The seaside resort of Blanes is known as the Gateway to the Costa Brava — Catalonia’s wild coast.
It’s also known for its mild, comfortable climate (which is why the Romans named it Blanda = mild).
We think this makes it an ideal vacation spot. We have vacationed in Blanes for 14 times in ten years — usually for a month at a time — and we can count the number of bad weather days on the fingers of just one hand.
See that rocky promontory that sits roughly between the old fishing village and Blanes’ El Pins residential and tourist district?
That’s ‘Sa Palomera’ (or La Palomera, depending of whether you prefer Catalan or Castillano). It’s a promise of things to come when you travel further North up the coast to visit, for instance, Lloret de Mar — or better, Tossa de Mar. Those are two of several day trips we highly recommend.
But Blanes itself is an ideal ‘home base,’ and for us it has become a ‘home away from home.’ We love Amsterdam, which is where we live year-round, but increasingly our heart belongs to Blanes.
Start of the Costa Brava
Next to the footpath leading up to La Palomera — from which you have fantastic, panoramic views of Blanes and the sea — there is a sculpture that symbolizes a gate. It signifies that the Costa Brava (Wild Coast) starts right here.
South of the rock are mostly smooth, sandy beaches. North of it, starting at Punta de Santa Ana — the small beach area just outside the harbor — one can see the type of cliffs and rocks that gave the Costa Brava its name.
Along the coast, which runs all the way up to the town of Portbou, near the border with France, one finds many larger and smaller beaches — including many semi-private coves.
4 kilometers of wide, sandy beaches
Blanes itself is blessed with 4 kilometers of wide, golden-sanded beaches and ‘blue flag’ quality seawater.
Visitors from Catalonia, Spain, and abroad appreciate that Blanes is far less touristy than its busy neighbors to the north, Lloret de Mar and Tossa de Mar.
Among Catalonians Blanes is in fact a favorite destination. It is easy to reach from both Barcelona and Girona.
Perfect place to relax
Just as important: the town has a relaxed atmosphere without the excesses of, say, teenage-favorite Lloret de Mar.
It is a family-friendly resort town, with enough to offer singles and young adults as well.
Old Village — New Town
Unlike many other Costa Brava beach resorts Blanes still has an active fishing fleet. Its fish auction is, in fact, the most important in the region. (Note that in a typical month around 1 million euro of fresh fish is traded there).
Between Sa Palomera and the harbor lies Blanes’ characteristic old village.
It is home to many fine shops, restaurants and tapas bars. When you venture away from the seafront boulevards — lined with restaurants and eateries — you’ll find the sort of places where locals shop, eat and drink.
Just a block away from the beach is a daily fresh fruit and vegetables market — one of many reasons why so many tourists prefer to stay in a self-catering apartment.
Apartments, Campings and Hotels
The campings and the vast majority of hotels in Blanes are located South of the rock in a neighborhood called El Pins — a reference to pine trees you find here.
El Pins is also a residential area, but most of the self-catering apartments are located in the old town.
Where ever you stay, it is easy to reach either area on foot.