Saturday, June 15, 2013

Car Trip Itinerary Northern Spain - Costa Brava, Sitges, Girona and Begur


So, I usually try to keep this blog to being about art and life and how they intertwine.  Yet, I felt that I wanted to share about my recent road trip through northern Spain and the Costa Brava.  I actually had a hard time finding information when I was planning this trip - so I hope there are other fellow travellers that find this information useful.

We did our booking before we left home.  I got my rental car here and my hotel here.  I also found trip advisor to be a wonderful resource for hotel ideas as well as other information.  Check with your credit card company - many of them will provide damage insurance coverage on a car charged on the card.  You do need to confirm the details on this before you leave.  Also, get the GPS - its worth it.

I found this book to be really useful for Spain car trip itineraries.  Do remember that when you leave Barcelona - all shops in the outer cities take their siesta time from 2-5 in the afternoon and they are closed.  Also, the banks close at 2 and do not reopen but the cash machines are plentiful.

Sitges
View from the roof top terrace at Hotel Davallada
Day 1 - We left Barcelona and drove to Sitges by windy coastal road.  Really beautiful to drive along the sea.  We stayed at Hotel Davallada which is pretty cute.  Only 4 large rooms in the place and the most amazing breakfast ever.  It is a unique small boutique hotel with two terraces, so if that's not your cup of tea, its not the place for you.  We walked into the happening area where there are lots of restaurants and bars.  Yet we had some trouble landing on a restaurant that looked good to us.  The next day we walked down to the marina area and found there to be lots of restaurant choices there that we thought looked good.  However, we were leaving that morning, so we didn't get to try any.  Sorry, no food recommendations here except for breakfast at the Hotel Davallada - yum.

We also left Sitges on Day 1 and drove to Vilafranca Del Penedes - the home of yummy cava (sparkling Spanish wine in both white and rose) which we girls grew very fond of on our trip to Spain.  We hit the wine museum and had a walk about and lunch in the square.

Vilafranca Del Penedes
Day 2 - We headed to Girona with a couple stops along the way.  Our first stop was Montserrat.  We drove all the way to the top on a narrow twisty mountain road that reminded me of the Road to the Sun in Glacier National Park.  There is ample parking at the top.  We didn't realize the hiking opportunities that abound in the area, so we did not plan the time for the walks there.  I would recommend spending at least an extra hour or two+ to do a little hiking as well as seeing the beautiful church and stunning views.

Montserrat

Montserrat

The city of Vic is directly en route to Girona.  Being that we fell deeply in love with Spanish ham and sausage it seemed a likely stop as it is the sausage capital. 

Vic
Home of the sausage
We arrived in Girona late afternoon and stayed at the lovely  - Hotel Nord 1901.  I would highly recommend this hotel.  Not only are the rooms beautiful, it is in a great location, the staff is wonderful and the breakfast was really good.  Girona was one of our favorite stops.  We really liked this town and it could easily be used as a base camp for day trips to the coast or Figueres.  Lovely restaurants, a beautiful old town, and good shopping.  We walked the wall around the city.  Its an easy walk and gives you nice views.  If you are a cyclist, there is a bike shop owned by a guy from the UK that rode professionally.  He now sells on consignment the jerseys of professional bikers that rode in the Tour de France.  We picked up a jersey there - a nice souvenir for enthusiasts.  There are several good restaurants in Girona including the #2 restaurant in the world.  We ate at a place called Draps which was very good and in the center of the old town.  Don't bother with the Saturday market - it was a bust. 

Girona

Girona

Girona

Day 3 -   We had spent most of the day in Girona and left mid afternoon.  On the way to Begur (our next hotel destination) we stopped in La Bisbal which is the pottery capital.  No problem finding lots of pottery shops with many choices.  Beautiful and colorful and worth the stop if you like Spanish pottery.  We arrived in Begur around 6PM to the - hotel El Petit Convent.  It is a new and small extension of the Convent Hotel in Begur.  There are 11 rooms, they are beautiful and new.  The location is perfect in the old town and the staff was very nice and helpful.  The breakfast was great.  Our first night we drove to Aiguablava to eat at seaside at the Toc Delmar - fresh grilled fish. 

Aiguablava
Day 4 - We continued our stay in Begur at the same hotel.  Being it was Sunday, we headed out for a day trip to l'Escala to go to the Sunday market.  The market runs along the sea side promenade and is full of all kinds of clothing, jewelry, bags and other market kind of finds.  Its a good market and worth the trip if you like those kind of markets.  It closes at 1:00.  L'Escala was our furthest point for the day and we headed back towards Begur and went a little inland to Peratallada which is a small medieval town that has kept its charm.  It is worth a visit to walk around - many restaurants with set 3 course yummy meals.  Back to Begur . We walked up to the castle which offers wonderful 360 views of the area surrounds.  Ate dinner at Pizetta - must have reservations as it is very popular and fills every night.  The salads were killer and the pizza (while smaller) was delicious. 
 

Peratallada

Day 5 - We headed back to Barcelona. But, before leaving the area, we drove to Sa Tuna. Its a cute little seaside town close to Begur.  Its just 1 hour round trip walk from Begur if you are up for a hike.
 
Sa Tuna

Our last night in Barcelona we wanted to be in La Rambla area.  We stayed at Petit Palace Bouqueria.  For location, this hotel is great - 1/2 block off the Rambla and just a couple of minutes from the Bouqueria market, and right in the heart of where you want to wander and shop.   It claims to be a 4 star - its questionable about the rating and if you stay here don't set your expectations to 4 star level.  We were a bit disappointed with the hotel itself - but breakfast was yummy and they offer a free 2.5 hour walking tour of the area every day, and the location is perfect. 

Great trip. 

13 comments:

  1. It looks like a fabulous trip...and much inspiration for artwork to come!

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  2. Really enjoyed this trip with you in this post.

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  3. Wow, that looks like a wonderful trip! I have not been to Spain but really want to go!

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  4. Fabulous photos! Looks like your had a great time. Wish I could go on vacation, too. :)

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  5. lovely photos. We went to Barcelona twice last year and visited Stiges..lovely place

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  6. Articles and content in this section of the website are really amazing. Great ideas indeed! I will surely keep these in my mind!

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  7. The place sounds to be INCREDIBLE for spending holidays. Its looking quite impressive one. I am so excited to see them. I wish I will also go there.

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  8. h! very interesting! when i was reading this it made me feel like i was in it too. hahahaha
    that kid! hahahaha pestering you huh? ^_^
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