Costa Brava, Spain

Living in Costa Brava, Spain

Iyna Bort Caruso

Costa Brava has been the setting of movies, the inspiration for artists and the muse for musicians.

This stretch of land that extends from the northeast of Barcelona to the French border boasts arguably the most beautiful beaches in Spain, including many blue flag beaches that meet international standards of sustainable development and environmental management. Three international airports are less than two hours away, skiing in the Pyrenees Mountains can be enjoyed in a daytrip and foodies need only turn a corner. One of Spain’s highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants is right here. Yet the area maintains an air of Catalonian authenticity.

Costa Brava is a string of ancient towers, medieval towns and rolling vineyards complemented by spectacular coves, cliffs and coastline. Some towns are traditional, others are trendy. Cliffside villas and meticulously restored farmhouses are among the types of glamorous properties that attract second home buyers to this holiday destination. International real estate investment represents a sizable percentage of the market, particularly those from the United Kingdom, France and other Northern Europe countries. It is also a popular weekend home retreat for wealthy Barcelonans.

Begur is a hilltop coastal town with Mediterranean Sea views that extend onto the Pyrenees. This luxe locale is known for its Moorish architecture and fine neoclassical estates built by merchants in the late 19th century. The nearby picturesque pockets of Pals, Llafranc, Tamariu and Sa Riera are also on the list of sought-after enclaves.

Closer to the French border is the village of Portlligat where native son Salvador Dali once lived and worked. His home is now the Portlligat Museum-House and part of the so-called Dali Triangle, three Costa Brava sites that pay tribute to the Surrealist. South in Figueres is the Dali Theatre-Museum housing a major collection of his works. The Gala-Dali Castle in inland Pubol, a 14th century castle Dali built for his wife, Gala, completes the triangle.