Close your eyes and imagine driving along the scenic road from Tossa de Mar to Sant Feliu de Guíxols knowing that you’re about to start a fantastic surf and turf gastronomy route, where you’ll get to taste the best prawns and sea urchins in Palamós and anchovies in L’Escala, and where you’ll discover the secret of the region’s first wine in Empúries, among its Greek-Roman ruins, the acclaimed olive oil of Ventalló and the farmhouse cheeses of Siurana.
Food lovers, fans of El Celler de Can Roca and the best restaurants on the Costa Brava … This is the route for you!
#1. Popaire Craft Beers in Blanes
Blanes is known as the gateway to the Costa Brava, and Cerveses Popaire is a model young company making the most characteristic craft beer on the Costa Brava. The team at Cerveses Popaire started off making beer in the kitchen at home and now run a professional brewery, where they use traditional methods and natural ingredients to make top quality beer, with sea water as its distinguishing feature.
The brewery is in the centre of Blanes and its doors are always open to anyone wanting to visit the facilities, discover the brewing process and, naturally, carry out a tasting of four varieties!
#2. The Scenic Road from Tossa de Mar to Sant Feliu de Guíxols
Tossa de Mar is definitely not to be missed. You’ll love this walled town with its paved streets, which has long been a favourite location for artists and film directors. Afterwards, in the afternoon, you can take your time driving the 21 kilometres to Sant Feliu de Guíxols, along one of the most beautiful coastal roads in Catalonia, with various viewpoints and spots along the way that are ideal for amateur photographers … and Instagrammers, too, of course!
#3. Palamós: Fishermen, Prawns and Sea Urchins, the Fish Market and Wineries
Palamós owes its whole identity as a town to the sea. Its fishing, boats, beaches, winds, food … Everything in Palamós carries the seal, the smell and the colour of the sea, which is why it has now become the Costa Brava mecca for tourism experiences connected with sea produce: there is the Fishing Museum, workshops and show cooking events focussing on seafood cookery at the Espai del Peix, the auction at the fish market open to the public, fishing tourism …
In Palamós you’ll also find one of the most unforgettable experiences in the region: boarding the Rafael crewed by Tela Marinera and sailing along the coastline of the Costa Brava as you sample the most popular local produce: sea urchins and prawns from Palamós.
But there is more to Palamós than the sea, as you’ll soon see if you visit its two wineries: the Brugarol winery, designed by the Pritzker prize-winning RCR architects and one of the gems of modern architecture, and the Celler d’en Marc, a small highly-dedicated family project.
#4. A Gastro-Botanical Walk and Wine Pairing in Cala S’Alguer with Naturalwalks
The emblematic coastal path hugging the rough coastline of the Costa Brava from Blanes to Portbou rewards us not only with beautiful scenery, but also with distinctive flora. Naturalwalks offers hiking fans a gastro-botanical route from La Fosca beach to Cala S’Alguer, in Palamós, along the coastal path. Guided by botanist Evarist March, the director and guide of Naturalwalks, you can discover the flora surrounding you throughout the walk. When you reach Cala S’Alguer, a sommelier will be waiting for you to savour a pairing of local flowers and wine.
#5. The Palafrugell Cork Museum and the Fishing Villages of Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc
Did you know that Girona is the top producer of cava and champagne corks, with 50% of the total production? Or that it is one of the few regions where vines and cork oaks grow side by side? If you’d like to discover the past, present and future of the cork sector or to enjoy a meal of traditional cork cutters’ fare, then head for the Palafrugell Cork Museum, where you’ll find all this, and a lot more!
And once the visit is over … you’lI be very close to some of the most picturesque fishing villages on the Costa Brava: go for a stroll by the sea under the arches in Calella de Palafrugell and then take the emblematic coastal path to Llafranc, where you can’t leave without going up to Sant Sebastià Lighthouse to take in one of the most stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. And, if you’re curious to discover more of the area, you can go on to Tamariu, one of the prettiest coves on the Costa Brava.
#6. L’Escala and its Anchovies
A visit to L’Escala while you’re in Alt Empordà is a must. This old fishing village situated near the Greek and Roman ruins of Empúries boasts one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline on the Costa Brava. The old part, particularly around the main beach, is the epicentre of nearly all the most important events of the year.
But, of course, for a true gourmet like you, a visit to L’Escala is not complete without visiting the Anchovy and Salt Museum and tasting the town’s famous anchovies. And, naturally, you’ll want to wash them down with a delicious DO Empordà wine!
#7. Glops d’Història: Greek-Roman Ruins and the Origin of our Wine in Empúries
Without a shadow of doubt, winemaking and trading arrived in Catalonia in about the 6th century BC thanks to the most important Greek colony in the country, Empúries, the city that would give its name to the whole region of the Empordà. Would you like to find out more about it? The archaeologists from the company Glops d’Història will take you round the site of the ruins of Empúries and will reveal all their secrets.
#8. Oil Tourism in Ventalló
At Oli de Ventalló you’ll explore the olive groves to discover all the secrets of extra virgin olive oil. You’ll walk through ancient olive trees and beautiful countryside and finish up with an olive oil tasting, a chance to sample the most typical local produce or to take part in a workshop on making allioli and sauces. And don’t worry, you won’t come away hungry … You’ll be surrounded by over two thousand years of Mediterranean gastronomy with locally-sourced ingredients, which you can sample by booking the olive oil tasting menu ‘From the Olive Grove to the Table’ proposed by La Bassa restaurant, located in the village of Ventalló.
#9. Siurana d’Empordà: Farmhouse Cheeses and Craft Wines
Driving along secondary roads through little Empordà villages and farmland you’ll come to Siurana d’Empordà, where you can spend the day discovering and tasting two of our region’s most important products: sheep’s cheese and wine.
At Mas Marcè you can visit a farm breeding ripollesa sheep, run by a family of shepherds going back more than six generations. You’ll learn all about the world of sheep, how the farm is worked and how their organic dairy products are made. You’ll be able to touch the smallest lambs in the flock and feed them, or take part in a workshop to learn how to make cottage cheese or traditional-style wool. The visit also includes a chance to sample their cheeses and other dairy products, washed down, naturally, with a porró of young Empordà wine.
The other hidden gem in the village of Siurana d’Empordà is the Vins de Taller winery. Known as the ‘Empordà’s green winery’, it makes organic and biodynamic craft wines in a stunningly beautiful setting. Besides the standard winery visit, it also offers all sorts of wine tourism experiences: picnics and lunches in the vineyards, horse rides … and a lot more!
#10. Agritourism and Dairy Farming at Mas Alba
Mas Alba is an exceptional farm guesthouse surrounded by nature and an artisan dairy in the village of Terradelles.
If you book a guided visit to the dairy in advance, you’ll be able to go with the owners to milk their herd of goats, you’ll see how they make their cheeses every day, and then round off the experience with a tasting of Mas Alba’s entire selection of cheeses, made exclusively with milk from their herd.
#11. Girona, the Gourmet Capital
The colourful houses lining the River Onyar, the Eiffel Bridge, the lioness’s backside, the Cathedral, the century-old shops, the bustling Lleó Market … We all know that you don’t need much of an excuse to go exploring Girona. If you also want to discover its gastronomy, don’t hesitate to attend a local cookery workshop with Xevi at Tots a Taula, follow the local guides from Girona Food Tours and, if you haven’t managed to get a table at the 3-Michelin starred El Celler de Can Roca, one of the best restaurants in the world, you can always console yourself by savouring an ice cream at Rocambolesc, Jordi Roca’s ice cream shop in the centre of the city.