The Costa Brava is a very popular choice with families. It’s perfectly feasible to spend a holiday barely leaving the pool and the beach but I’ve included some destinations a little off the beaten track. There’s much more to a ‘Costa’ than the coast.
1 CITY DAY TRIP – GIRONA After days lounging poolside a trip to the city can be a draw. Barcelona is always vibrant but Girona is a slightly less predictable choice. With winding, cobbled streets in the Jewish Quarter, a hilltop cathedral where toddlers love climbing ALL the stairs, colourful houses with river views, it’s a very walkable city. There are museums, such as the renowned Jewish Museum, but if you’re looking for a city to simply spend some time in, explore, have coffee and wander around, then Girona is a treat. The shops also looked nice but with two toddlers in tow I had to limit my experience to window shopping.
2 THE IDYLLIC LAKE BANYOLES – If you wish to escape the busy beaches, the cities and get some fresh air Lake Banyoles has to be the ultimate destination. Swim in a freshwater lake, in a stunning setting. It doesn’t get much better than this.
3 IF YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO LOVE YOU FOREVER – If happiness can be bought then I’d suggest PP’s Amusement Park in Platja D’Aro. This is a busy, friendly resort but the Amusement Park is kiddie heaven with a range of rides to suit toddlers to teens. It’s loud, bright, fun, full on and fantastic. Children always cry when it’s time to leave.
4 A BEACH TOWN WITH AN OLD TOWN – If you wish to combine a morning catching some rays and building sandcastles on a long stretch of golden sand, with an afternoon in a picturesque old town then Tossa de Mar combines the two perfectly. Its walled town contains picturesque restaurants, excellent viewpoints, a historic tower and cobbled streets to explore.
5 BEACHLIFE – If you wish to hit the beach Costa Brava is busy but it’s pretty special. From small coves to miles of sandy beach there’s range and variety to explore.
6 SEEK SANCTUARY – If the sun and sand are getting too much and you wish to find a little greenery then Santa Clotilde Gardens in Lloret de Mar are quite breathtaking. Staggering views, beautiful planting, a peaceful, quiet setting with lots of space for little legs to explore.
7 GET WET The waterparks along the Costa Brava are pretty epic. It also felt like there were a lot of them to choose between. They’re not cheap, we figured out that entrance would cost €85, which wasn’t worth it for two toddlers. If you’ve got older kids and can spend a whole day there I figure it would one of the best memories of the holiday.
8 GET SOAKED Watersports were also popular along the coast. From silly rides on inflatable bananas to learning how to kayak there appeared to be a lot of opportunity to hire equipment or get tuition.
9 EAT OUT There is an absolute plethora of restaurants to choose between in every town and city along Costa Brava so eating out can be a pleasure. We ate well and received good service the vast majority of the time as the tourist pound is appreciated and valued. The one place we would recommend is Pizzeria Roma, Av. del Cavall Bernat, Platja D’Aro. Its name is very unassuming but it’s busy for a reason, the food is good. Mr Husband fell in love with his steak, which cost a small fortune but made his week. Our pastas and pizza were full of flavour and tempting ingredients such as walnuts and gorgonzola, and of course there were more subtle ingredients, so I would definitely recommend it. Service swift, by proud waiters, ample high chairs and lively surroundings.
10 EMBRACE THE STRIP! Costa Brava puts the strip on another level. I’m used to beach resorts where there are small shops selling flip flops, sarongs, buckets and spades but when we stayed in Platja D’Aro the strip was a beast. It was so vast and bustling to the point that I spotted branches of Zara, Massimo Duti and Calezonia – the high street here was significantly busier and more vibrant than many high streets in the UK. So go with it, make the most of the selection of food and shops. Another bonus is that most people are on holiday, so unlike a high street at home most folk are in a particularly good mood!
LOWDOWN – We flew from Edinburgh to Barcelona, picked up a hire car and drove up the coast to Costa Brava. Public transport is said to be good in the region but with two toddlers we found day trips easier with our own car. Driving was very easy in the area but parking could be a nightmare at popular beaches due to how busy they are, but head to Lake Banyoles or Girona and life is quieter.
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