Beyond the famous sandy beaches and tourist resorts there are plenty of other interesting things for kids to do on the Costa Brava. The beautiful and rugged Costa Brava stretches along 124 miles of Spain’s Mediterranean coast from the French border down as far as Blanes. I had a great family trip there this year with a group of BritMums bloggers and these are my tips based on our experience. The children in our group were aged between nine and fourteen.
Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres and in the 1970s he bought and remodelled the town’s derelict nineteenth century theatre as a museum for his art. Today the Dalí Theatre Museum is one of the most visited museums in Spain and is a great place to take kids. My teen was intrigued by the portrait of Dalí’s wife which looks like Abraham Lincoln if you squint and all of the kids enjoyed climbing the stairs in the Mae West room to see the furniture form the features of the famous actress.
Take a boat trip
Around a third of the Costa Brava’s coastline is a protected nature area including the ruggedly beautiful Cap de Creus. The best way to enjoy the coast’s beauty is from the water. We took a catamaran cruise from Roses harbour and moored in a sheltered bay for lunch and swimming. Marvellous.
Eat like a local
Children are welcome in Spanish restaurants and bars and there are some great local dishes to enjoy. Tapas (little dishes of food to share) are a perfect way for kids to try different foods. You just order a few dishes that you fancy then, if you like them, order some more or, if you don’t, leave them and try something else. Freshly made paella, tortilla, and Catalan speciality pan con tomate (bread with tomato) usually go down well with kids too.
Cook like a local
If you’d like to learn how to make the Spanish dishes you enjoy here, friendly local chef Jordi Castelló runs Costa Brava cookery classes for kids and adults and will even come to your place to teach you to cook. Jordi showed us how to make tortilla (potato and onion omelette), pan con tomate and a yummy traditional local pudding called crema catalana. The best part of our cookery class was the snack at the end: Jordi toasted some bread, cut it into fingers, drizzled it with olive oil and topped it with squares of chocolate. It was simple and delicious.
Drink from a porrón
A porrón is a traditional Spanish glass drinking vessel with a narrow spout for sharing drinks. If you get the chance to try one out be aware that it can get messy. Jordi showed us how to do it: hold the porrón slightly above your face so that the spout is a few inches from, but not touching, your mouth. Tilt your head backwards, open your mouth, pour the liquid from the porrón into your mouth and drink.
This was my teen’s favourite part of our trip. The Costa Brava tourist board organise free Instagram days at different places around the region and anyone can join in. In case you don’t know, Instagram is a photo-sharing app. We spent our Instagram day taking and sharing photos in the gorgeous coastal town of Cadaqués with around 200 locals, having all met up for breakfast. It was a really unusual day and great fun.
The Windoor wind tunnel at Empuriabrava is one of the best places in Europe to practice indoor skydiving. When we went there it was busy with professional skydivers but very welcoming to our group of mostly novices. I felt pretty nervous before going into the wind tunnel but it was really exhilarating and I’d love to do it again. Everyone in our group had a go, including the younger children. Our instructor Pali told us that children can take part from about the age of four, as long as they wear all of the necessary safety gear.
The Micromundi miniature museum in the beautiful medieval town of Bésalu is, literally, marvellous. It contains creations which are so tiny and so detailed that they’re unbelievable. There’s a model of the Eiffel Tower standing on a real poppy seed and a minuscule elephant standing on the point of a needle. The tiniest models of all, such as a train in the eye of a needle, can only be seen with the aid of special magnifying lenses.
Family travel lowdown: Thank you to the Costa Brava Tourist Board, BritMums and Travel Perspective for arranging our trip. For more information about the Costa Brava click here or check out posts from the other bloggers on the trip: Family affairs and other matters, jenography, Rosie Scribble and The Family Adventure Project.