Just 20 minutes from Barcelona-El Prat airport lies the region of Costa Barcelona. The name is not as familiar as its northern neighbour Costa Brava, but that should be exactly why you want to visit!
Costa Barcelona is one of three new tourist brands that encompass the Province of Barcelona. Collectively they market themselves as “Barcelona es most mes” which translates as “Barcelona is much!”.
I’ve just returned from a recent press trip and here are 12 reasons why families should visit:
1. It’s less expensive!
Costa Barcelona is not as well-known as other areas of Spain, hence not as expensive. That means it’s not overrun with tourists, and can often be a bit quieter and more authentic. The area prides itself in that tourists and locals mix together and share the amazing beaches, landscapes and natural resources. Also – you can base yourself in the more reasonably priced Costa Barcelona and easily take the train into Barcelona for a day trip. The best of both worlds.
2. Get some sun!
Let’s not forget why Brits go to Spain – to get some much-needed sunshine! The average temperature in summer in Costa Barcelona is 23C, which to me is just about perfect! Spring and Autumn can be good times to visit too, with temperatures ranging from 16C-22C. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
3. Hang out on a beach
Costa Barcelona has more than 100 kilometers of beaches, from small coves to wide open sandy beaches there’s one to suit everyone in the family. Pick a beach with a Family Holiday Destination ranking, such as Calella, Castelldefels and Malgrat de Mar, to be sure you will find amenities for little ones like play areas, kids menus and more. Make sand castles, play beach volleyball or try one of the many watersports centers to kayak, paddleboard or banana boat your way in the sparkling Mediterranean.
4. Spend time in the mountains
Drive just 40 kilometers north of Barcelona and you’ll be in the Montseny Natural Park, where you can hike to your heart’s content. The unique ecosystem ranges from Mediterranean to Alpine – so you can discover the differences for yourself. Follow the Tordera river, which flows to into the Mediterranean, and if you’re lucky you’ll see some natural treasures like newts, pine martens and jays. The park offers guided walks, which involves kids through games and stories. If your child is not already a nature lover – they will be after this.
5. Learn to cableski
The Canal Olimpic, built for the 1992 Olympic rowing events, has been converted to a 43-hectare water sports haven offering windsurfing, sailing, surfing, paddle boarding and “cableski” which is like wake boarding but pulled by a cable! Kids as young as 6 can participate. I can’t wait to bring my girls back to try this and up their coolness creds.
6. Visit a castle
What kid doesn’t love a castle? The 16th century Castello de Castadefells was originally built to protect the area against invasions, but in came in handy again against Berber pirate raids. On a clear day you can see all the way to Barcelona. Tour the castle and grounds and imagine yourself as Spanish royalty.
7. Relax in a Roman bath
Known for its thermal waters, Caldes de Montbui has some of the best preserved Roman baths in Spain, where the natural hot spring run at 180C! In the newly renovated El Safareig Baths you try the waters for yourself, and soak in the minerals from water that is more than 10,000 years old! It’s very relaxing.
8. Learn about wine
Visit Alta Alella, the closest vineyard to Barcelona, located 2 km from the Mediterranean Sea between the towns of Alella and Tiana. Its organic wines are in the menus of some of the best restaurants of the world and you can have fun tasting them all! The vineyard offers workshops for children that are aimed at getting them interested and active and having fun learning about viticulture.
9. Stay in a “campings”
If you like the outdoors and want to keep accommodations costs at bay, try staying at a “campings”, which is just the Spanish word for campsite. But don’t let the word fool you, they offer much more than sleeping under canvas, ranging from mobile homes, rustic cabins and lodges. There’s a wide range of options, so research carefully. Some are basic, but others offer amenities such as upscale coffee makers and air conditioning.
10. Try the local cuisine
Where to start? First, make sure to try the 3 different kinds of the Spanish paella: “Regular”, baked and fideia (noodles instead of rice) and try to decide a favourite! I also loved Coca d’ecalivada, a pastry snack with roasted red pepper, aubergine and onion. And did you know “cantelones” came from Cataluña (not Italy!)
11. Hike up to a lighthouse
For awesome views and some local history, visit the Calella Light House. There are several walking paths up the cliff making it an adventure for the whole family. Up top, there are sweeping views over the white sands of Calella and the Mediterranean. Bring your camera!
12. Practice your Spanish
With many British schools swapping French for Spanish as the mandatory language for Year 7s, young scholars will be grateful for the chance to practice their newly acquired language skills. Actually, the main language of the region is Catalan, which is a different language to Spanish, but it is close enough to understand and Spanish is spoken as well. We took home many of the brochures and my daughter’s Spanish teacher copied them for the whole class to examine!
A photo posted by Susanna Scott ~ travel (@amodernmother) on
My flight, meals and accommodation were provided by Costa Barcelona. All opinions are firmly my own.