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The most unspoiled beaches on the Costa Brava

Places along the Girona coastline that remain untouched by human hand

© Carles Palacio
Cala Tavallera

They don't have beach bars, or showers, or coconut sellers. You'll probably have to drive quite far to get there and then have to walk a while as well. Maybe you won't be able to relax on your towel because the beach has stones rather than sand, but you will be stunned by the vistas and unable to take your eyes off the landscape. We present a selection of the least spoiled beaches on the Costa Brava. Make the most of them!

Cala Estreta

For some people this is, without any doubt, the best unspoiled beach in the Costa Brava. Whil the Alt Empordà region has Cap de Creus, the Baix Empordà has Cala Estreta. The latter is much more modest and the good news about it is, at the same time, the bad news: in the summer, motor vehicles are banned and to get there means a 45-minute walk from the beach of Castell along the Camí de Ronda coastal path, or only a 20-minute trek if you follow the service route that passes directly below the electrical towers in the car park of Castell. The effort, however, is directly proportional to the fantastic nature of this series of coves that allow nudism, and are light, open to the east and relatively tranquil even at the height of summer. This is a place you must go to at least once in your life, it's as simple as that.

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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 is 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. Make sure your mobile is well charged because you'll definitely need it. To take photos, at least. Forget about coverage.

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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 the beach is 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 ('cala' in Catalan), 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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L'Illa Roja

This cove, dominated by a cliff and imposing rocky mass, is the only nudist beach in the central Costa Brava area. We like it because the intense red colours of the rocks that emerge from the bay transform it into a strange, living place, and because its semicircular shape creates a very inviting beach. It'll also be appealing for some because it remains relatively unvisited by groups or children, as it requires quite a long walk to get there from the Camí de Ronda coastal path. And, of course, in reality the coolest beaches are the ones without ice cream stands and that let you believe for a while that the rest of the world doesn't exist. The only problem with this spot is that the high walls of the cliffs surrounding it create shade from the mid-afternoon onwards, so get there early to make the most of the morning.

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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 coves, such as Vallpresona and Senyor Ramon. However, this small gem shouldn't be overlooked 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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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 do have to go down quite a lot of steps. Even though in the summer there's a bar there, it still manages to remain 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 Tavallera

The black rocks of Cap de Creus mark the most easterly point of the Iberian Peninsula, and the wildest part of the Costa Brava, as spectacular as it is treacherous; covered in thousand-year-old remains, it still jealously guards some of its best-kept secrets. One of them, which we're generously sharing with you here, is Cala Tavallera, located about 2km from Port de la Selva, but only accessible from the GR11, the hiking route that connects the Mediterranean with the Atlantic. In some blogs and guides they insist that the beach can be reached by 4WD but the safest way to get there has always been by a two-hour walk that ends with a well-deserved prize: a cove that's practically deserted in summer and winter.

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La Banyera de la Russa

The landscapes in this part of the central Costa Brava are incredible, but the history that surrounds them can be even more amazing. This small haven among the cliffs below the castle of Cap Roig got its nickname (The Bath of the Russian Woman) from a one-time owner of the place, a Ms. Woevodsky, who would head down to the beach on the back of a donkey and bathe there in the nude. The fact that she wasn’t actually Russian but British doesn’t spoil either the legend or the hike along the paths that descend from the botanic gardens of Cap Roig to this spot, which has red-coloured rocks, water that is always calm, and complete seclusion - and which is officially called Cala Massoni.

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Cala Jugadora

To get to this beach, you first have to get to the Cap de Creus lighthouse from Cadaqués via a road that requires careful driving. Once there, descend on foot along a dry riverbed for about half an hour until you reach a welcoming sandy stretch that gives on to a section of sea sheltered from the local 'tramuntana' winds, and has water that is completely transparent and calm. In addition it's home to an extensive range of sealife – bear in mind that this fauna is fiercely protected. It's truly beautiful and if you decide to sleep overnight there during early summer, feeling the sun on your face at dawn will doubtless be one of the most intense experiences of your life.

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