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Your guide to discovering (the other) Lloret de Mar

Bars, beaches and beautiful corners in this Costa Brava town

© Juan Novakosky
Cala dels Frares

To put it simply, Lloret de Mar has some of the most beautiful, exclusive and elegant bars in the Costa Brava. Although it's also true that to get to them, you probably have to cross Avinguda Just Marlès and the thousands of young people wearing their 'all-included' bracelets who take over this strip every night in the summer. Back in the plus list, Lloret is blessed with some amazing coves and beaches. And restaurants that will leave you licking your lips.

 

Sant Pere del Bosc

Lloret de Mar knows how to make the most of its assets, especially when it comes to appealing to tourists. This place is the perfect spot for going for a daytime walk through the forest, where you can admire one of the more eccentric projects of modernista architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch and then visit Sant Pere del Bosc. On this same site there's been a building for a thousand years: alternatively a monastery, asylum and home of a self-made man from the 19th century. But now it's become the symbol of Lloret's more chic side, as it tries to escape its label as a low-cost tourist destination. The building now hosts a luxury hotel and renowned restaurant that serves avant-garde cooking. During the summer, there's also a night-time 'xiringuito' (lit. beach bar) in the garden; and despite the lights and luxury, in the evening you can't ignore that there's an aura of mystery surrounding this magic place.

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Cala Banys

Without a doubt, this is the most beautiful bar in the whole Costa Brava, and an ideal place for carrying out the final part of a planned seduction. During the day, you can enjoy views of the bluest sea and the rocks of Cala Banys below your feet. At night, the spot becomes more intimate and romantic and, even though it's only five minutes from the centre of Lloret, all you'll hear is the sound of the water lapping and the voices of loved-up couples. The drinks are top-notch, and all in all this is a memorable and unmissable place for discovering another side to Lloret.

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Sybius - Cala Canyelles

Located some way from the bustling centre of Lloret, for more than 25 years Sybius has been serving Mediterranean cuisine and fresh ingredients in a spot close to Cala Canyelles. On its menu, fish is the star, and, like the meat on offer, it's cooked on a firewood grill. They also excel at rice dishes and paellas, with a range of options such as 'mar i muntanya' (surf and turf), shellfish and more. They also have an extensive range of typical fresh-from-the-market and seasonal products, and even pizzas.

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Xiringuito Canyelles

The last big cove ('cala') in Lloret de Mar before you get into Tossa de Mar terriority is also one of the most chic beaches in the town, and the bar that opens there in the summer more than rises to the standard of its surrounds. A small port full of leisure and pleasure boats sets the atmosphere, and the large houses that surround the beach (owned in large part by Russians) have raised the caché of this mini Saint-Tropez even further. In the port you'll find a limited range of places to eat that are open year-round, and it's from Sant Joan (Jun 23) that this particular beach bar opens. They excel in fresh salads, smoothies and fruit juices. As is appropriate in a place full of beautiful people, they also make excellent café frappés.

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El Trull

A local classic since 1968, El Trull, located between Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar, makes you feel at home and serves the most archetypal seafood dishes. They take great care with their ingredients, choosing the best fish and shellfish from the markets at Blanes, Palamós, Port de la Selva and Llançà to cook according to original recipes, then present with style; tradition and innovation go hand-in-hand in this kitchen. Consider the sea urchins stuffed with fish and shellfish, the ragu of sea bass, and the snapper with salsify and cuttlefish meatballs. And there's much more: the rice dishes, browned noodles and fisherman's stew all deserve an award, while the shellfish platters with lobster are renowned among their customers.

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Platja de Santa Cristina

This is the first cousin of the Treumal beach found in nearby Blanes: they're separated by a few coves but a world of difference. In Santa Cristina, development projects were on the brink of causing havoc back in the middle of the 20th century. However, in the end, good sense and the love of Lloret people for this spot, where the shrine of the local patron saint stands, triumphed in the form of a fragile balance between tourist facilities and a mass of intensely green pine trees that still endow the southern flank, where there's also an old fisherman's cottage that's looking a little wild these days. Painter Joaquin Sorolla immortalised the light, greens and blues of Santa Cristina in one of his most fiercely Mediterranean paintings. It's an ideal spot for wearing oversize sunglasses and a large hat in the style of a decadent film star.

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Sa Caleta

Close to the beach in Lloret de Mar is Sa Caleta, a small, semi-urbanised spot that offers some pretty impressive views. It's a beach with coarse sand that has, traditionally, been a shelter for fishing-boats. In fact, it's the only small port close to the centre of town. Why do we say that it has amazing views? That's thanks to the Castell d'en Platja, a castle that dominates the left side of the beach. Built in 1940 in a neo-medieval style, it's regarded as an emblem of Lloret, but you can't actually visit it because it's a private residence. Sa Caleta also has some rocky formations ideal for snorkelling. If you like peace and quiet, the best time to go there is first thing; during the summer, when it starts to get hot, the crowds can be overwhelming. You'll also find a bar, showers and bins.

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Cala dels Frares

There are some beaches that just have to be seen. One of them is the cove of Els Frares with its group of rocks in incredible shapes that, year after year, attract hordes of photography lovers. There are no services and it's completely natural but also totally addictive; once you've bathed in this idyllic spot it's difficult to accept going swimming in other beaches. Well, perhaps we're exaggerating slightly, but it's true that you absolutely must see the Cala dels Frares. How to get there? You can walk along the coastal path that starts at the beach of Lloret and crosses Sa Caleta.

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Cala Morisca

Cala Morisca is a beautiful, solitary spot, which you get to from the Lloret de Mar residential estate of Cala Canyelles by walking along the GR-92 trail and then going down a number of stairs. The cove contains the entrance to some tunnels that connect this small bay and natural port with a nearby property. In the tunnels is a pretty extensive infrastructure that was used by the Corsican trafficker and smuggler Jean Antoine Canavaggio to transfer merchandise that arrived by sea to warehouses close to his house. This isn't a pirate legend: in this peaceful village in 1998, the largest confiscation of hashish in the history of Catalonia was made, some 17 tonnes. Nowadays nothing is left of that enterprise, but while you’re enjoying the sun, the calm, shallow, crystalline water, and the small bay, you could almost imagine yourself in an action film.

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