Tamariu: The Costa Brava’s Best Kept Holiday Secret

Tamariu has got all the ingredients required for a laid-back beach holiday.  This stretch of the Catalan coastline offers the perfect destination for a short-haul holiday or weekend getaway.

Photo by Catalonia & Valencia

In search of sandy coves and a relaxed Spanish lifestyle away from the overcrowded resorts?  Taramiu continues to bypass the mass tourism radar. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy crystalline waters, beautiful beaches, rocky inlets, pine-covered cliffs and a picturesque village.

The Tamariu Charm

Tamariu Beach

Tamariu is situated at the northernmost point of Catalonia and is know as the ‘region of coves. Medieval villages, pine-clad hillsides sloping down to crystal clear inlets, coves and rocky bays and charming fishing villages make up this enchanting region.  The Catalonia corniche, gives you a stunning vista of the coastline: the rocky coves, some only accessible by boat; the occasional hotel and seafood restaurants with views of the azure waters.

The picturesque coastal village offers a pretty crescent of golden sand, backed by whitewashed houses and the lush forest-covered clifftops above.  There are no big tourist resorts or hotels to be seen. This part of the Costa Brava has escaped overdevelopment and the calm waters and Blue Flag status make it a popular holiday spot for families.

Tamariu is one of a string of bays around Begur; including Calella de Palafrugell, Llafranc, Tamariu, Aiguablava and Aiguafreda. Although all offer their own charm, Tamariu is one of the smaller fishing villages and offers a more intimate feel. If you are looking for a little more buzz then Llafranc and Calella de Palafrugell might be a better fit.

The Telegraph’s Testimonial

Tamariu Beach

I’m not alone in sounding the klaxon about this part of the Spanish coastline.  The Telegraph considers Tamariu beach to be one of the best beaches on the Costa Brava. Surrounded by lush pine-covered headlands (from which the town is named), the sheltered waters and sandy coves provide ample opportunity for exploration.

Getting There Is Easy

Ryanair flies to Girona from various UK airports and it is an hour to drive to Tamariu. Alternatively, many airlines fly to Barcelona International Airport and it will take you an hour and forty five minutes to drive from the city. There are two small supermarkets in the village itself so a car is not essential however hiring one will give you the freedom to explore.

Restaurants and Bars

The beach is backed by a collection of small restaurants that offer the best of the local culture and it’s cuisine.  It provides the opportunity to experience Catalan cooking at its best. Fish dominate most menus but there are a couple of stylish pizza restaurants and meat is on the menu in most restaurants too. Thankfully there is not a British bar or breakfast spot in site! The vibe is low key and intimate and if you have young children they can play on the beach whilst parents keep an eye on them safely from a few feet away.

No-one goes to bed early in Spain and we enjoyed late evening meals, looking out over the bay, soaking up the laid back ambiance.  One night a local band took up residence in one of the cocktail bars which attracted an audience that drifted in from surrounding restaurants and the beach.  If you’re looking to party all night then drive on through.  This village is suited for families, friends looking for a restful holiday or couples wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of life.

Things To Do

Diving in Tamariu
Photo by Stolli’s Divebase

Not everyone wants to spend their holiday in the car so if you’re staying local the beach offers a variety of activities. The sandy bay is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving – there’s a dive school too.  The Tamariu reef with its Spanish name “Cala Nova”, is known amongst divers as one of the most exciting dive spots on the Costa Brava.

Swimming is safe with a lifeguard on duty during the day in the peak season and an 8ft-high diving board projected from the rocks for those that dare. The beach has paddleboards, kayaks and boats for hire.  They also run guided excursions exploring the coastline punctuated by deep beaches, narrow passes and spectacular caves.  In the busy season booking is advised if you want to secure an early or later time to avoid the midday heat. We hired them at 4pm which was an ideal time and took them round to coves only accessible by water.


Kayaking Tamariu
Photo by Kayaking Costa Brava

With such a beautiful beach on your doorstep, and so much to do, it’s easy to decide to go nowhere, except for the bars and restaurants which are so close by. However the coastline in this area is truly spectacular, and it does deserve to be explored, either on foot, car, boat or kayak.

Boat Hire

We hired a boat for the day from Aiguablava Boats, from the nearby harbour at Fornells.  We were able to hire a reasonable sized boat, like the one below, without a license. However if you have a power boat certificate then the alternatives are far more exciting. Boat hire is available in Tamariu also but the options are a little more limited.

Aiguablava Boats
Photo by Aiguablava Boats

Top tip: make sure you get a boat with a canopy as you will need the shade. There’s a cutesy little bar at Fornells (Guingueta s’illa blanca) down by in the bijoux port that is perfect for a post trip aperitif.

Photo by Aiguablava Boats

If seafood is your ‘thing’ then book the Toc al Mar (Touch of the Sea) restaurant on the Platja d’Aiguablava. It’s just across the bay from Fornells. You’ll need to book to avoid disappointment but it’s worth the organisation. It’s a classic seafood chiringuito specialising in oak grilled fish, delivered straight from the local fishing boats each morning.

Toc al Mar, Platja d’Aiguablava

Their paella, black rice and lobster comes highly recommended but is only available on the lunch menu.


Photo by Visit Begur

Begur is a chichi town about 10 minutes north from Tamariu on the coastal road.  It’s become very popular in recent years with Barcelonians wanting a a city escape. If you wish to travel there directly it’s an hour and a half drive north of Barcelona. Begur is a colourful town with narrow streets and architecture that’s dripping with Moorish and Cuban influence. All topped off with a medieval castle. It’s streets are filled with an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, shops and boutique hotels and it’s a perfect spot to while away an afternoon or evening.

There are some great restaurants with tapas, seafood and regional rice dishes dominating. Many are accessed from a small unassuming street entrance but open up to beautiful, leafy and sheltered terraces at the back.

El Jardin

Top tip: El Jardí de Can Marc is great for cocktails and tapas with a beautiful view of the castle thrown in. They don’t take children under 14 or dogs so it’s one for the grown ups.

When you need to cool off you can head to one of several nearby coves – Sa Tuna and Aiguafreda are closest to Tamariu.

Sa Tuna Costa Brava

Heading South

PLATJA D’EN CALAU palafrugell
Calella de Palafrugell

Llafranc and Calella de Palafrugell are worth a visit too. Both are pretty coastal towns with an array of restaurants centered around the beaches.

Top tip: for excellent tapas head to Calau in Calella.

Fancy Some Action?

Not all the action is seaborne and there are various activities to excite inland.

Segway Tours are a great fun way for you to explore the surrounding countryside.  Most routes are suitable for ages 8 upwards. Excursions are available for beginner and intermediate levels and booking is recommended. There’s also a 2-seater trailer for ages 2 to 6 years.

Golf in Spain is played pretty much all year in the sunshine. The course at Golf de Pals claims to be the oldest course in the Costa Brava. It has paddle courts available for hire also.

An alternative option is to explore the paths and tracks of the Empordá on an e-Bike or gravel bike. Bike On are located just outside Calella de Palafrugell and can advise on routes based on ability and energy levels.


There is a plethora of companies that offer holiday apartment and villa rentals in Tamariu to suit most requirements:

There are several high spec apartments on Airbnb and VRBO and a VA can research the options for you and put together a travel itinerary.

Top tip:  Tamariu stretches up from the beach into the pine clad cliffs towards Aigua Xelida. The smaller villas and apartments can be found closer to the beach. Aigua Xelida is a residential area located off the Tamariu to Begur road and has many larger holiday villas with spectacular views over the sea. This area is about 1km away from the beach front and is an uphill climb back – be warned!


Hotel Aiguablava
Photo by Hotel Aiguablava

There are a couple of smaller hotels in the centre of Tamariu. Hotel Hostalillo is centrally located with beautiful views over the bay but if you’re looking for a hotel with great facilities and a wonderful vista then Hotel Aiguablava in Fornells is worth a gander. It’s a serene haven with all the luxuries that you need.  It has a tennis court, outdoor swimming pool, table tennis, a children’s playground, beauty spa and hair dressers, water sports and three eating spaces that are open to visitors and hotel guests alike. They also have a number of one and two bedroom apartments that have access to all the hotel facilities too.

Additional places to visit

If you feel like exploring further you could head to the pretty medieval town of Pals which is around 11km away. It has been declared to be a Historic Artistic site – you’ll understand why, when you see its beautiful old quarter and wander around its cobbled streets.

Cap Roig Botanical Gardens and Castle are located by the seaside village of Calella-de-Palafrugell. This 17-hectare spot brings together botanical species from all corners of the globe, as well as sculptures from renowned national and international artists. It’s considered one of the most important botanical gardens in the Mediterranean and plays host to the annual Cap Roig music festival.

A Lifestyle PA

Tamariu Sunset

Let your Buy Time VA find the perfect holiday spot whether you are seeking peace and relaxation or thrills and adventure. We can take you off the beaten track and find you new spots to discover. With our help we can create a holiday with memories for years to come. It’s all in the planning!

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