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Secret beaches on the Costa Brava

Take a tour of the area's most hidden-away, inaccessible coves that few people know about let alone ever visit

© Vilainecrevette - shutterstock
Cala Portaló

Cala Culip

Until 2004, when the Club Med located in this spot closed down, this beach was basically out of bounds, because the public could only get to it with a visitor's pass from the club. Situated just a few kilometres from Cap de Creus, this is one of the few coves ('cala' is cove in Catalan) in the area where you can go diving and it's also renowned for being the final resting-place of sunken boats from classical Greece and Rome. There's a small beach with coarse sand where you can sunbathe, but it's almost impossible to keep your eyes closed for any serious length of time in Cala Culip. The reasons: the local geology, which is amazing, and the almost transparent blue water. 

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Cala Cativa

Between Cala Tamariua and Cala Fornells you'll find Cala Cativa, a (very) small virgin beach close to Cap de Creus that's unknown to most people. The best way to get there is via the Camí de Ronda coastal path that goes towards Cala Tamariua or, if you have one, by kayak. If you go accompanied, don't expect to find space for your towel because it's unlikely you'll all fit. What's more Cala Cativa hides an amazing history: the remains of a first-century boat that was transporting 100 amphoras of wine between L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and Narbonne.

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Cala Portaló

Cala Portaló is one of the most incredible beaches on the Costa Brava. Our reasons for thinking so: it's a completely virgin cove situated in an unbeatable location, close to the Cap de Creus lighthouse; and the path to get there isn't easy which means that the beach tends to be quite empty. In fact, even in August you see few people there. What's more, unlike other coves in the area, the beach is of sand not stone, and it's surrounded by cliffs and rocky walls. To get there follow the path that runs from Cadaqués to the lighthouse, then turn to the left where it joins the footpath that comes from Port de la Selva, before getting to the old Club Med. 

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Cala Futadera

Known locally as the 'cove of the 300 steps', this is an authentic paradise, but is often overlooked in the face of more popular nearby coves, like Vallpresona and Senyor Ramon. However, don't ignore this small gem as it contains the very essence of the Costa Brava: it's surrounded by rocks and pine trees and the water is completely clear. Even though it's not that difficult to get to (although it may trouble you if you suffer vertigo), you're more likely to find boats there than people sunbathing or diving. Trust us on this one, and make sure you check it out. You won't regret it.

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Cala Sa Sabolla

There are many reasons to visit Sa Sabolla: for starters, the Camí de Ronda coastal path, from which you get to the beach, is an authentic joy for all the senses. It's true that it's not the easiest place to get to (you can only reach it on foot or by boat) but it's absolutely worth it. The cove, which has crystal-clear waters and a shingle surface, is completely surrounded by sheer rocks and is, by far, one of the most secluded beaches on the Costa Brava.

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Platja Fonda

Platja Fonda is one of the most unusual coves on the Costa Brava: it's at the foot of a cliff that provides shade, a large natural wall that surrounds and protects it. To get there, you have to go down quite a lot of steps, and it remains an unspoiled hiding-place. The water has dark tones, thanks to the colour of the sand and the shadow of the large rock. A must-visit.

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Cala Bramant

Better known to many as the Lovers' Cove (Cala dels Enamorats), this small cove is a kind of sea enclosure that forms a small natural swimming-pool. It's not only an idyllic, peaceful corner, it also has incredible views of Llança, Port de la Selva and even Cap de Creus. In sum, a small, hidden jewel. To get there, the best thing is to go by boat or kayak via an opening that links it to the sea, but if you're daring enough, you can also get there on foot. Just make sure you're wearing quality foorwear.

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