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Discovering Tossa de Mar: A historic medieval town in the Costa Brava

Standing proudly on the north coast of Catalonia, the historic city of Tossa de Mar is a treasure. The town offers panoramic views out across the Mediterranean Sea and it’s famous for its sandy beaches, its lighthouse and, of course, its historic fortified medieval town.

Tossa de Mar is located in the province of Girona and precisely 103 km north of Barcelona. In the 12th century, Tossa de Mar was a medieval town walled off with a castle on the highest point of the city. Years after, this castle was replaced by a windmill which in turn was replaced by a lighthouse. Nowadays, the lighthouse is still operational, and the site has been declared a national historical monument.

But turns out that Tossa de Mar is much more than just a medieval city. As a cool fact, Tossa de Mar was the first place in the world to declare itself an Anti-Bullfighting City, in 1989. It’s also home to beautiful coves with endless snorkelling possibilities and hiking trails that wander through green pine forests.

So get ready all you adventurous travellers out there; in this post we’ll be sharing the absolute best things to do in this charming village.

Cala Bona
Photo by Gerard Romans Camps / BY-NC

What to do in Tossa de Mar

Hike the Camí de Ronda and snorkel at the coves

Follow Camí de Ronda (Ronda’s footpath) north and south from Tossa de Mar and get through impressive pinewoods to reach beautiful hidden crystal-clear coves.

The Northern part of the Camí de Ronda

Walking north from Tossa de Mar, follow the red and white signs that will guide you through this path. In this direction, the footpath presents some steep hills, but the fragrance of pine trees, rosemary and thyme will make you not think about them.

After 3km, the first cove appears, Cala Bona (Good cove). When we got there, the first thing we did was jumping directly into the sea to fight the intense summer heat. If you like snorkelling, you’ll love to explore the seabed of this cove and swim along with all kind of Mediterranean fishes. It’s a good time for a break and to eat something before continuing the search for new coves. There’s even a restaurant in the cove, but -come on! It’s holidays- let’s do a good old-fashioned picnic to enjoy nature at its most!

The next treasure is not far from Cala Bona. Only after 1 km walk, Cala Pola appeared. This one is a sandy cove with crystal blue water, and it’s bigger than the one before. It’s usually quite crowded (especially in summer) because there’s a campsite next to it. Anyway, it’s a great place to lay on the sand, get a bit tanned -sun cream highly recommended!- and play a beach tennis match.

Cala Pola
Photo by VRoig / BY

The last cove we visited on our hike was Cala Giverola. It’s 5 km far from Tossa de Mar (only 1 km after the previous cove). It’s the biggest one and similar to Cala Pola, but the boats anchored in the bay and the shape of the coast make it the best one in terms of views. Also, the bigger the cove, the larger the seabed to explore!

We made our way back to Tossa through the same path, and when we arrived at the city, we stopped to enjoy ice cream. It wouldn’t be a real recommendation from us without an ice cream suggestion! We loved the selection at BlauBlanc Gelato&Lounge, just in front of the main beach.

The Southern part of the Camí de Ronda

Starting from Tossa de Mar again, head south instead of north. Walk for 3.5 km until you get to Llorell beaches, two beaches (Llevant and Garbí) that are configured as only one large beach. This natural area begs to be explored, and the region is a magnet for water sports addicts. There’s a wide variety of sports you can practise there such as scuba divingkayakingwaterskiing or windsurfing.

Cala Llorell
Photo by Albert Torelló / BY-SA

There are two more coves on the way to Llorell beaches, but we didn’t stop in any of them. However, on our way back, 3 km before arriving at Tossa de Mar, we discovered a little paradise: the cove Cala Figuera (Cala d’es Rajols). The abundant vegetation surrounding this cove makes it very special. You can’t see any buildings around and feel isolated in the middle of nature. And best of all? It’s not as crowded as the other coves in this area. Be aware that nudism is a common practice there.

Experience sunrise over one of Tossa de Mar’s coves

If you want to start your day with an absolute blast, wake up early and watch the sunrise from the sea. We know that waking up early can be hard, but for this reason, we can assure you that you won’t regret it. It’s a show of nature not to be missed!

Sunset in Tossa de Mar
Photo by Carquinyol / BY-SA

Wander through the streets of the old town

If you’re in Tossa de Mar, a must-do is to visit its most iconic spot, the Old Town. This majestic medieval part of the city is full of history and is the only example of a fortified medieval town still standing on the Catalan coast. With its narrow cobblestoned streets and seven towers in total, it seems that time has stopped in the Old Town. It’s like having travelled back in time to middle age.

Historic centre of Tossa de Mar
Photo by Jorge Franganillo / BY

Eat tapas

One of the best places to eat is a restaurant called La lluna, which means “The moon”. They’re specialised in tapas, which are a variety of dishes typical from Spain. When you eat tapas, you always order a variety of them and share them with your friends, family, or partner. Then you don’t get to eat only one dish, but you try as many as possible!

If you go there we recommend you to try:

  • Seitons en vinagre: a kind of anchovies in vinegar sauce.
  • Empedrat: a salad made with cold cod and white beans.
  • Gaspatxo: a sort of tomato soup that you eat cold.
  • Patates braves: fried potatoes served with a spicy sauce.
  • Croquetes: chicken croquettes.
  • Pebrots del piquillo: sweet peppers stuffed with brandade (a mixture of salt cod and olive oil).

Where to sleep in Tossa de Mar

As we wanted to be close to a cove to watch the sunrise over the sea, we chose to spend the night at Camping Pola, just next to Cala Pola. We brought our tent, and we rent the pitch. The price was around 20 €/night with parking included. The camping has 2 bars, 2 restaurants, a supermarket and a swimming pool.

When is the best time to go to Tossa

During the summer months, Tossa de Mar comes alive. People are swimming at the beach, eating and drinking in the restaurants’ terraces, and walking around the city centre. That’s why from June to September is an excellent time to come here. If it’s possible, avoid August as it’s the most crowded month and it might even be too hot during the day to take a walk. For us, June and September are the best months as it’s a bit quieter and not that hot.

How to get to Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar is not far from either Girona or Barcelona. How can you get there?

  • By car: Tossa de Mar is one of Costa Brava’s beaches closest to Barcelona and Girona. That makes it ideal for either a day trip or a weekend trip if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big cities. From Barcelona, you need to drive 1 h 30 min to be in Tossa de Mar, whereas Girona is only 50 mins.
  • By bus: There’s public transport from both Girona and Barcelona to Tossa de Mar. From Barcelona, there’s a direct bus that leaves from Estació del Nord, and it takes 1 h 20 mins. This bus departs more or less each hour and it cost 12,35€ each way. Click here to check the schedule. On the other hand, if you’re going from Girona, it’s a bit more complicated. There’s no direct bus to Tossa de Mar, so you must take a bus to Lloret de Mar and then change to another one that goes to Tossa de Mar. It will take in total about 1 h and 20 min.


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