Costa Brava road trip: how to get everything out?

A road trip through Costa Brava. I hear you thinking: why? Surely that’s for teenagers who only sleep off their intoxication ladder-soaked on a beach piled up after a night spent at the wrong disco? Yes, that’s right. That, too, is Costa Brava. But Costa Brava is so much more. Last few days, a friend and I rented a car and headed out. We totaled (including arrival) 7 days and of course we wanted to see as much as possible. Whether that is possible? Yes indeed! Ever been to Costa Brava? Then go on a road trip in Andalusia.

How much we enjoyed! So many hidden little quiet beaches, secret spots and beautiful villages where you can walk around and enjoy the salty sea breeze. To give you an idea of what is possible in about 7 days, I have written down our itinerary and experiences for you.

costa brava

Day 1: Arrival Barcelona

My friend arrived at Barcelona Airport in the evening. Like a happy egg, I stood waiting for her to come through the famous glass doors.

~ By the way, did you know that you can also very easily get to Barcelona by train ? Want to know more about this? Then read my blog about taking the train to Barcelona. ~

Waiting and waiting. Eeehh, it took a little longer so I sat down somewhere nearby. Instead of me standing around waving very enthusiastically and being able to walk up to her like you always see in movies and series, it was more like: heeeee Daan! Are you sitting there!!!? Hahaha. Anyway, real life huh?

We went to my house in Barcelona, already busy talking and giving each other the latest updates.When we saw the clock strike 00.30, we went to bed anyway. It does come in handy to be a little fresh in the car the next day!

Day 2: Barcelona – Girona

After a nice vegan breakfast of “scrambled egg” (approved by my friend as well as my roommate! → I’ll post the recipe online soon), we packed up and headed back to the airport. Car picked up and off we go!

First stop: Girona. The city where Game Of Thrones was filmed several times. And you can tell. Even in our small Airbnb room where we were staying, there was a disproportionate picture frame with all the locations where filming was done in Girona.

Don’t have a clue what Game Of Thrones is? No worries, even without this series, Girona is a wonderful city! I am used to the hustle and bustle of Barcelona , and Girona is a really nice city without the heavy traffic and hordes of tourists. Although, I can’t say for sure, because I don’t know what it’s like in high season July and August. But beautiful it certainly is!

There are also plenty of vegan places to eat, so I’d say you can definitely spend one whole day here. We didn’t arrive until about 3 p.m. and was actually just a little too tight. In the evening we had another meeting with someone from Couchsurfing who wanted to take us to a little restaurant that he thought was fantastic.

We wondered and after some wandering through the streets, “Estamos aquí” and he looked up very triumphantly. The exact same place where we had had a coffee that afternoon and they had no soy milk.

costa brava girona

Eeh, no sorry, very sweet, that’s not going to be it. We walked through and saw an Indian restaurant. My friend and I looked at each other and immediately knew, Yes, do this one: Taj Restaurant in Girona. Friendly people, outdoor terrace and the vegetable curry is delicious, but do ask that they make it spicy AND without ghee. Our couchsurfer was a little disappointed at first, but by the end had ordered AND eaten the most! Those Catalans.

Day 3: Girona – El Pont de Selva, Cap de Creus, Cadaqués & Pals

Getting up early and then having such a sweet Airbnb -host who perfectly senses that a coffee is just what you need. After a nice breakfast, we got back in the car. By the way, we spent the night just a little outside the city center which allowed us perfect free parking and a nice walk after dinner for digestion. About 20 minutes, provided you walk the right route right away, of course ;-).

We first wanted to go to the city of Figueres as well, because that is where the Dali Museum is located but we were more in the mood for nature, especially since it was very hot in Girona recently, over 30 degrees. The week before, by the way, it was even hotter: 38 to 40 degrees. But that was not normal. It was also very hot in Barcelona at the time, but since it was my first real full summer in Barcelona, I thought it was normal.

El port de Selva

So anyway, on the road to El port de la Selva. What a wonderfully relaxing place this is! Super quiet and there is even a little bar on the beach where they sell a vegan burger! Surfer bar, part of Winddiscovery: place to take windsurfing lessons and supping. After a relaxing stop with a little walking around, lunch on the beach we got back in the car to drive on to Cap de Creus.

Cap de Creus

Many winding roads later, we were rewarded with fantastic views. Here, too, you will find all kinds of small bays where you can relax just fine with some walking. So do bring sturdy shoes to Cap de Creus. Mountain hiking boots might be a bit too much of a stretch, but pairs of good athletic shoes are definitely worth packing.

Go to the Cap de Creus lighthouse and from there there are several hiking trails that will lead you to the most amazing views. The landscape is wild and very different from the rest of Spain (at least the Spain I have seen). Although I found it a bit similar to Cabo de Gato in Almeria. Here, too, we enjoyed some quiet time and continued on our way to Cadaqués.


By now we were a little car tired so once in Cadaqués we relaxed on the small beach, but still not hut to hut. Be careful about parking. The safest thing to do is just park at the parking garages indicated with a P of parking. You often find different kinds of color stripes at parking areas: green is for residents (with permit) and blue is paid (but you can park here), white is free and you see yellow lines there you are not allowed to park at all. We went for the parking lot, quite safe and convenient.

Cadaqués is a great place to hang out, there’s even a place on the beach that has vegan options. We ourselves did not eat there because we found the price a bit on the high side and found a Condis (supermarket) where we found vegan ice coffee from Alpro. So delicious! So we went to bathe in the sea and do merienda on the beach.

At least one day in Cadaqués

When it had cooled down a little we went out in Cadaqués. It is SO cute. The white houses, the boats, flowers….everything. I definitely recommend spending a day including the beach here. We were actually too short there. When it started to dusk, we decided to get in the car and drive to Empuriabrava. A place where apparently the largest residential marina in Europe is located. We actually didn’t have the oomph to see anything anymore and ate something and went to bed on time.

The next day we would spend the night in Pals, a medieval village a little more inland and right between Begur and Calella de Palafrugell. Our stops the next day!

Day 3: Pals – Begur

After a brief breakfast of our own in our hotel room (crackers and Romanesco sauce with cucumber is quite tasty in the morning), Sa Tuna (a beach near Begur) was on the program and a walk along Camino de Ronda. The Sa Tuna beach is close to Begur and within 20 minutes from Pals you can get there, while winding down the mountain roads. Free parking is also available near the beach, but be early. Then there is still room. And practice ramp test parking ;-).

Sa Tuna beach

Sa Tuna beach is incredibly photogenic and fairly quiet, but walk up to the right especially if you are facing the beach. After a short walk, you can turn left down to a small beach. It is worthwhile to lie there for a while. There is no restroom, bar oid, so do bring your own food and drink. An umbrella is also not a luxury. Again, better to have athletic shoes on, have just a little more grip.

Camino de Ronda

If you want to walk further, you can do that too! Then you end up at beaches like Platja Fonda. Unfortunately, we were not quite prepared for so many loose stones and certainly not for a visit to the hospital for sprained ankles, so after a few attempts we decided not to walk any further after all. But it certainly wasn’t a punishment to stay on the pretty little beach.

To Pals and Begur

After some hours of relaxing and swimming, we went to our hotel in Pals to check in and headed into Begur. Walk to the old Castell for a beautiful view of Platja de Pals and Begur. All the restaurants and center (it is very small) are almost all closed until 5:30pm so the best thing to do is to be in Begur after 7pm. We got there around 5 p.m. so had a quick drink with patatas bravas and nachos with guacamole.

We wanted to see some more places so hop back in the car and we drove to Platja de Reira. Here we sat delightfully until 8:30 p.m. until we sort of blew away and headed back to our hotel. Quickly into Pals to see if we could eat somewhere, but we came home a bit cold. The center is very nice, but somewhat touristy and few vegan options. Fortunately, we had good drinks and some more salad so we made it through the night.

“More time? Then definitely stay longer near Cadaqués”

Day 4: Pals – Calella de Parafugell – Pals

Since we had now booked two nights in a family hotel (Hostal Barris) in Pals, we could afford to sleep late. So I figured it would be a good idea to go for a run. A great idea when it was 20 degrees, but with 25 degrees already on the counter, it was not such a good plan after all. Consequently, after almost 4 km, I returned bathed in sweat. Even got lightheaded, better to listen to your body. Next week but again when I am in Barcelona!

After my sweaty exercise, I was hungry as hell! So after a breakfast at a local joint where we got a large bocadillo on demand with grilled asparagus, tomatoes, lettuce and onion topped with olive oil complemented by a café con leche de soja, we started the day perfectly. For the next stop, my expectations were high. In fact, almost everyone I spoke to said to me: go to Calella de Palafrugell. That’s super nice. And yes, it does.

Only….we were there on a Saturday and I can tell you. Then it is a bit crowded say. The beach was packed, people were everywhere and the picturesque disappeared a bit. So it’s better to come here off weekends. A bit disillusioned we headed back towards Begur.

Now what? Since we had taken it nice and easy in the morning, we didn’t want to lose that vibe. We had seen a great beach the day before from Castell de Begur and thought, let’s go there. It turned out to be Platja de Pals. By now it was already 4 p.m. so we had a great swim and enjoyed the large 2.4 km beach. Do you have children? Then here is also a very large swimming paradise on the water. Super cool, even for big kids ;-).

You can park there for free when you park wherever RVs are parked. You can even have a nice picnic here because there are plenty of picnic tables under shady conifers that smell delicious. Just down the road there is also a toilet hut so fully equipped (and no, you don’t smell it)! And with a 5-minute walk down you are on the great white beach of Pals. The plan was to supp here, but we were unlucky, it was too windy.

We ended up having a lovely picnic and watching the sun set at platja Aigublava. Perfect ending to the day.

Tip: Don’t go to Calella de Palafrugell on weekends. Many Catalans who live in Barcelona or just outside it have additional homes there. As a result, they love coming to spend weekends in this picturesque town

Day 5: Pals – Sant Feliu de Guíxols – Tossa de Mar – Terrafortuna

This was a beautiful day. I heard that the route from Sant Feliu de Guíxols to Tossa de Mar is beautiful. So we got up early, checked out and hit the road. And indeed, one beautiful bay after another (but sometimes we really wondered how to get there, really HOW then…). We stopped at Cala Senyor de Remon. A nude beach but you can also sit there with your bikini just fine.

You can park the car downstairs near the beach for 6 euros (cash) all day. Do make sure your car has bit of power to get back up. We had a 1.0 and it did have some trouble getting up. Again, the earlier the better. We arrived around 11 a.m. and there was still lots of parking. 3 hours later, this was a different story.

Panoramic views

Feeling that we were fading a bit too fast, we set off again in the direction of Tossa de Mar with the necessary stops to enjoy panaroma views.

Once in Tossa de Mar, we went to a beach bar (No T’Ho Perdis) where they had nice fresh fresh fruit smoothies ánd vegan burger!

Hamburger without bun

By the way, did you know that in Spain, by the way, it is normal that when you order a burger, you only get a burger without a bun, so always check if it comes with a bun. We walked into the old center and despite being somewhat touristy, there is a nice atmosphere in Tossa de Mar. Also, be sure to go to the smaller beach. Did you know that Tossa de Mar is the only real fortified town in Spain?

After our late lunch (yes we made it even more bonkers than the Spaniards 😉 at 5 p.m. lunch) and walk in Tossa de Mar, we picked up some salad and headed to our last Airbnb in Terrafortuna near Lloret de Mar. In fact, the plan was to rent kayaks near Lloret and go down some calas.

Garden and chill

Our Airbnb turned out to be a shot in the arm. What a nice place. The garden was very nice and since we had a late lunch, we had enough with a salad with a good glass of Spanish wine. Slowly it was still getting later than we thought, wine and a nice garden, then you keep sitting and chatting, chatting and yesaa chatting.

Day 6: Terrafortuna – Sa Boadella – Lloret – Palamós

The next day I suspiciously pulled up the blinds on our room. I heard tapping….and yes, there it was: rain. Wet puddles on the terrace and on the table. Actually it wasn’t so bad, except that we really wanted to go kayaking today. Through a Catalan friend I heard that Sa Boadella near Lloret de Mar was a beautiful beach (and that you could kayak nearby). So the plan remained the same, but without a kayak.

Before heading there, we decided to drive into Lloret. See if it’s still as bad as from our memories. In fact, when I was 18, like many other successful teenagers, I went on vacation by bus to Blanes. A day trip to Lloret was then also part of the party program. After we parked the car for free at Platja de Fenals, but we descended to the other large beach, where the screaming hamburger joints and kekab shops met you from afar. So yeah, it’s still that bad.

We made a right turn and walked back to the car and then headed for Sa Boadella. This was wonderfully quiet. There’s a nice little beach cafe here where you can’t get much vegan except fries.


We then decided to go to Palamós. We liked to stroll around a town instead of lying on a beach again. When we arrived, everything was closed! Oh well, I forgot it was Monday and also siesta.

Although we did see that Palamós is a super nice village to walk through for a few hours, provided the stores and all the restaurants are open. Also, especially afterwards, go to Platja de Castell a little further away by car. Pack your sneakers and go for a walk there still, as you will find the most beautiful bays there too! And you can kayak here, too, when it’s not too windy or rainy.

After Palamós, we returned to our lovely Airbnb in Terrafortuna to chill, play with the dog and pack our things. Back to Barcelona the very next day!

Tip: Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m./9 p.m., try to stay nice on the beach. And only then go into a town. Otherwise, you are often at a closed door and even in villages/towns where it is normally very bustling is completely deserted. Even in Catalonia.

Day 7: Terrafortuna – Barcelona

Everything in and around Costa Brava is actually relatively close. If you were to drive from Barcelona directly to Cap de Creus, you are about just under 3 hours away. So when you pick one central spot you could also take day trips. We did enjoy being in different places, but definitely wanted to stay longer near Cadaqués afterwards.

After we drove back from Terrafortuna to Barcelona Airport in about 1.5 hours, it was over. Car return, big hug, goodbye and then I was on the bus back to my home in Barcelona. Where I will be plotting the next adventures :). But first, enjoy the summer in Barcelona.

Tips listed for a successful vegan road trip in Costa Brava

For vegans

  • bring cutlery, cutting board and also a sharp knife to cut with
  • trays in which to put a salad
  • peeler for carrots (so you can dip them nicely with humus)
  • Dopper or other refillable water bottle. After all, you can drink water from the tap just fine.
  • many restaurants are closed on Mondays, keep this in mind. there are also not very many vegan restaurants or places to eat vegan except in Girona. Set yourself up a little bit for that.


  • we had a volkswagen polo 1.0. Which you can drive just fine, but in some steep places it had some trouble, then a 1.2 liter drives just a bit better
  • backpack or large bag (in fact, suitcase can be quite inconvenient with hotels and airbnbs where there are no elevators)
  • keep in mind that there are toll roads in Spain. The AP-7 is always tolls. From Barcelona to Girona, you pay about 10 euros in total. If you choose the C31 or C35, you don’t have to pay.
  • bring athletic shoes or shoes with good tread for great walks along the Camino de Ronda
  • Always have cash in my pocket. At least 20 euros, you can pin a lot but still there are times when you can’t.

Tip: Want to travel to Spain sustainably? Then go travel by train to Barcelona. From Barcelona or Girona, you can easily rent a car to make the road trip!

Want to know more about Spain? Then also read the following blogs: