Lloret de Mar: "The essence of the Costa Brava"
The earliest mention of the town of Lloret de Mar is found in a document dating from 966 AD. Its name comes from the Latin Lauretum, which means “place where laurel trees grow”. Located just 60 minutes from Barcelona and 20 minutes from Girona Airport, Lloret de Mar is an all-year-round destination for tourists in search of sun, sand, sea and the idyllic landscapes of the Costa Brava. Reached in an average flight time of 2h 45 min. from any European capital, Lloret de Mar is situated very close to several places of interest, such as the Dalí Museum in Figueres, Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Família in Barcelona, or the Montmeló race circuit.
Thanks to its mild climate, the many tourism and leisure activities available in the destination can be enjoyed throughout the year. With 27 km2 of woodland and 9 km of coastline, there are all sorts of places to discover: from beaches and coves to paths and forests which are ideal for excursions and exploring the local nature.
One of Lloret's main attractions are its quintessential Mediterranean beaches, which are perfect for soaking up some sun and for trying out a wide variety of water sports, including snorkelling, diving, sailing, jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing and flyboarding. Please note that Lloret’s main beaches are equipped with services for persons with reduced mobility.
The beaches, cliffs, sea, rocks and pine trees in this coastal area combine to form the unmistakeable landscape of the world-renowned Costa Brava. The beaches in Lloret de Mar, including five Blue Flag beaches, are so varied that we recommend visiting all of them during your stay.
A total of 15 beaches and coves make up the destination’s coastline. Travelling from south-west to north-east, the first beach we come across is the one named after the town’s patron saint, Santa Cristina. The next beach along is Sa Boadella, set in beautiful natural surroundings and with an area for nudist bathing. We then come to Fenals Beach, the second-largest beach in the town after Lloret Beach. Both of these beaches possess charming spots, such as Garbí Point on Fenals Beach and the area close to the Dona Marinera (Seafarer’s Wife) statue at the end of Lloret Beach. Meanwhile, the rocky cove of Cala Banys, located between these two beaches, offers stunning views, especially at sunrise and sunset. As we continue along the coastline, we come to a series of charming small coves, the first of which is Sa Caleta, located right next to Lloret’s main beach and overlooked by the castle, one of the town’s landmarks. It is followed by Cala des Frares, Caleta Safareig d’en Sitre (where in former times there was a small prawn farm), Caleta d’en Trons, Cala Sa Tortuga and Cala Gran. We finally reach Cala Canyelles, where in addition to a gorgeous natural setting we find a small marina.
Everyone knows that one of the best ways to get to know an area is on foot. The coastal footpath that winds its way around the Lloret de Mar coastline offers breathtaking views that make for the most striking photos of the Costa Brava. The coastal footpath covers almost the entire coastline of Lloret. You can join it at Fenals Beach and walk all the way to Cala Canyelles. It’s advisable to wear trainers and be accustomed to walks with climbs and descents in the form of steps and gentle ramps. Whatever the time of year, we recommend taking a small bottle of water with you on your excursion.
On the footpath you’ll capture the essence of the Costa Brava, with its cliffs and pine trees, and the constant sea breeze caressing your face.
The coastal footpath forms part of the GR-92 long-distance path which crosses Catalonia and which, in turn, is included in the E10 European long distance path, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean. So, put some sports clothing on, grab your smartphone or camera and make your way along the coastal footpath.
Santa Clotilde Gardens
Santa Clotilde Gardens are among just a handful of gardens in Catalonia designed in the noucentista style, which placed the emphasis on order and serenity. Commissioned by the Marquis of Roviralta, they were designed in 1919 by the architect Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí, one of the leading lights of the Catalan landscape movement. The gardens are situated in a wonderful beauty spot offering stunning sea views. Covering just under 2.7 hectares, they were inspired by the Italian Renaissance model. The balance struck between space, volume and colour, together with the landscape, make them a place of great aesthetic beauty. The gardens contain typical Mediterranean vegetation, including pines, lindens, poplars, pittosporums and cypresses. Special attention is paid to flowering plants to ensure that the gardens are always in bloom, with alternating species for each season. Another key feature of the gardens are its stairways and fountains, in constant dialogue with the sea. Without a doubt, Santa Clotilde Gardens are a must-see attraction for anyone wishing to relax and enjoy the natural harmony of gardens perfectly in tune with the surrounding landscape.
The indianos were Catalan emigrants who returned home after making their fortune in the Americas, and Casa Garriga, located on Lloret’s seafront, is a wonderful example of the town’s indiano past. Its construction, completed in 1887, was commissioned by the indiano Enric Garriga i Mataró, who had emigrated to Cuba with his brother. He returned home a wealthy man and his legacy is preserved in the form of this building. The town council purchased the house in 1981, refurbished it and made it the home of the Maritime Museum. Here, you can explore the town’s past and its great Mediterranean and Atlantic seafaring tradition. You’ll discover a town where shipbuilders worked from dawn to dusk and where the beach was occupied by women mending the fishermen’s nets in readiness for the next day’s work out at sea. However, the museum isn’t entirely devoted to the past; it also has an information point where you can find out about the town’s many present-day attractions. You can obtain a map of Lloret and the museum’s staff will be only too happy to explain how to get to the various places of interest, or answer any questions you may have during your tour of the museum.
Churches and chapels
The Parish Church of Sant Romà and the chapels of Les Alegries, Santa Cristina and Sant Quirze are also important attractions of Lloret de Mar.
The parish church, located in the historical centre and built between the 16th and 17th centuries, is named after the town’s second patron saint. Although it was built in the Catalan Gothic style, two of its most striking features are later additions, namely the modernist-style side chapels (the Chapel of the Baptistery and the Chapel of the Holiest Sacrament), built in 1916. You can’t miss their unmistakeably modernist domes as you approach the church.
The Chapel of Les Alegries, located some way outside the historical centre, was the parish church until 1522. It is thought that its location is related to the fact that in ancient times this location was the crossing point of the roads leading to various towns and cities in the area, such as Tossa, Maçanet, Santa Coloma and Girona. Although it’s only open on certain days of the year, it’s well worth planning an excursion to this Gothic-style chapel.
The Chapel of Santa Cristina is another must-see attraction. It stands high above the sea in a ten-hectare estate which is maintained as natural Mediterranean woodland, with a wide variety of local flora and fauna.
The chapel was built in 1764 in the typical baroque style of the second half of the 18th century. Behind the chapel you’ll find a square called Plaça del Pi. The pine tree after which it’s named is over a century old. The square offers breath-taking views of the Mediterranean and Lloret’s coastline. Last of all, we come to the most ancient chapel in the municipality, namely the Chapel of Sant Quirze. The earliest mention of its existence dates back to 1079. The materials with which it was built are of Roman origin; fragments of Roman ceramics were found in an area close by, along with several tombs dating from this period.
If art is your thing, we’re sure you’ll love Lloret’s modernist cemetery, funded by the town’s indiano families. The funerary statues and monuments of its plots, with works contributed by renowned architects such as Josep Puig i Cadafalch, constitute excellent examples of the funerary art of the period. Designed by the architect Joaquim Artau i Fàbregas, the cemetery’s layout, with rows of avenues, a main avenue and small squares, closely resembles the town planning trends of the time. The cemetery is organised on the basis of social hierarchy. The individuals who funded its creation played a very important role both in its general organisational structure and in the height of the tombs. By the turn of the 20th century, many of the newly wealthy Indians had decided to return from the Americas to their hometowns having consolidated their social and economic position.
Lloret de Mar’s historical centre is located in the old quarter of the town. It’s a typical historical centre with charming, narrow streets that transport you back in time. There are certainly plenty of elements dating from earlier periods, such as the seafront promenade lined with palm trees and with a red earth surface, and above all the historical buildings, including the chapels, the ancient houses where the fishermen’s nets were dyed, the Indian manor houses, the town hall and the ancient defence towers. All of these places are included in an easily completed route designed to help you discover the real Lloret.
Lloret’s gastronomy is based on the world famous Mediterranean diet. There are plenty of restaurants in the town where you can try Mediterranean fish, with highlights including fried sand eels, prawns and dishes prepared with the various species of fish that inhabit the waters of the Costa Brava. There is even a special event in Lloret devoted to fish cuisine, namely the Cuina de l'Art Fish Gastronomy Days held each year in October, during which certain restaurants prepare culinary specialities including sea urchins, seafood fideuá (similar to paella but with vermicelli noodles rather than rice as the base) or arròs caldós (soupy rice) with fish. Some of the town’s restaurants are listed in the Repsol and Gourmand guides and we can’t fail to mention the extremely high quality of the restaurants in the province of Girona. They’ve amassed 17 Michelin stars between them, three of which belong to the restaurant which, according to the prestigious British magazine Restaurant, is the best in the world.
Other annual gastronomic events also take place in Lloret, such as the Rice Gastronomy Days held in May, during which over 40 restaurants prepare delicious rice-based menus. We should also point out that Lloret has a typical cocktail, the daiquiri. It’s typical because Constantí Ribalaigua i Vert, the owner of the El Floridita bar in Cuba and the man who perfected the drink, was a native of Lloret. According to Ernest Hemingway, El Floridita was the birthplace of the daiquiri. So make sure you ask for a daiquiri if you come to Lloret.
Hotels and accommodation
Lloret de Mar has been one of the world’s leading tourist destinations for decades and has earned itself the moniker of “Tourism capital of the Costa Brava”. With 120 hotels and a total of 29,147 bed places, it stands out as a family destination, with special areas designed so that children can play safely and adults can enjoy their holiday as well. Accordingly, Lloret holds the Family Tourism Destination seal of the Government of Catalonia, awarded to destinations with an extensive family tourism offering in terms of accommodation, leisure, restaurants, events and children’s parks. Meanwhile, it should be pointed out that 60% of the hotel accommodation in Lloret de Mar is concentrated in hotels with three stars or more and that 64% of the five-star and luxury hotel accommodation on the Costa Brava is located in the town.
This varied offering also includes business tourism, since many of the town’s hotels boast meeting and conference rooms equipped to meet the needs of companies and organisations.
Camping enthusiasts are also well catered for. The town has four campsites with over 4000 bed places between them. But if you’re not convinced by any of the above options, you also have more than 2500 holiday apartments to choose from.
There is something going on all year round in Lloret de Mar, such as the Carnival parade, the Lloret Night Shopping event and motorsport-themed activities. One of the highlights is the Lloret Formula Weekend, a weekend of F1-themed activities timed to coincide with the Spanish Grand Prix held at the Montmeló race circuit, located less than an hour away from the town. It’s not for nothing that Lloret is known as the motor capital of the Costa Brava. For many years it hosted the legendary Costa Brava Rally and now hosts the Costa Brava Historic Rally, a regularity rally for classic cars which are at least 20 years old and which you won’t see anywhere else. Other activities focus more on traditions, such as the Tirada a l’Art event, where people gather to celebrate an ancient fishing technique consisting of casting nets into the water at daybreak and hauling them back onto the beach with their catch. Everybody is welcome to take part in dragging the nets and the hard work is normally rewarded with a breakfast that includes any fish caught by the participants. There are also nature photography events, such as the MontPhoto international photography festival. It’s also worth mentioning the fairs held in Lloret de Mar, including the Mediaeval Fair, which recreates the Middle Ages in the town, or the Americanos Fair, which takes us back to the time when townsfolk from Lloret headed to the Americas to make their fortune. There’s no shortage of sports activities in the calendar. Some of the most popular events are the Chapels Walk and the Beaches Walk. These are fun walks that enable participants to discover the extensive natural and scenic heritage of Lloret de Mar. The town also hosts prestigious sports events, including basketball tournaments and an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, not to mention athletics meets, etc.