Updated: Feb 26
Ismaïl and I are lucky enough to have a flat near Rosas, a beautiful seaside town on the Costa Brava, about two hours north of Barcelona. There are many must-see places of interest in Costa Brava and one of my favourite ways to explore is by walking. The Costa Brava offers many paths that run along the Mediterranean coast. These walks allow you to enjoy exceptional views, admire beautiful nature, discover small coves and beaches and visit cute fishing villages.
Stroll through Cadaques
The first must-see place of interest on the Costa Brava is definitely Cadaquès. Cadaquès is a beautiful fishing village that is well known for its cobbled streets, white and blue houses wrapped in bougainvillaea, cute little craft shops and fishing boats. I particularly appreciated the artistic and bohemian atmosphere when strolling through the village. Many people visit Cadaquès for Salvador Dalí's art as you can find Casa-Museo Salvador Dalí (Salvador Dalí's House-Museum) but also for the beauty of the beaches of Cap de Creus and the vibrant cultural life of Cadaquès. I would highly advise you to visit early to avoid the crowds and find a parking spot. We tend to park after the village in one of the back streets as it's easier to find a space and it's free! You can then walk back down to the village and enjoy the beauty of the place.
Walk along the coast to Cala Rostella Beach
This coastal path starts from the Punta Falconera car park (free) at the tip of Rosas and is definitely at the top of my list of places to visit on the Costa Brava. This walk allows you to discover some beautiful coves and beaches that are less frequented than those in Rosas because you have to walk to reach them (and many people can't be bothered).
The turquoise waters, the stunning views, the smell of pine trees, and the beauty of the Mediterranean vegetation make this coastal path particularly pleasant. The path leads to the town of Cadaques, but we use it to access the beaches. Note that some of the beaches are nudist, but don't let this dissuade you from taking a dip, everyone is welcome!
My favourite beach is Platja Cala Murtra, a quiet nudist beach with a very natural and relaxing atmosphere. If you follow the path a little further you will come across Calla Rostela, a cove that is a little more enclosed than Cala Murtra but just as beautiful.
From the car park, it takes about 25 minutes to walk to Cala Murtra and another 10 minutes to Cala Rostela. Although the walk may be a little dissuasive, I guarantee it is worth it!
Please note that there is respect for nature and people on these beaches, you can, of course, swim in a swimming costume but be careful if you want to take pictures and especially do not leave any rubbish, it would be a shame to spoil such a beautiful place which remains nevertheless quite untouched.
Callela de Palafrugell to Tamariu
This route starts in Calella de Palafrugell and reaches Tamariu via LlaFranc. A "short" walk of about 8.2km along the coast: this walk is great because not only do you see beautiful scenery but you also come across old fishing villages that give you an idea of what the Costa Brava was like in the past.
This was my first visit to Calella de Palafrugell, although the area is very well known, it was my mother, who had visited this village as a child, who persuaded me to go, and I'm so glad she did! The white-fronted houses, the beautiful arcades, and the small traditional Catalan boats give a real charm to this village. I imagine that in summer the place must be very crowded, so I recommend coming out of season in May, June or September as the temperatures are pleasant enough to enjoy the sea but without the tourists.
It is very difficult to find a parking space in the town centre, so we parked in a back street and I recommend you do the same if you want to avoid going around in circles!
The medieval village of Pals
Another beautiful must-see place on the Costa Brava is the medieval village of Pals. It's about 35km south of Rosas (a 50min drive) and offers an amazing trip to the past.
Perched on a hill, it was built around a fortress and has retained its medieval architecture. Strolling through the narrow streets of Pals and getting lost in its historic town centre is a very relaxing experience and will allow you to discover its authentic beauty and history. I love a good medieval village so wherever I go I like to look up whether there are any to visit. This time, however, it was my boyfriend who had already visited this village as a child, who took me to discover this place as he knew it would be right up my alley (he knows me well!) and I wasn't disappointed!
The village has many surprising details and architectural features, such as Roman arches, and cute wooden doors with flowers adding colour to the pretty stone walls. There are also many independent craft shops and little cafes. I really loved how preserved the village was, it has really kept its medieval spirit!
Sant Pere de Rodes Monastery
The Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is a Benedictine monastery located north of the Costa Brava above the village of El Port de la Selva. If you love culture, architecture, and history, this site is an essential and unforgettable must-see place for you to visit on the Costa Brava!
Perched on the slopes of the Cap Creuse hills, the road to the monastery itself is a beautiful journey twisting and turning through the mountains. The wildness of the hills gives an austere aspect and contrasts with the extraordinary views over the Bay of Llanca and El Port de la Selva.
The origin of the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes remains unknown, however, the first official documentation of the building's existence dates back to 878 (!!). The monastery was in function until the beginning of the 19th century when it was abandoned by the monks and consists of the church with its bell tower, the monastic cells, the dining room, and other outbuildings, all arranged around the cloister.
The monastery is not isolated on its hill. It is neighboured by two other monuments, the castle of Verdera, which had a defensive function, and the village of Santa Cruz, where the civilians who served the monastery lived. This overall ensemble, which shows where representatives of the three orders of medieval society (those who prayed, those who fought, and those who worked) were established, is unique in Catalonia and allows one to fully appreciate all aspects of life in the Middle Ages.
I was blown away by the beauty of this place. The views, the architecture, and the history are truly spectacular. I also highly recommend walking up to the castle which takes approximately 25mins to 35mins depending on your chosen path. At the top, you get terrific views with Rosas on one side and El Port de la Slava on the other.
Expect a 35mins drive up to the Monastery from Rosas.
Parking is free but limited on the premises.
The standard entry fee is 6€.
Children 16 or under get free entry.
Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a bottle of water.
For more info, you can visit the monastery's website.
I hope you enjoyed the little article about places to visit on the Costa Brava! Feel free to share your experiences and ask questions in the comment section!