Blanes is a town and municipality in the comarca of Selva in Girona, Catalonia. During Roman rule it was named Blanda or Blandae. It is known as the “Gateway to the Costa Brava“. Its coast is part of the Costa Brava, which stretches from Blanes to the French border.
Blanes is a popular tourist town, and it is known for the Concurs de Focs d’Artifici during the Santa Anna festival. This event includes many fireworks. Other places of interest include beautiful viewing points from the castle and the mountains, botanical gardens, coves such as the Cala Bona, and beaches that are surrounded by mountains. But let’s see now in details the top things to do in Blanes!
- 1 Top things to do in Blanes
- 2 Where to stay in Blanes
- 3 How to go to Blanes
- 4 Best experiences around Blanes
- 5 Other things to do in Costa Brava
Top things to do in Blanes
Castell de Sant Joan
The Castell de Sant Joan is located on the top of Sant Joan’s hill, at 173 metres of height. It is the ideal place to enjoy the best views of the beaches of Blanes. It was built in the middle of the 13th century as a vigilance place. Over time it has been suffered some changes. Nowadays, remains standing the master tower, round and some restored remains of the fortification.
But only for the views, it’s a must to go up. There is a huge parking at the entrance of the palace, so you can easily come by your own vehicle too. But it’s a popular hiking destination as well! The most famous part of it is the stone arch that gives a natural frame to the best panorama on Blanes.
The beach promenade
The promenade of Blanes is full of bars, restaurants, souvenir shops and other tourist offers. While we can also admire the beach, the sea and the vivid crowd. It definitely has its vibe, any time of the day. In the mornings, looking for coffee and breakfast, during lunch time when it gets really busy. Or during sunset, when the whole promenade is covered in golden lights.
Sa Palomera, is the beautiful rock that enters to the sea and separate the Blanes bay in two parts. It is considered as the beginning of Costa Brava and it is an icon for all the town. At the end of July, during the Fiesta Mayor (Santa Anna), Sa Palomera becomes the particular scene of the spectacular Fireworks Competition (Concurs de Focs d’Artifici), where there are several days of fireworks.
Església de Santa Maria de Blanes
The Santa Maria Church is located in the centre of Blanes. The wonderful Gothic church was built between 1350 and 1410. This work is included in the Inventory of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia. Due to the fire 1936 the vaults and part of the walls were demolished, but other parts such as the facade, the bell tower and the sacristy were restored.
This Gothic Fontain is located on Carrer Ample. It is the best preserved source of Catalan Gothic architecture . It is a work included in the Inventory of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia . This fountain is an octagonal fountain, made on three levels. The lower level is on which the pool rests. The central is where the fountains are. And the upper level is which is adorned with animal motifs and medallions. At the top, there is the octagonal pyramidal roof, crowned with the arrangement of the figure of an Angel.
Where to stay in Blanes
Blanes is a tourist destination with plenty of options for accommodations. You can find luxurious hotels, family apartments, and cheap hostels as well. It only depends on your budget which option to go with. However in holiday season, we recommend to book in advance, as places are getting full very quickly. Needless to mention how popular this area is! Check out the best options on the below map!
How to go to Blanes
Blanes is only 70 km away from Barcelona and 45km from Girona. The easiest way is to follow AP-7 highway (both directions), and get out at the related exit. However – due to the reason that AP-7 highway is toll free since 2021 – the traffic is huge, so you really need to calculate with additional time spent on the road. The alternative option is to follow the coastal national road, but this gets even busier in season due to the traffic lights and enormous number of tourists.
Best experiences around Blanes
Other things to do in Costa Brava
Lloret de Mar
Lloret de Mar is a little beach town on Costa Brava. It is only 75 km away from Barcelona and 40km from Girona. Hence it’s a popular summer destination from both cities. Also, many charter flights are arriving specifically to Lloret de Mar (via Girona airport). So it’s a common vacation spot for foreigners – all age groups – to spend here 1-2 weeks during the season. Since Lloret de Mar is that popular among tourist, of course you can enjoy many tourism related facilities, beach services and bars, great restaurants, special offers, nightlife and so on. But on the other hand, most of the time the places get very busy. But if you are looking for a vivid beach town with many services, programs and party options, Lloret is definitely your place.
Tossa de Mar
The village of Tossa de Mar is definitely calmer on a sunny winter day .vs during the summer, and even if it’s December, the temperature is around 20 degrees, full of sunshine, the key bars are open, and if you are brave enough, you can seriously consider having a bath in the Mediterranean Sea! Tossa de Mar is also relatively close to Barcelona, by car you can be there in 1,5 hours. Tossa is a relatively small village with 5,5 thousand inhabitants, but of course during summer season this number should be multiplied…to over 60.000 people. Read more about Tossa de Mar here:
Calella de Palafrugell
We had the chance to visit Calella de Palafrugell in winter. On a sunny day in December. Actually, winter here is like late spring in Eastern Europe. As a result, people can have a bath in the sea even in December. Meanwhile, the terraces are full of people enjoying their tapas, for instance. Certainly, Calella de Palafrugell is tiny. Above all, it’s not much more than a couple of cute streets. But let’s see our complete Calella de Palafrugell guide in detail!
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.
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. Read more here:
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