Tossa de Mar: Postcards from the Costa Brava

Summer is coming and, when it arrives, all Catalans use to go and bath in the Costa Brava –in our opinion, one of the finest landscapes of Catalonia. It may not be the typical exotic coast, but it has the incomparable Mediterranean charm of its cliffs and its plant life. The Costa Brava, which literally means “rugged coast”, is the scenery of our summer childhood memories. The coast follows the Catalan counties (comarques) of La Selva, Baix Empordà and Alt Empordà, all of them within the province of Girona, whose inhabitants have seen how fishing has been replaced by tourism as the main business of the area.

Typical landscape of the Costa Brava

Costa Brava is said to start in the southern town of Blanes, in the mouth of the Tordera river, and ends by the French border. In fact, the mouth of the Tordera river is the natural limit with the Barcelona coast. Thus, from Blanes towards the north you can find a set of nice villages that have fought –with more or less success– to keep their authenticity despite the number of local and foreign tourists that visit them each summer season. One of those villages is Tossa de Mar, the third one that you will find if you begin your travel through the Costa Brava from the south.

Platja d’es Codolar, the beach just beyond the wall

Being part of La Selva’s coastline, Tossa de Mar is defined by its castle, built in the XII century at the top of Mount Guardí, and its walled ancient town (Vila Vella). The panoramic view of Tossa de Mar invites you to cross the gates and explore the medieval town, dominated by the lighthouse (far). But we think that the most magical place in Vila Vella is the ruin of the old Gothic church of Sant Vicenç, which was completed in the XV century and destroyed at the beginning of the XIX century when the French stocked explosive there. It had previously been abandoned in the XVIII century, when a new church was built, and after the explosion local people removed the stones to construct or repair their houses. Nevertheless, the skeleton of the temple remains there as a wonderful window to the Mediterranean Sea.

Old church of Tossa de Mar

If you love hiking like we do, you will be pleased to know that you can visit the villages and the beaches of the Costa Brava by foot, just following Camí de Ronda, a footpath built along the coast to help the policemen supervise it and stop smuggling. Nowadays, the path allows you to walk from one bay to the other to have the best views of the beaches, the coast and the sea. And to bath and relax during your way if the day is too hot! 130 km is the length of the trails that can be found between Blanes, in the south, and Portbou, in the north. There are routes for every taste!

Cala Giverola

To reach Tossa de Mar by foot we departed from Cala Giverola, a nice bay found between the villages of Tossa de Mar and Sant Feliu de Guíxols. This bay is located 5 km in the north of Tossa de Mar and is not a private beach, although a great vacation complex is located there, which even has a cable car to carry people from the apartments to the beach (something quite uncommon in Costa Brava!). A camping can also be found there, with direct access to the next bay following our way to the south: Cala Pola. This is a family beach mainly visited by the people staying in the camping, with really clear water that invites you to swim.

Walking by the sea

Cala Pola and the centre of Tossa de Mar are connected by a tranche of Camí de Ronda which takes around 50 minutes walking. As far as we know certain tourist boats also connect Tossa de Mar, Cala Pola and Cala Giverola by sea. In the footpath towards Tossa de Mar there is another hotspot: Cala Bona, a bay located at the end of an estuary. The landscape there is amazing and even a restaurant is placed in the bay, despite the fact that the beach is quite small and there is no room for a towel there! And if you continue the way to Tossa de Mar you may be a little hungry at the end. Good news: the waterfront and the medieval town of Tossa de Mar are full of restaurants where you can enjoy the local gastronomy (seafood and paella are a must!).


Two Traveling Texans

23 thoughts on “Tossa de Mar: Postcards from the Costa Brava

  1. I have not been to Costa Brava yet, it looks beautiful! I love that you can do hiking and the water looks so lovely. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I had known about Costa Brava before my first visit to Barcelona! I was there for 5 days (at Xmas, so it would have been no good anyways)! I might be going back later this year and if I do, I’m totally going for a least one day!! It’s so beautiful! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I visited Costa Brave a few years ago, for one of the TBEX meetings. It was absolutely lovely, as you are describing in your post. You reminded me about it. Thank you. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can promise that we have enough warm weather to share it with you! I need some cold weather right now! Haha come to Costa Brava and we will show you the best places, some unknown by the crowds 🙂


  4. Absolutely gorgeous! We were in Costa Brava in April and I’ve yet to upload my photos… one of the most beautiful areas of Spain/Catalunya for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah for your comment. We are glad you liked Costa Brava 🙂 There are many small white villages, small beaches and transparent water for enjoying summer. Looking forward to see your photos!


    1. Sorry for not being able to answer in German 🙂 Although we have some knowledge we don’t feel enough confident.

      Our suggestion would be to spend some days around Tossa de Mar. There are fantastic resorts and camping sites. It is perfect for families and we highly recommend to do the same hike that we did on the cliffs between Tossa and Cala Giverola.


  5. Thank you for commenting on my blog. It has been fun to see what places you have written about. We visited Tossa de Mar not long ago. I agree it is very beautiful and I would like to go again but NOT in August! The beaches were so packed and all the restaurants were so touristy. Not our taste, I’m afraid. We left quickly and drove on to Sant Feliu de Guíxols, but it was not as beautiful. I would like to try your hikes at a quieter time of year.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.