This is what vacation is all about. You drove up the coast, through hillside towns, and by secluded beaches. You found a hidden cove and a perfect ocean view. You followed stone steps to a little hotel and an al fresco restaurant. You sipped Grenache, ate fresh seafood, and watched sailboats bob in the water. Then you decided to stay a while.
This idyllic spot is on the Costa Brava. Spain’s Rugged Coast sits in between Barcelona and the French border. The Catalan people have always known about the beauty along the Mediterranean Sea. Beaches—from pebbled to golden sand to volcanic black sand—are tucked around medieval villages and towering cliffs. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the government started using the coast’s nickname to promote tourism and lure people to what they hoped would become the new Côte d’Azur. It worked. French and British people now flock here for the beautiful scenery, the perfect weather, and the relatively cheap prices.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a private spot. Begur, on the Bay of Estartit, is a medieval hilltop town surrounded by eight enchanting coves and the Ses Negres Marine Reserve. It’s home to the remains of a 16th-century castle and some of the best beaches on the Costa Brava. It’s also where you found the Vintage Hotel & Lounge, the perfect spot that made you stop exploring.
The Vintage Hotel & Lounge is a boutique hotel with a bohemian feel. Last night, you sat by the iron railing and watched the sun set. You stared at lightning bugs and smelled the combination of pine trees and salty air. You shared tapas dishes: a jamón ibérico slate, Andalusian-style calamari, Santoña anchovies with Kalamata olives, and pan con tomate. You drank way too much red wine. And you probably stumbled a bit as you made your way to one of the hotel’s ten rooms.
Then you woke up completely content this morning. Your room, which you practically overlooked the last night, is simply decorated. Its focus, as it should be, is on the crystal blue water beyond your balcony. Go for a swim in the saltwater pool, which is still a bit chilly this early, before breakfast. Graze on yogurt, croissants, and more jamón as you drink coffee on the terrace. Find Aiguafreda, a little beach hidden by the rocky coastline and colorful boats. Hike, kayak, and snorkel through Ses Negres, the Costa Brava’s first marine reserve.
Then return to the hotel for another long dinner. This time, a chilled Grenache Blanc replaces red wine and a traditional gazpacho immediately tempts you. But you can’t decide between scallops, sea bass, and monkfish after that. You ultimately realize it doesn’t matter. You’ll have one tonight and another tomorrow night. For once, you’re going to remain in one place and relax. The Costa Brava is a spot to stay a while.