I lost count of the times I had this conversation with my British work colleagues before this year's puente de mayo (bank holiday weekend). But my destination wasn't prime Brit abroad territory Lloret, it was the little town of Port de la Selva. Although Costa Brava is best known among most Brits for the party resort of Lloret, its reputation in Spain is more closely related to natural beauty than beer and bikinis. Stretching from Blanes all the way to the French border, the rather rugged coastline is dotted with a host of string of beachside towns and resorts.
|Port de la Selva: Lloret it's not|
Tucked into a bay on the particularly wild Cap de Creus coastline, Port de la Selva is more popular among Catalan, Spanish and French tourists than with my compatriots, which explains why I hadn't heard of it until a couple of months ago. A twenty-minute drive through the mountains from more famous Cadaqués, Port de la Selva is a relaxed resort encompassing a wide sweep of sandy beach, a harbour of bobbing boats and a cluster of coves nestling at the foot of its cliffs. It's a popular spot with fishermen and sporty types; windsurfers were out taking full advantage of the famous tramontana wind over the weekend. But Port de la Selva still appeals to those who wouldn't know how to catch an octopus/stand upright on a windsurf if their lives depended on it (i.e. me). Everything about the town is laid-back and low-key, with a relaxed air that soothes the stress of city life away after a few hours.
|Exploring one of the bays. I don't recommend wearing sandals.|
There may be little in the way of sights to explore (the hilltop Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes is the nearest tourist attraction), but Port de la Selva's charm lies in its atmosphere. In summer, things liven up a little, when a beachside chiringuito pops up and windsurfs and boats are available for hire. Out of season, however, it was blissfully quiet, with little more to do than wander the streets lined with whitewashed buildings, stop for a seafront coffee, take snaps of the hilltop views and enjoy seafood dinners. But sometimes, that's all you need.