Sailing Spain’s Spectacular Costa Brava
Barcelona is the gateway to the Costa Brava, and this major tourist destination offers options for a crewed or bareboat charter to the rugged yet inviting northeast Spanish coast. For most Costa Brava charters however, bareboat sailing holidays usually start in one of the smaller centres where bases operate, after a road trip through the Catalan countryside or south across the Pyrenees.
With 200km of coastline, three nature reserves and countless hidden coves interspersed with small fishing villages and ever-present resorts, the Costa Brava offers plenty for everyone to explore on a charter sailing holiday. One popular option is start out from Rosas, just 50km south of the border with France. A seven-day itinerary along the coast takes you on a leisurely cruise as far south as Blanes and return, with plenty of time to explore from both land and sea.
Rosas and northern Costa Brava
Rosas is a thriving visitor destination with beautiful beaches, a vibrant entertainment scene and historical remnants of both Greek and Roman settlement in antiquity.
Just to the north lies the lovely town of Cadaqués, which due to its difficult road access is a world away from the package-holiday resorts, and best visited from seaward any time. Cadaqués lies in the shadow of the fabulous Cap de Creus National Park.
Southward, sail by the white sandy beaches of the Bay of Rosas to the town of La Escala, or one of the other great spots to stop over in the area. Drop anchor at Cala Montgó for a swim and lunch ashore at one of the beachside restaurants. Or sail on to the uninhabited Illes Medes, a marine reserve of several small islets with great snorkeling and diving spots. L'Estartit, another tourist town and with a marina, is adjacent on the mainland.
Palamos and surroundings
South of L'Estartit there is good overnight mooring at Aigua Blava, in an area of rugged coastline indented by small bays with whitewashed villages that are worthy of exploration. It’s not far from here to Palamos, one of the last of the old Catalan fishing villages but now dominated by the tourist trade. Palamos is a good place to linger for some time off the boat, with the restaurants and shopping in and around the town, for appreciation of local Catalan history and culture (visit the fishing museum Museu de la Pesca), or for a short trip out of town to enjoy the Girona region’s natural beauty.
For overnight mooring on this stretch of the Costa Brava, Sant Feliu de Guíxols is another nearby option. The Bay of Tossa is s further highlight of a leisurely sail down the coast, and before long you’ll be in the largest centre, Blanes.
The southern end of the Costa Brava
It’s only about 50 nautical miles (less than 100 km) from Rosas to Blanes, which means this is a very leisurely sailing holiday. Blanes is at the southern end, and unless it's your base or you are planning to sail on to Barcelona, it’s most likely to be your turnaround point.
The city of 40,000 has its attractions, such as the historic old town and the widely-known 15 hectare botanical gardens. Or, with time available and having sailed by so many inviting spots on the way south, you may want to head right on back up the coast for more time to explore. Giverola for instance, or Cala Futadera, both just a short sail northeast of Blanes. Further north there’s S’Agaro Bay and Cala Sa Tuna amongst other places to stop for lunch and a swim.
Or finally, spend any extra time you have back in the area of Cap de Creus. The whole peninsula on which the national park sits has enough in itself to occupy the holidaymaker for a week. There’s no doubt about it, if you’re looking for a sailing holiday that have everything but doesn’t require a lot of sailing or motoring, the Costa Brava is a great choice for your next bareboat charter.
Weather and Sailing Conditions along the Costa Brava
Well known for its sunshine hours and also its windsurfing conditions, the Costa Brava delivers good summertime conditions for travelling under sail. During the charter season, light morning breezes develop during the day into good afternoon winds blowing onshore. The steady wind pattern combined with the relatively short distance needed to sail to the next port or anchorage give many options for charter groups depending on the preference for sailing or motoring.
With a typically Mediterranean climate, the Costa Brava’s highest temperatures coincide with the peak sailing season from June to September. At that time of year there is little rainfall of note, the water is invitingly warm and the humidity is not excessive, with the cooling breezes that steadily blow.