13 incredible outdoor activities on the Costa Brava
The northeast coast of Catalonia, Spain, is also known as the Costa Brava, or “wild coast” – and with good reason. The stretch of coastline from the French border to the town of Blanes is known for its rugged landscape and wild sea, as well as kayaking, rock climbing, horseback riding and many other outdoor activities that will delight travelers who love active holidays – but, on the other hand, I love culture, good food and good company.
Since the 1960s, the Costa Brava, with its unspoiled nature and landscapes, has been a popular holiday destination. Much has been invested in promoting and improving outdoor activities. Of course, the already fabulous beaches, the good summer climate and the limitless possibilities for water sports helped.
Here are the most interesting outdoor activities on the Spanish Costa Brava that will delight the whole family.
1. Swimming in the sea
The Costa Brava offers miles of beaches suitable for swimming, but being the destination that it is, the waters can get crowded. Look for a beach with Vies Braves.
Catalan long-distance swimmer Miquel Sunyer saw no reason why only the strongest swimmers should enjoy the beautiful clear waters of the wild Costa Brava. He came up with the idea of establishing safe swimming lanes parallel to the coast – and soon the yellow beacons of the so-called Vies Braves appeared in the water. Since then, many kilometers of water all along the coast have been secured and allow everyone to bathe in a refreshing sea.
Kayaking is a particularly popular activity due to the many coves and rugged coastline of the Costa Brava. Kayaks are for rent practically everywhere, and there are plenty of schools around that take families on trips or give lessons to those who have never been able to kayak before. For those who want a longer kayaking trip instead, this 8-hour tour via GetYourGuide will probably be ideal.
3. Explore Cap De Creus
The Cap de Creus Natural Park, located between Cadaqués and Port de la Sella, is a rarity because it is the first seaport and land park of the country. Apart from preservation and protection, the park has an alluring beauty that will fascinate every visitor. The park also contains a monastery and hosts many conferences.
4. Horse riding
A great outdoor activity is a 4-day, 3-night horseback riding adventure at the family-run Mas Alba horse farm. The farm is not far from Girona or Barcelona and welcomes riders and horses. Breakfast and one meal per day are also provided. The highlight of this horseback riding experience is the dawn gallops and gallops along the beach. It is however not for novice riders.
5. Bungee jumping
As its name already suggests, the Costa Brava has no shortage of exciting activities. One of them is the highest bungee jump in the whole country, a 229ft drop in Lloret de Mar. Get excited and book your ticket here.
When it comes to climbing on the Costa Brava, the magic words are via ferrata. These are climbing routes of different difficulty levels. Along the Costa Brava they are mainly made of limestone and granite.
The via ferrata near Tossa de Mar, Cala del Molí, is particularly appealing because, as you climb or cross, the turquoise sea bubbles under your feet. Sant Feliu de Guíxols is the starting point of this route. Unlike other via ferrata (there are several in the world), this one is quite secure with iron ladders, steel bridges, ropes and slings.
Another via ferrata, but without the sea at your feet, is located in Ribes de Freser.
Before embarking on your climbing excursion, with or without a guide, find the appropriate equipment and bring it with you.
Note: If you suffer from vertigo, climbing is not recommended.
7. Frolic in water parks
Climbing may not be an activity suitable for all members of the family, but the three water parks on the Costa Brava will provide fun and relaxation for everyone. Children, for whom special sections are reserved, will be in heaven. The parks, Aquadiver Parc in Plajta d’Aro and Water World in Lloret de Mar, are very well equipped with wave pools, rapid rivers, etc.
8. The European Balloon Festival
The first two weeks of July celebrate the most spectacular festival on the Costa Brava, the European Hot Air Balloon Festival. More than 50 hot air balloons from all over the world gather in Igualada. Igualada is located in the province of Barcelona on the left bank of the Anoia river. Since 1997, hot air balloons have gathered here to compete and celebrate the sport. The festival attracts more than 25,000 visitors a year for four days of entertainment and shows. Hot air balloons take off at dawn or dust as these offer the best conditions for flights.
It’s not just competitors who can participate: guests can also fly, and the flight comes with pastries and champagne.
Catch extra magic at “Night Glow”, when the balloons are illuminated but do not leave their moorings.
9. Explore sea caves and beaches
Numerous sea caves line the coast of the Brava coast, and some even have whimsical names. The Cova de s’Infern (or Grotto of Hell) is located directly below the Cap de Creus lighthouse and gets its diabolical name from the red hue the light takes on at a certain angle. Cova d’en Gispert is the longest sea cave on the Costa Brava, and an anecdote has it that Salvador Dalí himself held a concert here because the acoustics were so amazing. Another story circulates that apparently a Russian woman owned the creek and rode down to the beach on a donkey to indulge, naked, in her bath.
10. Scuba diving
This part of the Mediterranean is one of the most popular diving centers in the sea due to its incredible seabed, the richness of its flora and fauna and, last but not least, the high quality of its schools. and diving centers. Aiguablava, Begur and Fornells are popular dive sites. Aiguablava is an example of an exceptional seabed due to the light blue that is home to gorgonian corals, posidonia meadows, etc. All nearby diving schools offer introductory courses.
Blanes and Cadaqués are other interesting places to dive along the Costa Brava.
11. Windsurfing and kitesurfing
With all these water sports, we cannot overlook windsurfing and kitesurfing. The beaches of the Costa Brava offer themselves to this, and there are certain places where the wind blows favorably.
One of them is the Golf de Roses, or Gulf of Roses, near the Pyrenees. Your best bet for windsurfing and kitesurfing at Golf de Roses is to book through the ION Club, an international water sports school and centre. This has the added benefit that your equipment will be well maintained. The proximity to the Pyrenees means that when you tire of surfing, you can easily move on to other outdoor activities, such as hiking or cycling in the mountains – and, of course, sample the delicious cuisine that this part of Europe has to offer.
12. Visit culturally rich cities
The most famous artist of the Costa Blanca cannot be forgotten in this list. Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres and came to the charming white village of Cadaqués. This is where his famous house stands (now Salvador Dalí’s house-museum) which attracts thousands of visitors every year. But it’s not just the artistic and romantic atmosphere of Cadaqués that draws visitors here, it’s also the stunning beaches and the enchanting natural park of Cap de Creus.
But Cadaqués does not have the only monument dedicated to Dalí on the Costa Brava. There is also his birthplace of Figueres, a rather bizarre place with a theater that Dalí turned into his private museum. A medieval tower is still part of the building, which is painted red with white eggs on top. Dalí was eccentric.
Hiking is one of the most popular and healthy outdoor activities. The Costa Brava is blessed with many coastal paths (all fairly easy), all with incredible views and some crossing places as beautiful as Roses, Blanes and Cadaqués. All the time with the soothing music of the sea in the background.
Here are three that are very pretty. The first is the Montgó Natural Park trail, which leads between Jávea and Dénia. A rocky path zigzags up the east face of the plateau, but other than the last bit which is a bit difficult, it’s not steep. The view of the Dénia coast is magnificent.
The Paseo Ecológico de Benissa starts at La Fustera beach and follows the coastline. The boardwalk is very well maintained and along the way there are picnic areas where you can rest.
Something a little different is the moonlight walk from Guadalest to Altea. You left for a romantic night. The walk is organized by the local Spanish Nordic Walking Federation to coincide with the full moon in late July/early August. It leads from the Guadalest Dam to the center of Altea, is about 20 km long and takes about 5 hours. The good news is that it’s all downhill. Bring long pants, hiking shoes, and headlamps.