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Where are the best beaches on the Costa Brava?

Llafranc view from lighthouse The Costa Brava has all sorts of beaches from little isolated coves to wide broad sand bays that stretch for kilometres (eg Pals or Palamos). With a coast line of 158 kilometres (100 miles), the beach you want is probably on the Costa Brava, you just need to know where to look...

Beaches on the Costa Brava location map for the main bays and beaches The main beaches on the Costa Brava that holidaymakers and tourists know tend to be the larger beaches backed by a town and hotels - like Lloret de Mar, or Tossa de Mar, or Platja d'Aro. However, the Costa Brava's hidden secret is that around the corner of each big beach is usually a smaller cove or cala and hidden bays or wild unspoilt beaches like Platja de Castell usually with better sand, or clearer water or better snorkelling. These are smaller bays and may have a restaurant or bar or two, but they are typically quieter and less developed than the big places with rock pools, crystal clear water and fewer of the normal tourist trappings.

To reach these smaller beaches you will usually need to walk or take a remote track and explore. If you are at a big resort, simply walk along the main beach to the very end and the chances are you'll find something much more interesting and more natural around the corner.

Each beach is unique. If you know where to look you can find the ideal beach for you. Fine sand, rock pools, bays for snorkelling, sailing, canoeing, completely natural, or surrounded by bars and restaurants.

In our swimming and beach series we have included details about each beach, the quality of swimming, facilities and things to look for.

The beaches of the Costa Brava are as follows from South to North! Click on the names for full articles

Blanes Big, sandy town beach, restaurants at back. Boats for trips up the coast.
Sant Cristina Semi-private beach run by Lloret council with access only from the top main entrance. The beach splits in two halves separated by a large rock/islet. Car parking is about €7 a day - good if you want to get away from the hubbub of Lloret's main beaches. Access is also available by Dofijet the coastal boat service from Lloret or Blanes
Boadella (Lloret) Smaller natural, sandy beach in amongst the rocks that is very popular with naturists with hidden nooks and crannies. Set just behind the Jardins de Sant Clotilde
Fenals (Lloret) The second town beach for Lloret de Mar, sandy, big bay good for children, with facilities for water sports, close to hotels and apartments of Fenals (Lloret) without the 'liveliness' of the main Lloret beach.
Lloret de Mar Very large vibrant holidaymakers beach backed by bars and restaurants with a smaller beach just under the castle at the northern end. Sand is a gritty and the water gets deep quickly. Lots of water sports and activities and young tourists, with bars and restaurants along the strip at the back.
Canyelles (Lloret) More secluded beach north of Lloret - sandy with a broad bay backed by villas and a few bars and restaurants access via road or one of the coastal boats. A good escape if the main beach of Lloret is too busy.
Cala Llevado/Llorell Just south of Tossa with access through a private estate or large campsite. Two large beaches with a beach club and a smaller secluded naturist beach at the bottom of the campsite.
Tossa de Mar

Three beaches - Es Codolar is a small beach beneath the castle with sand and clear waters in among the rocks.

The main town beach (Platja Gran) beneath the walls of the old village. This is a grit-like sand with a broad expanse of sand and then a large bay. The beach is backed by restaurants and bars and easy to reach from the town hotels.

La Mar Menuda is the third beach with a rocky outcrop at one end and also rough sand. This end of the beach is popular for diving and snorkling

Cala Pola Sandy bay just to the north of Tossa backed by a campsite and a hotel.
   
Canyet de Mar TBD
Sant Feliu de Guixols Large town beach, though not so popular with tourists as the bay looks out to the town harbour. Sand beach with a road behind, then a boulevard with restaurants - Sant Feliu is more popular with Catalan visitors than international tourists. Often there are platforms put out in the bay for swimmers.
Sant Pol (Sant Feliu de Guixols) Long broad and very pretty sand beach of a light grit consistency. The beach is backed by modernista houses that have been converted into restaurants and bars. Hotels are further back from the beach overlooking the bay so it does not feel over developed. Sailing, canoeing and pedalo hire is available. At the northern end are distinctive beach huts - a unique and traditional part of the beach from the 1920s and the very prestigious Hostel Sa Gavina hotel and estate of S'Agaro.
Sa Conca, S'Agaro Just around the corner from Platja d'Aro and part of the S'Agaro estate so a beach for those in the know. A broad natural beach with a rocky outcrop in the centre. Normally it has a swimming platform in the bay. The beach to the left has a rockier bay and is better for snorkelling. The beach to the right is sandier (small grit) and good for swimming. The headland for S'Agaro itself contains small rock inlets with crystal clear water for swimming.
Platja d'Aro Large town beach for Platja d'Aro with grit-type sand and a bay that shelves steeply. Normally there are swimming platforms put out and it's possible to get ride on bananas and other inflatables. Direct at the back of the beach are bars, restaurants and tall hotels. The main town shopping strip is several streets further back. Platja d'Aro is popular with holidaymakers and a main commercial centre. Visitors are more Spanish and families and so it is built up but without the excesses of Lloret.
Cala Rovira Sandy beach just on from the main Platja d'Aro beach that backs on to a campground and a couple of restaurants
Belladona and bays to Torre Valentina Collection of small, very pretty bays with clear water, rocks and sandy beaches at the back of the hotels Cala del Pi and Sant Jorge and the three major campsites between Platja d'Aro and Sant Antoni de Calonge (Calonge International, Cala Gogo and Treumal). The bays tend to be rocky which is good for snorkelling with small islets. It's possible to swim linking all the bays. The largest sandy beach is reached from steps down from under the footbridge.
Sant Antoni de Calonge Beaches within the bay of Palamos that are a little bit man-made with stone sea groynes to protect the beaches from the elements. The sand is rough mainly, but fine in some places. Swimming is not distinguished, but for smaller children the bays by the groynes are usually warm water with a gentle slope in to the water. Backed by some bars and restaurants.
Palamos main beach Broad beach that continues the stretch from Sant Antoni de Calonge but with the additional facilities of Palamos at the back. The beach is active with chiringuitos (beach bars), sailing, canoeing, volleyball and football nets. The sand is gritty with harder patches and at the town end looks directly out to the main town harbour/marina. As the bay is large, it is used for training for long-distance swimming. Palamos has lots of bars and restaurants in the old town at the end of the beach and a dedicated fishing port with freshly caught fish available daily.
La Fosca, Palamos Sand beach in two halves with a rocky outcrop in the middle. La Fosca has the softest sand and a very gently deepening bay so it's good for children. It's also one of the beaches that warms up first in summer. A slight downside is that at the height of summer when the water is fully warmed up the water clouds a little close to shore due to a harmless algae. Clearer water can be found out in the bay or to the rocks to the right. La Fosca is backed by a handful of restaurants and low-key apartments and feels quite genteel.
Platja de Castell The largest natural undeveloped beach on the Costa Brava. A broad bay with soft sand backed by woods and a protected natural area. Rocks and cliffs to the left under the runes of the iberian village are good for snorkelling and Castell is an excellent centre for taking canoes out to explore up the coast. There are two chiringuitos, canoe hire and some toilets but not much more. Car parking is set out in the fields the back of the beach with a €5 charge in summer.
Cala Estreta and wild beaches to El Crit and Cap Roig From Platja de Castell north, the area is protected and there are additional untouched beaches that can only be reached by walking and taking small tracks down, or by canoe or boat. Being natural there are no facilities. The beaches are sandy, but the bays tend to be rocky even at the waters edge. Perfect for snorkelling, but water footwear is advised. Being natural and hidden, these bays are very popular with naturists.
Calella de Palafrugell

Calella de Palafrugell has four beaches. The most southerly is Golfet which is an unspoilt rought sand and pebble beach, quite private from the main town, but linked by the Cami de Ronda to the next beaches.

Port Pelegri around to Port Bo has a collection of small sandy beaches (gritty type sand) with bays full of rocks and fish underneath the low cliffs. Great beaches for exploratory swimming and backed by the towns seaside restaurants and paseo path.

The fourth beach of Calella is Canadell which is larger, also with gritty sand and a rocky bay for snorkelling or seeing fish with a long distance swimming route around to Llafranc.

Llafranc A broad sandy beach with a deep sandy bay. The beach is backed by chic hotels and bars but retains and exclusive charm of an upmarket village. Canoeing is a good option as it's possible to canoe around to Calella de Palafrugell or all the way down to Castell.
Tamariu

Tamariu has a main sandy beach which can be a little gritty/pebbly in places. This has a diving board into the water from the rocks to the right hand side and is a deep bay for swimming. To the left hand side around past the last of the houses is a second pebbly beach which has clear water and is fabulous for spotting fish. Use as a base for canoeing to Aigua Xelida and the sea coves and caves towards Aiguablava.

Aigua Xelida

Tiny jewel of a beach set in amongst the cliffs and rocks but with crystal clear water and lots of coves and islets for adventure swimming including hidden ravines and coves on the far side of the bay. The main beach is so small it can only take about 40 sunbathers, but others go to the rockier areas. It's strongly recommended for the water and swimming, but wear water shoes as it is rocky underfoot.

Aiguablava/Fornells (Begur) Probably the prettiest beach on the Costa Brava with fine sand and crystal clear water, but it also quite small and so liable to get very over crowded in the peak of summer. The beach is framed by rocky cliffs to the left and right and views towards Fornells a little further along the coast. For swimmers, it's possible to swim the coves and inlets all the way to Fornells and back. The paid-for car park at the back gets very busy. There are 3-4 restaurants at the back of the beach and a Parador Hotel above it but little else.
Platja Fonda Beach under the cliffs just around the corner from Fornells, pebbly with small smooth darkish grey pebble stones but a deep clear bay with rocks the bottom and good opportunities for fish. The cliffs mean it gets shaded towards the end of the day, but a good option if you want to be away from the hordes.
Sa Tuna (Begur) The beach is rough and sandy, but has lots of character as it sits in a natural bay with white washed houses and an old fortified torre on one side, and a rocky penisular on the other. At the back are a few bars and restaurants. It's a good beach for swimming - lots to explore from the water side - and canoeing.
Sa Riera (Begur) Begur's biggest beach sits at the mouth of a small stream with views to the Islas Medes to the north. The beach is broad and sandy with an open bay which is good for long distance swimming. The bay is sandy in the main, but rocky to the left. In summer there are restaurants and bars at the back and the bay is has a small fishing village together with villas overlooking the bay.
Platja de Pals/ Isla Roja

Just at the southern end of the big big sandy beach of Platja de Pals is a rocky path that leads to the more discrete (and naturist) Platja de Isla Roja - a beach framed by cliffs and a tall red rock outcrop with golden, but gritty, sand. The rocks to the beach are often used for jumping.

The main Platja de Pals is a big broad beach that links all the way up to Gola de Ter where the beach meets the mouth of the river Ter which gives fresh and salt water swimming. The sand is a light grit/fine in some places with a bay that shelves deeply with a small current normally south to north. The beach is backed by a very popular summer resort of villas with restaurants, shops and supermarket and three golf-courses. The more northern parts of the beach are backed by campsites and tend to be a little wilder and more open. On windier days they are used for kite surfing. The light and views up to Torroella and the Islas Medes are normally exceptional.

L'Estartit Large and broad town beach that links down to the Gola de Ter (and so Platja de Pals). The sand is good and the bay gently slopping. L'Estartit itself has shops, bars and restaurants and is popular with British families. Boats can be taken out to the Islas Medes where the diving is said to be exceptional.
Cala Montgo (L'Escala) Beach in a half-moon bay with soft sand (a few pebbles in at the back). The beach is surrounded by villas and a small seasonal set of shops and restaurants over looking the bay, and further back a large international campsite. The bay is clear and mostly sandy, with long-distance swimming along the right under the cliffs.
Riells (L'Escala) North facing town beach - the largest beach actually in L'Escala. Gently sloping with fine sandy (with nets to prevent drifting sand in the winter). The area is backed by touristy shops, restaurants and facilities
L'Escala town beach Small beach on the northern side of the old fishing village with views all along the coast and across to Roses. This beach is small, but currently has plans for redevelopment
Sant Marti d'Empuries A delightful series of open sandy beaches from the outskirts of L'Escala, past Empuries Roman remains and up to the small hamlet of Sant Marti d'Empuries. The beaches are all sandy wth soft sand, but separated by rocky outcrops giving good gently sloping bays for swimming interspersed with rocks for snorkling. The beach just by Empuries has the remains of the ancient Greek harbour walls.
Sant Pere Pescador Sant Pere Pescador is on a long beach that runs behind the Balina Alegre and Dunes campsites among others. The beach is the longest on the Costa Brava and quite flat and open with few distinctive features. Being very large it's relatively easy to find quiet areas.
Empuriabrava/ Sant Margarida Empuriabrava and Sant Margarida continue the beach of the Gulf of Roses with a broad, open and relatively featureless beach.
Roses town beach The town beach at Roses is a broad gently sloping beach backed by the bars, restaurants and shops of Roses itself. The beach is long running from the port area and then joining up with the main Sant Margarida and onwards beach of the Bay of Roses.
Canyelles (Roses) Canyelles (Gros and Petit) are two small beaches just to the north of the main Roses town. The beaches are framed by hills behind them and form crescents of soft sand with a gently slope into the water. Behind the beaches are a number of bars and restaurants overlooking the bay. Parking in high summer can be difficult though and it may be simpler to walk from Roses.
Cadaques Cadaques has pebbly beaches and is not so well suited for a beach holiday.
Port de la Selva The sand of Port de la Selva is of a darker greyer variety than the more classic beaches to the south. Port de la Selva sits on a natural bay.
Llança Llança has a number of small bays running from the port with more of a greyer sand similar to that of Port de la Selva.
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