Finally I am back with a travel post: this time around I am sharing my personal highlights from Catalonia in Spain. I spent a month in Catalonia and loved it there! Let me share where I liked it best and what tipps I have for you guys …
We stayed pretty close to the coast during our month in Catalonia, so most of my highlights are from the coastal region – which does NOT mean that the mountains and wine fields aren’t absolutely amazing as well! I picked three highlights from the coast and one little extra which isn’t too far from the sea and yet, isn’t directly at the beach. Here we go with my top three travel tips for Catalonia:
1. Portbou – and the area around
When you enter Spain from France by car (or with a van/ motor home) then choose the mediterrean route! It is breathtakingly beautiful! Yes, it is a little bit of a tough drive because of the mountain roads, but on the French side the roads are really good and on the Spanish side they are working on getting them better! We have a 8,5m long vehicle and we didn’t face any problems driving through the mountains. However, we went in late November and there wasn’t much traffic. I have no idea how things look like in Summer, but I do actually not recommend to visit Catalonia in Summer anyway, as it is super crowded (more on that below).
When coming from France, Port Bou is one of the first towns crossing your way and it is worth stopping there for an afternoon break! Port Bou is a cute little town and is known because Walter Benjamin died there. You can walk on the Walter Benjamin memorial walk through the town, and all the way up the graveyard to see his grave: and enjoy the beautiful view! It is also worth to check out the beautiful train station, the cute tapas bars all around, and to just chill with the locals on the plaza in front of the small beach.
The atmosphere in Port Bou is relaxed, friendly, and just perfect for a start into all the adventures Catalonia and Spain have to offer!
And even when you don’t have time to stop: just driving alongside the Mediterrean sea in this area is absolutely worth it!
2. S’Agaro and around
Driving just a little further down the Mediterrean coast, you will find yourself in S’Agaro, one of the first towns alongside the well known Costa Brava. The Costa Brava is known for being a touristic hotspot and THE party coast. This is why I highly recommend NOT to go there in Summer! From what we heard from the locals it is extremely crowded in Summer (14.000 people alone on the various camp sites around S’Agaro!) and you will hardly be able to enjoy the beauty of the area. However, going there off season (we went in November/December), you can take full advantage of the region!
S’Agaro became our favorite because of the beautiful hiking trails alongside the coast – or, if you like it easier: the walkways alongside the coast in the other direction. Pretty much all the villages and towns alongside the Costa Brava are connected with either walk ways, bicycle lanes, and/or hiking trails and they truly are beautiful!
The area – as all of Catalonia – is very child-friendly and there are many playgrounds. Also S’Agaro is a rather small village (which makes it perfect to stay if you like it quiet) but there are bigger ones around where you can find local markets (with amazing organic produces!), vegan restaurants (I recommend El Celler de Triton in Sant Feliu de Guixols), shops, and more.
3. Ebro Delta
Now we are going all the way to the very south of Catalonia: the Ebro Delta! It’s not that I am saying that it is not worth visiting Barcelona or Terragona but for this post I am focusing on our personal highlights so we are moving aaaaaall the way down to the Ebro Delta now.
Whereas the Costa Brava is know for it’s beautiful cliffs, the Ebro Delta is a huge (flat) wetland region (actually the biggest in Europe) and home to millions (or billions?) of birds! It was here that I saw wild flamingos for the first time. The entire area is worth a visit (and perfect for bicycle rides!) but the dunes are definetly the highlight of the area.
We stayed on one of the dunes (at Playa del Trabucador) with our motor home and loved being surrounded by water: on the one side the open sea, on the other side the bay with it’s calm water (perfect for kids to play and swim!).
This place is definetly perfect for those who enjoy quietness. Go for a long walk on the dune and after a while you will find yourself all alone with nothing but water and some sand around you. Sitting down for a meditation there is pretty much magic!
And now, before ending this post, I want to write about a little PLUS. I wouldn’t say that this place is a highlight for everyone so I am not saying that you absolutely have to put this on your bucket list, but it was an highlight for us: Peralada!
Peralada is a village which is as pretty and nice as most villages in Spain are. However, we were treated that friendly when we stayed there, that we will never forget that place. Our 4 year old girl got a free croissant every time we went to the bakery and everyone tried to help whenever we asked for a direction or for help. And even though noone spoke English (or French, or German) we always managed to have a really nice time with the locals. So in case you stop by Peralada, just go for a walk through the narrow streets, get a (vegan) croissant in the bakery and a coffee in the small coffee shop and just enjoy seeing people passing by, smiling at you.
These have been my personal highlights from Catalonia. I have to say though that Catalonia has MUCH more to offer than this: Girona is amazing, Barcelona of course, Tarragona, so many small villages in the inland … but I still hope that my tipps are helpful!
You can also read more about our experiences living in a camper van as a family of four in my monthly recaps. Here is the one from when we’ve been in Catalonia.
Let me know if you have any questions about out month on Catalonia here, via email, and/or on instagram.