Spain’s Mediterranean coastline consists of nine Costas, mostly long stretches of sandy beaches. The northernmost Costa, Costa Brava, is somewhat different as reflected in its name which can best be translated into Wild or Rugged Coast.
Costa Brava runs from the city of Blanes, 60 kilometers north of Barcelona, and through to the French border, some 100 km further northeast. This coastline consists of a plethora of quiet coves, rugged beaches, smaller fishing villages and of a few cities. Further inland you will find mountainous regions and rolling vinyards, all parts of the Girona region of Catalunia.
Costa Brava was one of the first areas in Spain to develop into a holiday destination, a development that started already in the 1950s on the instigation of General Francos federal government. The main reason for choosing this area to spearhead Spains tourism development was its superb summer climate, varied nature, excellent beaches and charming seaside villages.
Soon some of the fishing villages like Blanes, Tossa de Mar and Lloret de Mar grew into popular tourist spots with high rise hotels and apartment buildings. Tourism soon became the principal business of the area, and remains so till this day.
Great, but not dense, golf in Costa Brava
The area is not the most golf-dense in Spain with its nine 18 hole courses throughout the region. Some of these courses are however considered to be among the best courses in Continental Europe. Add to this that the region is considered the European hub of Pitch & Put golf with at least 20 courses of the kind. And it is claimed that the local golf Pitch & Put federation has more members than the regional main golf federation.
Costa Brava got its first 18 hole golf course when Costa Brava Golf Club opened in 1962, to be followed by Platja de Pals in 1966. It took still another 25 years before more courses followed .
But to be correct there is a 27 hole golf facility in the very northeast corner of the region named Cerdaña which has been there since 1929. Hence being one of the very oldest in Southern Europe.
Around the year 2000 rumors started circulating of a fabulous golf course being constructed outside the city of Girona, the province capitol. When new, various dirt roads led to a course with no facilities except a newly opened course that blew the minds of golfers. This was what is now known as PGA de Catalunya, a 368 hole resort that is ranked tops in Spain and amongst the top in Continental Europe.
The Stadium Course (hole 11 pictured at the top of the article, photo by PGA Catalunya Resort) was the first to open, is ranked number one in Spain several years running. The Tour Course follows closely behind.
The courses are supplemented by a newly renovated 5-star hotel and ditto clubhouse, all befitting a resort that is aiming to be amongst the leading resorts in Europe.
Old style in Pals
Not far from PGA Catalunya,not much have changed since Platja de Pals was laid out more than 50 years ago. With all the shortcomings and charm that comes with age. It is fairly short, though par73, narrow and quirky in places with small greens. But all in all one of the most charming golf courses you will find anywhere.
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The most striking feature is the wonderful umbrella pines that line the fairways and surroundings. The course is very close to the sea, though the sea is not visible from any point of the course. Adjacent to the course there is a 4-star hotel and apartments for rent. Costa Beach and Golf Resort is offering an affordable onsite accommodation alternative.
The outstanding golf facility of Empordà Golf Resort is found not far from Golf de Pals. With two golf courses of distinctly different characters, but both of very high class. The names Links and Forest say it all. The Links course is an inland, wide open, americanized type of links course with plenty of water and a sheer joy to play.
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The Forest course is clearly defined by the tall attractive pine trees that surround the fairways. Here water is in play on only a couple of the holes. The courses are both designed by the famed architect Robert van Hagge, and opened in 1990.
The attractive onsite 4-star Doubletree by Hilton hotel overlooks both courses, only a few steps from the clubhouse and the first tees of both courses.Not far from Emporda and Golf de Pals the highly attractive and fun Pitch & Put course Par3Gualta is situated.
Pitch & Put is an experience all golfers should indulge themselves. It is fun, it is challenging and the best practice you can have for your short game.
We stayed at the perfectly placed and very charming Park Hotel San Jorge, near the town and golf course of Platja d’Aro. The hotel is placed high above two accessible coves. Breakfast on the terrace of the restaurant high above the coves flanked by pine trees and the view of the sun rising out of the azur blue Mediterranean are moments to savor.
The best way of getting to Costa Brava is flying into Barcelona and access the highway direction France. Within one hour you will be in Girona and its surroundings. Alternatively you may use the coastal road which is very scenic but also rather curvy and therefore slower.
Costa brava on the web