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What about restaurants, hotels etc?

For restaurants and hotels and other types of tourist entertainment this probably isn't the right site as we're more aimed at walking and exploring the countryside. The Costa Brava is highly regarded for good food with several Michelin restaurants. Many of the best restaurants are inland in converted masias close to the old medieval towns.

If you're really looking for a restaurant or hotel then generally Tripadvisor would be the best place to go. There are some great restaurants and hotels here - several Michelin starred restaurants and plenty of hotels written up in the UK national press.

For holidaymakers it can be a surprise that many of the better restaurants are actually inland, often in converted old masia farmhouses close to some of the old medieval villages. The best restaurants are also open pretty much all year round as their main clientele are local people and Catalan visitors in the know. It's usually possible to find them because of the number of cars nearby for Saturday or Sunday lunch.

It's also fair to say that the local restaurants are often busiest for the mid-day meal ('Dinar' here) which is the main meal of the day in Catalonia and means people, and shops, usually take a two to three hour lunchbreak. Evening meals are often taken late (starting at 9.00pm or even later) - anyone in a restaurant before 8.30pm is a tourist - and may only be available at weekends and festive days.

One Spanish tradition is that Paella, which is very common, is eaten on Thursdays and normally at mid-day. This is like a school/childhood tradition that continues to today.

Most traditional meals here are relatively simple. Food is taken in three courses - first plate (primera), second plate (segona) and desert (postre). The primera and segona don't really match to starter and main course and are about the same size. Often the segona is the meat or fish but it is served with very few vegetables or sides.

Common local dishes in addition to the abundant fish are Pa amb Tomate (Toasted bread which you brush with oil, salt, garlic and very fresh tomato), escalivada - roast peppers, courgettes and aubergine in oil, arros negre - rice cooked in squid ink to make it dark, fideus - a pasta version of paella, and mar and muntanya - a mix of meat and fish. You will also find that snails (cargols) are a speciality.

One famous local delicacy are Palamos prawns. These are considered amongst the world's finest as the waters around the Costa Brava are feed by the waters of the Pyrenees. Unfortunately, even in local markets, they are extremely expensive - around €50+ a kilo.

Emporda is also a wine region and it is possible to organise wine-tasting tours around the local vineyards. Other Catalonia wines include Cava from the Penedes region south of Barcelona and the highly regarded Priorat from the hills close to Tarragona.

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