Catalonian Treasures: Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar, a gem of a town perched on Spain’s enchanting Costa Brava, is a main tourist attraction for a reason—it’s absolutely breathtaking.  Known to the Romans as Turissa, to people of the Medieval times as Tursa and nowadays as Tossa, this one-time retreat for artists and intellectuals is now a major destination for tourists and local visitors alike.   You might think it’s unfortunate that the best time of the year to go is mid-summer; however, once you get there, it doesn’t seem to matter that the city is bustling with people who all had the same idea as you.

National Geograpic’s 25 most beautiful beaches

Tossa is rich in history, with the first signs of human settlements dating back to the Neolithic period.  It’s believed that the town has been continuously inhabited since that time.  What I find remarkable about Tossa is its dual-functionality as an open-air museum, and modern day hub.  Walking through the town’s main attraction–the castle–you’ll find small shops, bars and restaurants.  Not so appealing to the ear when you imagine visiting historical sites, but its built in tasteful way, where the new blends in flawlessly with the old.  This is a perfect place to stop for tapas or an afternoon drink, and to enjoy the exquisite views.

Unlike some of the Costa Brava’s charming towns, this sweet little settlement is easy to get to from Catalonia’s capital city–Barcelona. It’s only one and a half hours by bus, and if you’re looking for a place to party, get off just one stop before, at  Lloret de Mar, where you can drink giant, blue cocktails for only 5 euros.  If you’re in search of a quiet place that will bewitch you with its natural beauty, culture and antiquity, continue on and experience the splendor of one of the world’s most beautiful shorelines, according to National Geographic.

Tossa de Mar is a one of Spain’s masterpieces, boasting prehistoric remnants, roman ruins, a medieval castle,  and architecture from 18th  19th and 20th centuries , all beautifully etched on Catalonia’s stunning and rustic coast.  A visit to Tossa is like taking a journey in time, where you can spend your days learning about the past, or simply enjoy the present.  Go for walks through pine forests, or laze about drinking cañas (draft beer) and other cold drinks  on the beach.  No matter what your ideal  holiday might be, I think you’ll find there’s something for everybody in Tossa.

Tossa Street

Tossa is full of quaint alleyways

Getting there:  The easiest and most efficient way from Barcelona is by a direct bus, either from the airport (El Prat) or Estació Nord, in the city center. There are also trains that leave from various stations, with a transfer in Blanes.

Where to eat: Tapas del Mar.  Quite possibly the best restaurant in town.  Reasonably priced, great service, and tasty food with attention to presentation.  The balance of the atmosphere, food quality and service is fantastic. The owner/waiter will also pair wines with your meal.

Where to stay:  Hotel Diana.  This is a great hotel with stunning views of the Mediterranean.  They have three gorgeous terraces, where you can have your breakfast and coffee in the early morning, or tapas in the afternoon.


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