Discover the sun filled paradise of Costa Brava
When you hear someone peak of the Costa Brava you no doubt are imagining the typical Spanish fare of sun, sea and sangria. This stereotypical tourist description is partly accurate – but only partly and only in places. Toda I’d like to share with you the other side of t Costa Brava; the one les full of drunken Brits n holiday. Costa Brava is a rich historical region with a vibrant culture and beautiful landscapes to explore – and that’s exactly what we’re going to look at.
Situated at the edge of Spain and bordering France the Costa Brava has a long historical significance dating back to Greek and Roman times and beyond. This has left it with a significant history and many sites of historic interest such as the incredible Empuries. Enpuries was a Greek colony in the 6th century BC and became a joint Greek and Roman town called the Municipium Emporiae in the 4th century BC. Today the ruins show this blending of cultures and the excavations show you the importance of life here and the decadence of Greek and Roman culture.
The area also has a rich influence from Jewish culture with Girona and Besalu having a history of Jewish settlement dating back to the early 10th century. The Girona Jewish quarter is beautifully preserved and the winding streets around the stunning 10th century synagogue are well worth exploring. In the Jewish History museum you can explore the history of Jewish Catalonia and enjoy the beautifully preserved artworks of these times.
For more modern history you can visit the many influences of the Spanish Empire and enjoy the rich naval history of the country. Sant Ferran Castle is the largest castle in Europe and an incredible site to see. Built in 1751 it is incredibly impressive with its towering ramparts and over 3km of walls. The site was built to repel the French and stands today as a rich piece of cultural heritage.
This represents only a small snap shot of the history of this exciting region. Costa Brava is littered with places to explore from the ruins of Greek and Roman civilizations to churches, synagogues and castles.
Whilst the beaches and the coastline of the Costa Brava are both beautiful and majestic there’s plenty more in the way of natural beauty in the region that you can and should explore. The Guilleries Mountains are stunningly beautiful cloaked in thick forests and with a rich biodiversity of fauna and bird life. Walks through this mountain reveal not only its beauty but its significance extends far beyond this. The local towns and villages that litter the landscape speak of a rich history and a deep association with these beautiful mountains. Particularly interesting is Sant Hilari which is affectionately nicknamed the town of 100 fountains.
The Santiago route lets you follow the Serge River through the beautiful lanscapes and gentle forests – much now dedicated to vineyards and other agriculture. The Remei hermitage and the Quadres shrine are well worth exploring as you enjoy the river and the beautiful hills around you.
Finally then we turn to culture and the Costa Brava really won’t disappoint you on this front. The area has a rich artistic community and its most famous resident of all was the incredible Salvador Dali. Hos museums and larger pieces of work litter the museums of the region and you can visit his museums and immerse yourself in one of the greatest artists’ life and works. The area also has a fantastic culture of its own thanks to the strange mix of cultures with deep roots in the area. Generally people are relaxed and take life easy but there’s still a vibrant arts and music scene providing you can escape the humdrum tourist traps.