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Costa Brava - travel conditions & weather in January

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Sep 16th, 2012, 02:22 PM
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Costa Brava - travel conditions & weather in January

We will be travelling in a car from Toledo to Cuenca and then to the Costa Brava in January. We would appreciate recommended routes for these plans. We also would love to know what to expect in terms of weather in that region in January. I am an avid photographer and would appreciate any suggestions for places to stop to get great pictures. Thanks so much for your help.
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Sep 16th, 2012, 02:32 PM
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Tourist season on Costa Brava is April to October, and doesn't get going till June - August. January is out of season, and don't expect a lot of places to be open. True, shops and facilities catering to local residents will be open, but very few tourist amenities. Weather is likely to be dull and/or wet, though some bright days are possible. Average daily highs around 5-10C. There was a heavy snowfall last January and February. There are many scenic drives, but I don't know what it is like in January. Tossa de Mar to Sant Feliu was spectacular in the summer,
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Sep 16th, 2012, 08:39 PM
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Alec
Thanks for your response. Our time in Spain has to be during the first 3 weeks of January. After spending time in Seville, Granada, the white towns, Tariffa and a side trip to Morocco I thought we would head up to Toledo and the Costa Brava before finishing in Barcelona and Madrid. Any suggestions to replace the Costa Brava? Will the coast south of Barcelona and Valencia have a better chance of good weather?
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Sep 17th, 2012, 03:28 AM
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I'm not sure I agree with Alec about the weather along the Costa Brava. Basically, it has mild and sunny winters -- which is why so many northern Europeans own second homes there. But no matter where you go in the Mediterranean in the first 3 weeks of January, you need to be flexible with your plans. On a rainy day, go to a historic town like Vic, Girona or Castello d'Empuries for photo ops. If it is beautiful, go to Calella da Palafrugell at the sea, or the greek and roman ruins at Empuries. Or take the drive Alec suggested.

You might also explore the possibility of heading to one of the ski resort areas at that time of year (up towards Andorra). They clear the roads if it snows, and if you are up for the driving, it could be spectacular in the snow. But you need to research it carefully so you (a) don't end up in an area with nothing but hideous ski lodges cluttering the view and (b) end up in an area where snow is all you see.
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Sep 17th, 2012, 05:03 AM
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Agree with the above. It is very rare to have snow on the Costa Brava.
The problem with going to Andorra or to other ski resorts is that you'll need snow tires or chains.
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Sep 18th, 2012, 05:51 PM
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Thanks vespacurves and Pvoyagueuse.
I am pretty certain rental cars do not come equipped with snow tires.
I still would prefer spending a few days exploring the Costa Brava.
As Alec said some tourist services will be closed but do you think we will have trouble finding accommodations and restaurantsthat will be open? I will be driving from Toledo to Cuenca and then to the Costa Brava. Any suggestions as to which might be the best routes to take.
Thanks
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Sep 19th, 2012, 01:34 PM
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"do you think we will have trouble finding accommodations and restaurants that will be open?"

No, you won't have trouble if you avoid the smallest resorts.
Girona is a city of 100,000 people, Figueres has 50,000 and the two cities are busy all year round, Rosas, Tossa de Mar, Begur, Cadaques etc... have lots of hotels and restaurants which cater to the locals and to the French living just across the border (just like me !).
For best route see www.viamichelin.com
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Sep 19th, 2012, 02:46 PM
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Great help as we too will be in Spain(& Portugal) early January.
Thanks
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Sep 19th, 2012, 08:12 PM
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If we have some extra time is there much to see if we head into France near the border along the coast?
Thanks
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Sep 20th, 2012, 10:14 AM
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Yes. You can drive to Collioure via Cerbère and Banyuls. The road is very scenic but winding. Were will you be based?
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Sep 20th, 2012, 08:30 PM
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Thinking of staying in Girona or by the coast maybe Cadaques or one of the other small coastal towns. Do you have any suggestions. We have not made any reservations yet. How long would the drive take to Collioure or Banyuls? I have not done any reading about this area of France. Will they be similiar to the towns we will visit on the Spanish side of the border?
Thanks again.
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Sep 20th, 2012, 11:17 PM
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See www.viamichelin.com for estimation of time (usually optimistic).
Coastal towns : Cadaques is located in a dead end o.e. 5 very winding km off the main road. You'll have to do the drive twice a day if you want to get anywhere else. I would save it as a day trip. Begur is very pretty. You'll have a large choice of hotels/shops/restaurants in Girona (+ a lot to visit).
Collioure is in a class of its own. See : http://www.collioure.com/
You can get there by the coastal road (approx. 1.50 leisurely hour from Girona) and come back on the motorway (much faster).
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Sep 21st, 2012, 01:59 AM
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My opinion differs in that I don't think Collioure is an interesting destination or worth leaving Spain to see. Calella da Palafrugell is a very picturesque seaside town, but not well located for daytripping. Vic and Castello d'Empuries are very photogenic and atmospheric, and I'd be happy in the them as a base as well as Girona in winter. I wouldn't even bother investing in the long drive in and out of Cadaques for a day trip.

If you can get your hands on a copy of the Rough Guide to the Costa Brava, it has very detailed descriptions of all the small towns in that region, and scenic destinations. It would really help in your planning a base, plus good to have while you are actually in your car tooling around.

In the meantime, you can often get a good idea of some of these towns if you plug their names into a google search and hit the Google Images button. Or use Google Earth and look at Panaramio pictures.

By the way, rental cars do have snow gear if you ask for it (at least in Italy they do). Lots of skiers rent cars. But it is a project to go up into the high mountains, plus you need to bring the clothes for it.
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Sep 21st, 2012, 02:06 AM
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PS: Vic may be too far inland as a base if coastal scenery is your main focus for day trips.
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Sep 21st, 2012, 08:52 PM
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Hey guys thanks for all that useful info. I will do as you both suggested and see the Collioure website and try to get a copy of the Rough Guide. I am thinking of staying in Girona for a day or two and maybe Figueres as well. I wii have to check how far they are from the coast.
Are Sant Pere de Rodes and Partallada worth a short trip?
And finally I am reading a lot about cars being broken into a lot when parked. Do you have any problems when parking in these areas as well in the southern part of Spain?
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Sep 21st, 2012, 10:11 PM
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Figueres is approx. 16 km from the coast. Girona is more inland, approx. 40 km. San Pere de Rodes is stunning - easily reachable from Figueres. Surprisingly, their cafeteria is not bad ! Peratallada is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in this part of Spain (along with Pals). Nearby are the small Roman ruins of Ullastret which do not compete with Empuries though.
Never had a problem with my car being broken into during the day. However in Girona I would leave it overnight in an attended parking place. Some hotels offer a package (room + parking at a discounted rate). As a rule, never leave anything of value in a car.
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Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:27 PM
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It is so great to have you guys with a local knowledge of the area give us all these recommendations. We will have about 4 days to spend in the area before we have to be in Barcellona. Anyone have a suggested itinerary including some coastal and some easily reached inland towns?
Thanks again.
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Sep 23rd, 2012, 04:44 AM
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I was shocked at how small Peratallada is (although if I read my Rough Guide more attentively, I wouldn't have been). It took all of 10 minutes to see. There didn't seem to be anyone actually living there as far as I could discern. The buildings house restaurants. The chapel church in town was undergoing restoration, but if it held 30 people max, I'd be surprised.

That said, perfectly well-preserved medieval sites unmarred by a lot of modern constructions are more rare in that area than in other areas of Europe, so if you are looking for that ...

Can't help with an itinerary. All I can say is that my favorite places in the region were Vic, Calella da Palafrugell, Castello d'Empuries, the ruins at Empuries and Girona (in that order).
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Sep 23rd, 2012, 04:55 AM
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You might find this interesting to read, but do note is eight years old, so restaurant information and such can't be relied upon as current



http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...rescapesection
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Sep 23rd, 2012, 06:22 AM
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Also, regarding theft:

Never had a problem with car break-ins, but I never leave anything in the car I would be very upset to lose. I carry a cross-body messenger bag with my laptop, GPS, documents, etc. if I am out of my car -- even if I have simply temporarily walked away from my car to pay for my gas at a gas station or walked over to a viewpoint to take a picture.

My biggest problem was purse-snatching, pickpocketing theft in Barcelona. Two attempts within 2 days, one of them successful (for the theif, not me!). Madrid also has pickpockets and scamsters. I just got back from Spain, so those negatives haven't deterred me from traveling there. But I take more precautions there than I do in some other travel destinations.
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