Girona & Costa Brava Culinary Tour: Taste of the Old World
Travel back in time, north of Barcelona to the Costa Brava region of Catalonia. Charming fishing villages and pristine beaches offer a relaxing Mediterranean vibe and some of the freshest and most prized seafood in Spain. With charming Girona as your base (Game of Thrones fans will recognize Braavos in Old Town Girona!), visit some of the many medieval hilltop towns that still look and feel as they did in ancient times. Feast on Catalonian delicacies at every stop: from the Mediterranean, the exquisite seafoods and from the surrounding hills pork, lamb, and cheeses that are the envy of the world. Your Costa Brava and Girona food tour is a moveable feast.
Top 5 Costa Brava & Girona Food Tour Experiences
Palamos is a pescatarian’s delight, where the local shrimp are prized throughout Spain
Iconic recuit de drap, a traditional dessert cheese from the Empordà region
Girona cooking class teach the secrets of traditional Catalan cooking as you prepare dinner
Walk the narrow, winding lanes of Girona and imagine life in medieval times
Catalan country lunch with Emporda wines
Our signature cooking classes, stellar local guides, and unique experiences provide exclusive access to Barcelona and beyond. We offer our Costa Brava & Girona culinary tour as a private trip year-round. For more information, please call 1-800-567-9400 or email us today.
4-Day Costa Brava & Girona Culinary Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Pick-up in Barcelona. Country estate winery with traditional Catalan lunch with natural wines. Seaside Palamos, including fish market and museum. Local pastries.
Your Costa Brava culinary tour begins as you are picked up by your guide and driver in Barcelona. Just outside the bustling city, through fields, pine forests, and oak and olive trees with the Mediterranean Sea as the backdrop, your lunch spot awaits. A modern winery on a beautiful estate. Enjoy a traditional Catalan lunch accompanied by the estate’s natural wines. An afternoon visit to the fishing village of Palamós is a pescatarian’s delight, where the local shrimp are prized throughout Spain. Stroll the promenade to see small fishing boats come into harbor with their catch, and stop in at the fish market just in time to see the auction. We’ll end our day deliciously at the oldest and most authentic bakery in the area for sweets and pastries. Overnight in a boutique hotel in Girona.
Drive Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Day 2: Medieval Girona. Unique Catalan cooking class with market visit, followed by lunch with regional wines.
Girona is a step back in time—literally. Passeig de la Muralla offers a walk atop the medieval walls that span the eastern border of the Old Town. Meander through the Jewish Quarter “El Call,” a maze of narrow, winding, cobblestoned lanes still very much like they were over 500 years ago. Fans of “Game of Thrones” will recognize the imposing Girona Cathedral and its magnificent views. The city’s Arab baths are modeled after Roman baths and Jewish mikvahs of the 11th century. Specialty shops and homes in medieval buildings have been passed down through generations. In the heart of Girona´s Gothic Quarter you’ll meet your chef and head to a local market to buy produce. Next up is your cooking class where you’ll learn the best kept secrets of authentic Catalan dishes. Enjoy the fruits of your labor for lunch, paired beautifully with Catalan wines. Overnight in a boutique hotel in Girona.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Day 3: Medieval Emporda villages. Tastings at a local goat cheese producer. Authentic farmhouse lunch with wines.
Today you’ll visit two picturesque hilltop medieval towns, Pals and Peratallada, which were among the best fortified medieval villages in Spain. The stone archways, cobblestone streets and wrought balconies adorned with flowers create a welcoming feel in these Romanesque villages, and strolling their narrow, windy streets you can easily imagine life in the Middle Ages. Stop for fresh honey and goat cheese from a local grandma, and try her iconic recuit de drap, a traditional dessert cheese from the Empordà region. As you explore, your guide will fetch the church keys from the charming local priest and show you around a quaint Romanic church, normally closed to the public.
Nearby, lunch is served at a farmhouse turned restaurant: Catalan country fare served with Emporda wine. Along the coast are Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc, two of the prettiest ancient seaside villages on the Costa Brava. Enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean as you walk to an afternoon coffee stop at one of the beach bars. Overnight in a boutique hotel in Girona.
Drive Time: 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Day 4. Return to Barcelona.
Sadly, our Costa Brava food tour is over today. We provide a group transfer back to Barcelona.
This Girona and Costa Brava itinerary is an idea of what to expect, but what we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored to the interests of the group.
What Foodies Love About Girona and Costa Brava
Barcelona and its surrounding areas have become popular for foodies across the world. While there’s no shortage of gourmet delicacies from Spain, Catalonia’s traditional dishes are unique. Not paellas but fideuas. Similar to a seafood paella but made with short noodles instead of rice. Monkfish, squid and prawns are usually added before cooking. The presentation of a fideua is always spectacular. And for meats, not chorizo but butifarra, an uncured spiced sausage used both in cooking and for tapas. This coastal area of the Mediterranean offers a generous and varied ingredients, and tomatoes, red peppers, eggplants, mushrooms, and artichokes are in abundance. The surrounding hills provide pork and lamb and cheeses that are the envy of the world. It’s a Catalonian trait to have fish and meat on the same plate.
Got a sweet tooth? Who doesn’t! Make sure to hunt down regional desserts. Crema Catalana is similar to the French crème brulée. Mel i mato is a soft, unsalted goats cheese served with honey and walnuts. Panellets are small round sweets made with almonds, sugar, eggs and pine nuts that are rolled in any number of coatings.
Cava is the official name for Spanish sparkling wine, and it’s making a name for itself as a rival to France’s champagne. Spain is home to more than 70 different recognized wine regions, 11 of which are in Catalonia. Exciting things are happening here in the world of wine. Locals tend to drink regionally, often ordering wines that are produced right in Catalonia. So when you’re not having a bubbly, refreshing copa de cava (glass of cava), then try a Priorat, Penedes, Montsant, Conca de Barbera, or Alella—and don’t forget to say “Salud!”
Boutique Girona & Costa Brava Hotel
Girona is a jewel of a town and an excellent place to base ourselves for our Costa Brava food tour. You’ll spend three nights centrally located in Girona’s old town, just steps from the River Onyar and exceptional cafes and restaurants. Our lovely 4-star hotel has retained the character of a typical Catalan building while offering sophisticated, well-appointed rooms. It offers the only garden with a swimming pool in the center of town, as well as complimentary wi-fi.
All hotels are subject to availability and may be changed as needed.
Girona and Costa Brava Travel Information
Arrival and Departure Travel Information
Arrival & Departure
This trip takes place on the Costa Brava and begins and ends in Barcelona (El Prat Airport - BCN, or Barcelona Sants railway station). You should plan to be in Barcelona by 11am on Day 1.
For departure, we will provide group transfers back from Girona to Barcelona. For those arranging departure flights, we recommend departing Barcelona in the afternoon.
Pick-up & Drop-off Information
Our tour begins at a specified hotel on Day 1. We will be happy to arrange a transfer from the airport, train station or another hotel. We provide group transfers back to Barcelona on day 4.
If you would like us to arrange custom transfers that fit your travel plans, please contact us.
Note: We are not responsible for last minute adjustments due to changes or delays with arrival and departure flights.
We do not book international flights. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flight/visa or travel insurance, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR Girona & Costa brava
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.
Please note: proof of insurance is due within 14 days of booking, and delay in receipt may result in late documentation charges.
We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website here.
Passports & Visas
Travel to Spain requires a valid passport (most countries require a minimum of 6 months validity) and US citizens do not require a tourist visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Spain, please check out the State Department’s website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.
HEALTH & SAFETY IN Girona & Costa Brava
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.
We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in Spain: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/spain
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our destinations through cuisine. We do engage in multiple walking tours, some of which last several hours.
Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals. For more information on safety and security in Spain please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.
Spain is a nation marked by both distinct regionalism and a strong and unifying national history. Spaniards are known for their strong social ties and an open and lively communication style.
Out of respect for the culture we are visiting, please note the following etiquette tips:
Try to learn a bit of Spanish beforehand – this demonstrates respect and your effort to connect with the people of Spain
Be respectful when visiting churches. Shorts and sleeveless tops are often discouraged. Casual dress is fine as long as it’s relatively conservative, although many Spaniards are smart dressers.
Dining and daily life are on a different time schedule in Spain. Lunch for Spaniards is generally eaten after 1:30 or 2pm, dinner after 9 or 10pm. Be prepared that many shops and businesses close in the afternoons between about 2 and 4pm for a daily siesta.
Spaniards are generally friendly and helpful to strangers. Simple greetings such as hola (hello) and buenos días (before noon), buenos tardes (good afternoon) or buenos noches (good evening), and pleasantries (gracias) are always appreciated by locals, especially when entering or exiting shops.
It is impolite to waste food, so you should only put on your plate or order what you can eat.
Be sensitive around difficult subjects such as local nationalism (Catalan independence), Francoist Spain, and the economy, and be prepared to receive locals’ opinions on the matters, even if you didn’t ask.
Although most people in Spain do speak and understand Spanish, regional languages are quite prevalent, especially outside of big cities. On our tour, you’ll see and hear Catalan throughout the Catalonia region.
Costa Brava’s CLIMATE
Spain’s climate varies between inland regions and the coast. Our tour is based in the coastal region of Catalonia, which boasts a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. The best months to visit Spain are in the spring and fall, from April to June (generally between the upper 60 and lower 80 degrees F) and September and October (between 70 and 80 degrees F). July and August tend to be quite hot, and busy with lots of travelers.
If you are looking for warm weather and the convenience of peak season, our summer departures are a great idea. However, this is also the busiest time of year for Catalonia. Therefore, if the tranquility of a slower season interests you, we recommend our fall departures.
CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN SPAIN
Spain is part of the eurozone and therefore uses the Euro. There are exchange bureaus in airports, certain hotels, and most banks. Counters require your passport for the transaction.
For the latest currency exchange information please go to: https://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter
ATMs are available in all cities and major towns. It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.
Meals in Girona and Costa Brava: All breakfasts and four lunches (including the lunches cooking during classes) are included. Please plan to bring at least $10-$20 per lunch and $20-$30 per dinner for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks and drinks.
Tipping is not always expected in Spain, and many Spaniards leave no tip or a few small coins. Should you feel the need, small change at a bar or 5% at a very nice restaurants is sufficient. Taxi drivers, hotel porters, and others who provide services can be tipped in small change, if at all. We’ve included some additional guidelines below should you need to tip.
Tour Guide/Drivers: If you are pleased with the services provided by your tour guide and driver, then a tip for their hard work will be very much appreciated. In general, we recommend around US $10 -15 per day, per traveler for guides and US $5-7 per day, per traveler for drivers if less than 4 people in a group. We recommend around US $5-10 per day, per traveler for guides and US $3-5 per day, per traveler for drivers if there are 5 people or more.
Hotel & Restaurant Staff: In restaurants, the tip is usually included in the final bill (IVA or Impuestos sobre el Valor Añadido). However, we recommend checking the bill first to make sure. If it is not included, a tip is not customary at cheaper restaurants but a tip of up to 10% will suffice at nicer ones. For cafes or bars, just round up to the nearest euro on the bill. In hotels, a tip of €1 per night is appropriate for exceptional housekeeping. A tip of about 1-2 euros is customary for porters.
Other expenses: There are no required additional expenses for this trip, but you might like to take spending money for such things as souvenir shopping and nightlife.
ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN SPAIN
In Spain the power sockets are of type C and F. The standard voltage is 220 - 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Wi-fi access is available at our Spain hotels.
Most US cell phones will not work in Spain, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.
WHAT TO TAKE
We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane. We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.
We suggest that you bring the following items:
Clothing & Equipment
Season specific clothing, including items to layer with
Clothes to wear for optional upscale restaurants
Comfortable walking shoes
Sunscreen / sunglasses / hat
First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Passport (with photocopies)
• Travel insurance (with photocopies)
• Airline tickets (with photocopies)
RECOMMENDED READING LIST
Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!
FINAL NOTES ON YOUR Girona and costa brava Food TOUR
This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.