Enjoy the unspoilt rugged beauty of the Costa Brava
The beautiful, unspoilt town of Roses is our base for 9 nights on the rugged Costa Brava. Our relaxed itinerary introduces the cultural highlights of the region; the picturesque fishing village of Cadaqués, vibrant Barcelona, and Figueres' 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.
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.
Enjoy a day at leisure on the Costa Brava. You could spend time relaxing by the hotel pool, or wander into the centre of Roses to soak up the atmosphere or enjoy some shopping.
Set within the beautiful Bay of Roses, the town of Roses is an authentic Spanish fishing port which oozes charm and style. Running south is an almost endless stretch of fine sandy beach, set invitingly against a backdrop of distant Pyrenean mountain peaks. Spend your day enjoying the local climate and sunshine on the beach or with a drink in one of the cafés along the promenade, overlooking the Mediterranean. Alternatively, enjoy a walk out of the bay to discover rocky coves and secluded shingle beaches 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.
We then visit the historic town of Besalú - a town dominated by its magnificent 11th century fortified bridge.
We sample one of Catalonia's finest exports today with a visit to a local bodega. We enjoy a delicious brunch of local Catalan specialties in the sun-drenched surroundings of the vineyard ahead of a stroll through the lush vineyards and olive trees. We also visit the winery for an insight into the process of local winemaking, followed by a tasting. Back at the hotel, we are treated to an aperitif on the terrace ahead of a farewell dinner this evening.
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
NEW FOR 2020: Inclusive Luggage Transfer
Enhancing your holiday experience
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 42 verified reviews
It was an excellent holiday
Everything about the Hotel was first class. The other people on the tour were friendly and mixed well
Some private medical problems
The overall experience was good, and the hotel (Almadrava Park) excellent. Travel arrangements were smooth - notwithstanding horrendous traffic in Paris on the return - we got caught up in protests, with several streets closed and others clogged with traffic. (Imaginative driving - four cheers for the driver got us to the station with time to spare.) Although the hotel was probably 3* rather than 4*, the location is spectacular. Splendid views of the bay on three sides. Well-maintained gardens, with ample seating space - plenty of sun loungers. There was a seawater pool. A pleasant beach - with a few bars/cafes was a few hundred yards away. The coastal path - fairly steep and uneven in places - made for a pleasant walk into Roses in about 70 minutes. Rooms were a shade dated, yet were spotlessly clean, as were the public areas. The restaurant served first class meals: great breakfasts and carefully prepared and served evening meals - the menu was extensive, specialising in regional and international dishes. Staff were pleasant, friendly and professional - without exception. The hotel 'made' the trip. Cannot recommend it too highly. The rail journeys were good - good service on Eurostar: meal portions may have been skimp, but extras were offered at breakfast. The last two hours of the journey through France into Spain offered wonderful views - not that the rest of the journey was anything other than interesting and pleasant. A couple of gripes: (a) Great Rail Journeys should have made it clearer that a considerable amount of carrying luggage was involved - we were OK, others were not, and little help was available; (b) the lift in Figueres was out of order - hardly down to GRJ, but this caused much difficulty and delay.
The hotel was good and the food some of the best we have had with Great Rail, the only point I would make is that although we paid extra for our room we did not think it rated the extra we paid as all rooms seemed to be the same and the only difference was we had a balcony but it was very limited. Although the holiday was offered to people with limited mobility it made it very difficult for those people to access the tour buses, and also the walking required at the different stations, SNCF did provide wheelchairs as did Eurostar. We ourselves do not have a problem with walking but we did feel that those who did drew the short straw.!!!!
The holiday met most of my expectations and the accommodation was first class. The journey through Paris needs a complete rethink. Why not bypass Paris by changing trains at lille or elsewhere?
Main negative was tour to Barcelona but very good overall
If you want a complete switch off holiday, then this is the place to go. Please please Great Rail, can you find more venues like this! Breathtaking setting for a hotel, rooms have air con, but are in need of modernisation.
Excellent tour manager, great hotel, great local guide for Barcelona trip.
We had a good relaxing holiday, hotel, food, excursions all very good, marred only by the rather exhausting and hectic journey home on the TGV train which ,presumably due to the heatwave?? involved unexpectedly having to change TGV twice at both Perpignon and Nimes thus putting our schedule back by about one hour in arriving at Paris- Gare du Lyon.Then due to an LGBT parade through the centre of Paris we were further delayed and only just managed to catch our Scheduled Eurostar train back from Gare du Nord to St. Pancras. All in all a tiring and disappointing end to the holiday.
Enjoy the unspoilt rugged beauty of the Costa Brava