Costa Brava, beyond the surrealist heritage of Dalí: A diving utopia!
With only a few kilometres between the most charming beaches of the Mediterranean and the snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees, Costa Brava offers the perfect playground for all kinds of fun activities: skiing, hiking, mountain biking and, of course, diving!
This coastal region of Catalonia (Spain), has everything from long stretches of golden sand to secret rocky coves that can only be reached on foot.
A wide-ranging underwater menu to choose your dives from!
The area offers a wide variety of diving spots, suitable for all levels. There is a great diversity of underwater flora and fauna, including coral beds, multicoloured sea fans and sea grasses, where giant groupers, barracudas, seahorses and many more live.
But there’s a lot more. Beyond the beauty of its blue, Costa Brava also offers a stunning green that will make you want to spend your surface interval exploring it all. In fact, combining diving in its wonderful waters with visits to its charming villages is the perfect plan for a dream weekend in Catalonia.
The fact that almost a third of the place is a protected natural area should give you a good idea of what you will find: jaw-dropping & contrasting natural parks to discover between your dives!
What to visit
The Costa Brava has so many wonderful towns and villages that it can be hard to pick one for your holiday stay. Here's a selection of our favourites, they are well worth it!
Cadaqués, the place that inspired Dalí
Diving in Cadaqués is to immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful underwater worlds in the Mediterranean. The great diversity of fauna and flora of Cap de Creus and its incomparable richness in fish contributed to its being declared a maritime-terrestrial Natural Park in 1998.
Dalí was moved by the wildness of the Costa Brava, particularly its rock formations, which can be seen in many of his art works. After you dives, you can visit a number of Dalí attractions in the area – such as Dalí’s summer house in Portlligat (near Cadaqués) and Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres.
Between Palamós and Calella de Palafrugell, there are some unique islands that are worth visiting underwater: Les Ílles Formigues (Hormigas Islands), a series of canyons full of gorgonians where it will not be difficult to find lobsters, octopuses, moray eels and a multitude of nudibranchs.
Easily accessible from the area, you can also find three fantastic seamounts with colourful gorgonians called Els Ullastres and the Boreas shipwreck, sunk in 1989, creating an artificial reef 32 meters deep that all divers enjoy.
And while you wait the necessary time between dives, you can take a relaxed walk along the ‘Camino de Ronda’. It is a long road that runs from cove to cove and beach to beach the entire coast of Palamós.
Calella de Palafrugell
An old fishing village with a magical atmosphere. Calella de Palafrugell is a small town full of white houses on the seashore with wooden boats anchored on the beach where walking you will feel like in a fairy tale. In addition, the literal part of this area has a lot of beautiful coves with crystal clear waters around it.
The main Cove of Port Pelegrí is the perfect place to take Open/Water courses or for a relaxed dive. You can usually see scratches, octopuses, nudibranchs, some moray eels, and occasionally stingrays.
Illes Formigues, Els Ullastres, the Boreas shipwreck and others are also easily accessible by boat from Calella.
Begur has a small ruined castle on top of its hill and the views are truly as spectacular as the nearby dive sites.
Such is the case of Furió Fitó, one of the most impressive underwater rock formations on the Mediterranean coast, where the large and colourful gorgonians stand out.
Tossa del mar
Tossa de Mar is that rare town where you can simultaneously watch the Mediterranean waves and get a charming view of medieval history — without even turning your head.
Its main beach, Platja Gran, is dotted with colourful boats and sun seekers, especially in the summer. It is presided by the medieval fortress of the old town (Vila Vella), a truly unique and picturesque sight!
For those who want to dive in the area, Mediterranean seahorses can be found shallow off the coast.
Lloret de Mar
After you immerse yourself in one of the most emblematic dives of the Costa Brava located in Lloret de Mar, the Roca Muladera, you can go for a walk through the beautiful village.
You will find the Castle of Lloret, located in the middle of a pine forest, the Church of Sant Romà with colourful mosaics on its ceiling and the impressive botanical garden of the Santa Clotilde.
This small enclave between sea and mountains stands out for the presence of the Medes Islands in front of the coast. This archipelago is integrated into the territory of the "Natural Park of Montgrí, the Medas Islands and the Baix Ter" and was a refuge for pirates many centuries ago. It is made up of seven islets and reefs that house an underwater landscape of extraordinary biological and ecological value.
Since 1990, the Medes Islands has been protected for the conservation of the flora and fauna of the seabed. Thanks to this protection a spectacular recovery of the richness of its aquatic and terrestrial environment has been possible, such as the common stingray, red coral and posidonia. For these reasons, they are considered a diving paradise, where you can find giant groupers that attract the attention of divers because of how friendly they are.
In addition to a living seabed, there are numerous caves and underground tunnels, such as the Vaca cave, the Sardina cave, Dofí Nord or the Pedrosa tunnel, among others.
This sailors' village offers a diversity of marine landscapes, from sandy beaches formed by coastal dunes to rocky hills and steep coves.
Diving off the coast of l’Escala is characterised by its diversity. Offering possibilities both leaving from boat and from the coast.
Half an hour by boat from the port, you can find the shipwreck called 'El Marmoler’ for the cargo of marble it was transporting back at the time and that you can still find inside. This ship sunk in 1971 due to bad weather and rests at a depth 42 m. In the surroundings, sunfish and lobsters hidden in the holes of the ship are visible.
Also, in the area is Cala Pedrosa, a cave in which we can see red coral and abundant lobsters.
Roses is another ideal destination for combining a holiday with diving. This town with a fishing tradition and an important, very sheltered port to the south of the Cap de Creus is an ideal departure point for discovering the Natural Park.
You will also be able to discover a wide range of dives for all levels, such as the Cap Falcó and the Cap Norfeu.
Twelve kilometres outside Roses and following a dirt track for six kilometres, you will reach this fantastic cove. Jóncols Cove has a scuba-diving centre and is well known among divers for the scuba-diving sessions enjoyed here in a private & discrete manner.
This is indeed, a hidden stop not to be missed!
If we could sum up with just one sentence, whether you want to learn to scuba, continue your scuba training or simply enjoy a great place in the Med to scuba, Costa Brava has got to be in your bucket list!