I never expected to return to Lloret de Mar. I was last here in 1977, in search of entertainment and cheap drink, and I had hazy memories of hotels, night clubs and not much more. But this year’s TBEX (Travel Bloggers’ Exchange) European Conference was in the Costa Brava, so I determined to see what else I could find. And I was surprised to discover that there is a lot more to the town than sand and sangria (although it still does those things pretty well). Here’s my list of six things you can do in Lloret de Mar if you want a break from the beaches and the nightlife.
An early morning view of the D’en Plaja Castle
1. Explore the History of Lloret de Mar
Any town on the Mediterranean is likely to have a long history, and Lloret de Mar is no exception. Explore the museums to discover the history of the town from pre-Roman times, through the middle ages and into the modern era. This has always been a town of seafarers: spend some time in the Maritime Museum to learn about fishermen, explorers and those who went to seek their fortunes in the New World. And the maritime history theme continues outdoors with a series of modern marine-inspired sculptures along the sea front. (Read more about Lloret de Mar’s history here.)
The sculpture of the Dona Marinera (Fisherman’s Wife) commemorates Lloret’s long maritime heritage
2. Wander Through the Streets – and Look at the Buildings
If you thought that Lloret’s architecture consisted entirely of modern hotels and shops, then think again. You need only step a couple of streets back from the beach to find yourself in the old town, with its old houses and secluded alleyways. And the beach itself is flanked at one end by the medieval Sant Joan Castle and at the other by the 20th century D’en Plaja Castle. But there are many more spectacular buildings to see. The town council has linked these together to create the Lloret Open Museum, which includes the museums and several historical and modernist buildings.(Read more about the buildings of Lloret de Mar here.)
Modernist additions to the Church of Sant Roma
3. Take Your Walking Boots
You may not have associated Lloret de Mar with hiking, but it is set in some of Spain’s most beautiful countryside and is well equipped with miles of hiking trails. The coastal footpath is popular for short walks, or if you are feeling energetic you can walk the full 9.4 km from Santa Cristina Beach to Canyelles Beach. Serious walkers can head inland to the well waymarked GR92 and hike through forests and past isolated hermitages. Many of the inland paths are also ideal for mountain biking. (Read more about hiking in and around Lloret here.)
The coastal path is perfect for a short walk
4. Get Close to Nature
Following the hiking paths is a great way of getting close to nature. The forests of the inland trails are full of butterflies and wild flowers, and the coastal path takes you along the wild shoreline where you can watch the waves crashing onto the rocks. And if you want to get a better look at the underwater world there are lots of opportunities for scuba diving. But one of the best places to appreciate nature is the Santa Clotilde Gardens, set on a cliff top near Fenals Beach. Spend a morning here, wandering through the terraces, enjoying the plants and marvelling at the panoramic views.
The inland trails take you into unspoilt countryside
5. Eat Traditional Local Food
If you want pizza, burgers or other fast food, you will find them on the sea front, but you don’t have to go far to experience traditional Spanish dishes. There are numerous tapas bars, stacked high with barrels of wine and serving plates of local cheese, ham and seafood. And of course there are lots of restaurants selling freshly caught fish. But don’t forget that you are in Catalonia; look for smaller back street restaurants where you can enjoy regional specialities. (Read more about the food of the Costa Brava here.)
The region is renowned for its fresh and seafood
6. Take a Day Trip
The Costa Brava region is full of interesting towns, villages and countryside that you can explore from Lloret de Mar. Boats run along the coast to Blanes (with its Botanical Gardens) and Tossa de Mar (where you can walk through the impressive fortifications), and to several small beaches in between. Or you can take the bus to Barcelona, the bustling regional capital, or to the medieval city of Girona. And there are lots of organised excursions to places further afield such as the mountain monastery of Montserrat.
Travel by boat to get the best view of Tossa de Mar’s medieval fortifications
I’ll be writing more about all these activities in the next few weeks but in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you if you have any more suggestions for different things to do in Lloret de Mar. Please leave your comments below.