Whitewashed fishing villages. Crystalline seawater. Underwater paradise areas and nature reserves with deep green, untouched landscapes. Small coves, hidden between rocky outcrops. Tourist towns like Lloret de Mar, Cadaqués and Roses. The Costa Brava forms a large tract of the Catalonian coast. It is proud of its traditions, birth-place and source of inspiration to Salvador Dalí, and home to impressive monuments and a wealth of history.

With rugged cliffs, pine forests, hidden coves and dream beaches, this is one of Spain's most picturesque areas: the Costa Brava. A land of sea, light, north winds and fishermen. History and art in the form of archaeological sites, monasteries, churches, bridges, monumental sites, fiestas and age-old celebrations, which all give a unique character to this area, stretching more than 200 kilometres over the north of Catalonia, in the province of Girona.

Thanks to its excellent climate, this part of the Catalonian coast has been one of the most sought-after destinations for tourists from all over the world for decades, enjoying a wide range of cultural activities all year round. Concerts, festivals and popular celebrations fill its towns and villages with music, colour, and joy. Come and savour a rum cremat as you listen to habaneras (traditional songs that evoke sea journeys of times gone by) on summer nights in Calella de Palafrugell. Travel back to the middle ages in Verges and watch the frightening Dança de la Mort (Dance of death). Discover the spectacular firework competition (one of the world's most important) in Blanes, or visit the unique Peralada Castle during its prestigious, internationally renowned music festival.

The Costa Brava also has an impressive variety of priceless historical-artistic heritage. This is the area's artistic and cultural inheritance. Take your time to explore the area's villages, enjoying exceptional landscapes all the while, including Romanesque churches and monasteries such as Sant Pere de Rodes, in Port de la Selva, the ancient citadel at Roses, the Greco-Roman ruins at Empúries, Catalonia's most visited archaeological site - the medieval town of Pals or Palamós, the walled town of Tossa de Mar, or, a little further into the interior, loose yourself in the unique old town of Girona, with its winding, age-old cobbled streets. Alternatively, in Figueres you can admire the art of surrealist genius Salvador Dalí, the Costa Brava's great international ambassador.

This wonderful part of the Catalonian coast inspired great artists such as Picasso, Klein and Marc Chagall, but it was surely Dalí who brought international fame to this corner of the Mediterranean. He was born and died in Figueres and the artist's mark can be seen throughout the village. Here you will find the Dalí Theatre-Museum, a work in itself, it is a must-see with its "egg-topped" towers and the huge dome beneath which the painter's remains lie at rest. Just a few kilometres away you will find Cadaqués, one of the Costa Brava's most emblematic villages, with its white fishermen's houses, home to the Salvador Dalí House Museum, in Portlligat, the artist's refuge, where he painted the majority of his greatest works. In the interior once again you will find the Castell Gala-Dalí House-Museum, in Púbol, with its garden of surrealist elephants and the crypt where Gala, the genius' muse, is buried.

Every year the Costa Brava, with its exceptional leisure and hotel infrastructure, attracts thousands of tourists. Places like Lloret de Mar offer the ideal place to spend a few days of sun and sand. The quality of its waters and coastline, with protected nature reserves, unspoilt coves, wide open beaches and paradise dive sites such as the Medes islands in L'Estartit, or the Formigues Islands in Palafrugell are a must for nature and water-sports lovers.

From Portbou, on the border with France, all the way to Blanes, a universe of culture, tradition, coast, sun, sport and unspoilt nature awaits you - spots that will captivate you from first sight and villages packed with history and art.

More information: Costa Brava Tourism department

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