Short trip to Costa Brava
August 30, 2005 4:39 AM   Subscribe

My family is making a spur of the moment, 7-day trip to the Costa Brava in Spain - any recommendations on towns to visit, places to stay, activities for kids, things to be wary of?

We're on a round-the-world voyage, and this is a little side-trip because we couldn't pass up the cheap Ryan Air tickets from Shannon in Ireland. We're landing in Girona.
posted by Dag Maggot to Travel & Transportation around Spain (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For kids, PortAventura would probably be a good bet. If you like the quaint seaside town type of vibe, then I can recommend El Port de la Selva (self-link), where I spent a very pleasant couple of days a few years back.
posted by misteraitch at 5:11 AM on August 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Girona is a nice town, with a medieval cathedral and some pretty hilly, cobbled streets.

Whlie you're in the area, it would be a pity to miss out on a visit to Barcelona. Be wary of pickpockets, bag snatchers, scam artists, especially around Las Ramblas. One of the sights of Barcelona that will stay with me forever is the dancing fountains at the Palau Nacional - a free display that is really breathtaking.

If you want a bit of culture, there's the Dali Museum, and for kids there's a water park in the area, although the name if it escapes me.

Lots of info on the area here.

I stayed at L'Estartit, which has good diving and water sport facilities, but might be a bit too quiet for children.
posted by essexjan at 5:13 AM on August 30, 2005

Nerja, southern most point of Europe.

I'm biased though, we spent our honeymoon there!

Top tip - find Jago's Bar - lovely quiet homily place - the owner flits about and occasionally just leaves you to pour your own drinks.
posted by snowgoon at 5:19 AM on August 30, 2005

Um... Snowgoon - are you American by any chance? Nerja is almost 1000km from the Costa Brava, and is in no way the "southern most point of Europe" - that accolade goes to the Punto de Tarifa, another 1000km around the coast...

But yes, Girona is lovely, and don't miss Barcelona, of course. Take a punt up into the Pirineus and find La Cerdanya and Puigcerda. Go inland a bit, go to Montserrat if you can spend a day doing one thing, visit some beachs - Cal d'Estrac is great, before you get to Barna... etc., etc..
posted by benzo8 at 6:21 AM on August 30, 2005

Best answer: I was in/around Girona just a couple of weeks ago! Actually stayed in France (village called Laroque des Alberes), but spent a couple of days in Girona. There's a fantastic chocolate shop in one of the streets near the river and off a square (sorry can't remember more details) that sold such delights as chocolate and lemon jam, and some sort of chocolate stuff that we think you were supposed to put in coffee, but which we ate on bread.

If you're interested in Jewish-type-things the Jewish museum is very nice - its best part is an authentic preserved courtyard which is beautiful to go and sit in for a bit.

The Dali museum is good but VERY crowded - we had to queue for an hour to get in and even then it was fairly difficult to move in some of the rooms, so maybe only go if you're fairly dedicated.

More on the France side of things, the seaside town of Colliure is lovely albiet touristy. If you go by car DEFINITELY use the park 'n' ride. Also make sure to check out the pancakes in the diner-style cafe with the truck outside, and go on the roadtrain! It goes on a fairly extraordinary route straight up a large hill, with good views of the surrounding area. The castle is cool too, though certain areas do smell of piss.
posted by Lotto at 8:50 AM on August 30, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. The sea-side rustic village is definitely kind of what we would like.

We'd like to go to Barcelona, but I don't see the big city meshing well with our 4 and 7 year old. (can't see them waiting in line for the Dali museum).

So it looks like Girona and El Port de Selva might be the go ...
posted by Dag Maggot at 9:20 AM on August 30, 2005

7 days might be too much time on the Costa Brava. There's just not that much to see, and most of the towns and beaches have that overconstructed summer vacation feeling. Girona and the DalĂ­ museum are worth an afternoon, but not much more. Port de la Selva, Cadaques, and the Cap de Creus are good for two or three more days.

After that, you probably want to head for the Pyrenees, Montserrat, or Barcelona, as others suggest.
posted by fuzz at 4:17 PM on August 30, 2005

I stayed in the town of L'Escala last year and really enjoyed it. It's a pretty small village, but it was great for being a bit off the main tourist route.

My favorite thing in the Costa Brava was hiking along the Cami de Ronda - a path that follows the shoreline for pretty much the entire Costa Brava. It's a way to enjoy the nature, towns, and beaches in the area.
posted by Staggering Jack at 8:30 PM on August 30, 2005

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