What to see and do on the Costa Brava
In the Summer of 2015 we went to the lovely city of Roses on the Costa Brava (the rugged coast). We had previously spent a couple of days in busy Barcelona, so going to the small and charming city of Roses was a great way to unwind. We found an amazing apartment on Airbnb on the cliffs of Roses, which gave us a spectacular view of the sea and mountains in the horizon. Roses has a lot of tourists and there's not that much to do in the actual town (other than totally relax), so we started looking for other things to do during our stay in July.
We spent 9 days in Roses, which means that we pretty much saw everything - several times. Roses has a lot of tourists in the summer (mainly French) and most people go here to just go to the beach and lay around all day (not a bad thing). We definitely had our lazy days at the beach and at the pool, but after a couple of days you want to go on an adventure or two.
We want to make sure that you go to all of the right places when you're visiting the Costa Brava and Roses, so here are our recommendations.
1. Walk the coastal route of Roses
From the city centre you can actually go on a really beautiful hike along the coast. The footpath takes you up and down along the cliffs, overlooking the fantastic bays, beaches and alcoves. We went to Platja Canyelles several times, which is a really nice and more secluded beach than the one's you'll find around the city centre. It's actually possible to hike all the way to Cadaqués from Roses, but it's going to be at least 3 hours, so you need to leave early if you want to avoid the scorching heat that hits around midday. A great walk and an amazing way to get some exercise when visiting Roses.
2. Visit the Coll de Roses Vineyard
Even if you're not a wine fanatic you should spend 45 minutes during one of your days in Roses to go to the Coll de Roses family vineyard. The 'wine museum', as they call it, includes a tour of the vineyard and several tastings of the vineyard own wine. There are several different tours to go on for visitors and cost between 9-15€ for each tour (lasts about an hour). This is a great experience for wine-lovers, but also a great way for anyone to learn more about what to look for when tasting wine, as well as learn more about how wine is actually produced. We highly recommend going here.
3. Go to Cadaqués with one of the ferries
From the city centre of Roses you can buy tickets (around 15€ return) for a ferry that will take you to the picturesque city of Cadaqués. The ferry ride takes about 50 minutes and is a great adventure. You sail all along the coast, which allows you to see all of the small bays along the coast and the amazing cliffs that surround the coast. The ferry will drop you of in the harbour of Cadaqués. The town of Cadaqués is beyond beauty and once you get there you'll immediately understand why artists such as Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso chose to live there. Make sure to see the old church of the city, take a swim on one of the lovely beaches and go to Casa Anita for lunch (a local favourite and some of the best seafood we ever had). The ferry allows you to stay in Cadaqués for about 6-7 hours, so you should have plenty of time to explore the city.
4. Go to Cap de Creus to see Salvador Dalí's house
A 5 minute drive from Cadaqués you'll find Cap de Creus. The small bay and area of Cap de Creus is stunning and very picturesque, but the main reason that people go to Cap de Creus is to see Salvador Dalí's old summer house. Situated just by the water you'll find Dalí's old house. It's a very popular tourist destination during the Summer and it's required to make reservations to go to the museum prior to your arrival, as only small groups are let in at once. The small village also has some cafés and bars, so you can easily spend half a day here. Well worth the visit.
5. Visit Vila Vella in Tossa de Mar
If you have rented a car then make sure to take a day trip to Tossa de Mar and see the Old Town (Vila Vella). This walled medieval town is truly beautiful and it's fun to walk around the small cobbled streets and daydream a little. The Vila Vella is situated just by the water so the trip here will give you great views and there are also several beaches right next to Vila Vella so you can go have a swim here if you want to get away from your local beach.