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Last Updated on 17/07/2023 by STEPHANE
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Everything ever wanted to know about the Costa Brava
Located between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean sea, the Costa Brava is one of the most beautiful areas of the Western Mediterranean. Its mild climate, with an average temperature of 17 degrees, and its more than 300 days of sunshine per year make it an excellent place to live. To find out more on the weather, check our infographics with the monthly weather statistics of the 18 biggest cities in Spain.
With more than 240km of coastline, it is the ideal holiday destination for all your water sports, sightseeing or cycling. Its infinity of virgin coves and great beaches attract millions of tourists worldwide each year.
The village of Cadaqués
A little bit of history and culture of the Costa Brava
The geographical location of the Costa Brava has been, over the centuries, a passageway and settlement location for many peoples and cultures and a gateway to the Iberian Peninsula from Mediterranean Europe. An example of that is in Ullastret, where we find remains of an Iberian settlement (the people who were on the peninsula before the arrival of the Greek and Roman civilizations), or in Empúries, where we find one of the most important sites in Spain about the Greek and Roman colonizations.
Although you will not find a lot of medieval footprint on the Costa Brava, in Girona, the medieval footprint is very present in its old quarter, with one of the most well-preserved Jewish neighbourhoods in the country and you will discover as well the Cathedral of Santa María. There are also declared World Heritage by UNESCO, as is the architectural ensemble of the Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes. In total, the Costa Brava boasts more than 150 sites that are part of the heritage and monuments.
Nor should you forget its gastronomy. The passion for cooking lives in every corner, as evidenced by hosting some of the world ‘s top chefs such as Ferran Adrià (his restaurant El Bulli in Cala Montjoi of Roses), or the Roca brothers (his restaurant Celler de Can Roca is open in Girona).
The village of Llafranc
Demography, transport and nature
The main towns on the Costa Brava are Blanes (40,000 inhabitants), Cadaqués (3,000 inhabitants), Palamos (almost 20,000), Pals (2,500 inhabitants), L’Estartit (3,500 inhabitants), Platja d’Aro (over 10,000 inhabitants) and Sant Feliu de Guixols (22,000 inhabitants).
The very good road network connects the different towns in the area with each other and other points beyond. From Blanes, it is possible to get to Barcelona by motorway C-32 (it is possible to cover the journey in just over an hour). Also, the AP-7 highway passes near the Costa Brava across the province of Girona and connecting at both ends with France in the north, and the province of Barcelona, in the south.
It is also possible to reach the Costa Brava in high – speed train stopping at Girona and Figueres. The high-speed network connects with France (and from there with other European countries), with Barcelona, Madrid and other cities of the Peninsula. It is also possible to reach the Catalan capital with commuter trains (R1 line) from Blanes.
As for airports, the main airport in the area is Girona-Costa Brava, with connections to companies low cost to many places in Europe, although the Barcelona airport is between one and a half and two hours drive depending on the area of the Costa Brava where you are.
The Castle of Sant Joan
The Costa Brava is a nice place for pensioners
There is a wide range of all types of properties to suit all budgets (from small apartments, houses or apartments on developments) in all the villages of the coast of the Costa Brava, from Sant Feliu de Guixols to Cadaqués.
The very agreeable climate, an extraordinary gastronomy, good health care coverage and good communications features make the Costa Brava one of the most desired destinations among retirees.
All the populations of the area have CAPS (Primary Health Care Centers). CAPS are essential centres where basic health care is guaranteed. Equally, the Costa Brava has hospitals where other types of ailments can be treated, such as the hospitals of Girona, Figueres or Palamós. It should be remembered that Barcelona is about two hours from the area in case you need to go to a hospital in the Catalan capital.
Families with children do love the Costa Brava
Costa Brava also is a place for families because all villages and cities have schools for children. In Girona, you have one of the best University of Catalunya: the University of Girona which offers a wide variety of programs.
Its beautiful nature (beaches, mountains, parks, etc.) make the Costa Brava a dream place for family enjoyment. Some family activities are: walk through the medieval town of Pals, tour the rice fields of the area, visit the Montgrí Natural Park, have fun in the Adventure Park of the Costa Brava or enjoy some of the waterparks as is the Aquadiver.
Although most activities are for the summer months, winter can also be entertaining thanks to the proximity of the Pyrenees, where you can enjoy snow sports on its many ski slopes.
Its proximity with Barcelona makes it easy to live on the Costa Brava and work in Barcelona. For example, Blanes is located 70km from the Catalan capital and is also well connected to it with the highway network, so you can reach it in an hour by car.
In addition, Costa Brava has some of the best golf courses across Europe such as the PGA Golf de Catalunya (green fees between 70 and 150 €), Club Golf d’Aro – Mas Nou (green fees between 70 and 100 € ), the Emporda Golf Club (green fees between 68-79 €) and the Golf Club of the Costa Brava (green fees between 50-80 €)Play with the best golf clubs sets in Spain thanks to our local partner.
How is the real estate market in Costa Brava?
The recovery of the sector is quite obvious in this area, for example, in Palamos, prices for second-hand flats have increased by 17% in 2016. Roses has seen almost the same increase of 16%. If we move away from the coast, in towns like Figueres, the increase has been lower and is close to 5%.
The privileged area in which the Costa Brava is located with exceptional beaches and the proximity to one of the main cities in Europe such as Barcelona make its attractiveness to invest in the real estate market very large.
Although prices have increased, there is a notable differentiation depending on which area wants to buy. In the Alt Empordà region, the area close to Roses, the price per square meter is almost € 2,000, while in the Baix Empordà, the region close to Girona, the price rises to almost € 3,000 per square meter.
In terms of nationalities, most are ‘French and Dutch‘ as says Marie Amardeil of real estate Sweet Home Costa Brava. Although there are buyers of other nationalities, the French presence in the area is very large, such as in Roses, where ‘95% of the buyers are French’, notes the realtor Nathalie Goldbaum.
In terms of prices paid, ‘the budget varies between 200,000 and 2 million euros’ according to Marie Armadeil. In addition, ‘most prefer properties with sea views’. If you want to look further on the real estate market, check our summary article “Analysis of the real estate market for the top 20 Spanish Cities” for a full overview and analysis of the main cities like Girona. Remember our paper on Girona: “The door to the costa brava and the Pyrenees”. Check the monthly weather statistics for Girona if you want to make sure, that the weather will be fine in January for instance.
Check the real estate price evolution for Catalonia, Spain and Girona since 1995
The village of Calella
Costa Brava Infographic information
- Airport: Girona – Costa Brava
- Ave stations: Girona, Figueres
- Cities: Girona (98,000 inhabitants), Figueres (45,700 inhabitants), Blanes (40,000 inhabitants), Cadaqués (3,000 inhabitants), Palamos (almost 20,000), Pals (2,500 inhabitants), L’Estartit (3,500 inhabitants), Platja d’Aro (over 10,000 inhabitants) and Sant Feliu de Guixols (22,000 inhabitants).
- Top beaches: Cala Senyor Ramon, Platja de s’Agaró, Cala Futadera, Platja del Castell de Palamos, Cala Boadella
- Kids Parks: Adventure Park Costa Brava, Aquadiver
- Shopping Malls & Outlets: Gran Jonquera (La Jonquera), Cavallers (palafrugell), El Corte Inglés (Girona), Espai Girones (Girona)
- Traditional & Flea markets: Fish Market (Palagrugell), Covered Market (Roses)
- Top golf courses: Golf de Catalunya (green fees between 70 and 150 €), Club Golf d’Aro, Mas Nou (green fees between 70 and € 100), the Emporda Golf Club (Greenfees between 68-79 €) and Club de Golf Costa Brava (green fees between 50-80 €) Play with the best golf clubs sets in Spain thanks to our local partner.
- Natural Parks: Natural Park Montgrí, Cap de Creus
- University: Universitat de Girona
- Hospital Universitari Dr Josep Trueta
Find all our other articles and maps on the Spanish Costas:
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