Enjoy the unspoilt rugged beauty of the Costa Brava
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The beautiful, unspoilt town of Roses is our base for nine nights on the rugged Costa Brava. Our relaxed itinerary introduces the cultural highlights of the region, including the incredible Cap de Creus National Park, the picturesque fishing village of Cadaqués, Barcelona, Figueres and the Dalí Foundation.
Our journey begins on the morning Eurostar from St Pancras International to Paris, travelling in Standard Premier Class. We join the high-speed TGV from Paris directly to Figueres in Spain. From Figueres we make the short transfer by coach to the town of Roses, located at the north-eastern end of the Costa Brava, a wild and rocky stretch of the Spanish coastline. The exact translation of 'Costa Brava' will differ depending on which guidebook you read, but whether it is 'wild coast', 'fierce coast', 'rugged coast' or even 'savage coast', it is a coastline of outstanding natural beauty, where steep cliffs have been eroded by the sea, creating numerous hidden bays and tiny coves.
Set within the beautiful Bay of Roses, Roses is an authentic Spanish fishing port which oozes charm and style. Running south from Roses is an almost endless stretch of fine sandy beach, set invitingly against a backdrop of the distant Pyrenean mountain peaks.
We spend nine nights at the superb 4-star Almadraba Park Hotel, located on a small, sandy cove approximately three kilometres from the centre of Roses. The hotel offer a complimentary shuttle service into the centre of Roses, which allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds: the peace and quiet of the hotel's private, secluded location, together with the freedom and flexibility to visit the centre of Roses whenever you choose. The hotel's superb facilities are complemented by its excellent restaurant, which offers a wide choice of meals from its daily menu of local dishes. We enjoy dinner in the hotel every evening, served with an included glass of wine.
Your day is free for you to relax in Roses. Spend your day enjoying the local climate and sunshine on the beach or with a drink in one of the cafés on the promenade, overlooking the Mediterranean. Alternatively, enjoy a walk out of the bay to discover rocky coves and secluded shingle beaches that are only reachable on foot or by boat.
This morning we begin our exploration of the Costa Brava on an excursion by boat around the shoreline. We board the boat at Roses' small port, sailing along a stretch of the incredibly beautiful Cap de Creus National Park, past towering cliffs and countless mini bays, accessible only by boat and protected from overland access by thick, deep forests which cover the cliff tops and reach up high into the mountains.
Our boat takes us into the small port at the very heart of Cadaques. Set in its own crystal-clear bay, Cadaques is a picturesque fishing village of delightful whitewashed houses, which was the inspiration for much of Salvador Dalí's work. The famous painter visited Cadaques many times during his childhood and later kept a house and studio just outside the village, which became a popular bohemian retreat for many of the 20th century's most famous artists, who lived here alongside the local fishing community. Dalí and Picasso were known to have been particularly inspired by the incredible light and colour on display in Cadaques.
You have some time to explore the village at leisure, before returning to Roses in time to arrange lunch - you could enjoy mouth-watering tapas, savouring some of the delicious, incredibly fresh seafood on offer. On Day 4 you have another free day to enjoy in Roses, spending your time as you wish in this beautiful coastal town.
Today we travel by coach to the magnificent city of Barcelona. We begin at the fantastic Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece, before enjoying a panoramic city tour which takes us past many of the main sights and along the bustling Las Ramblas, a wonderful tree-lined boulevard which is regarded as the beating heart of the city, running through the centre from the Plaza de Catalunya to the waterfront. Las Ramblas is packed with interesting shops and pavement cafés, while street performers keep the crowds entertained. This afternoon you are free to explore at your leisure. Perhaps take a walk through the Gothic quarter (Barri Gotic), or discover bustling Port Vell, literally 'Old Harbour'.
You could visit the Picasso Museum, housing a collection of the renowned artist's finest work, or wander down Las Ramblas soaking up the bustling atmosphere. Alternatively, explore Gaudí's distinctive architecture, dotted around the city, and visit Casa Batlló, one of the most unique houses in Barcelona.
On Day 6 you are free to spend the day exploring the region surrounding Roses or enjoying the superb hotel facilities. You could take a trip to nearby Girona, a captivating city with Iberian, Roman, Moorish and Jewish influences in its culture and architecture.
We travel to Figueres today, visiting the fascinating Salvador Dalí Foundation (entrance included). The foundation manages various collections of Dalí's work, encompassing drawings, sculptures, jewellery, photography and paintings from all the different periods of Dalí's life. Much of the work is permanently exhibited in the Dalí Theatre-Museum - the largest surrealist object in the world, which was built on the ruins of a former Municipal Theatre, destroyed at the end of the civil war.
Dalí himself chose to build the museum on the ruins. After time to appreciate the incredible and diverse works of the famous surrealist at leisure and in your own time - Dalí intended for his work to be experienced in this way - you are free to continue exploring the city of Figueres. We then visit the historic town of Besalu - a rather grand old town dominated by its magnificent 11th century fortified bridge.
The final two days of the holiday are free for you to spend at leisure on the Costa Brava, giving you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the warm weather and wonderful hotel facilities. You could spend time relaxing by the pool, or wander into the centre of Roses to soak up the atmosphere or enjoy some shopping.
Today we leave Roses, transferring by coach to Figueres for the high speed TGV service to Paris, where we board the Eurostar to St Pancras in London.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your holiday experience
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 17 verified reviews
This was an excellent holiday and almost faultless. It would have been a five star rating but for a couple of minor glitches which were dealt with speedily and efficiently. The journeys were excellent, and the hotel and its location first class.
Everything was well organised. The one problem we had was in the hotel in Roses where they “lost” our passports for five hours. The handling of guests passports needs to be tightened up.
Excellent organisation by the Tour Manager Julian Plested who added to the itinerary the visit to Dali's house at Port Liiat and to Gerona. The hotel was set in superb surroundings overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with excellent facilities.
Nice hotel, good food but most of all an excellent tour manager by the name of Christine Pretty.
We enjoyed our holiday but the trip to Barcelona was spoilt by the long coach trip and a local guide who did not present Barcelona in the best way. The hotel was good. Breakfast was very good but the evening meal was not always to the same high standard.
Top hotel good food and excellent staff
We thoroughly enjoyed the hotel. However the journey on the way home was difficult. The transfer coach in Paris did not arrive leaving us standing for a considerable time on a very hot day. This resulted in a stressful route march through Gare de Lyon to book in to Eurostar. My husband's legs have only just recovered after almost two weeks at home. This difficulty was compounded by John Stoy's lack of communication. This was a feature of the holiday. We appreciate he was trying not to be intrusive but information was haphazard most of the time.
Very good trip a long walk to coach at gare de nor Paris
Excellent holiday. Great hotel, fabulous food and quiet location.
This was our second Great Rail Journey and once again exceeded our expectations. All the arrangements were good and our Tour Manager Kim Richards was so friendly and efficient. We no doubt would contemplate another holiday with you in the future.
Enjoy the unspoilt rugged beauty of the Costa Brava