Spain's Costa Brava

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Early morning swim, Llafranc.

This oceanswimisafari is SOLD OUT for 2017. If you'd like to secure your place for 2018 with a refundable deposit... Click here

Costa Brava oceanswimsafari 2017

Our oceanswimsafari to Catalunya's Costa Brava is a quirky tour that mixes culture with history, the world's finest food, and some of the best swimming you'll ever experience: some of the clearest water against the most spectacular backdrops in the heart of Catalunya, Spain's most dynamic region. It all sounds too good to be together in the one package. But it's true.

We're planning one Costa Brava oceanswimsafari in 2017 - August 31-September 8.

This is one of the most glorious swim experiences we have to offer – swimming from France to Spain around the bottom of the Pyrenees, exploring coves, bays and caves – it seems around every rock is an undiscovered inlet, or a cave recessing deep into the cliff face... We'll take you to "Our Secret Spot", explore the genius of Salvador Dalí, trek the most spectacular stretches of the famed Costa Brava coastal track, we'll visit our new "Secret Spot" if time allows, and we'll indulge in some of the best food the world has to offer (The Girona region of Catalunya, behind the Costa Brava, is home to some of the world's most inventive cuisine, its restaurants regularly rated as some of the best in the world, according to Michelin).

The water along the Costa Brava generally is of almost perfect clarity. Swims are at various spots between Cap Cerbére, on the France-Spain border, to Palafrugell. Swim selection each day is dependent on conditions. Swims generally are around 1.5-4km. Our flagship swim from France to Spain is around 3.2km.

All swims otherwise are relaxed, non-competitive, and informal, suitable for swimmers of most capacities and interests. No-one has to swim; all can swim if they like. Usually, you can enter or exit the water as you wish.

This is a very special oceanswimsafari. Space is limited. If you're interested, let us know quick and smart (use the email link below).

Oceanswimsafari duration is 9 days/8 nights.

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The Costa Brava is called the "Wild Coast" because it is wild: lots of cliffs, caves, nooks, crannies, and very clear water.

Our program...

  • Day 1 (Aug 31) - Meet in Portbou, swim the bay beneath Cap Cerbére (overnight Portbou)
  • Day 2 (Sept 1) - Transfer to Cerbére, swim France to Spain - (We may swim Spain-France, depending on winds and other weather - Overnight Figueres)
  • Day 3 (Sept 2) - Bus to Cadaqués, "tourist train" to Cap de Creus, lunch by the beach in Port Lligat, visit Casa Dalí (overnight Figueres)
  • Day 4 (Sept 3) - Visit Dali Museum, transfer to Cala Montgó for our sea cave swim (overnight Llafranc)
  • Day 5 (Sept 4) – Swim the Wild Coast ("Costa Brava") - boat-escorted swim, course depends on conditions (overnight Llafranc)
  • Day 6 (Sept 5) - Swim "Our Secret Spot" (overnight Llafranc), trek the Costa Brava track
  • Day 7 (Sept 6) – Swim the Wild Coast ("Costa Brava") - boat-escorted swim, course depends on conditions (overnight Llafranc)
  • Day 8 (Sept 7) – Early morning swim, Llafranc to Calella de Palafrugell and return, transfer to Madremanya for our Farewell Degustacion dinner at Hotel La Plaça. (overnight Madremanya)
  • Day 9 (Sept 8) – Breakfast on the terrace then, sadly, time to head off to your next adventure.

Note that some minor details may change, eg swim locations on particular days.

costa brava 16 16Includes...
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • Programmed transfers (excluding to and from start and finish of the oceanswimsafari)
  • Programmed admissions and swim entries
  • Escorted swims
  • Post-swim lunch, Portbou
  • Degustacion dinner, Madremanya (excl. drinks)
  • oceanswimsafari swim cap, tote bag
  • Land content only

Package cost - Twin/Double share pp - $A3,445, Single - $A4,180

Does not include...
  • Transfers to and from start and finish of oceanswimsafari in Portbou and Madremanya respectively, although we can assist with arrangements.
  • Meals other than where indicated
  • Drinks other than where indicated
  • Incidental transfers (eg taxis and buses for shopping)
Please note...
  1. Package cost is based on twin-share. Single cost will be higher.
  2. Package cost is kept under review in light of exchange rate movements.
  3. Some details may vary over time and this may have a minor impact on costs. While we do our best to keep costs to the advertised rate, we reserve the right to vary the package price if necessary.

Our oceanswimsafaris are led by oceanswims.com and Mrs Sparkle. Unlike others offering tours like these, we've done all these swims ourselves. We've been to the places; we know our way around; we lead the swims.

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Not so wild bay, early morning.

Where we go

costa brava 16 12We meet in Portbou (pron. "Por-boe"), the last or first town in Spain near France on the Mediterranean coast. It's the venue for the Transfronterera Swim, from Cerbére in France around Cap Cerbére back to Portbou. Portbou is "the end of the line": the last port of call in Spain before the railway heads under the mountain to France, re-emerging in Cerbére. They are twin towns that are mirror images of each other. Portbou is a pretty little Spanish fishing village, sitting at the end of a fjord-like bay with an equally pretty beach. Our hotel is across the road from the beach.

Old Madremanya becomes mysterious at night.

We'll base ourselves for a couple of days in, Figueres, Dali's birthplace, the main town in the north of Catalunya, steeped in history and atmosphere and the staging point for Catalonians seeking to escape to France during the civil war from 1936-39. We'll stay at La Rambla, which sits on Las Ramblas, Figueres's grand promenade -- a glorious avenue of trees and town life (Figueres is Catalunyan for "fig trees"). The Dali Museum is just around the corner, and there are a wealth of cafés and restaurants within a couple of minutes' walk.

We'll head across to the coast to Cadaques ("Kath-akays"), another beautiful fishing village, but with the terrain of this part of Spain, it's a world away from Portbou. We'll jump on the "Tourist Train", for an epic journey to Cap de Creus and its lighthouse, with breathtaking views up and down the Costa Brava. On the way back, we'll stop for lunch on the beach at Port Lligat ("Yigatt"), before visiting Casa Dali, where the artist lived for 50 years with his wife, Gala. When Gala died in 1982, Dali left, never to return. The house virtually is as they left it. Eccentric, idiosyncratic, multi-dimensional, surprising, stunning, even moving in the personal insight it gives you into this legendary artist. He wasn't just eccentric; also brilliant and prolific.

We'll get to know Figueres. We'll go through the Dali Museum -- the artist lies in a tomb in the basement -- and we'll be stunned at the array and the diversity of the artist's work. And we won't miss the annex dedicated to Dali's jewellery. The shopping in Figueres is excellent, too. In an era of globalisation, it's nice to know there still are places that offer a taste of the local. If there's time, check out the dining room at the Hotel Duran, where the table still is set for Dali and his friends, who ate there for lunch each day.

We'll change base to Llafranc, a beach town farther down the Costa Brava, from where we'll do an array of swims along that section of the Costa Brava. Llafranc ("Yafrank"), is another fishing village although known more these days as a holiday town, with its broad beach and perambulating promenade. Llafranc sits on another beautiful bay, surrounded by steep hills. Swimming is terrific, and so is the food. Llafranc and the surrounding villages have lots of cafés and restaurants to choose from. In this part of Spain, the coast is a chain of unexpected little bays, most of them with tiny villages nestled into their crux.

We'll visit "our Secret Spot", which we discovered literally by accident when we become well and truly lost during our visit to Catalunya in 2012. (The best discoveries are those you make when lost.) It's perhaps the most stunningly beautiful beach, headland and swim location you will ever find.

The bay at Cala Montgó is another Costa Brava stunner. The sea cave around the headland there is where we snapped oceanswimsafarist Lanie Campbell in the mouth of the cave.

Finally, we'll transfer to another of our favourite spots, Madremanya, a medieval village outside Girona, the regional capital, where we'll adopt La Plaça's degustacion menu for our Farewell Dinner. The food is stunning at the hotel. You will have dishes and tastes you've never dreamt of.

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Crossing the border, France into Spain.

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Peloton about to jump, Cerbére.

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Madremanya.

 

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