molina and Masella resorts to let off steam. The Vall de Núria is also very popular in the summer, when between two sessions of lazing on the beach you want to go to the high Pyrenean mountains to hike and enjoy breathtaking views. Hiking or cycling also leads to the sublime landscapes of the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, with its forty or so volcanoes covered in vegetation, as well as the impressive beech forest of En Jordà, where you can recharge your lungs with pure air
And then there is one of the main treasures of the Girona region: Lake Banyoles. It is the largest natural lake in Catalonia, and visitors enjoy strolling along its shores, relaxing, running, cycling, kayaking, water skiing and rowing. Not to mention the birdwatching spots, the old fishermen's houses and the church of Santa Maria de Porqueres, a sublime Romanesque church.
From dynamic towns to villages with character
The Costa Brava and the Girona Pyrenees are also an area where you can stop off in towns that have so much to offer. On the Costa Brava, a stopover in Cadaquès leads to a village that inspired the famous Catalan artist Salvador Dalí, and it is easy to see why. You can enjoy the maze of cobbled streets with white buildings in its historic centre as well as the modernist buildings. And all this with your feet in the water! Further south on the coast, Tossa de Mar boasts a superb medieval heritage, pedestrian streets full of shops, bars and restaurants. Not forgetting its beach dotted with colourful boats. To continue marvelling at the incredible atmosphere of the Costa Brava's fishing villages, you can also stop off at Calella de Palafrugell, with its old traditional multi-storey dwellings, narrow streets and a multitude of coves with translucent waters.
From the charming seaside villages of the Costa Brava, you can enjoy in no time those that take place in the mountains. Thus, in the Pyrenees of Girona, you cannot miss Beget, an isolated and peaceful village. Its Romanesque bridges, large stone houses, the church of Sant Critòfol and its location in the heart of a stunning natural setting give it a great deal of charm. Another stopover can be made in Besalú, a village with an exceptional heritage. The splendid stone bridge built in the 12th century sets the tone, and the rest of the walk takes in its maze of old streets, its medieval Jewish quarter and its many religious buildings, including the churches of Sant Pere, Santa María and Sant Vicenç. At another point, you can visit the village of Castellfollit de la Roca. The township stands on a spectacular basalt cliff 1 kilometre long and 50 metres high, cut by the river Fluvià. From the church of Sant Salvador, located at the end of the cliff, the view of the mountains and the vegetation is breathtaking.
It is also impossible to talk about the Costa Brava and the Girona Pyrenees without mentioning Girona, the capital of the entire destination. Here you can wander through the old town and its 13th-century Jewish quarter, stroll along the Riu Onyar to see the colourful facades reflected in the river, and take the time to learn about its history by wandering through the Museo de História and the Girona Museum of Art.
A wealth of cultural sites and gastronomy to discover
During a stay on the Costa Brava and in the Girona Pyrenees, the time spent in nature and discovering the emblematic cities of the region is complemented by visits to cultural sites and the pleasures of the table. Two other areas that show that here you do not choose, but rather multiply your experiences.
In terms of culture, you can travel back in time to the archaeological museums of Catalonia-Ullastret and Catalonia-Empúries or admire the works of contemporary artists such as Dalí in Figueres. The Costa Brava and the Girona Pyrenees are also a great land of craft traditions, as evidenced by the museums of miniatures and microminiatures in Besalú and the Great Magic Museum La Casa Màgica - Xevi Collection in Santa Cristina D'Aro.
The products of the land and the sea meet on the plate. On the Costa Brava, you can enjoy sardines and tapas made with cold meats and cheeses in the sun. In the Pyrenees of Girona, horse meat, Ripollesa sheep and potatoes are present in the recipes of the mountain cuisine of the Ripollès valleys. Olive oil and D.O. Empordà wine are other key products, to be discovered in some of the great restaurants of the region, some of which have been awarded precious Michelin stars. 21 Michelin stars in 16 establishments, which offer a mixture of traditional cuisine and innovative recipes. These include El Celler de Can Roca in Girona with three stars, and Les Cols in Olot and Miramar in Llançà with two stars.