What to see in the Costa Brava with kids: Top 10 places
A whole network of resort towns add up to a beautiful mosaic called the Costa Brava. The most famous of them are Lloret de Mar, Tossa de Mar, Cadaqués, Sagaro, Playa de Aro, Blanes and Ampuria-Brava.
Costa Brava is not a separate resort, but an entire coast of the Spanish Mediterranean. More precisely – the Catalan. For the locals the difference is crucial. After all, as you know, the Catalans do not consider themselves Spaniards, and for many years they have been claiming their own independent state. Their own language, their own culture and their own customs – all this makes the Costa Brava a special place. This same flavor and attracts thousands and thousands of tourists from around the world.
Once a wild places “rocky coast” – and this is one of the variants of the translation of the name “Costa Brava” – today built up with fashionable hotels, huge water parks and obligatory objects of tourist infrastructure – souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. They say that this coast is the best place for retirees or teenagers. But in fact, a rest on the Costa Brava with children is also a pleasure! There are a lot of interesting things for the smallest tourists.
Excursions in Barcelona
The most interesting excursions are the routes of the local people on Tripster. Start with a guided tour of Barcelona. Walk from Plaça Catalunya to the seafront and map out routes for future walks. And devote a day to a field trip to Girona and the Dali Museum. For school-age children, the first exposure to the work of the great artist will be an unforgettable experience.
Where to go with children in the Costa Brava?
1. City beaches on the coast
What kid wouldn’t love a beach with golden sand and emerald waters of the Mediterranean Sea? And what is remarkable – its beaches are in every town on the Costa Brava, from Tossa de Mar to Blanes. All of them are perfectly landscaped and offer a full range of services for tourists. The sea access is in 95% of cases ideal for children.
2 Water World Water Park
This huge water park is located on the outskirts of the town of Lloret. There are several areas for children of different ages. From the upper terrace you can enjoy a marvelous view of the mountains and the resort of Lloret.
Where to go with a child in the Costa Brava: Water World
3. Port Aventura
The most popular amusement park in Spain is on the Costa Brava. Not to visit it would be a huge omission! For the youngest guests there is the mini-park Sesame Aventura. For older children, will be interested in a steep roller coaster, performances of the world famous circus show Cirque du Soleil and a new large-scale attraction “Angkor: The adventures in the lost kingdom. The official website www.portaventuraworld.com is in Russian, you can check ticket prices, opening hours, etc.
4. Marymurtra Botanical Gardens
This gardening marvel is located in Blanes and is considered one of the most beautiful places in Spain. It is full of bizarre tropical plants, beautiful palm alleys and the opportunity to take pictures with the jocular parrots, which neither children nor adults can ignore.
5. Malgrat de Mar
It’s a big green park with plenty of fun fairy-tale and surreal sculptures. It has its own gingerbread house, a colorful steam train for the little ones, and a large playground made entirely of wood for the older kids. And the park’s sprawling trees provide excellent shade – so you can walk with young children here even on hot and sunny days.
6. Tossa de Mar Fortress
The medieval fortress is a unique opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the age of knights, literally without leaving the beach. The most famous fortification of the Costa Brava, designed as a defense against pirate raids, is just a stone’s throw from the local beaches – on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Beach in the resort of Tossa de Mar Tossa de Mar is a place worth showing your child!
7. Marine Reserve in the Medes Islands
This is an opportunity to introduce children to the colorful world of flora and fauna of the Mediterranean Sea by taking a trip on a boat with a transparent bottom. Colorful, nimble fish and exotic algae can be seen from the boat below your feet!
8. Port Vell Aquarium
Located not on the coast, but in Barcelona itself. With older children, taking a half-day trip from one of the Costa Brava resorts to the capital of Catalonia is unlikely to be a problem. And to see a collection of several dozen huge aquariums, where there are more than 400 species of oceanic and marine fish – a great success! For any child (or adult) the spectacle will be unforgettable. Here, next to the aquarium, there is also an IMAX cinema where you can relax from the tour while watching a fascinating feature or animated film.
- For all the details, visit www.aquariumbcn.com.
- Official dealer admission tickets can also be purchased at the popular www.getyourguide.com. The cost is without a surcharge and there is no line for admission.
9. The cable car to Montjuïc
On the same day you can visit another one of the wonders of Barcelona – the ski elevator on Mount Montjuïc, where you can see the panorama of the coast in all its beauty from a bird’s eye view. Of course, if your child is not afraid of heights, you can go with your child to the cable car.
View from the Montjuïc viewpoint in Barcelona
10. Park “Catalonia in Miniature
A tradition in almost every major city in Europe, the Museum of Miniatures allows you to walk through the distinctive Catalan region. In just a few hours they can see the most colorful sights of all the surrounding cities of Barcelona. Here kids will see scaled-down copies of medieval castles of the Costa Brava. And of course the architectural pearl of the region – the beauty of Barcelona. The official site is www.catalunyaenminiatura.com.
Places of entertainment for the child on the map
We have mapped all the places you can visit with children during your holiday on the Costa Brava. It will be easier to orient yourself and plan your actions.
Interesting facts about the Costa Brava
- The name “Costa Brava” was given to the closest to Barcelona coast only in 1908 by a Catalan journalist Ferran Agulho y Vidal.
- From any small town in the Costa Brava to the capital of the region – no more than a few tens of kilometers. Traveling with a child is a pleasure!
- The oldest town of the region, Blanes is the southernmost point of the coast. Traces of the first settlements in these places are dated by archaeologists in 218 BC.
- The mountains of the Costa Brava abound with many ancient and medieval architectural monuments, from prehistoric dolmens to the ruins of once magnificent castles of the age of knights and beautiful ladies.
- The famous Surrealist museum of the great native Salvador Dali is also located in the Costa Brava. In a place called Figueres.
Question – answer
Is the climate of the Costa Brava suitable for children?
Yes, it is. It is considered one of the mildest in Spain, with warm winters and not too grueling summers. High season begins on the Costa Brava in late May and lasts until early October. True, children will be able to swim, rather in the summer months, when the temperature stays around 28-32 °. Humidity in the resorts around Barcelona is moderate, which is also in favor of children’s rest.
Which resort on the Costa Brava should I choose for a holiday with my child? Are there any special features or any specialization of the coastal towns?
There is no specialization of the Costa Brava resorts – with children go to any of the coastal towns, if only the tours were at a good price. Mainly because the beaches everywhere are sandy, and the entrance to the sea is comfortable even for kids. Is that family-oriented hotels (with a children’s program, swimming pools, entertainment) are more in Lloret de Mar and Blanes. In this case, the most party place is Tossa de Mar. So if you want a little quieter holiday, Tossa de Mar is worth a trip with a child to see the fortress, and to choose another place to live.
The coast of Spain, where the pine-covered spurs of the Pyrenees descend directly to the Mediterranean Sea, is called the Costa Brava – a rocky, wild coast. Whether because the coast of the province of Girona is so called because the mountains seem impregnable, or because these areas were unknown to tourists until the mid-twentieth century …
But today the Costa Brava is synonymous with summer holidays for families at a relatively low cost. In addition, many resorts in this region specialize in family tourism and have a special certificate issued by the Catalan Tourism Agency. This means that holidays with children in the Costa Brava will be a success.
Costa Brava on the map of Spain
The Costa Brava is located in eastern Spain, in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, in the province of Girona. The “wild coast” stretches from the town of Portbow in the north, near the border with France, to the town of Blanes in the south. The distance from the administrative center of the province – the city of Girona – to the main resorts: Blanes – 58 km, Lloret de Mar – 56 km, Tossa de Mar – 52 km, L’Estartit – 24 km, Roses – 61 km, Portbouw – 78 km.
The aptly named Costa Brava first appeared in the early twentieth century – that was the title of an article about the sea coast of Catalonia. But tourists learned about where the Costa Brava is only 1970s. And very soon there was a specialization of its resorts.
Lloret de Mar, Blanes, Roses, Sant Antoni de Calonge, Sant Feliu de Guixols have a certificate of family tourism destination (DTF) issued by the Catalan Tourism Agency. This means that the towns have free children’s clubs on the beaches, animation and children’s leisure programs, playgrounds and parks.
What else to mention about the geographical advantages of the Costa Brava? Undoubtedly, the proximity to Barcelona. An hour’s drive and here you are, instead of lying on the beach, walking down the Ramblas, admiring the fantasy of Antoni Gaudi and climbing the mountain Tibidabo to see the whole of Barcelona.
Holidays with children
Costa Brava could be called a region of contrasts, if it were not a contrast between good and… good. Impregnable mountains – and ennobled beaches, ancient Roman ruins – and modern hotels, wildlife – and plenty of fun activities, colorful local restaurants – and “all-inclusive” hotels. In general, a holiday in the Costa Brava can be tailored to your needs and spend your time the way you want it. Why do we recommend vacationing in the Costa Brava with kids? There are several reasons for that.
The first reason is the absence of heat. No other resort area in Spain can boast such mild weather in the middle of the summer. Here you can rest in the peak season with your infant and not face the hardships of acclimatization.
True, even in September in the Costa Brava is cool for a beach holiday, but the September weather is ideal for excursions.
The second is a convenient shuttle service. The journey from the airport to any resort takes no more than an hour, even if you take public transport. Third – the abundance of options than to occupy a child . The Costa Brava has a whole network of activities for children, from playgrounds on the beaches to amusement parks. As for museums, they are more like entertainment centers.
Nearby to the Costa Brava is Barcelona: as soon as you get bored with the beaches and mountains, go to a bright, bustling city with a huge amount of entertainment for the whole family.
The fourth and main reason is that hotels cater to travelers with children. Maximum amenities for young guests, from cribs to babysitting services, will give the opportunity to fully relax with a child.
When to go
The beach season in the Costa Brava is frustratingly short, from early June to mid-September. The period when you can swim in the sea, even shorter – the water is warm only in July and August. But, fortunately, the rest on the wild coast is not limited to beach pastime.
Firstly, the opening of the season in the Costa Brava can be celebrated not by diving into the sea, but by going on an excursion. In May it’s very pleasant to travel through small towns, and in Barcelona in the spring is much easier to breathe. Secondly, the choice of the best time to go to the Costa Brava can be influenced by information about holidays.
In Catalonia, it is customary to celebrate the day of the saint – the patron saint of the city. A few days in the city are theatrical processions, children’s attractions, fireworks. The holiday is in Blanes on June 24-28, in Tossa de Mar from June 28 to July 1, in Lloret de March on 24-30. In addition, at the end of July Blanes is visited by fireworks enthusiasts, and for a week the evening sky is lit up with fireworks.
Weather and Climate
The Costa Brava is the coolest coast of Spain. The average temperature during the summer months is only +25 ° C, and by mid-September the beach season is over. But this state of affairs has at least one undeniable advantage.
The dry and cool climate of the Costa Brava is most suitable for those who are contraindicated to the heat, such as small children.
Summer on the coast begins by calendar, that is, in June. Already in the first days of the month the temperature reaches +22-25 ° C, and then rises to +30 ° C. Above this mark the temperature does not rise even in July and August. Moreover, in the evenings even in the hottest months the thermometer goes down to +18-20 ° C, so sweaters and light jackets in the luggage will not hurt.
In contrast to the Costa Blanca or Costa Dorada, where it is most pleasant to vacation in September, the best vacation in the Costa Brava with children is in July and August . Only in these months the sea becomes warm enough for bathing. In September the weather is generous with surprises. In the first half of the month, as a rule, it is still warm summer, +25-28 ° C, but then it is possible to continue the velvet season, and a cold snap to +20 ° C. For your autumn vacation in the Costa Brava, it is better to plan it for the very beginning of September to be sure to catch the nice weather.
The autumn rains start in October. After them the air is filled with a delicate scent of pine and citrus fruits, as if the first reminder of the coming winter and the New Year holidays.The air temperature during the day stays at around +18-22 ° C, and at this time you can plan active holidays with your child, not related to lying on the beach.
From November to March in the Costa Brava is quiet and cool. The thermometers plunge to 13-15 ° C. Only in April, the spring sun warms the air to +18 ° C, and in May to +20 ° C. If you enjoy long walks by the sea and do not want to swim, May is a good time to go to the Costa Brava with a baby.
No matter how hot it gets in Spanish resorts, and the sea temperature is by no means always as high as the air temperature. In the Costa Brava the situation is exactly the same. Even in the second half of summer, the water temperature in the Costa Brava does not exceed +22-23 ° C. If there is an unprecedented heat for these places, the sea may warm up to +24 ° C. But it happens that in July and August the sea temperature is only +21 ° C.
To swim in the Costa Brava must go no earlier than early July. In June, the sea warms up only to +20 ° C.
But in the first half of September the sea keeps the accumulated summer heat. Until the middle of the month the temperature remains at +23 ° C, and then it gradually decreases. In October, the sea cools down to +18-19 ° C.
Meals in hotels and restaurants
Hotels on the Costa Brava offer different concepts of food, from “just breakfast” to “all inclusive”. The most common variant – the price includes breakfast, which is served according to the principle of “buffet”. Typically, this table has cereal, egg dishes, dairy products, that is, something that is suitable for a child. Family hotels also offer children’s and diet menus. Often in hotel restaurants are equipped with a corner where you can heat up baby food. But more often tourists eat at restaurants, learning the intricacies of Catalan cuisine and savoring the sparkling cava.
A typical Catalan snack for children is Pa Amb Tomaquet, a slice of bread rubbed with tomato and garlic and drizzled with olive oil. On top of the bread you can put a slice of cheese or a slice of jamon.
If you are going to cook on your own, you can buy everything you need in the supermarkets. There are Lidl in almost every town along the coast, and in Blanes, there are Mercadona and Dia Spanish supermarkets.
Public transport in the Costa Brava is needed exactly as much as you are going to travel. Travelers usually get around on foot in small towns, but when it comes to traveling to Girona or Barcelona, trains and buses are a big help.
Only Blanes is connected to Barcelona by train. The trip takes 1.5 hours and the ticket price is 5 euros. There are also train connections to Girona and Figueres.
There are buses between the other resorts. They go quite often, but it doesn’t hurt to check the schedule.
Quite a popular mode of transport in the Costa Brava are ferries and boats that can take you from one seaside town to another. The cost of a boat trip depends on the distance. For example, a trip from Blanes to Tossa de Mar will cost 26 euros. Tickets for children from 4 to 12 years old cost 18 euros. The most expensive way to travel around the Wild Coast is by cab. For example, a trip to the airport will cost at least 100 euros.
But the real freedom of movement on the Costa Brava only gives a car. You can rent a car at the airports of Girona and Barcelona, as well as in the offices of rental companies in the resorts. There are paid and free parking lots in the cities. As a rule, free parking is indicated in white.
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What to do
Family holidays in the Costa Brava are good just because the heat is almost non-existent. You can lie on the beach all day, or take to the water parks and extreme slides, or stroll the streets of old towns – an outdoor activity in general. And the choice is pretty wide.
Fun and adventure
Top the list of places to spend time with children are the water parks Aqua Brava in Roses, Water World in Lloret de Mar and Aquadiver in Playa de Aro.
The Marineland center near Blanes is three in one: a water amusement park, an animal show and a marine zoo. Marineland” is the first to open, that is, as early as May. Other water parks start working only in June.
Rope parks are no less exciting for children. In a wooded area near Lloret de Mar is “Gnome Park” with rope courses, huts in the tree crowns, a game maze, a pool with slides and a long list of other fun. Similar adventures await children at Sant Feliu Parc Aventura near Tossa de Mar.
Also on the Costa Brava there are two small amusement parks: Sould Park in Lloret de Mar and PP’S Park in Playa de Aro.
They will be interesting for children of all ages, as among the attractions there are baby carousels, and steep roller coaster, and other attractions. A small entertainment center for children operates in Figueres.
But the amusement park Fang Aventura in Girona – this is not a seesaw, and the polygon for paintball, castle quest for those who like to combine mental and physical stress, trails for hiking on quad bikes and other activities for fans of extreme sports.
If that’s not enough, we recommend a trip to Barcelona. Go with children to the Park Guell, the zoo and aquarium, the amusement park on Mount Tibidabo, the Illa Fantasia water park. Well, it is impossible not to mention that 2 hours drive from the Costa Brava is the best amusement park in Spain, “Port Aventura”.
Castles and fortresses
Another notable feature of the Costa Brava is the ancient castles. Some can be seen right in the cities. For example, an impressive medieval fortress Vila Vella is located on the central beach of Tossa de Mar.Its walls have the same color as the sand on the coast – as if the builders of sand castles, playing, built a huge construction size. Lloret de Mar is known for the fortress of Sant Joan.
And near the town of L’Estartit is preserved castle Montgri, a villa from the Roman Empire and the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Emporion. In Palamos, there is an even older pagan sanctuary from the Neolithic period.
A nice feature of the Costa Brava is the tourist trains. They drive through the old streets, helping you to identify the places you want to visit on a tour. In this train, for example, you can ride around Girona. The tourist train from Figueres goes to the towns of Roses and Cadaqués. There are also many sightseeing buses in Blanes.
Gardens and parks
The main jewel of the Wild Coast is still the beauty of nature. Just take a stroll through the Marimurtra Botanical Garden in Blanes or the Sa Riera Park in Tossa de Mar to see the treasures of Mediterranean plant life. And here are more places to walk with your child:
Near Roses; near Blanes; in Lloret de Mar; near Palamos.
If you like and can be active, Catalonia offers routes for hiking and cycling. These include the Garrocha National Park near the town of Olot. It is located in the area of extinct volcanoes. How tempting to look into the mouth of a volcano – not only children will find it a real adventure!
Perhaps in the desire to relax in natural surroundings, you are ready to go to the edge of the world? The Costa Brava will help you do just that: they call Cape Creus, the easternmost point of Spain, the end of the world. Volcanic activity has left its mark here too. If you are on holiday with your child on the Costa Brava you can even travel to Cape Creus from Porto Lligat by train.
Not far from the cape is the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Nature Reserve. It is both a fascinating landscape and a good way to observe animals in the wild and a chance to admire ancient castles.
Entertainment in hotels
The certificate of family tourism destination in Catalonia is not an empty word. Here it is common to have children’s clubs, playgrounds, swimming pools for toddlers in the hotels. Settling in a family hotel, you will stop puzzling over what to do in the Costa Brava with a child, and can finally give time to yourself.
The Sea and the Beach
It is not easy to count the beaches of the Costa Brava, which have been awarded the Blue Flag for their high standards of cleanliness and safety. Suffice it to say that on just a small stretch of coastline from Pineda de Mar to Tossa de Mar there are fifteen hundred beaches which, year after year, receive the high award. Entrance to all of the Wild Coast beaches is free, and many people prefer to sunbathe on their own beach towel or mat. The cleanliness of the beach and the safety of recreation is taken care of by the municipality and coastal hotels.
Still, the place for a holiday at sea with a child to choose carefully – mainly because the Costa Brava is and rocky shoreline, and rocky bays, where the kids will not be comfortable. The best sandy beaches are located in Lloret de Mar, Blanes and further south. The coastline is relatively wide, framed by cliffs. The sea is quiet, transparent and shallow.
S’Abannel and San Francesc beaches in Blanes are great for kids. There are playgrounds and water slides, and you can snorkel by the beach.
In Tossa de Mar and the rest of the resorts to the north, the beaches are mostly rocky. But there are exceptions, such as the beautiful sandy beaches of L’Estartit, Playa de Aro and Palamos. The beaches of Gran de l’Estartit in L’Estartit and S’Abannel in Blanes are the longest on the Wild Coast. Each of them stretches for 3 km. But for a secluded beach holiday in the Costa Brava, it is better to look for small beaches: their infrastructure is as good, but the crowds and noise are much less.
The Costa Brava, with its constant light sea waves, attracts sailing and windsurfers. The center of windsurfing is considered Rastrel beach in Roses. The resorts of L’Estartit, Blanes, Lloret de Mar invite beginners to learn scuba diving. Learn to dive and then admire the fantastic underwater landscapes near the Medes Islands.
If it’s too early for your kids to take the plunge, let them see the sea through the glass bottom of the pleasure boat. There are boat trips like this in both L’Estartit and Tossa de Mar.
What to see
On the warm coast of the Costa Brava, even avid sightseers may not feel like visiting museums. If you want to visit a museum or two in the Costa Brava with your child, reassure them that there will be no serious adult exploration – on the contrary, there will be lots of non-serious, surprising, and even funny things.
The Maritime Museum in Lloret de Mar is an interesting place for children who dream about distant wanderings and new geographical discoveries. Antique maps, models of sailing ships, reconstruction of the captain’s cabin and sailor’s cabin – children are ready to play for hours in such scenery.
The list of things to see in the Costa Brava is complemented by the Girona Film Museum. Here the pictures come to life in a magical lantern, the shadows move in a mysterious dance, and cracking machine projects onto the screen a movie about the bumbling man, whom the whole world knows under the name of Charlie Chaplin.
The most unusual museum on the Costa Brava is the Museum of Magic and Curiosities in Santa Cristina de Aro. Here you can explore the props of illusionists, puzzle over the secrets of tricks and think about how did the old automatic puppets, which were able to guess the numbers.
And during a vacation in the Costa Brava with children, you can also visit the village of Cadaques, where the genius Salvador Dali lived. His house-museum is open in the village – or is it more correct to call it a maze with surprises? If you want to acquaint children with the work of the madman artist, visit also the Dali Museum in Figueres (a trip to Figueres with a child is also supported by the fact that there is a good Toy Museum).
What else is there to see with children in the Costa Brava? If you have time to go to Barcelona, take advantage of the chance to visit the most interesting museums in the Catalan capital: