Things to do: Out of Town
Nature Parks & Gardens
Mar I Murtra, Blanes
Les Illes Medes, Toroella
Water & Amusement Parks
Buy travel books about the towns and cities of the Costa Brava and Catalonia
Out of Town
Visit the Things to Do Directory for details of activities and travel agents offering excursions to these out of town activities.
Download the Out of Town Photo Movie
Whilst Tossa offers much to do and see, it is also a good base for visiting other attractions on the Costa Brava.
If you’re venturing ‘out of town’, you can either find your own way with help from our Getting Around in Tossa page, or you can take an organised excursion. Visit one of the travel agents in Tossa for a list of the tours on offer, some of which will include Andorra, Barcelona, Girona, Montserrat, WaterWorld in Lloret de Mar and Port Aventura, the spectacular theme park on neighbouring Costa Dorada. There is some brief information on some of these below.
Lloret de Mar
Download the Out of Town Photo Movie to see some pictures from Lloret
By road, a series of sharp twists and turns overlooking sheer drops of pine-carpeted rock mark your journey to Lloret. By sea, a medley of coves and bays punctuate the coastline. Lloret de Mar is worth a visit if only for the sights you’ll see on the journey there!
Lloret de Mar has a rather well known reputation for being one of the most lively resorts on the Costa Brava. It offers much to the party-lover: strings of pubs, clubs, amusement arcades and well-known fast food chains line the promenades while hotel upon hotel tower way above the palm trees.
A popular destination for visitors to Lloret is the Casino, located opposite the bus station. If you’re planning an evening here, take plenty of money….and don’t forget your passport, as you’ll need to show it to gain admission.
Another attraction well worth a visit is Water World, covered in more detail under Water & Amusement Parks (hotspot link).
Aside from these tourist attributes, Lloret does have some pleasant sites to behold, for example, the Santa Clotilde Gardens, open during the summer, and the ruined fortresses marking each end of the main beach, among other sites, monuments and beaches.
Lloret is a central point for many of the bus routes. You can reach Blanes, Girona and Barcelona from here, as well as various other locations. And it’s only twenty minutes from Tossa by bus or boat. If you are taking a bus somewhere, don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance from the bus station.
Regional useful links page
Download the Out of Town Photo Movie to see some pictures from Girona
Known as the city of the four rivers, Girona offers many sightseeing opportunities. It is the regions’ capital and is easily reached by road, bus or train. The River Onyar acts as the city’s boundaries and splits the capital into old and new.
The old quarter is highlighted by the Cathedral, which, like many of Spain’s cathedrals, is a fusion of many different historical periods and styles. Also worthy of a visit is the Jewish Quarter, with it’s winding streets shaded by tall, stone walls and offering an abundance of shops.
The Twelfth Century Arab Baths, the old City Walls, and the museums of archaeology and history should also be on your ‘things to see’ list whilst the churches of Sant Nicolau, Sant Feliu and Sant Pere de Galligants highlight the religious background of the region.
For more information on Girona:
Order the free information guides on Catalonia and on the Costa Brava from the Spanish Tourist Office in London – go to www.tourspain.co.uk and select Online Brochure Orders.
Buy guide books on the Costa Brava and Catalonia from Amazon.co.uk
Visit the Tourist Office in Tossa de Mar www.infotossa.com
Regional useful links page
Capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is also known as the cosmopolitan capital of Spain and is known throughout the world for its amazing architecture as much as for it’s people and way of life.
It is of course very difficult to sum up Barcelona in a few paragraphs, and there is much information to be read on the city. Getting there from Tossa is easy with the Sarfa Bus which takes around two hours (more details from ‘Getting Around in Tossa).
It would be very difficult to see all of Barcelona in just one day, so perhaps you should decide on exactly what you want to see before you go, and maybe plan another one or two trips there to see the rest of the sights.
Or take one of the organised excursions arranged by the travel agents in Tossa and let them do the planning for you!
Here are just some of the things you may want to include on your list:
La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Sacred Family)
Antoni Gaudi’s world-renowned, still to be finished, masterpiece of modernist architecture.
Parc Guell (Guell Park)
Another of Antoni Gaudi’s works, this park is characterised by sculptures and mosaics by the designer, as well as pretty winding paths and tranquil greens.
Museu Picasso (Picasso Museum)
Dedicated to the work of art legend Pablo Picasso, this park is a showcase for over three 3,600 paintings, sculptures and drawings.
Museu Nacional d`Art de Catalunya (National Art Museum of Catalonia)
Art museum containing hundreds of pieces from medieval times to the 19th century.
Fundacio Joan Miro (Joan Miro Foundation)
Art museum displaying the abstract paintings of famous artist Joan Miró.
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona)
A striking white building designed by architect Richard Meier is home to a collection of Spanish, Catalonian and European modern and contemporary art.
Pedestrianised historical street lined with flower stalls, restaurants and bars.
A popular and well known food market selling some of the freshest fruit, vegetables and seafood in Barcelona.
Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)
Historic walking area with buildings dating back to Roman and medieval times. This is where you’ll find the Cathedral de la Seu, a fantastic Gothic cathedral right in the heart of the area.
Ciutat Vella (Old City)
A fascinating area, steeped in history, with narrow streets and squares, Gothic mansions, museums, historic churches, bars and restaurants.
This district dates from the 19th-century and shows off works by famous architects such as Gaudí and Ildefons Cerdà.
Off-beat and fashionable district featuring art galleries, historic attractions, bars, tapas and funky shops.
Barcelona’s vivacious harbour, full of yachts and cruise ships, with a popular entertainment complex, featuring a mall, several restaurants, a cinema and an aquarium.
A get-away from the main city, this mountain has a small amusement park and is a favourite walking route for hikers and those looking for a peaceful stroll.
Parc Zoologic de Barcelona (Barcelona Zoo)
Zoo famous throughout the world for being home to Snowflake, the only captive albino gorilla in the world.
The largest aquarium in Europe, this is one of Barcelona’s main attractions.
Nou Camp Stadium
This gigantic football stadium, home to FC Barcelona, is the largest in Europe, with a seating capacity of 100,000.
El Corte Ingles
Vast department store with branches all over Spain. Features lots of Spanish-made products, as well as a range of food from all over the world.
Buy travel books about Barcelona
Regional useful links page
The Monastery of Montserrat is perched on top of a 1,200-metre mountain amidst breathtaking scenery. Here you’ll find a blend of nature, culture and holiness.
Over one million visitors come here every year. This is a pilgrimage site, as popular as Santiago de Compostela, where travellers are greeted at their journey’s summit by the 12th century Madonna – the Romanesque statue of a black Virgin Mary, known as La Moreneta (the dark virgin). Although there are no known miracles attributed to her, she still commands a cult following and has done since 1221 when, so the story goes, she was discovered in a cave by shepherds.
On one of the organised tours, you will visit the Royal Basilica of Montserrat and La Moreneta. In the afternoon you will be invited to attend one of the religious singing festivals by the famous choral school established in the 13th Century.
There is also a restaurant, shop and museum, and of course, the opportunity to walk some of the paths through this glorious natural park. You may be daring enough to take the cable car to the tiny chapel at Santa Cova which was the site of the discovery of La Moreneta. The views are spectacular and on a clear day it is possible to see Mallorca!
Montserrat is easily reached from Barcelona with trains leaving every hour.
View pictures of Montserrat at: http://www.virtourist.com/europe/montserrat/index.html
Download leaflets and brochures from: http://www.turisme.ad/
Regional useful links page
Andorra is a state in it’s own right nestled in the heart of the Pyrenees between Spain and France. It has a population of just under 66,000.
Andorra is divided into three valleys which form a Y shape and above them tower great mountain crests of amazing height. Andorra offers the largest number of ski slopes in the whole of the Pyrenean area.
Andorra’s architectural heritage is apparent through it’s buildings, sculptures and paintings and the state boasts as many as 40 small churches.
Popular activities throughout Andorra include hiking, biking and horse riding, and of course, skiing.
Andorran gastronomy offers something to suit everyone. It’s roots stem from farming traditions and so meat, milk and cheese form the basis of the dishes on offer.
Andorra is worth a visit if you are looking for s unique experience. Don’t forget your passport!
Botanical Gardens and nature parks
The Costa Brava region offers much in the way of natural beauty, and is proud to boast not only coastal magnificence but splendour in it’s flora and fauna too.
There are four botanical gardens on the Costa Brava, all overlooking the sea with spectacular views down the coast. These gardens are considered some of the best in Europe.
Mar i Murtra Jardí Botanic, Blanes
There are six nature parks in the region, each with its own information centre.
The largest botanical gardens are the Mar i Murtra Botanical Gardens in Blanes. It’s easy to get there from Tossa de Mar, taking the bus to Lloret, another bus to Blanes, then taking the special Jardí Botanic Bus from Blanes port up the hair-raising bends to the gardens, which are perched way above the sea, offering amazing views.
Apart from showcasing over 4,000 species of plants from five continents, some of them threatened with extinction, the gardens also have a valuable research and study centre.
Les Illes Medes (The Medes Islands), Toroella de Montgri
The Medes Islands are a small archipelago made up of seven islets and several reefs just a mile off the Catalan coast from Emporda and the Montgri Massif. The area is one of exceptional biological and ecological worth. The varying depths of the sea water around the islands, and the contrast of the rocky and sandy areas of the seabed, combined with the rock-type which lends itself to the formation of tunnels and caves, all work together to attract a wide variety of species – as many as 1,345 have been recorded.
These rich natural resources have unfortunately been exploited over the years and reached such a degree by the 1950s that the coral of the islands was in danger of extinction. In 1983 a fish protection zone was established, and this was further augmented in 1990 by the Act of the Generalitat of Catalonia which turned the Medes Islands into the largest marine nature reserve in Catalonia and one of the most important in the whole of the Mediterranean area.
See the Things to Do Directory for details of all the parks and gardens.
Water & Amusement Parks
If you are looking for a fun packed day out, or are seeking the thrill of the twists and turns of a rollercoaster, then there are many options around the region. The nearest is Water World at Lloret de Mar, Europe’s biggest water park complex with a multitude of water amusements, its own restaurant, bars, cafeterias, a souvenir shop and mini-golf course. A free bus runs from Lloret Bus Station and the park is open from May 15th to September 30th.
Marineland is on the itinerary of the organised excursions and offers a water park and marine park with dolphin and sea lion shows. It is located just inland from Blanes and is easily reached from Tossa de Mar.
Another theme park worth a visit is Catalunya en Miniatura, where you’ll find all the sights of the region mimicked in miniature. It is the most substantial miniature cultural complex in the world, and the only one in Spain, and is located at Torrelles de Llobregat, not far from Barcelona.
If you are prepared to venture further afield, then Port Aventura theme park in Salou offers five exciting lands featuring rides, shows and attractions for all the family. There is a water park and themed hotels to stay in.