Many people will have heard about Lloret de mar, a Mediterranean coastal town in Catalonia, Spain mainly because it’s perhaps best known for being a party town and the budget summer holiday option. Each summer, thousands of youths from Britain and the rest of Europe descend on this once quiet fishing village, to enjoy the lively pubs, bars and promise of sun. When you think of a tourist trap, Lloret de Mar will be top of the list, with over 30,000 hotels in the area. It’s easy to see why droves of holidaymakers’ rock up come July. Lloret is just half an hour drive from Girona airport and an hour from vivacious Barcelona.
As I’m a writer for Hidden Gem Holidays with the key theme revolving around uncovering lesser known treasures in the world, I wasn’t too thrilled to learn I would be spending a week in Lloret de Mar for the annual TBEX travel blogging conference. However, what I discovered made me change my mind. Here’s why…
Beaches – there are some dreamy ones, you just need to know where to look
Costa Brava, translated is “Wild Coast” because of its irregular and rugged shaped coastline, which I think makes Costa Brava much more endearing and authentic. What I was surprised to learn was that there are an array of beaches that have been awarded the Blue flag, which recognises the high quality of water and services beaches provide, (so really clean!) totally demolishing my initial view that all the beaches would be affronted by concrete and well…just be a bit grotty. For the hidden gem beaches, head to any of the following:
Lloret de Mar’s more relaxed next door neighboor. As well as the beaches, make sure to venture through the town which has cute boutique shops and is much less crowded despite being just around the corner from Lloret.
Hidden Gem Tip: Go exploring, there are so many little coves (calas), just hop on a ferry boat and discover your own hidden gem beach 😉
❤ Santa Cristina beach
Named after the Patron Saint of the sailors, it’s a special place for the locals and it’s also a great place for some Vitamin D intake. I found the beach incredibly enchanting and by far my favourite corner of Lloret de Mar.
History back story: Do some exploring and walk up the hill to the 18th century baroque chapel dedicated to Santa Christina. Santa Cristina is also known as the black virgin of Montserrat and the saying goes that if you didn’t marry in front of her you weren’t actually married. As such, there happens to be a rather large waiting list to be married in the chapel… Not bad for business, eh?
❤ Sa Boadella
Unspoilt and 250 metres of beach beauty. It’s the whole package; desirable crystal clear waters coupled with golden sand as far as you can see.
Psssst. Part of it is a nudist beach, so if that’s not your bag make sure not to wonder too far down or you might get a little shock!
If you have green fingers or enjoy admiring greenery and nature in a peaceful setting, then I would definitely recommend visiting Santa Clotilde Gardens. These botanical gardens are breathtaking and made me feel like I was exploring the children’s classic book The Secret Garden. Designed in a new classical style to contrast the wildness of the coast. The views are spectacular, overlooking various beaches and calas such as Sa Boadella. Go with family or by yourself with a good book. There’s plenty to read as you walk through and if you’re with kids, it would make a killer hide and seek spot! Perfect for whiling away a few hours.
Things to know:
- Entry is €5 per person
- There’s no cafe on site but there is a water fountain for you to drink from
Get out on the water
If you’re in the mood for a BBQ, dancing and a spot of scuba then jump aboard the Catamaran Sensation. The capacity of the Catamaran is about 80 people and it sails around the Mediterranean for a good few hours. We stopped to enjoy a hidden cala and dive in the water for some scuba fun. There’s party music and the captain knows how to entertain, guaranteed you will be on your feet following his dance moves. The drinks are on tap, and it’s a great setting to sip on sangria and munch on a burger from the BBQ on deck.
If you’re looking for some sea fun, then go for this option.
Meeting Point: You can buy your ticket from the Catamaran Sensation booth which lines the beach opposite the town. The meeting point is just in front of it on the beach.
Stroll along the coast
From the town, looking ot to the beach, turn left and you can see the Castell d’en Platja (Castle on the beach) and turn right and you see a large mermaid statue. You can’t go inside the castle as it’s privately owned and not open for visitors. However, there is a footpath surrounding the castle where you can wander down and take in the impressive sea views. Make your way to the mermaid in the opposite direction and just follow the windy path. Once you take the obligatory photo with her, keep walk along the path and you’ll come to a cocktail bar neatly nestled in the rock. I don’t know the name, but trust me it’s there! 😉
Traditions of Lloret de Mar
Catalonia’s culture is enriched with traditions from culinary delicacies such as caracols (snails) to craftmaking and festivals. One of the most thrilling traditions I was introduced to was the castellers, which means human tower building. It’s a competitive sport in Catalonia, and has even been declared Immaterial Heritage by UNESCO!
I was lucky enough to be part of a casteller workshop held by the Castellers de Villafranca, a local group that holds the record for building the world’s tallest human tower – now that’s impressive! If you get the opportunity to view a casteller in the making, definitely take it. Each performer has a specific role to support the formation of the tower, and it’s all based on trust and teamwork.
All in all my trip to Lloret de Mar was wonderfully eye opening, and it goes to show that no matter how negatively you may perceive something, look a little closer and you will uncover some hidden gems. You might just need some guidance from yours truly! 😉
If you’ve been to Lloret de Mar, and would like to share some hidden gems of your own then please leave a comment below!