Move To Costa Brava:
Which Towns/Villages Would You Recommend For All Year Round Living
First of all, thanks for putting this useful site together. It's proving a really helpful resource.
We are a couple in our late 30's, who work in the arts and we're hoping to relocate from London to the Costa Brava in the next few months. We are not dependent on finding work there, as we will continue to travel back to London and elsewhere as required for work.
After having researched and visited many different regions of Spain and SW France, a recent trip to Catalonia convinced us we'd be happiest there. It was pretty much a flying visit - we stayed in Cadaques (which we loved but wow, property there is eye-wateringly pricey) and then travelled on up the coast and over into France, finishing in Collioure and Ceret. We didn't get to go any further south of Cadaques on this trip.
I'm planning to return to the Costa Brava again in the next fortnight to do further research and I'd be really grateful if, from your indepth knowledge of the place, you could recommend towns/villages you think it's worth us checking out as great places to live.
We are essentially looking for a beautiful, lively town/village which is a viable place to live in all year round (ie not deserted and shuttered up for the winter) and has a community of mixed age and outlook (ie not just a retiree's outpost). Preferably coastal, or within 35 mins of the coast. We like places where music, art, sport and culture are to the fore. Cadaques fitted the bill but we couldn't afford to buy too much more than a miniscule, 1 bedroom apartment there and we are hoping there might be somewhere with similar-ish charms but offering a bit more value for money.
All ideas/suggestions gratefully received.
Dee and Mark
Hi Dee and Mark
Good decision to move to the Costa Brava. It’s a fantastic place - beautiful beaches, great weather, interesting culture and it’s not far to other wonderful places in Catalonia and France (like the Pyrenees).
The fact that you work in the arts makes the Costa Brava even more special for you...
The Costa Brava has, for more than 100 years been a hub of the art and literary world in the Mediterranean, with the likes of Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Walter Benjamín and Picasso putting it on the world map.
If you would like to read more about the emergence of the Costa Brava in the art world, this is an interesting article.
Which Costa Brava Towns To Live In All Year Round:
Cadaques is, as you have found out, a lively beautiful town with a good arts scene. But regardless of the expense, you might find it a bit isolated and boring in the winter, so maybe it wouldn’t be the best town to live in all year round.
Begur is another great town (it’s 5km from the sea) with lots going on, but unfortunately it is also expensive. However, you may find a place to live near Begur that is cheaper but allows you to enjoy all Begur has to offer. There are also some amazing beaches near here. Nearby at Torroella de Montgri is the Torroella Music Festival and the Palau Solterra Museum that houses national and international contemporary photographic collections from artists around the world.
Another town worth taking a look at is Palafrugell (3.5km from the sea). Palafrugell is a large town with 3 great beaches nearby (Llafranc, Calella de Palafrugell and Tamariu). There is always plenty going on in Palafrugell, including the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture and the prestigious Cap Roig Festival just outside Calella de Palafrugell in the stunning botanical gardens.
Girona, although not coastal, is only a 40 minute drive from the sea and it a fantastic small buzzing city.
Palamos is a major port town with one of the last remaining fishing fleets on the Costa Brava and is big enough (3rd largest town on the Costa Brava) to be “awake” all year. Nearby is the lovely Platja de Castell, we really love this beach.
Sant Feliu de Guíxols is quite a big seaside town, backed by the large natural areas of Les Gavarres and the Ardenya Massif which are great for walking and cycling. It has things going on all year, but it’s particularly known for the international music, theatre and dance festival of Porta Ferrada, one of the oldest in Catalonia, which is on in July/August/September. Also in June/July there is La Mostra de Cançó de Taverna - a festival of fishermen and folk music. There is also the Serra Vicens factory housing exhibitions of Catalan painting.
Tossa de Mar has long been an artists colony, inspiring the likes of Rafael Benet, Marc Chagall and Andre Masson. It’s a beautiful looking town with it’s ruined castle and winding old streets. Again, plenty going on, particularly the international music festival of Tossa de Mar, the Beats and Fish Festival, and the International Quick Painting Contest (in its 57th year now) at the end of August, where the participants must depict Tossa de Mar in a painting that has to be finished before 6pm that day!
As far as sport and activities are concerned, all along the Costa Brava there is great walking, cycling (extremely popular in Catalonia), golf and of course the sea offers diving, sailing, kayaking and swimming (amongst other water based fun).
Hopefully, this information has given you a few ideas of places to check out on your next visit.
All the best with your exciting move!
Imogen and Jonnie