Costa Brava - Help me decide?

Old Jan 8th, 2016, 01:17 PM
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Costa Brava - Help me decide?

My friend and I will be in Barcelona in June for 5 days, and at the end of our trip we <i>have<i> to be in Salou for 5 days. That gives us some time in the city and some time at the beach (even if not the most charming, but hey, I already live in a charming town at the beach in California ). We then have 6 days in between that I'm thinking of splitting into two locations unless someone can convince me otherwise. We may or may not have a car, we're open on that. I don't usually do a lot of museums/tours, I'm more of a eat, drink and meander the streets kind of traveler. My friend travels a lot for work so she's feeling the same way and wants nice and relaxing. She has never been to Spain, and I have never been to this area so I'm looking to add some variety to our experiences and I'm hoping someone can give input. After reading tons of posts on here and Googling for pictures, our choices are narrowed down to Cadaques (probably at the beach or with awesome views), Begur (maybe in town instead of the beach? or Aigua Blava?) or at a winery somewhere south of Barcelona, or near Salou. If winery, any suggestions of ones with nearby hotels or even a nearby home rental? Maybe an interesting winery town to experience?
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 01:40 PM
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To me, the most interesting town in that area is Vic. It is very hard to find information online about it however. Second most interesting town is Castello d'Empuries, but it is very small and sleepy. Cadaques is interesting in a quirky way, but it is an isolated enclave with a kind of precious/tourist feel, and difficult for day trips and exploring elsewhere. I would recommend a car so you can also go touring the area, no matter which town you pick.

http://www.roughguides.com/destinati...catalunya/vic/

http://www.blulyn.com/2015/07/25/cat...-vic-pyrenees/

http://www.victurisme.cat/index.php?idm=3
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 01:53 PM
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Thank you for those suggestions. Just from a quick search online, Vic does look like an interesting city. What did you like most about it? Castello d'Empuries...it does look a little sleepy, maybe too sleepy for us.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 01:59 PM
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Hi,

You will definitely need a car if you stay in Begur or Aiguablava and other villages nearby. There is no public transportation, as I researched this thoroughly when i went to CB a couple summers ago.We had a car rental, which we picked up from Girona.

When we went there, there were no 5 stars hotels at Aiguablava Beach, the hotels we stayed at are both 4 stars as per Spanish ratings. (Not the American standards that we are accustomed to.)

Hotel Aiguablava, authentic Spanish culture experience and really nice villa. Friendly staff. Amazing views from Corner Suite. Definitely reserve a Corner Suite with terrace with both the hillside and coastal views while looking toward your right side facing the ocean. Decor is casual beachy spartan.

The other hotel I've stayed at was the Parador on the bluff. Again amazing dramatic hillside setting. HUGE room. with HUGE jacuzzi. Ocean views. The decor is somewhat circa 80s. LOL. But more American style king size comfy bed and vibe in the room

Or opt to stay at Callela or Llafranc, both are tiny pretty pretty white villages, right next to each other. Think of conjoined twin villages connected by scenic walkway carved onto the cliffs. Costa Brava is beautiful. Enjoy.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 02:02 PM
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I'd base in Girona and get a car so you can make day trips (to Vic, Cadaques, Begur, wineries in Alt Emporda, and more). As Sandralist says Cadaques is pretty isolated - better on a day trip in my opinion, unless you really want to hunker down and read or something.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 02:18 PM
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hi again,

To answer your question about Vic, it has an extraordinarily beautiful piazza, and the town itself has great architectural variety. It is a also a showcase of Catalonian culture -- one really feels without a doubt one is in a particular culture -- so that was quite interestng to me. It is a small city, not as a big a Girona, and I enjoyed it for that (easier to drive in and out). I was not staying in Vic, but I enjoyed it so much, I went twice, just to see more. Like most towns in the area, to go as a visitor during the day means you miss the life of the nighttime, which typically is the most enjoyable hours of being in any town in Spain. Vic is an agricultural center/market town, so fresh food is exceptional, although I don't think it has the kind of high end super-creative restaurants that abound in Girona and Barcelona.

My favorite beach town of the Costa Brava was Calella da Palafrugell, but I found the interior of Catalonia generally more interesting than the beach towns, and think I would certainly find it more interesting if I was committed to going to the beach already during the trip.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 02:30 PM
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Ffipzz, thank you for those details, that really helps a lot!

rialtogrl, For a little personal background...on my last trip to Spain I started in San Sebastian (a little more low key to unwind from a long flight), then on to Seville (vibrant, which I LOVED), then we relaxed a little more at a beach side resort in Alicante, before going on to Valencia, another lively city experience. So...would you still base yourself in a city like Girona, if you're already coming from a city like Barcelona? Or are they that drastically different experiences? If so, how?

sandralist, I do understand what you mean to be there at night, such a magical time. I'm a night owl when I travel, maybe that's why Spain is in my top 3 favorite places
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 03:11 PM
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Oh shoot, I meant to also throw in the possibility of going over the Mallorca...over one of these other locations? We thought about Ibiza, but one of my travel buddies went there a couple of years ago and said it wasn't worth it. Since he and I have similar travel interests, I will take his word for it, lol.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 03:27 PM
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Girona is a lot different than Barcelona. It has much more of a medieval feel in the old town, and it is of course much smaller. There are lots of tree shaded cafes, it is quite green and lush there, and it is a well-off town so there are many nice shops and restaurants. There is no parking or driving in the historical center, but it is otherwise pretty easy to get in and out.

They always have something going on and June is a great time to visit. You can get more info here: http://www2.girona.cat/
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 03:51 PM
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Thank you rialtogrl, I will check out that link...
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 04:41 PM
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I like rialtogrl's suggestion, and like her, I found Girona quite different from Barcelona.

If you have a car, and really want a place to just relax and unwind, Tossa de Mar might be worth considering -- but you can also see it from Girona.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 05:13 PM
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My friend really wants a place to relax, and not do a lot of day-tripping, especially since we'll have been pretty busy in Barcelona. I guess we're looking for somewhere to just hang out, somewhere with amazing views, something with a slower pace for a few days at least. That's why I asked about Cadaques, Begur, a winery, or even Mallorca.

So even if we spent a few days in Girona....then which of the other ones would you suggest for another few days...Girona and Cadaques? Girona and Begur? (or maybe that's too much like Girona?) Girona and Mallorca? Girona and a winery?
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 05:21 PM
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I enjoyed Cadaques and thought it sufficiently different from Girona to justify a brief stay there. If my impressions were correct -- and I could be wrong, then the pace there is likely be VERY slow.
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Old Jan 8th, 2016, 07:08 PM
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If you will already be at the beach in Salou, you can kick back very easily in Girona. Or combine it with Cadaques, or with one of the hotels FFipz recommends with amazing views. Begur, doesn't really have any views within the town and it is nothing like Girona, but its a nice town. I personally would get a little stir crazy in Begur for 6 nights (or Cadaques) but that is me. Really you can't go wrong especially if you aren't moving around too much - it will be relaxing in all of these places.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 01:07 AM
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If you want to combine Girona with a beach stay, rather than go all the way to Cadeques, consider Calella da Palagfrugel, and go there directly from Barcelona. Although Girona is indeed very different in feel from Barcelona, it is still a well-known tourist magnet for some parts of town, so you might want a break from that, and have some beach time between the two cities.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 01:08 AM
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sorry for my typo: Calella da Palafrugell
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 04:22 AM
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Calella da Palafrugell is also on my list of places to visit but Cadaques also looks beautiful.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 05:00 AM
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Cadaques has many beautiful aspects and I enjoyed my visit, but the long drive in and out makes it a problematic place if you want to go exploring in the area. Also, Cadaques has quite an interesting internationalized feel to it, some of it touristy, some of it kind of global alternative-youth culture, so as an experience of Spain or Catalonia, it kind of goes its own way. I found it charming in its own way, but I'm not sure everybody does.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 05:42 AM
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Cadaques is a very beautiful town and the scenery at nearby Cap de Creus is breathtaking. You will love it. The bay of Cadaques is very picturesque but has pebble beaches. There is a sandy beach in Port Lligat (where you find Salvador Dali's most eccentric home).

We stayed at Hotel Rocamar in Cadaques and recommend it.

Castillo Peralada is a winery in the hinterland of Cadaques that makes a good cava.

Cadaques requires a rental car, but it is certainly worth it.

For a more conventional stay on a sandy beach, take Tossa del Mar into consideration.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 09:15 AM
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Thank you all for your replies and recommendations.

I like the suggestion to go to a beach town for a few days before Girona, for the reasons mentioned...a nice break between cities. And I can totally understand the concern with the long drive into Cadaques, it concerns me as well. Maybe that's why I'm so undecided if its worth it. So I appreciate the other suggestion for Calella da Palafrugell, Port Lligat, and even Tossa de Mar. I will look into those as well.

The thing about Salou is that we will be there for my friend's sons soccer camp, which means going to kids games, so I'm not sure how much actual beach time we'll get. Plus, its a beach beach, and I was hoping for a different kind of beach, something with more natural surrounds and amazing views, yet still in a quaint walkable town with lots of Spanish character.
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