On our recent holiday to Platja D’Aro we took the opportunity to explore several of the other resorts in the area. Towns along the Costa Brava coastline enjoy a typically Mediterranean climate with moderate temperatures and during October half term when we went, the temperature was about 20 degrees compared to about 11 degrees at home. Our base was in Platja D’Aro but from there we explored Girona, Blanes, Lloret and Calella de Palafrugell during our week long stay.
Platja D’Aro www.platjadaro.cat
The town of Platja D’Aro itself was originally a small fishing village but now is a resort popular with Catalans and villa owning northern Europeans. It is a modern and cosmopolitan place with plenty of shops and restaurants and the bustling Avinguda de S’Agaro is the home to many of these boutiques and a street we ended up on every day as it was just a block from our accommodation, Hotel Bell Repos.
We found that during the week we visited in, it was the end of their holiday season so many of the shops and half the restaurants were open but when the weekend arrived, all the shops and restaurants sprang into life, giving us a glimpse of what we could expect in high summer.
Platja D’Aro has the biggest beach in the area, Platja Gran but along the coastline are other intimate coves, giving an exclusive feel to your bathing experience. We walked along Platja Gran and the kids paddled in the sea and played on the climbing frames but we didn’t go sunbathing until later in the week.
The town has a ‘Family Tourism Destination’ certification from the Catalan Agency for Tourism which means that families can feel assured that they’ll find a warm welcome and facilities for their needs including leisure, tranquility, culture, educational activities and quality beaches. We found that our children were welcomed at every shop and restaurant we went to where the staff made an effort to engage with them.
Platja D’Aro is a beachside town in the middle of the coastline so other resorts are accessible. It is ideally located to explore the neighbouring towns and this is what we did!
The first destination we visited outside of Platja D’Aro was Blanes, just less than an hours’ drive from where we were staying. Blanes is often referred to as the ‘Garden of the Mediterranean’ due to its lush plants and flowers on the landscape and the two botanical gardens in the region. The Tordera Delta is a Catalan river and this area is protected due to its flora and fauna as well as being an important area for migratory birds. Many people flock to the area to observe nature there.
We spent our few hours in Blanes along the beachside promenade, enjoying a relaxed walk along the coast and basking in the sun that we’d been missing! The beach itself was uncrowded with just a few families and couples strolling barefoot and I recorded this video of the waves meeting the shore.
We stopped for a cappuccino at a very pretty beachside bar where I shared this photo on Instagram.
Then we walked a bit further until the kids were hungry when we stopped for fresh home-made burgers at a restaurant along the promenade. It was a very calm, sunny and pleasant day where we spent time together, enjoying being in each other’s company and hanging out. As a matter of interest, Blanes is famous for fireworks and in July hosted its 45th International Fireworks Competition where over 120,000 spectators each day came to enjoy a theatre of fireworks!
Lloret has long been a favourite tourist destination for British holidaymakers and during our week we did manage to get there for an evening. My husband wanted to drive along the winding mountain road so we headed there to have something to eat before heading back to Platja D’Aro. I took a few nice shots whilst we were walking through the town.
We walked along some of the streets near the beach where plenty of the other tourists were but we didn’t spot any little restaurants that looked like the kind of places that would offer the sort of experience we were after, so as the kids were getting hungry and tired we all went to KFC for a bite before heading back!
Girona is a fabulous year-round city that has a mix of the old, historic town and the bustling modern part with the shops, businesses and restaurants.
We made a point of having a day out there during the holiday and it didn’t disappoint. We parked up at the centrally located Hotel Carlemany then walked to the old town where the cathedral was and watched the locals getting ready for a bank holiday celebration the next day. We saw them preparing for their famous human towers spectacle which my fellow blogger Gretta caught on camera as she was there at the same time as us! The streets were narrow and quaint and it was in one of these little streets that we found a T-shirt shop where my husband bought himself a ‘Sons of Anarchy- SAMCRO’ T-shirt! He was delighted with his discovery so everyone happy, we headed off to lunch.
I’d arranged to meet the lovely Gemma from the Costa Brava Tourist Board for tapas at the Indigo Restaurant at the Hotel Carlemany. I was looking forward to introducing Gemma to my family and getting a bit more information from her about Girona and the Costa Brava in general. Apparently next year Jet2 will be launching a new flight path to Girona from my local airport, Manchester making it even easier for us to visit again! Flying to Girona airport would allow us a quicker drive to Platja D’Aro than what we had from Barcelona (1 hour 20 minutes) and it’s always nice to have plenty of options!
Calella de Palafrugell
The best weather of the week came out the day we went to Calella de Palafrugell. This little fishing village along the coastline was a real ‘find’ – it had few tourists and we were there with mostly locals, a sure sign of a great resort! We enjoyed some time eating ice creams and reading our books on the beach before dining in one of the beautiful beachside restaurants and their food was out of this world!
This very pretty report had an exclusive feel to it. It has few hotels so does not attract the mass tourism that other Costa Brava resorts enjoy although there are campsites a short drive away. It has a nice coastline and there is an easy coastal path between this village and Llafranc which many visitors enjoy walking along. Let me show you my delicious lunch that day!
Next time I’ll tell you more about family activities in the area! Click here for all my Costa Brava posts