Empuriabrava, the largest residential marina in Europe

We can find Empuriabrava in the Gulf of Roses, surrounded by the Natural Park of the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà. Empuriabrava, the largest residential marina in Europe has some 24 km of navigable waterways. The construction of Empuriabrava started in 1964 and completed in 1975. The town quickly became a tourist community. Nowdays, the town has more than 40 km of canals and a seasonal, summer population of around 80,000.

The Venice of Spain?

Empuriabrava is a purpose built tourist resort with many fine houses and apartments. A planned community of housing along canals similar to Fort Lauderdale in Florida or old Venice. The whole residential neighbourhood is built around many kilometres of canal-like waterways close to some of the finest golden sandy beaches on the Iberian peninsula.

Best experiences in Empuriabrava

There are many attractions in and around Empuriabrava. Sky diving, trip to a water park, sea diving in one of the many fish reserves, glass bottom boat trips, boat charter, fishing trips, go karts, visits to a butterfly park or bird sanctuary and of course golf.

Rent a boat

Empuriabrava has Europe’s largest waterways system. Many of the houses have moorings in their back garden which lead out to the Mediterranean via a series of canals. You can hire a small boat in the marina and explore the canals for an hour or two.

So what could be a more obvious activity than renting a boat in Empuriabrava, the largest residential marina in Europe? But we shouldn’t really miss it out. There are several options, from simple motor boats to sailing boats, or even to larger yachts. Recently, the eco boats became extremely popular here, that you can rent even without sailing or motorboat navigation license.

Enjoy Empuriabrava’s sandy beaches

Empuriabrava is located in a privileged coastal area, where the bathing conditions are amazing. In the town you will find a coastline with almost seven kilometres of beaches and is considered by the Spanish authorities of “natural interest”, since it is part of the Aiguamolls de l’Empordà Natural Park. 

There are three super long sandy beaches in Empuriabrava. Besides the peak months (July & August) they never get too crowded. They offer many kinds of water sports, beach bars, showers and other facilities. From the north to the south, here you can find their names for orientation:

On arrival to the beaches of Empuriabrava you will find all the safety and comfort facilities that you can expect from a popular beach. There are also accessibility services for people with reduced mobility.

Get lost in the canals

By renting a boat at one of the companies in town, you can explore the 25 kilometres of canals in and navigate through the town. It’s almost as if the pavement has been replaced by canals!  But if you prefer walking, it’s still lovely to walk & look around. Almost every second street is a canal, and they are constructed in a completely symmetrical way. We can observe luxurious yachts parking around and the crazy variety and amount of motorboats.

Visit the Marina Control Tower

The Control Tower is located in the main port. The port is easily recognisable as the Empuriabrava Marina control tower can be seen on the shoreline. This tower is the symbol of Empuriabrava and stands at 47 m high and 7 m in diameter and they always illuminate it. We can see the same tower coming from any angle coming from the Mediterranean once in the Gulf of Roses.

Where to stay in Empuriabrava

There are lots of options for accommodation from the newer hotels and private villas of Empuriabrava to some lovely bed and breakfast type places in the old streets of Castello. It is just a few miles back from the beach area. Out of season though, most places are not available, or not for a reasonable price & good quality. We highly recommend to choose & book in advance! Feel free to use our below links.

How to get to Empuriabrava

By car

  • If we arrive from France, we should cross the French border by motorway AP-7 or state road N-II. Then take the state road C-260, direction Figueres. The road that takes to Empuriabrava is the C-260.
  • From Barcelona or Girona, we can arrive by motorway AP-7 or state road N-II. The road that takes to you to Empuriabrava is also the C-260,
  • If we come from the Pyrenees, we need to take the state road N-260, direction Figueres. After Navata, we need to turn right, and take the road C-26 direction Castelló d’Empúries. Then, the state road N-II direction France. After the road that takes to you to Empuriabrava is also the C-260,


  • If you come from Barcelona, you can take the Barcelona-Castelló d’Empúries-Empuriabrava line.
  • From Girona city you can take the Girona-Castelló d’Empúries-Empuriabrava line.
  • If you arrive from Girona Airport, you can take the summer shuttle: Aeroport de Girona-Empuriabrava.
  • There is also a bus option from Barcelona Airport: first the Barcelona Airport – Figueres line, and after the Figueres – Castelló d’Empúries – Empuriabrava line.


  • The nearest train station (RENFE) is in Figueres, 15 km from the municipality. From there, we can take a bus towards Castelló d’Empúries and Empuriabrava.
  • AVE and TGV trains arrive at the Figueres-Vilafant railway station. From there, there are bus back to the bus station in Figueres. Then from the bus station, there are buses to Castelló d’Empúries and Empuriabrava.


  • Girona Airport: The nearest airport is Girona-Costa Brava, an important base for Ryanair. During the summer season, a bus shuttle to the town is available.
  • Barcelona Airport: The major international airport at Barcelona-El Prat is located 160 km to the south, around two hours by car.
  • Empuriabrava Aerodrome: In Empuriabrava there is also an aerodrome, the Skydive Empuriabrava. It offers many activities and programs related to flying & skydiving.

What to see around Empuriabrava & on Costa Brava

Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar is a relatively small village with 5,5 thousand inhabitants. But of course during summer season much more, approx. 60.000 people. It is a charming village on Costa Brava, and it’s an ideal place to enjoy a day of beach, culture and nature at the same time. A place full of beauty and pleasures that we would never want to leave. The other beauty of Tossa de Mar is that there are no high rise apartments, no 20 story hotels. It is a quaint village. Tourism has indeed come and left its mark. But comparing especially with Lloret de Mar, still on a reasonable level.

Did you know that Marc Chagall, the French painter, loved the quality of their life in Tossa so much that he actually nicknamed Tossa de Mar – Blue Paradise?

Read our complete Tossa de Mar guide here!


Girona is an ancient city of contrasts, from its Byzantine old quarter to vibrant, contemporary city culture. With medieval baths and one of the best-preserved medieval Jewish quarters in Spain, Girona boasts stunning architecture for such a small but easily walkable city. From 982 to 1492, Jews lived in Girona. The area where they lived, called El Call, is a maze of narrow, winding, cobblestoned lanes, still intact and very much like they were over 500 years ago. These narrow streets are a joy to explore.

Read our complete Girona guide here!

Enjoy our discounts in the place

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3 Replies to “Empuriabrava, the largest residential marina in Europe”

  1. usfman – South Florida – I accomplished a rewarding career as a teacher and professor for 28 years.No more daily lesson plans now frees my curious mind to experience life on my own terms now.
    usfman says:

    Empuriabrava by train and bus definitely seems like a place will try to visit on an upcoming Western European visit,

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