Oct232012

Lloret de Mar, down by the seaside in Costa Brava

Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava is located about 75 km north of Barcelona, Spain. This town of 40,000 residents has one of the most popular beaches of the Costa Brava.

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Good morning, Lloret de Mar. Main beach at 10:00am, Costa Brava, Catalonia, Spain. Late September air temperature 21 C / 70 F.

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The seascapes abound in numerous beach coves, off the main beach north and south of  Lloret de Mar. The coastal scenery offers astoundingly beautiful views exhibiting the best of Costa Brava. 

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Yet, the town of Lloret de Mar in other respects has run amok with tattoo shops, dance bars and nightclubs offering a Mediterranean Vegas-like party-town atmosphere. There are even McDonald’s and Burger King fast food joints near the beach in Lloret de Mar.

Based on what I saw from the van driving through the town business district, my instincts told me this was not the kind of place I would choose to hang out for a vacation.

Then, 15 hours actually experiencing Lloret de Mar on guided tour activities organized by the Costa Brava Tourism Board revealed to me some of the best scenery I saw during my stay along the Costa Brava, at the southern end towns nearest Barcelona.

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True Sign Language at Lloret de Mar beach.

Fortunately, I think I experienced much of the best a tourist can find in Lloret de Mar for the visitor not interested in street bar parties. Our Costa Brava sponsored tour with eight TBEX Europe 2012 travel bloggers spent over 15 hours experiencing Lloret de Mar nonstop from morning to past midnight.

I hiked the coast and walked the seaside Santa Clotilde Gardens during the day. Our group rode in the back of two 4-wheel drive trucks into the hills above Lloret de Mar in the afternoon to see a 3rd and 4th century B.C. Iberian culture archaeological excavation at Montbarbat.

We drank coffee and photographed Sant Pere del Bosc, a former Indiano estate converted into a hotel and spa. In the evening we drove to Bar Cala Banys in a gorgeous secluded sea cove at dusk for a drinks getaway before dinner. 

Down by the Seaside of Lloret de Mar

Our itinerary had us scheduled to sea kayak at 9:30am at Lloret de Mar.

Sea kayaking did not sound like a popular morning activity for some of the bloggers, although for me this was one of the primary activities I was looking forward to on the Costa Brava itinerary. A little sea surf due to weather changes altered the morning activity from getting wet in the Mediterranean Sea to making sweat Nordic walking for 90 minutes along the Costa Brava on a well-developed trail. Nordic walking uses poles to work the upper body too.

As travel bloggers we were all too engaged with our cameras shooting landscapes to want poles in our hands hindering picture taking mobility.

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The coastal trail was a pleasurable experience and one I would like to return and hike along the Costa Brava coastal path over several days. This reminded me of Big Sur, California scenery with pedestrian paths, stairways and rock walls along the Costa Brava trail. Costa Brava – Pirineu de Girona tourism website has a guide to Costa Brava hiking trails.

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Tunnel shown above can be seen in rock at center of this photo. This is looking back in direction to Lloret de Mar.

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The Coastal Trails along Costa Brava are a patchwork of developed trails extending for miles.

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Beach at Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava, Spain

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Museu Del Mar (Can Garriga) – Maritime Museum of Lloret

Our guide mentioned this house built by an Indiano. The word locally is “indianos” and not capitalized and refers to Spanish who went to the Americas and made money, then returned to the area wealthy. I had seen the hospital for the poor built by an indiano in Tossa de Mar the day before.

I heard one of our guides say something that sounded like my name in reference to the Lloret Museum house and my listening perked up to hear above the noise of cars driving along the seafront road.

My hearing sucks. I checked with Alexandra who carries far younger and better hearing ears. She told me the name was similar to my name, but did not confirm. I made a mental note to look up the name.

Garriga. Two out of three syllables are what I heard the guide say.

Damn! I was hoping for some Catalunya familial connection in Costa Brava at Lloret de Mar.

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Coastal Path at north side of Lloret de Mar main beach.

While we did not venture out into the sea to kayak Costa Brava that day, I did get a waterproof topographical map of Lloret de Mar coastline.

Great souvenir.

Santa Clotilde Gardens

Santa Clotilde Gardens were designed in an Italian Renaissance style by 28 year old Nicolau Rubió in the 1920s. The garden design features terraced spaces.

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Santa Clotilde Gardens, Lloret de Mar

The gardens are set on a hillside overlooking the sea.

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View from Santa Clotilde Gardens, Lloret de Mar, Costa Brava, Catalonia

There are numerous species of trees in Santa Clotilde Gardens including a Monterey Cypress, however, the sign spells it “Monterrey Cypress”.  As far as I know Monterey, California where the tree is native was always spelled with one “r” even in Spanish rule days of the 18th century.

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“Trains of Thought” – gardens have that effect.

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Santa Clotilde Gardens – mermaid chained to sea turtle.

In the evening we visited Bar Cala Banys, a cocktails bar by the sea in a secluded cove. Their website takes a bit of time to load, but then offers a great multimedia experience. Check it out. This is a nice location for drinks.

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Bar Cala Banys, Lloret de Mar

The Costa Brava trail goes right through the Cala Banys bar patio.

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Costa Brava trail

Loyalty Traveler Disclosure: My visit to Lloret de Mar was part of a 3-day post-TBEX Europe 2012 trip for nine travel bloggers sponsored by the Costa Brava Tourism Board. Transportation, gardens admission, meals and hotels were provided free of charge.

TBEX12 Girona, Spain and Costa Brava Tourism Board tour

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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