May is commonly an exquisite, sunny month in Catalonia—and all over most of Spain. With spring in high gear but high-season not yet in full swing, it’s the perfect time to plan a weekend escape from Barcelona.
There are so many options from small towns in the mountains to buzzing beaches, but one of our favorites is a trip to the scenic whitewashed fishing villages along the Costa Brava. Here you can get away from the bustle of the city and enjoy hidden beaches, beautiful walks and unique cultural attractions.
This is one of my go-to spots when visitors come to Barcelona. We hop in the car and drive up to Cadaqués, a bone-white village tucked into the bottom of Cap de Creus Natural Park. Portlligat, where artist Dalí lived for 40 years, is nearby and makes for a fascinating day-trip. Make sure to book tickets to visit his house, which is now a museum, in advance.
My husband’s relatives introduced me to Calella de Palafrugell, a popular fishing town to the south of Cadaqués. Stone houses with sapphire and green wooden shutters crowd around compact coves with pebble shorelines. From the center of town the Camí de Ronda winds over the hills, through pine forests, to spectacular hidden beaches.
Although popular Palamós can be touristy and built-up, there are still a lot of options for affordable lodging, nightlife and restaurants in town. But we recommend getting a little bit outside of the action for a more enjoyable visit. Instead of staying in Palamós, chill on the beaches of La Fosca, which are just a few kilometers north. La Fosca is a quiet village with a hostal and a handful of seasonal restaurants and bars. Best of all, the beach is a soft crescent of Mediterranean bliss.
Unfortunately, reaching these spots isn’t as easy as hopping on a train. Most of the beaches along the Costa Brava have maintained their charm because there is no rail service to them. To get to these sweet spots, you need to either rent a car or go by the bus company known as Sarfa (which can be slow going). Most Costa Brava beaches are about 90 minutes by car from Barcelona proper.