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Begur Spain, one of the jewels of the famous Costa Brava, a gorgeous stretch of beaches, cliffs and translucent water running from Barcelona up to the French border. While there are many (some may say endless) beach options up and down this fabulous coast, Begur had been recommended to us by a friend in Barcelona and was known for its natural beauty and somewhat quieter beaches.
Once voted one of the Top 3 beaches in Spain (a very competitive list, I assure you), this photogenic line of sheltered coves, medieval villages and impressive cliffs is a wonderful place to explore, relax or simply get super, super sunburnt.
There are also offshore islands, world-famous botanical gardens (Jardins de Cap Roig), some fascinating local markets and some intriguing links to Cuba, both historically and architecturally.
Apparently, a large number of Begurencs, as they’re called, emigrated to Cuba between 1830 and 1850 to join in on the great resource rush of the time, then later returned to Spain a little bit older but much, much richer. They then built huge, extravagant homes that remain impressive to this day and this unusual heritage continues to be celebrated through a 3-day festival the first weekend of September called the Fira d’Indians.
On top of all this, Begur Spain is very convenient to both Barcelona (2-3 hrs by train, less by car), Girona (less than an hour) or even the cities of southern France.
For our stay in Begur we rented a room on hill with a terrace looking out to the ocean. Unfortunately, there was a massive thunderstorm our first night, and we mostly avoided the shared kitchen due to the helpful but lurking owners, but most of the time that amazing deck was the perfect place to have breakfast, lunch, do some work or, perhaps, just sit and drink beer.
The 15 Best Things to Do in Begur Spain
Most people that come to Begur Spain are looking to relax and enjoy some beautiful beaches, not check off a long list of sights and activities. However, there are plenty of highlight destinations in the area that are definitely worth checking out during your stay. Yes, most of them include a beach or two, but there is also more to it than that…
1. Begur Old Town
The beauty of Spain is that even at the beach you can find medieval villages with terrific old towns and impressive ruins. Begur’s old town is pleasant, with the requisite narrow, winding alleys and old buildings and loads of cobblestone.
The Church of St. Stephen of Esclanya is a highlight, as are many of the ostentatious homes built by Begurancs after returning from Cuba, including Casa Bonaventura Caner Bataller, Can Petu, Can Pi, Can Sora and Casa de la Vila, just to mention a few of most noticeable.
If you happen to be around on a Wednesday, the local market takes places until around noon.
2. Begur Castle
The castle is very historic, dating back to at least the 11th century and the feudal lord, Arnust de Begur, later being destroyed and rebuilt 3 different times; during the Catalan Civil War (1468), French raids (1694) and War of Independence (1810 Napoleonic Wars).
It was then partially restored in 20th century, although, to be frank, it is a little underwhelming to look at. The exceptional panoramic views from the top are the real draw. Up and down the coast, plus all the way to the plains of Baix Empordà on a clear day.
3. Platja Fonda
Ok, I know I said this list wouldn’t be all about the beaches but certainly a few of them need to be mentioned for their scenic value alone. Lovely Platja Fonda is close to town, set in a picturesque cove that is sheltered from the wind (although not the waves), features the semi-interesting Begur Cave and even a bit of shade here and there near the rocks.
Although bear in mind, it is a steep 5-minute walk down to the beach and there are no facilities at all.
4. Platja de Fornells
Considered by some to be the original “Costa Brava”, this set of 3 rocky coves is wild and beautiful, with cute little beaches, photogenic cliffs and even good snorkelling and scuba diving.
5. Hike Part of the Cami de Ronda
The Cami de Ronda long-distance hiking trail is one of the top hikes in Spain and one of the nicer sections passes right past Begur. One of the best things to do in Begur is the hike/walk from Platja Fonda to Platja Aiguablava. It only takes about 30-45 minutes one-way but provides a surprising amount of variety along the way.
Passing by each of the coves of Fornells, it is a diverse mix of steps, dirt trails, detours around houses, beach crossings and even covered tunnels in some parts. Any hiking in this area has the potential get awfully sweaty, awfully quickly, so we recommend doing the hike as early as possible, then settling in to one of the 6 or 7 beach choices once it gets too hot to move.
6. Playa Cala Aigublava
This popular beach is at the opposite end of the hike from Platja Fonda and the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to atmosphere. Aiguablava is still gorgeous and hemmed in by rocky points but it is much bigger, filled with sunbeds and umbrellas, overlooked by a big luxury hotels and has plenty of restaurants and even a scuba diving shop.
7. Scuba Diving
Begur Dive can be found just off the beach at Aiguablava and they offer everything from snorkelling to discovery dives to full courses. Many of the dives are just a short zodiac ride from the beach.
8. Platja de Sa Riera
This nice beach is a bit further from the main urban areas at the end of some smooth but winding little roads. It is split down the middle by a stream, has good facilities (sunbeds, umbrellas, toilets) and a few atmospheric restaurants.
Plus, there is a nice stretch of the Cami de Ronda here that heads north to the next stop on our list:
9. Illa Roja
A relatively famous nudist beach, in that rather subdued, semi-private way nudist beaches get famous, Illa Roja is tucked away in a secluded cove and is known (and named) for the extraordinary rocky red island directly across from it.
The island can be connected to the beach at low tide but is easily reachable at any time, although it is too steep and rough to do much there except take photos and stare at it balefully. Illa Roja is an easy 10-minute hike from Sa Riera and the scenic path continues for as far as you want past it.
10. Cala Sa Tuna
Known for its particularly clear water, Sa Tuna can be accessed via narrow, forest roads from several directions or you can even walk there along a nice path directly from Begur old town. However, the beach itself was one of the less impressive ones we saw in the area – small, crowded and rocky.
On the other hand, there are some nice restaurants overlooking the beach and nice, short walks in either direction (Aiguafreda to the north, the wild rocks of S’Eixugador to the southeast).
11. Inland Towns
We had already spent quite a bit of time in medieval inland towns before Begur so stuck to the coast for this stretch but we’re told that Pals features a fantastic Gothic quarter known simply, and rather amusingly, as “Pedro”.
And Palafrugell has a vibrant daily market (that is best on Sunday), as well as useful grocery stores.
A little closer to the coast, Cala de Palafrugell has a tremendously well-preserved old town.
12. Far de San Sebastia
Yes, I’m aware that “amazing coastal views” is getting quite a workout in these descriptions but, what can I tell you, that’s what the Costa Brava is all about. So, yeah, the San Sebastian Lighthouse is mostly known for its terrific views. There is also a popular restaurant just across the road (Far Nomo) that is a great place for a drink and some sunset watching if the timing works.
13. Jardins de Cap Roig
About 20 minutes south of Begur along the coast, the phenomenal Jardins de Cap Roig offer an enormous property full of botanical gardens, historical buildings and stunning coastal views. Which is a lot more variety than you usually find in a botanical garden, probably explaining their relative fame.
There is a €10 fee to enter but plant lovers, history buffs and view seekers alike will find plenty to enjoy. Less so, the families struggling to haul toddlers in strollers up and down the steep stairs and slopes…
To get a look at the Begur Costa Brava section from a different perspective, you can join a coastal sailing tour or even hire a private boat for the day. Two of the better options are Aiguablava Boats and Costa Brava Boats.
15. More Costa Brava Beaches
If you have both the time and inclination to keep trying every beach you can find, well, you’ve chosen the right area, for starters. If you are bound and determined to see every Begur beach you can, continue a little further afield to have a look at the following pleasant choices:
Cala Marquesa Aigua Xelida
Begur Spain Map
Click the star to save this map to your Google Maps – then find it under Saved/Maps (mobile) or Your Places/Maps (desktop)
Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a vacation if you have to handle all the planning and logistics so letting the pros take care of the details can be much more relaxing (and often rewarding – they tend to know all the best spots).
Here are a few top Begur tours that offer a nice mix of pleasure and adventure, to be combined as you see fit:
It starts in Girona but you can usually arrange to meetup wherever is convenient. This is a good way to see a bunch of the best villages in Catalonia without learning to navigate the Bluetooth in another strange rental car.
This 2-hour tour out of S’Agaro gets you up close and personal with some of the best scenery on the Costa Brava.
Views don’t get much better than those you enjoy on a serene float high above this fabulous coastline.
Begur Spain: Where to Stay
We loved our stay here thanks to the friendly, helpful owners and immensely scenic terrace attached to our room where we enjoyed breakfast every morning and happy hour drinks every afternoon. It is set on a scenic hill a little way from the beaches so it is best for those with a car, but it does have a shared kitchen and very handy grocery store just 2 minutes away.
We also really enjoyed the takeaway roast chicken from Mister Rostit, located just outside the grocery store as well.
If you would prefer to stay in the heart of the Begur old town, Hotel Rosa is a great option and was our second choice. The rooms are modern and comfortable and the hotel has a terrace with fabulous views of the castle. The spa is also very popular.
If you are looking for something self-contained where you can have privacy and cook your own meals, this fabulous apartment up on the hill has 2 bedrooms and all the facilities you might need for a comfortable vacation while still being relatively close to the beach.
Begur Spain Summary
There are dozens of stunning beaches and fantastic beach towns lining the incomparable Costa Brava. But if you are looking for something a little less condensed and touristy than the most popular spots, Begur is an exceptional choice.
With unbelievable coastal scenery, good value accommodation options and plenty of very different beaches to choose from, Begur has a little something for everyone.
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