Move To Costa Brava:
Which Towns/Villages Would You Recommend For All Year Round Living

by Dee


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.

Many thanks

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

Comments for Move To Costa Brava:
Which Towns/Villages Would You Recommend For All Year Round Living

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Retirement Plans
by: Jaime

This is an amazing post. I don't know how I happened upon it. I am looking to move to Spain in approximately 12 years. Are there certain areas that are more geared towards 60 and English speaking? I will certainly learn as much as I can before then but the thought of other similar couples, or singles would be wonderful. Is Cadaques a good retirement spot? We plan to visit in 2024. Do I find an area I like now, purchase a home and hold onto it?

Calonge and Pals?
by: Anonymous

Can anyone comment on Calonge and/or Pals? They both seem like a good location, but I don't know much else about it. My family (wife and sons) and I want to move from the Western US to Costa Brava. Trying to find a town with character, near the sea, has schools near by and isn't a ghost town in winter.

love this - thank you!
by: Graciela Lachmayer

This was so informative - thank you! We are planning a trip form Germany through France, Spain and Portugal and around. Our plan is to find a town we want to live in - bascially like everyone else - near water, warm not too quiet in winter etc.....
I made a list of the towns you suggested and am going to google them all. Cadaques sounds awesome but I think too quiet in winter.

Thank you again!

Want to move to Costa Brava
by: Trev

Well I am going to bite the bullet and move to the Costa Brava. Sell my house, hopefully £230,000 ish. My questions are where are the best places for Brit communities all year round? Also what are the best estate agents to try?


by: Lewis

Hi does anyone over 60 live in Gerona city? Is it very touristy or full of tourists? Is it cyclist friendly? Is it full of dog mess? Are the locals welcoming to a Brit who can speak Spanish, not Catalan yet? Best area to buy a house for around 500000euros? Many more questions but they’ll have to wait. Thanks.

Holiday home
by: Sam and Steve

Hi we are a couple in our mid 40’s looking to buy a holiday home in Costa Brava. We love Barcelona and ideally want a coastal property within 1 hour of Barcelona open all year round nice beaches and restaurants we are staying in Tamarui in July we have applied for NIE and currently awaiting that coming through. My husband is a scuba diver and golfer we all ski and love eating out ideally be able to walk to beach any help and advice
Would be much appreciated

Why Not Cadaques
by: David in Denver

I believe that if you have your hearts set on Cadaques you should go to Cadaques. Rent for awhile if you must but this is your only chance to fulfill your dream. We have stayed in Cadaques twice as guests of friends and those are close to our most precious memories.


Lively place for the rest of our life
by: Daniela White

Hi ,thank you for your article that I find very informative. My husband is taking early retirement at 59 but will continue his songwriting and I am a young 63 wildlife and travel photographer. Like the young couple above we would like to live in Spain for a variety of reasons, health being one of them as the humidity of England is causing me a lot of pain that when I am in Spain it disappears. The other reason is that I am Italian and I want to remain European now that Brexit is looming. My husband and I are creative people that love music and the arts especially rock and blues. We would like to live in a community but not one of the new urbaniizatiions that have sprung up all over Spain. We like to walk and swim and enjoy nature. We looked at south of France too as we both speak more French than Spanish but found the cost of living as expensive as England. I shall look into your suggestions but if you can think of anymore please email me at

From Marbella to Costa brava?
by: Melodie

Can the person who wrote this contact me ?
>> What about Rosas or nearby?
by: Anonymous

Hi everybody,
i am currently living in Marbella, but want to move up to Rosas, or another nice town. I am a 62 y.o woman and i would love to find the right place to live. Near the sea, not shut down in winter but alive with nice people, nice community,nice environment allowing walking, discovery, not to expensive to live in. Pretty much like some of the people above. You all speak of Begur and palafrugell, but what about Rosas, Empuriabrava or nearby? Thank you for all input.<<

Costa Brava Living
by: Melodie

Imogen you have so much more information than I have about the area...well done!
I had put a note that I was looking for a place in the Costa brava. I recently bought in Blanes - because there is a train to Barcelona, because there are 40 000 inhabitants and plenty of people and activities in the winter, a hospital, a theatre and on the beach. Easy access to Barcelona and Gerona.

For the lady who sent a message living in Marbella and wanting the Costa Brava aged 62. Please contact me at as I could help you out.

For the other lady looking around Ampuria Brava or Rosas ... I was told by locals that Rosas was best ...with some life in the winter too and not so far from Figueras. Ampuria Brava for me was the idea of buying a house on the canal. But then I was told that in the winter it is a bit dead...summer too manyyy tourists mainly Germans. Well in the end I bought for the moment in Blanes. Many Spanish people but some tourists too. Good mix.

Your thought please
by: Anonymous

What a wonderful site and useful information.
My husband and I (mid 50s) have spent most of our time in Southern Spain for short holidays. However, we now would like to spend longer periods in Spain with ultimately spending half our time in England and in Spain. We have a dog, so would need to drive so we are looking at Costa Brava as it is accessible and looks amazing but the question is where??
We would ideally like to be walking distance to a beach which is dog friendly. We are not into wild nightlife but a good choice of restaurants/bars etc. We like pretty places rather than build up places.As mentioned in other posts - all year round is important.
We are currently looking to spend a month in the winter this year.
Thanks in advance for any help!!

Living Year Round Costa Brava
by: Jessica summers

I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I'm quite sure I will learn lots of new stuff! Best of luck!

What about Rosas or nearby?
by: Anonymous

Hi everybody,
i am currently living in Marbella, but want to move up to Rosas, or another nice town. I am a 62 y.o woman and i would love to find the right place to live. Near the sea, not shut down in winter but alive with nice people, nice community,nice environment allowing walking, discovery, not to expensive to live in. Pretty much like some of the people above. You all speak of Begur and palafrigell, but what about Rosas, ampuriabrava or nearby? Thank you for all input.

Costa Brava Golf
by: Real Costa Brava

Golf is very popular on the Costa Brava and there are several good golf courses dotted about.

Where your parents would be best suited to living really depends on how lively an area they want to be in. For example, they might like to be near the larger coastal towns of Platja D’Aro, Sant Feliu de Guixols and Palamos, where they could use the golf course at Santa Cristina d'Aro. Or they might prefer to be around the smaller towns of Pals and Begur which are quieter, but are near to Palafrugel which is a big enough town to provide year round activities.

We would always advise people to rent before they buy and to really explore the whole area.

Wishing your parents all the best in their move.

Golf Costa Brava
by: Anonymous

This was so useful. My parents are in their 60's and are wanting to move to the Gerona area where there is golf and an international community. Pals seems nice but it's very hard to know where to even start looking! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Looking to settle in Costa brava Long Term from London
by: Melodie

I found this information on long term living on the Costa Brava useful...thank you.

I am looking to buy a house or land (?) in the Costa Brava in the next year or so, I want SEA VIEWS but I need a town with winter occupation ( I am very fluent in Spanish) and things to do too, some activities and enough to shop around and some activities on offer... nice walks and views and nice people of course ;)

Cadaques IS nice yes but too difficult to get in and out of. I want easy access to Gerona/Figueras/Barcelona.

My e-mail for anyone with useful info or please leave a comment here.

Costa Brava For The Over 60s
by: Imogen

Gloria, your trip sounds fantastic. Just the kind of trip we love to take.

I think, for people over 60, looking for some action but also some peace, in a place that is at least 50% occupied all year, Begur or Palafrugell are pretty good choices.

Begur is sophisticated and classy, but holds on to its hill top village charm. A very pretty place. It is in a great situation too for reaching amazing beaches and Girona is only 40 minutes drive.

Palafrugell might be better option if you prefer the buzz of a bigger town (it is more affordable too), but again close to lovely beaches and Girona.

But don’t give up on’s a special place, and is certainly not reserved just for the young.

Are you camping in Catalonia? We would love to hear about your trip if you are.

All the best

Year-round living Costa Brava for the over 60's
by: Gloria soleil

The comments on suggested locales for year-round living are valuable for those trying to create a context for living. However, how do we ever elicit frank and useful observations if we are not any longer in our 30s and looking for action?

We are a couple just at present preparing for a breathtaking trip that will include finding a sandy knowle on which to pitch our tents at the tender ages of 62 and 74.

Sure, we like activity, but we can make-do with occasional chamber music and modern dance. Or maybe a recital of guitar music.

We want to be around people insofar as knowing that there is a neighborhood at least 50% occupied. We had had our hearts set on Cadaques, but have been intimidated into reserve.

Can anyone speak to a broader array of offerings and to "cushier" context?

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Contact Real-Costa-Brava.Com.

Share this page:
Did you enjoy this page? You can share it with friends...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.