Yes, there were sandy beaches too.

Yes, there were sandy beaches too.

I've always heard of going to Spain for their sandy beaches and bustling nightlife, but we decided to go test the waters just outside of Barcelona's busy life and take a hike.
| June 11, 2015

Off the northeastern coast of Spain lies the exotic summer destination of Costa Brava. A rocky beautiful water edge filled with inviting cliff-jumping spots and hidden swimming coves specifically designed for vacationers who want something more than just another beach destination.

After landing in Barcelona’s airport we google-mapped our way to S’Agaro; our destination and basecamp for the next week. Located in middle of spectacularly designed landscapes that belong to dreamy private properties, we arrived at Hostal De La Gavina, just before the summer season of 2015 starts in this resort town. For those who have seen The Budapest Hotel movie, this hotel is the closest you will get to this long-gone era of old opulence, exquisitely designed service performed by the Hotel’s meticulous staff.

Our hotel seems to naturally fit between the gorgeous old mansion and large modern homes, with its perfectly manicured landscapes and its smells of flowery jasmine trees, honey suckle and citrus blossoms. After checking into room no. 329, which I believe has the best views of one of the world’s most beautiful slices of earth, I immediately noticed a hiking trail just outside the hotel. Needless to say, our luggage remained untouched and we headed out for exploration.

Passing by the hotel’s mahogany bar, our hiking plan was suddenly interrupted, as it felt so wrong to turn down a presumed invitation for a proper welcome drink. My toxin of choice is typically gin and tonic, so the bartender wondered if I had ever tried saffron-flavored gin with tonic. Being in Catalonia and fully aware that saffron is prevalent in their cuisine, I absolutely had no hesitation. She ushered to the grand fireplace room, minutes later a tuxedo’ed waiter came, holding a sterling-silver tray (perfectly lined with white linen napkin, of course!) carrying a bottle of the sunset-orange colored gin and two smaller bottles of tonics and a couple of double old fashioned glasses, each with a big ol' chunk of ice. The freshly mixed cocktail, strong and bitter, fizzes as I take my first sip, tastes very earthy, subtly sweet with a nice unique strong aroma. We are now ready for our hike.

We picked up the trail, which began at the foot of our hotel and walked north for a couple of hours along the rocky edge of Costa Brava. Surprisingly, parts of this trail are not for someone who has a fear of darkness or heights, but if you plan on discovering the world’s most gorgeous hidden coves and your own personal private swimming holes with clear waters and sea creatures, be prepared to walk for indefinite miles as this trail may well continue all the way to France. At its extremes, just a few minutes away from our room, this trail climbs up to an acrophobic height with no guard rail or ADA-approved ramp in sight. And if you choose to descend and take a dip in the spectacular cove that can be spotted from above, you may be climbing down weathered stony steps that probably have been there for years. The natural rugged landscape is so well respected by the man-made homes and the naturally growing rocky plants, succulents and cacti. Watching kids and adults alike cliff-jump into the azure colored waters was tempting, but believing that the grass will surely be greener on the other side and the water will be better down the road, (and it was) we keep on moving forward searching for the next best spot.

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