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Spain is a country that has long been popular for its beautiful beaches, from the sunny Costa del Sol in the south to the party islands of the Balearic Islands.
Although Spain is known for its beaches, there is one region in particular that many tourists overlook: the Costa Brava.
Located in the northeast of Spain, the Costa Brava is a stretch of coastline in the Catalonia region.
It translates directly as « Costa Brava », but brava It can also mean rude or wild. The name fits the area perfectly: it is lined with rugged, rocky cliffs overlooking pristine, crystal clear waters.
Sandy beach coves are tucked between the cliffs and whitewashed villages dot the coastline. You can enjoy a relaxed pace of life on the Costa Brava, and it is the perfect summer getaway.
Although it is not far from bustling Barcelona, many tourists who visit this popular Spanish city do not realize that there is a paradisiacal beach less than two hours away.
Why visit the Costa Brava
The Costa Brava is the summer vacation destination par excellence in Spain. Although almost unknown, it hasn’t become overrun with tourists the way other popular European destinations have in recent years.
You won’t get a $300 fine for stopping to take a selfie like you would in Portofino, Italy, and you won’t have to elbow your way through a crowd like you would in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
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The Costa Brava is a laid-back destination where you can spend your time exploring quaint coastal towns, swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean, and enjoying paella and a glass of wine as the sun sets.
If you’re short on time, you can even take a day trip from Barcelona to the Costa Brava. It is less than two hours from the city, although train service is limited to coastal cities, so renting a car is the best option to explore this region.
It’s more than just beaches
Beyond the beaches of the Costa Brava, you can also discover beautiful landscapes and picturesque towns.
The countryside near the Costa Brava is dotted with vineyards, apple orchards and fields of sunflowers and is dotted with historic churches and hilltop fortresses.
Picturesque medieval towns like friends They are the perfect place to visit on a day trip and stop for lunch in the old stone town center.
The Costa Brava is also known for its legacy of art and culture. Famous artists and writers such as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Truman Capote spend much of their time living and working in towns along this picturesque stretch of the Spanish coast.
Recently, Fashion highlighted the resurgence of art and culture on the Costa Brava, including new galleries and museums full of life you can visit.
Where to go on the Costa Brava
Some of the best beach towns on the Costa Brava include cadacas and Calella de Palafrugell. Both destinations are the perfect place to spend a few days enjoying the beauty of the Costa Brava.
Tossa de Mar is another great place to visit, striking for the sprawling 12th-century castle that fortifies the historic town.
And in Lloret de Maryou can discover the picturesque Jardines de Santa Clotilde, botanical gardens that overlook the sea.
Although not on the coast, the medieval city of Girona It is about an hour from many towns on the Costa Brava, and is well worth taking a day trip to see the stunning architecture and landscaped gardens. (game of Thrones fans will recognize some filming locations too!)
For more underrated places in Spain, check out these great destinations where you can avoid the crowds this summer.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com