Barcelona is an amazing city and certainly one that needs to be on any Spain Travel Itinerary. If you’re flying in or out of Barcelona be sure to book a couple days in the city to hit the must-see and must-do activities while you’re there, like:
- Visiting La Sagrada Familia
- Roaming the old Gothic quarter
- Exploring Montjuic Castle and urban hiking down to Plaça España
- Hitting the beachfront boardwalk
- Perusing Las Ramblas
But if you can afford the extra day, spend it in Costa Brava. This was an absolute favorite experience that helped make our 6 weeks in Spain one of our Top Trips of 2019.
Heading to the Costa Brava
Costa Brava is the coastal region north of the city. The coastline borders the Mediterranean Sea and stretches 40 or so miles south down from the border with France and is known for its beautiful sandstone cliffs and beachfront towns. Careful though, its beauty and ease can attract quite the tourist crowd so consider shoulder season travel, or book a day trip to a smaller beach with a touring company to avoid too much of a resort/tourist vibe.
We opted for the latter and booked a day trip hiking, kayaking and cliff jumping through an Airbnb activity.
The day started with meeting the rest of our group in a Barcelona square. Once everyone was registered and accounted for, we hopped in a van and made the easy hour drive up to the north coast. The drive was surprisingly beautiful with lots of rolling hills and mountains in the distance.
Once we made it to our stop, we all piled out of the van and stretched our legs with an easy walk down the road a bit to our hiking trailhead. Even from the trailhead we had some beautiful views of the sandstone cliffs meeting the ocean.
The Sandstone Coastline
We had an easy hike down a mostly stone path from the trailhead to a beautiful overlook where we could see our destination beach and even see dots of kayakers cruising up the coastline. On the way down from here, we stopped several times to hear about the geology, the ecosystem, and how the locals were using both to turn them into economic opportunities. Apparently 20%+ of the world’s cork supply comes from the region alone!
Shortly, we made it down to the beach! Local restaurants and shops were lined up along the beachfront boardwalk and we were stunned by the smell in the air and the beauty of the Mediterranean.
We hopped in our kayaks and took a guided tour out exploring the sandstone cliffs, battling the mild Mediterranean waves and discovering all the Calas (hidden private coves or beaches) that the sandstone had created. After a bit, our guide took us over to a perfect sandstone cliff where we were able to climb up and do a bit of cliff jumping. I was so proud! Our entire group went for the first jump and, after seeing how adventurous the group was, our guide took us to a second, taller area to see who would step up to the challenge. Again, everyone in our group went for it. And again, our guide had another challenge for us. This time he took us to a very high jump. Not everyone made it up this cliff, but those who did were rewarded with an amazing view of the beaches and surrounding area and a 15-20ft drop into the ocean.
What a rush. Beautiful blue cool water after a stunning red and orange cliff drop. It was really an energizing and thrilling exploration.
Back to Beach
After a bit more exploring in our kayaks, we made it back to the beach where we had launched. We had about an hour and half before heading back to the city and the group decided to opt for a beachfront lunch.
Our noses lead us into a local seafood restaurant and our mouths were not disappointed. The fish, the calamari and the seafood paella were amazing. Fresh, juicy, zesty and exactly what you’d want on a hot sunny day after a full morning of activity.
We packed, and during lunch our tour guide had made his way back to the van and brought it down to the beach for us to load up. On the ride home, no one could keep their eyes open. And no one needed to. The day had already been jammed packed with beautiful views, delicious food, fun challenges, and several crisp Mediterranean plunges!
Make it to Costa Brava
It was a perfect day, and one I’d HIGHLY recommend to anyone who has the extra time in the region. If you want to make it to Costa Brava without breaking the bank, check out our article on How To Find Cheap Flights and be on the lookout for our full “Spain in 6 Weeks” itinerary coming soon.If you’re eager to scratch that travel itch sign up for our newsletter below to get updates on all our best travel tips, destinations, gear guides, and sales!