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Road trip: on the road to the treasures of Costa Brava

Behind the wheel of your Europcar rental car, take off and explore the Catalan roads and many treasures of this part of Spain, so proud of its identity and heritage.

Departing from Barcelona, the economic and cosmopolitan capital famous for its festive atmosphere and historical wealth, the varied landscapes of Costa Brava’s coastline pass by in your rearview mirror, punctuated by fisherman’s villages surrounded by rocks, scenic monasteries, wild creeks, beaches meant for relaxing, and wine terroirs.

Getaway to Lloret de Mar, via the coastal road

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Once the Ramblas, the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and other charms of the Catalan capital are behind you, other Costa Brava treasures are accessible by car, some 80 kilometres away, along the coastal highway.

When you’ve arrived in Lloret de Mar, in the heart of a city in contrast, mingle with the wild parties of the Catalan youth or take a stroll in corners of unspoilt nature. Built on soil full of history and traditions, this small seaside town is home to several cultural and festive events, including the famous “Spring Break”, a holiday for European students.

When travelling along the national roadway, GI-682, you hug the coast and discover another aspect of Lloret: more than a popular tourist resort, this is an area dedicated to nature, with numerous calanques, shady pine groves, unspoilt coves and several golden sandy beaches conducive to relaxation and serenity, such as Santa Cristina, Canyelles and Cala Banys, accessible by car from the Castell de Sant Joan.

Destination: Girona, in the heart of authentic Catalonia

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You only need to drive half an hour to travel the 42 kilometres that separate the rowdy Lloret from the peaceful Girona, to see authentic Catalonia, where festivals celebrate the wealth of local history and the traditions of a province that is proud of its identity.

A place to visit, founded by the Romans on the via Augusta, the strategic axis linking Gaul to the Iberian Peninsula, Girona is worthy of your attention. With the Pyrenees in the background, at the confluence of four rivers, Girona has an undeniable charm. Is this due to its picturesque old town where the ramparts, cathedral, and ancient Arab baths are evidence of an incredible historical heritage? A certain way of life, which you sense in the markets or in the busy streets? Delicious discoveries that await you in the restaurants, where no fewer than 13 stars are concentrated in the province of Girona, linking the local culinary traditions to gastronomic innovations? You’ll never regret stopping in the “the Florence of Catalonia”!

Ampurias: the path to historic Catalonia

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Upon leaving Girona, in under an hour on Catalonian roads, you can get to Ampurias, the iconic gateway to the ancient Greek civilisation on the Iberian Peninsula and the place where the Olympic flame arrived in 1992. Approximately two kilometres north of the seaside resort of Escala, park your car and visit the Greco-Roman ruins of the archaeological site. You can only succumb to the magic of the Ampurias landscape, spectacular ruins on the beaches, which stretch for kilometres.

Cadaqués, a stop that is worth a detour

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Nestled between the sea and the mountains, in eastern continental Spain, Cadaqués is among the pretty Costa Brava villages that absolutely deserve a stop on your road trip. You can access it by way of Roses, using the winding roads that twist between the coves of pebbles and sand for 20 km. At the end of your tour, take the time to stroll between the church and little houses of Cadaqués, and immerse yourself in the still intact charm of this pristine island of character, a source of inspiration for painters as famous as Picasso or Dali.

At Cap de Creus, from the road of cliffs to the wine route

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At the eastern end of the Iberian Peninsula and the Pyrenees, your journey leads you to the Cap de Creus Natural Park, a steep promontory on the blue waters of the Mediterranean. The road along the cliffs offers some unforgettable views on dizzying rocks and discreet coves.

On the way, treat yourself to a gourmet stop to discover the unusual delights of Costa Brava and the Pyrenees: chicken with lobsters, cuttlefish and meatballs…

Then continue to delight your taste buds via the wine route in the Empordà region, where, near the Cap de Creus, you can experience wine tourism and discover the same essence of the Catalonia terroir in the purest tradition. Recognised for resisting the “Tramontana” that blows through the region, the reputable vineyards between the sea and the mountains produce AOC-labeled Grenache grape varieties. You will find these savoury reds, cool whites and gentle rosés in the restaurants in the surrounding areas, but wait before you pick up driving again!

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