Cool things to see in Costa Brava Spain include Game of Thrones filming locations in Girona, medieval villages, Salvador Dali’s home, and much more. Girona is the capital and largest city in Costa Brava, with medieval buildings and a long Catalan history. Girona (Gerona) receives a lot of attention for its many Game of Thrones filming locations but it is also a classic tourist destination in northeast Spain.
While Visit Costa Brava—and various properties, attractions, and restaurants—hosted McCool Travel and picked up the tab for much of this glorious trip, please be certain that my message is carefully crafted for my awesome audience so that you can make informed decisions in order to Travel Happy on future trips.
8 Great Cool Things to See in Costa Brava
1. Girona Spain and Games of Thrones Film Sites
The classic view of Girona is from the Eiffel bridge. Yes, the bridge was designed and built by the same guy who built that tower in Paris France.
The winding medieval streets of Girona were the filming site for several iconic moments in the HBO series, Game of Thrones. Wander the old city and you will find yourself in Bravos, begging for coins with Arya. Scale the stone steps of the cathedral and you are headed to the Sept of Baelor, and an encounter with the High Sparrow. Enter one of many religious buildings in the city, and you are in OldTown.
You can explore all of the Game of Thrones locations in Girona on a meandering walk through the old city. It is easy to recreate your own Game of Thrones photo opportunity, without the help of CGI, in many locations. The Jewish Quarter of Girona became Bravos for several of Arya’s scenes. The dramatic Pujada de Sant Domènec steps, where Arya ran from The Waif, is one of the most photogenic spots in the city. Not far away, a blind Arya begged on the curved steps of the Carrer Bisbe Cartañà.
Stand in the square below the Cathedral to capture the scene where Jamie rode his horse up the stone steps for a confrontation with the High Sparrow at the Sept of Baelor. Enter the Monestir de Sant Pere de Galligant and you are in Old Town, entering the Citadel for the first time with Samwell Tarley. Even if you are not a GoT fan, you will find yourself transported to another time when you explore the ancient stone streets, arches, bridges, and buildings of Girona’s old city.
Imagine heading into Sunday Mass and seeing an ancient coffin hanging above your head. Is it a warning sign? A status symbol?
2. Salvador Dali’s House in Cadaqués
Salvador Dali is one of Spain’s cultural icons and this is the view from his longtime home in Cadaqués.
And when that glorious view did not provide enough inspiration, Dali could always chill at his pool.
3. Medieval Villages of Pals and Peratallada
Less than 15 miles from Girona are lovely medieval towns called Pals and Peratallada. Walk around the cool Catalan villages and find scenes like this for hours.
4. Volcano Hike at La Garrotxa
On a guided hike in the La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park, I learned that there are 40 volcanoes and 20 flows in the area. Olot, with 83% of the people in Garrotxa region, has four volcano cones within the town limits. I learned that Garrotxa means “hard to walk” because of the region’s rough terrain, that cork is an oak tree, and that Natural Parc designations are different than National Parc. It is cool to learn stuff.
5. Hike Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc Beach
In the heart of Baix Emporda (a region of Costa Brava), Llafranc is one of the most gorgeous beaches you will find in Europe and is best approached by trekking in from Calella de Palafrugell. For nothing else than views like this. It reminded me a lot of Big Sur and the La Jolla California cliffs. So gorgeous! For more information and photos of the Costa Brava coastal paths, please see Camino de Ronda Hiking Plan.
6. Hidden Gem Costa Brava Restaurants
The Costa Brava restaurant scene is astounding. Fresh seafood from the Mediterranean Sea, local organic produce often from feet away, and small batch wines are typical features everywhere!
After our Costa Brava coastal walks, the typical rice lunch at Vicus Restaurant in the medieval village of Pals hit the spot. The starter of local olives stuffed with local anchovies provided anticipation of amazing things to come.
A nice spot for lunch after visiting La Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park is Restaurant Cal Sastre in nearby Santa Pau. The mixed beans with sausage is the traditional Santa Pau entree and it is sandwiched between amazing pumpkin soup and stuffed cannelloni with truffle sauce (and other courses!).
7. Organic Costa Brava Wine at Mas Vida Celler
Adriana Fernandez is a dynamo who took over her family farm a couple of years after her father passed. She is in love with the land, the history, and organic farming. She is not afraid to show visitors around the rugged terrain of Mas Vida in her well-worn 4WD. This is her favorite view in Catalonia, she told me.
After a thrilling and informative tour of the property, the wine tastes that much sweeter. Mas Vida!
8. Medieval Castle: Castel Peralada
A fantastically intact 14th century medieval castle (former convent) and perhaps the only castle casino in the world, Castel Peralada is actually much more than it appears. Besides the casino, onsite are remarkable restaurants (order pork belly), an international festival, largest collection of Don Quixote works in the world, meticulous gardens, and several museums (wine, crystal, library, more). Nearby is its sister property, a luxury golf and wine spa. Yes, indeed!
Can you suggest other cool things to see in Costa Brava? Leave a comment below.