Best beaches in Costa Brava - photo copyright Malgorzata Kmita euroviajar.com
Guide to Spain >

The Best Beaches in Costa Brava for a Perfect Day Trip from Barcelona

Where are the best beaches in Costa Brava in Spain, easily reachable for a perfect day trip from Barcelona or a weekend getaway? Check out these 10 hidden gems in Costa Brava.

Catalonia is famous for its beaches – Costa Brava is the most well known coast of Spain. The name means rugged coast, as the shore is rocky and mountainous, with spectacular views from above and small hidden coves. There are also long beaches with fine golden sand, surrounded by pine forests.

After having lived in Barcelona for a year, going for beach getaways with friends or for organized trips with Catalan guides for all the summer season, I know Costa Brava well, I’ve been to all the places listed below and I’ll be happy to share all my best tips about them.

Euroviajar’s Tip

Camí de Ronda – Scenic Paths by the Sea

One of many beautiful Cami de Ronda - between Pals and Sa Riera
One of many beautiful Cami de Ronda – between Pals and Sa Riera

One of the fantastic and unique features of the Catalan coast are so called Camí de Ronda (Spanish: Camino de Ronda) – paved paths in numerous places along the coast of Costa Brava. They were built in 19th and 20th century by the Guardia Civil for security and prevention of smuggling, and later used by the army.

Nowadays, they are some of the Europe’s finest and most scenic footpaths along the sea, connecting sea towns and beaches all along the coast of Catalonia, Spain.

1. Tossa de Mar

Scenic castle in Tossa de Mar, Spain
Scenic castle in Tossa de Mar, Spain

Dominated by extremely beautiful, huge castle, this town is probably the most recognizable sea resort of Spain. It offers certainly one of the best beaches in Costa Brava – wide, long and with splendid views. It is quite crowded and very lively, so it’s perfect for fun holidays with lots of activities, but not if you look for peace and quiet.

There is another small and pretty beach – Platja d’es Codolar, with a stunning location just below thw castle’s towers.

The medieval town of Tossa de Mar is one of the most lovely Catalonian towns, with labirynth of cobbled streets and fantastic multi-level views. The best views can obviously be admired from the castle ruins. On the top of the castle hill there is also a pretty lighthouse with a museum and cafe with spectacular seaview.

Read more about 15 Most Romantic Towns in Spain

If you are in good physical condition, I highly recommend an extremely satisfying trekking north from the town along the shore, in the aromatic forest, on scenic cliffs to Cala Bona. Cala Bona is a small narrow inlet with marvellous water and spectacular rocks. Truly unforgettable.

Bars

There are plenty of gorgeous bars and restaurants all around. It’s definitely a great place for eating out and drinks.

Best For

Groups of friends, families and couples – as long as fun and various activities are what you like most. If you prefer tranquillity, go elsewhere.

How To Get There

By bus or by car to Tossa de Mar.

Best Trips to Tossa de Mar

Best of Costa Brava with Boat Ride and Tossa Visit

From Barcelona: Costa Brava Coastal Path Hike & Tossa de Mar

Discover the Costa Brava Full-Day Tour from Barcelona

2. Platja de l’Illa Roja

Splendid Platja de l'Illa Roja, Spain
Splendid Platja de l’Illa Roja, Spain

The setting of Platja de Illa Roja is nothing less than spectacular. You see it high from above before descending on a very pleasant paved path (Cami de ronda) with amazing seaview. Its name translates into the Red Island, due to reddish rocks surrounding it, with a very characteristic huge rock in the middle of the beach. It is mostly a nudist beach, but you can stay in your costume as we did (a large group of friends), nobody cares. While you are on the beach, you see only beautiful nature all around you. It’s a really special place.

Bars

There are no bars on the beach, it’s all natural, so remember to bring your own water and food. In case you didn’t, go further to a more towny beach with numerous bars, restaurants and shops – Platja de Sa Riera – it’s pretty, too.

Best For

People who enjoy walking and don’t get tired in the sun – there is a descend (and then ascend of course) to reach the beach. Moreover, keep in mind that it’s mostly a nudist beach, not everybody likes that.

How To Get There

By car to Sa Riera town, then walk towards Platja de Sa Riera and then follow the beautiful paved path to Platja de l’Illa Roja.

Be sure to visit also wonderful nearby town – Pals – read the tip in #3 below.

3. Platja de Pals

Long, large golden beach Platja de Pals - one of the best beaches in Costa Brava, Spain
Long, large golden beach Platja de Pals – one of the best beaches in Costa Brava

Platja de Pals is one of the longest and widest – and therefore one of the best beaches in Costa Brava. It’s pretty and has nice views. From there, you can easily proceed to Platja de Illa Roja and Platja de Sa Riera described above – they are all connected with the same extremely scenic paved path. It’s a marvellous walk, highly recommended!

Bars

There are some bars and restaurants in the area.

Best For

Everybody. Comfortable for a family and people who don’t want to walk around, just lie on the beach. But perfect also for people who want to take a scenic walk described above.

How To Get There

By car, a short drive from Pals town (which is on the hilltop and not by the sea).

Euroviajar’s Tip:

After a day on the beach, don’t miss the extremely beautiful medieval town of Pals nearby. It’s enchanting and very romantic, with its stony houses and narrow cobbled streets.

Charming medieval town - Pals, Catalonia, Spain
Charming medieval town – Pals, Catalonia, Spain

Best Trips to Pals

Barcelona: Full-Day Medieval Guided Tour with Lunch

Barcelona: Full-Day Costa Brava and Dalí Museum Tour

4. Platja de Castell (Palamós)

Splendid natural Platja de Castell, one of the best beaches in Costa Brava, Spain
Splendid natural Platja de Castell, one of the best beaches in Costa Brava, Catalonia

This beautiful secluded beach is one of the most natural beaches in Catalonia. It is surrounded by pine forest and rocks, and protected from the wind. It is truly relaxing spending a day here without the noise of the cars or hotels – because there aren’t any. There is a noble house nearby, which used to host guest such as Salvador Dalí and Marlena Dietrich, which should be a good recommendation for a beach! At the promontory there are ancient Iberian ruins. It’s definitely among the best beaches in Costa Brava.

On Cami de ronda - a footpath with spectacular views between La Fosca and Platja de Castell
On Cami de ronda – a footpath with spectacular views between La Fosca and Platja de Castell

Nearby there is another very pretty spot – Cala S’Alguer with small whitewashed fishermen houses.

Bars

There is a couple of nice resto-bars serving lunch and ice-cream.

Best For

Very comfortable for a family, as it’s big, not crowded and safe. Perfect also for people who want to take a scenic hike through the forest (details below). Calm and tranquil spot.

How To Get There

By car, on the road from Palamós towards Palafrugell. However, the greatest way to get there is from La Fosca beach along a cami de ronda (coastal footpath); it’s moderately tiring so you need to be fit.

Best Trips to Platja de Castell & la Fosca beaches

Costa Brava Full-Day Hike from Barcelona

Hidden Beaches of Costa Brava Full-Day Tour from Barcelona

5. Sa Conca

Sa Conca - even if very crowded in August, it's one of the best beaches in Costa Brava
Sa Conca – even if very crowded in August, it’s one of the best beaches in Costa Brava

Cala Sa Conca is a pretty cove surrounded by a lot of greenery. Its pleasant and natural location with the pine forest around makes it very popular. It is a nice place for a day by the sea, with it’s golden sand and shallow waters. One of the best aspects of it is that you reach it by one of the prettiest Cami de ronda paths – see below.

Bars

There is a bar by the beach.

Best For

Everybody. Comfortable for a family.

How To Get There

By car to S’Agaró, then walk along wonderful Cami de ronda (easy to walk, mostly quite flat).

6. Platja de Sant Pol (S’Agaró)

View at the beach of Sant Pol in Sant Feliu de Guixols, Costa Brava, Spain
View at the beach of Sant Pol in Sant Feliu de Guixols

Euroviajar’s Tip

Don’t mix up Sant Pol beach in S’Agaró/Sant Feliu de Guíxols that we write here about, with Sant Pol de Mar town closer from Barcelona – it’s also a beach town, but less attractive.

Sant Pol beach in S’Agaró has a more urban charactered – it’s a builded-up beach, but it’s long, pretty and lively. It has a wooden boardwalk, a row of charming colourful changing rooms, and all along it there is a typical beach promenade with plenty of bars and restaurants.

One of the most scenic Cami de ronda - close to S'Agaró
One of the most scenic Cami de ronda – close to S’Agaró

It’s a nice place, especially because it gives you a lot of options. You can do some beach activities: rent a pedal-boat or a kayak. If you want a nice walk, the splendid Cami de ronda described in #5 above starts right there – and you’ll love it. And if you just want to relax, you have a great choice of bars.

Bars

Numerous restaurants and bars along the beach.

Best For

Everybody (quite animated). Comfortable and safe for a family.

How To Get There

By car to S’Agaró or Sant Feliu de Guíxols.

Address: Passeig Sant Pol 17220 Sant Feliu de Guíxols

Best Sport Trips to Costa Brava

From Barcelona: 8-Hour Costa Brava Kayak and Snorkel Tour

7. Platja d’Empúries (L’Escala)

The archaeological site in Empuries, L'Escala, Spain
The archaeological site in Empuries, L’Escala, Spain
Intensely turquoise water in the cove close to L'Escala
Intensely turquoise water in the cove close to L’Escala

L’Escala was the first place I’ve ever visited in Spain and I’ve stayed for 3 weeks, so I know it well. What makes this resort of Costa Brava famous are the extensive ruins of the ancient city of Empúries, founded by Greeks and subsequently expanded by Romans. This huge and important archaeological area is located by the sea. Behind the row of trees, there is Platja d’Empúries, one of many longer and smaller sandy beaches of L’Escala.

Bars

Directly on this beach there is not much. There are many bars and restaurants in the area close enough.

Best For

Everybody. Comfortable for a family and people who want just to lie on the beach. Otherwise, on the main beach in L’Escala there are plenty of activities to do.

How To Get There

By car to L’Escala.

Best Trips to Empúries

From Barcelona: Empúries and Medes Islands by Boat

8. Cadaqués

Poetic beauty of Cadaques, Spain - beloved town of Salvador Dali
Poetic beauty of Cadaques, Spain – beloved town of Salvador Dali
Llané Petit beach in Cadaqués with Es Sortell island at the background (photo copyright Małgorzata Kmita euroviajar.com)
Llané Petit beach in Cadaqués with Es Sortell island at the background

This town seems a painting of a perfect Spanish sea village rather than reality. It’s incredibly beautiful, all of it, everywhere. Cadaqués was beloved by Salvador Dalí who lived in nearby Port Lligat for many years – his house was turned into a museum worth a visit. Harmonious overlapping rows of very Mediterranean white houses with orange tiles, greenery and flowers, beautiful little marina and lovely mountainous shore make this place extremely beautiful.

I recommend to buy a boat trip to Cap de Creus – it lets you see lovely landscapes and fantastic view of the town seen from water.

The best beach in the area is Cala Jugadora on Cap de Creus, which you can reach by car.

There are several small beaches in Cadaqués. They are not the best beaches of Spain, as they are mostly stony, not sandy, or with gravel, but the dreamy views from them make up for it.

Some little stony beaches with pretty view at the town are:

  • Platja es Sortell d’en Ter – next to a small island Es Sortell with great views at Cadaqués and pretty path on the rocks;
  • Es Llané with flat rock “shelves”
  • Llané Petit with stones

Bars

Directly on this beaches there is nothing. There are many bars and restaurants in the town.

Best For

Everybody (unless you hate non-sandy beaches). Cadaqués is extremely romantic for a couple.

How To Get There

By car to Cadaqués.

Best Trips to & from Cadaqués

From Barcelona: Cap De Creus Natural Park Hike

Dalí Triangle & Cadaqués Day-Trip From Girona

Fantastic view from Es Sortell island at Cadaques (copyright euroviajar.com)
Fantastic view from Es Sortell island at Cadaques

Other Best Beaches in Costa Brava

Read more about 15 Most Romantic Towns in Spain

Read more about Caribbean Beaches in Europe

Do you want to recommend other amazing places and best beaches in Costa Brava? Or do you have any questions? Leave a comment. And if you like this article – share it!

Other Great Day & Half-Day Trips from Barcelona to Costa Brava

From Barcelona: 6-Hour Costa Brava Kayak and Snorkel Tour

From Barcelona: Girona and Costa Brava Private Tour w/ Lunch

Girona and Costa Brava Small Group Day Trip from Barcelona

Costa Brava Half-Day Tour from Barcelona

Photos Copyright: Małgorzata Kmita Euroviajar.com

Author

Małgorzata Kmita

Chief Editor & Writer of euroviajar.com, a serial expat - I've lived in 7 countries, I speak 7 languages, and I travelled to 39 countries so far. I have a deep interest in understanding the culture and lifestyle of various countries and regions. I'm always looking for the authentic local habits, tastes and surprises that give a certain place its character.

2 thoughts on “The Best Beaches in Costa Brava for a Perfect Day Trip from Barcelona

Wow amazing photos! Great beaches! Very interesting about this cami de ronda, thank you for tips

Hi Monica, you’re welcome :) I’m glad you liked it. All these places are so much worth seeing!

Leave a Reply

Please, review your comment. The length must be longer than 5 characters..
Your comment is correct.
Please, review your name. It must use alphabetical characters and a length between 3 and 30.
Your name is correct.
Please, review your email. The format must be [email protected]
Your e-mail is correct.
Please, review the URL of your website.
Your URL is correct.