Spain's Costa Brava

 costa brava 16 07
Early morning swim, Llafranc.

Costa Brava oceanswimsafari 2023

8 nights, Wednesday, September 6 - Thursday, September 14, 2023

Our oceanswimsafari to Catalunya's Costa Brava has something for everyone, swimmers and non-swimmers alike. It's is a quirky tour that mixes culture with history, the world's finest food, some inspiring walking (should you wish) and some of the most unforgettable 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 here you have it.

We're planning one Costa Brava oceanswimsafari in 2023 - Wednesday, September 6 - Thursday, September 14. We've reorganised this oceanswimsafari for 2023, reversing our locations and extending our time at our hotel on the beach in Llafranc.

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, and we'll enjoy some of the best food the world has to offer (this is no exaggeration: 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 among 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 Cerbère, on the France-Spain border, to Palafrugell and Palamos. Swim selection each day is dependent on conditions. Swims generally are around 1.5-3.5km. Our flagship swim from France to Spain is around 3.4km.

All swims 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. You can enter or exit the water as you wish. We'll be accompanied by escort boats on all our 'wild coast' swims except for morning beach swims from our base in Llafranc.

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.

costa brava 16 05
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 (Sept 6, Wednesday) - Meet in Llafranc (we'll organise a bus to transfer you from Girona railway station if necessary), Intro Session then dinner on us (overnight Llafranc)
  • Day 2 (Sept 7, Thursday) - Swim Llafranc-Calella and return - Your introduction to swimming on the Costa Brava. (overnight Llafranc)
  • Day 3 (Sept 8, Friday) - Swim the Wild Coast ('Costa Brava') - boat-escorted swim, course depends on conditions (overnight Llafranc)
  • Day 4 (Sept 9, Saturday) - Swim 'Our Secret Spot', trek the Costa Brava track (overnight Llafranc)
  • Day 5 (Sept 10, Sunday) - Swim the Wild Coast - boat-escorted swim, course depends on conditions (overnight Llafranc)
  • Day 6 (Sept 11, Monday) - Transfer to Cala Montgó for our sea cave swim, transfer to Figueres, visit Dalí Museum, introduction to "Our Secret Sommelier", (overnight Figueres)
  • Day 7 (Sept 12, Tuesday) – Transfer to Cerbére, swim France to Spain, lunch, on us, at a little, family-run restaurant overlooking the harbour in Cerbére - (We may swim Spain-France, depending on winds and other weather (overnight Figueres)
  • Day 8 (Sept 13, Wednesday) – Bus to Cadaqués, 'tourist train' to Cap de Creus, visit Casa Dalí at Port Lligatt, transfer to Madremanya for our Farewell dinner (dinner included - overnight Madremanya)
  • Day 9 (Sept 14, Thursday) – Breakfast on the terrace then, sadly, time to head off to our next adventure.

Note that some minor details may change, eg swim locations on particular days, in light of conditions prevailing.

costa brava 16 16Includes...
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • Lunch Cerbére, dinner Llafranc (first night) and Madremanya (final night)
  • Programmed transfers (excluding to and from start and finish of the oceanswimsafari)
  • Programmed admissions, including -
    • Casa Dalí, Port Lligatt
    • Turistic Tren, Cadaqués–Cap de Creus
    • Museo Dalí, Figueres
  • Escorted swims
  • Post-swim lunch, Cerbére
  • Degustacion dinner, Madremanya
  • oceanswimsafari swim cap, dry bag
  • Land content only

Package cost - Twin/Double share pp - $A3,875, Single $A4,615 (NB: These costs are from 2019, the last time pre-covid that we ran our Costa Brava oceanswimsafari. We are still working on 2023 costs, but we don't expect them to vary much from the costs listed here. Rates are kept under review in view of fluctuations in exchange rates.)

Does not include...
  • Transfers to and from start and finish of oceanswimsafari in Llafranc and Madremanya respectively.
  • Meals other than where indicated
  • Drinks
  • Incidental transfers (eg taxis and buses for shopping)
Please note...
  1. Package costs are kept under review in light of exchange rate movements.
  2. 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 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.

costa brava 16 10
Not so wild bay, Llafranc, early morning. We'll be based on this beach for five nights.

Where we go...

costa brava 16 12We meet in Llafranc, a beach town in the middle of some of the Costa Brava's most mountainous coastline, from where we'll do an array of swims up and down the coast.

Llafranc ("Yafrank"), is a fishing village known more these days as a holiday town, with its broad beach and perambulating promenade. Llafranc sits on a 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, including a Michelin-starred restaurant, Casamar, high on the hill overlooking the bay.

Old Madremanya becomes mysterious at night.

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 have five nights in Llafranc. On our first morning, we'll swim from the beach at Llafranc, around the point and down the coast to the next village, Calella de Palafrugell, and back again. This will give you a good feel for the water in this part of the Mediterranean, and start your orientation in one of the most beautiful parts of the Costa Brava, but a part of the coast that very few Australians visit. It's about a 2km journey round trip to Calella and back. We'll spend two mornings exploring the coastline south and north of Llafranc, the coves, the ravines, the caves. 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. Other people have tried to find 'our secrete spot', but they've failed. Sometimes, it's the more adventurous, the curious who reap the rewards.

After five nights in Llafranc, you certainly won't want to leave. But there's so much more to explore. We'll head north to the ancient town of Figueres, the principal town in northern Catalonia, and the home of the museum that the artist, Salvador Dalí, built to house his works, and his tomb, which is in the museum's basement.

On the way to Figueres, we'll call into Cala Montgó, where we'll swim across the bay and out through the heads, exploring sea caves on the deepest part of the Catalan coast.

Figueres (pron. "Fig-erras") is the last major town in Spain on the way to France. It's inland a little, but it's perfectly positioned to be the base of our activities in the northern part of the Costa Brava. Figueres was the birthplace of the idiosyncratic and professionally eccentric surrealist Salvador Dalí. There are still plenty of people around town who remember Dalí well, including Lluis (Yoo-is), who supervises our dining room at Hotel Rambla. Our hotel sits on Las Ramblas, Figueres's grand promenade — a glorious avenue of trees and town life (Figueres is Catalan for 'fig trees'). The Dalí Museum is just around the corner, and there are a wealth of cafés and restaurants within a couple of minutes' walk. We'll visit the museum in the afternoon. And we won't miss the annex dedicated to Dalí's jewellery. It's extraordinary.

The shopping in Figueres is excellent, too, as is the local wine. We'll show you our fave wine bar in the world, run by a cigar-chomping sommelier, Pau, a one-time war photographer. In an era of globalisation, it's nice to know there still are places that offer a taste of the local. 

costa brava 16 02
Crossing the border, France into Spain.

From Figueres, we'll head up to Cerbére, the first French town over the border, from where we'll swim around the end of the Pyrenees, from France to Spain (or Spain to France, depending on conditions on the day). It's a spectacular swim, and a spectacular drive over the last mountain before the sea. After our swim, we'll have lunch in a little family-run French bistro high on the hill overlooking the bay at Cerbére.

Next day, we'll head back down to the coast to Cadaques ('Kad-akays'), another beautiful fishing village, but with the terrain of this part of Spain, it's a world away from Figueres and Cerbére. 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 visit Casa Dalí, where the artist lived for 50 years with his wife, Gala. When Gala died, in 1982, Dalí left, never to return. The house is virtually as they left it, and managed now by the Dalí Foundation. Eccentric, idiosyncratic, multi-dimensional, surprising, stunning, even moving in the personal insight it gives you into the artist. He wasn't just eccentric; also brilliant and prolific in many media. But he was not every Catalan's copa de sangría...

Finally, we'll transfer to another of our favourite spots, Madremanya, a medieval village outside Girona, the regional capital. At Hotel la Plaça – renovated 12th-century stables – we'll take the degustacion menu for our Farewell Dinner. The food is stunning at the hotel. You will have dishes and tastes you've never dreamt of. Restaurant La Plaça is part of that enigmatic tradition of Catalan cuisine based in the Girona area. A night at Hotel la Plaça is everyone's idea of paradise.

Enquiries and bookings are your tour operators handling all your bookings apart from air travel and transport to and from tour start/finish.

When you wish to make enquiries, please first lodge an Enquiry Form to give us basic information to allow us to advise you accurately... Click here

When you're ready to book, please first check terms and conditions... Click here

When you've checked our Terms and Conditions, you will be ready to lodge your Booking Form... Click here

With enquiries... Click here

costa brava 16 01
Peloton about to jump, Cerbére.

costa brava 16 06

costa brava 16 04
The Bay of Llafranc, our base for five nights.

costa brava 16 08
Past the Three Pines Hotel (Bar Tres Pins) and into Calella de Palafrugell.

costa brava 16 09

costa brava 16 14
Madremanya, and its rolling hills.


Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

oceanswimsafari tales

Get in touch

Hellercamp Pty Ltd
PO Box 1164
NSW 2114

ABN 97 163 965 704

Connect with us