Costa Brava vs Barcelona - A holiday guide

You might think that it’d be a clear cut call between holidaying in the beautiful Gothic city of Barcelona and its nearby coastline, the Costa Brava.

But the distinction is very much blurred, with both offering glorious sands, active nightlife and heaps of activities, as well as the option of exploring or just lying back and soaking up the sun.

Our guide helps you decide where to stay and what to do in each area depending on how you like to holiday. And it’s good to know that you can easily travel between Costa Brava and Barcelona while you’re there.


If you want your holiday to be rich in modern and classic culture, quirky bars and either active or chilled out activities, consider the ‘Capital of Cool’, Barcelona.

A full-blown city break

There’s a lot to fill your days here, starting with the landmark Sagrada Familia – the still-in-progress cathedral of Barcelona’s most famous architect, Antoni Gaudi.

Take a guided tour to see the intricate Gothic details or scale the tower to peer out of high-up nooks. Then you have options like seeing komodo dragons, gorillas and hippos at Barcelona’s zoo, watching a high-octane match of world-class football at Camp Nou, or going on the Camp Nou experience tour.

And after watching street performers on the street hub that is Las Ramblas, you can make a pitstop in one of the many bars. Later, head to the Gothic Quarter for cooler vibes, and finish your night at Port Olympic’s big name clubs, like Opium, that’s open until 6am.

Lazily wandering and beach lounging

To take in Barcelona at a slower pace, you can follow a trail to spot more of Antoni Gaudi’s one-of-a kind architectural pieces. Passeig de Gracia alone houses the curving stone cut La Pedrera building with iron balconies, and Casa Batllo’s Saint George and the dragon iconography.

Costa Brava

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