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Dunas Douradas

Sand? Check. Crystal clear water? Check. Blue skies to match? Check. Found in the heart of the ‘Golden Triangle’ between Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago, the resort is centred around a large pool, with accompanying tennis courts and restaurants. This means that every mood or member of the family can be accommodated within just one location. Being just 20 minutes from Faro International Airport also means that you won't have to wait long once you land to start relaxing and taking in the quintessential Portuguese fantasy. Perfect.

Dunas Douradas

Dunas Douradas delivers on exactly what you’d expect from a Portuguese resort, and with our fantastic range of apartments, townhouses and villas available - there’s more than enough space for everyone. Our six-bedroom villas with maid service and heated pools are perfect for big families and parties, whilst our luscious one-bedroom apartments will be just what couples looking for an adventure will need. 

Our history and close ties to the location also mean we’re happy to arrange transfers and taxis for you, and even recommend spots that you might have missed otherwise. In fact, every member of our staff has visited this location already, so we’re more than happy to help you with any questions you might have. 

Dunas Douradas Beaches

Famed for its azure and teal seas, sunny year-round climate and exquisite white sandy beaches, the Algarve is one of the most-frequented European and global holiday destinations. Landscapes that perfectly encapsulate the tone and ambiance of the area are complemented by an ambiance that’s difficult to match make for an unforgettable coastal holiday.

The Algarve may be a shade under 5,000 kilometres, but it features 200km of coastline. Visit the Algarve and you’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of what the coast offers. You can bask in the sunshine, bronze your skin and feel completely at peace with sea lapping at your toes. There’s wealth of marinas to anchor your yacht, waters sport opportunities for those that love nothing more than taking an exhilarating jaunt across the ocean and a plethora of beachside eateries.

Across the region you’ll discover a range of resorts a stone’s throw from holiday villa and hotel accommodation. Peaceful seclusion, prestige and family fun await all who visit the Algarve. Dunas Douradas is one of the more popular resorts and, as you’d expect, you’ll discover coastline that’ll leave you awed.

Interested in learning about the beaches that await you in and around Dunas Douradas? Keep reading below to discover the beaches that you must visit.

Ancao Beach

Situated a mere seven minutes from Dunas Douradas, nestled in the far west of the Ria Formosa natural park is Ancao beach. Perfect for holiday-makers who desire nothing more than some privacy, this isolated beach is bordered by magnificent sand dunes and a picture-postcard view of the Mediterranean.

An exceptionally-clean and well-maintained beach, Praia do Ancao features ruby-coloured cliffs, a vast pine landscape to the rear. Access is achieved by strolling down rustic wooden boardwalks surrounded by white dunes sand dunes complemented by native wildlife and a habitat’s for animals.

Moreover, Praia do Ancao offers the opportunity for visitors to indulge in a range of non-motorised water sports, traversing the waves with the wind blowing in your hair.

Upon arriving you’ll immediately notice that the beach is welcomed by singles, couples and families alike. There are a range of enticing eateries to grab a bite and ample space to put your towel on the sand and relax.

Garrao Beach

Lauded as one of the most beautiful beaches on the Algarve, Praia do Garrao is the perfect setting to soak up the ambiance of all that a beachside holiday should provide. A natural beach that extends from Quarteira and almost reaching Faro, Praia do Garrao has long been a haven for holiday-makers visiting Dunas Douradas.

Stretching between the exclusive resorts of Vale do Lobo and Quinto do Lago, Praia do Garrao features private areas with sun loungers dotted across the sand dunes and area open to general members of the public.

Take a trip to Praia do Garrao and you’ll discover some of the finest beachside restaurants in the Mediterranean. The most famous of which is surely Julia’s. Named for a local character, Julia’s is known as the original beach restaurant and has been a staple of Praia do Garrao since 1966.

As the quintessential place to grab a quick bite to eat, enjoy a refreshing beverage or sit down for a meal with all the family, Julia’s enduring popularity has helped Praia do Garrao carve out a distinct identity for itself, even amongst the slew of beachside bars and eateries across the Algarve.

Praid de Vale do Lobo Beach

Stay in a villa in Dunas Douradas and you’ll find yourself within each reach of one of the most-celebrated beaches in the Mediterranean – Praid de Vale do Lobo. Situated directly in-front of the Vale do Lobo resort, this expansive sandy beach backs onto ochre-coloured cliffs indicative of the region.

Awarded Blue Flag status since 1987, Vale do Lobo beach offers much more than just a picturesque setting. There are a range of services and facilities that visitors can enjoy. From bars, restaurants and esplanades to sanitary installations, including those equipped for handicapped visitors, the beach is as accessible as it offers the consummate beachside experience for the affluent.

Moreover, Vale do Lobo beach offers a range of motorised activities. Children and adults alike can relax and have fun in the fun, skipping across the waves in a jet-ski or speedboat whilst family members, friends and parents can relax on the shore and top up their tan.

As a bonus, the surrounding area offers much to appeal to tourists. Arts and musical events are commonplace. Visitors can indulge in a relaxing walk in between the pine trees – and there’s a range of sporting activities sure to appeal to anyone with a competitive nature.

So, there you have it. Each of these beaches are easily accessible to holiday-makers staying on Dunas Douradas. What’s clear is that visitors to the region will be spoilt for choice when deciding which beach is the one for them.

Dunas Douradas Points of Interest

Located a smidge over three kilometres from the famed Vale do Lobo resort, Dunas Dourades offers holiday-makers the chance to experience a Mediterranean oasis. Perfect for a romantic break with your partner or as a holiday for the whole family to enjoy, a stay at Dunas Dourades is one that’ll surely live-long in your memory.

But what is it that makes the resort so memorable? What qualities does Dunas Dourades offer that compels holiday-makers to return again and again? It is the warm Mediterranean climate? Is it the cosmopolitan vibe, juxtaposed with a chic beach holiday? Could it perhaps be the wealth of opportunities everyone, young and old have to immerse themselves in the culture? Maybe it’s the prestige of the resort?

We’d argue that all these factors contribute to the popularity of the area. Moreover – and, debatably, what makes the place even more alluring to holiday-makers are the defined points of interest Dunas Douradas has.

So, are you about to or considering heading to Dunas Douradas and wondering what the key points of interest are? Keep reading below to discover where you should make a point to visit the resort.

Dunas Douradas and Garrao Lagoons

The small Garrao lagoon is situated on the western tip of the vast Ria Formosa Natural Park. Encircled by a wealth of luxury resorts, this lagoon – and the accompanying wetlands to the west – are some of the best birding hotspots anywhere in the Mediterranean.

It’s here that visitors can observe the elusive Little Bittern. A wading bird from the heron family, these birds are commonly-found in temperate regions in Europe, in western and southern Asia and in Madagascar. The smallest of all breeding herons on the continent, the sight of a Little Bittern is a rare treat.

Each year ornithologists, novice and experienced alike, flock to Dunas Douradas to catch a glimpse of these native birds found nestling on the majestic rockery surrounding the coves.

Take a trip around the coastal areas of Dunas Douradas and you’ll discover, not only the Little Bittern but, a wealth of eye-catching native birdlife. The Purple Gallinule (also known as the Purple Swamphen) also makes the occasional appearance.

An activity for the whole family to enjoy – and one that’s educational for children too – birdwatching is a great way to spend the afternoon. Just make sure that you bring plenty of sunscreen when the sun is at its highest.

Pineheiros Altos Golf Resort

One of the most prestigious and lauded golf and leisure resorts in southern Europe, Pineheiros Altos Golf Resort can be found in the Ria Formosa National Park on Quinta do Lago. Home to a 27-hole Championship golf course, a luxury clubhouse and pro shop, two driving ranges and a fully-equipped golfing academy, it’s no surprise that Pineheiros Altos is one of the most-frequented golf courses on the Algarve.

Originally an 18-hole course, designed by respected American course designer, Ronald Fream, the course has subsequently been extended, with designer George Santana da Silva adding an extra nine holes which were opened in 2007.

The challenging course is perfect for players of all standards. Firm and testing greens are complemented by beautifully manicured fairways. The course is set-up to test player’s long and short game mettle. Choose to play one of three contrasting nine-hole, 36-par formats – The Pines, The Corks and The Olives. Each has an its own identity and presents its own challenges.

Whether you’re a competitive golfer playing off scratch or a novice just hoping to while away the afternoon in the warm summer sun, Pineheiros Altos is a great way to relax and enjoy the Portuguese summer sun.

Quinta Quad Tours

If you’re looking for a more exciting way to traverse the rugged Portuguese terrain for a few hours or maybe the whole day, you won’t find many excursions more fun than Quinta Quads. Treks are tailored for a range of ages and quad bike proficiency levels, and you can choose from differing tours.

Perfect for adrenaline junkies, intrepid explorers or anyone with a love of the great outdoors, Quinta Quads has proven to be very popular with holiday-makers. A great way to see the real Algarve whilst getting your heart pumping, Quinta Quads offers a great way to see experience parts of the landscape that aren’t necessarily on any tourist maps.

With more than eight years’ experience and Portuguese and English instructors, Quinta Quads is safe and fun for the whole family. The tour stops at local cafes and restaurants along the route so you can grab a bite to eat – and, of course, full tuition of the bikes and all requisite operational safety is provided.

These are just a smattering of points of interest that Dunas Douradas offers individuals and families. In truth, there’s much that the region has to offer – and much that keeps holiday-makers coming back year after year.  

Dunas Douradas Attractions

Situated in the heart of the Golden Triangle between the famed resorts of Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo in 70 acres of pine forest and orange groves that descend to the ocean, Dunas Douradas isn’t entirely dissimilar from neighbouring resort, Vale do Lobo, yet it benefits from the welcomed facilities and services of both nearby resorts.

Those considering spending a few weeks in the Dunas Douradas sun will not be disappointed. Golden, sandy beaches abound the entire resort and the summer climate typically reaches a comfortable average temperature of around 39 degrees Celsius.

Spending a week or more lounging in the sun in one of the mesmerising beaches a stone’s throw from Dunas Douradas may well be just what some holiday-makers want from their vacation, but there’s so much more to the resort than paddling in the sea and lounging on the shoreline.

Interested in learning what attractions Dunas Douradas has to offer? Here’s a look at how you could be spending your day when – if you get tired of relaxing on the sand or swimming in the ocean.

Vale do Lobo Tennis Academy

Recognised as one of the foremost resorts in the whole of Europe and lauded as a playground for wealthy ex-pats and holiday-makers, there’s much to get involved with when visiting Vale do Lobo. A mere five minutes from Dunas Douradas, Vale do Lobo personifies the vision and ethos of the Algarve. It should come as little surprise that when staying in Dunas Douradas holiday-makers migrate to Vale do Lobo to take advantage of its inviting facilities.

One of the most popular attractions in the area, the Vale do Lobo tennis academy is home to five-star tennis facilities, fitness centre and a plethora of shops. Nestled amongst fragrant pine woodland, a mere 30-minute drive from Faro airport, it’s here you’ll discover one od the largest tennis facilities in Europe.

There are 14 tennis courts in total, including four synthetic grass courts and ten floodlit hard courts and a mini court for children. Spend some quality time with the family or take advantage of the year-round group coaching, tournaments and social events that are open to members and holiday-makers alike.

Visit Vale do Lobo tennis academy and you’ll also discover a pro shop, swimming pool, bar and restaurant. Whether you have a lightening forehand and back hand or fancy a few sets of fun playing tennis with the family, Vale do Lobo tennis academy could be just the place to visit.

San Lorenzo Golf Course

One of the most famous golf courses in the Algarve, the award-winning San Lorenzo golf course in Quinta do Lago is a mere fifteen minutes away from Dunas Douradas. Named as one of the top 15 golf resorts in continental Europe by Golf World, San Lorenzo is a course that sees avid golfers the world over journey on a sporting pilgrimage to San Lorenzo every single year.

Visit San Lorenzo and receive PGA Professional golf tuition or tee off and play a course drenched in aesthetic beauty and idyllic surrounding landscape. Opened in 1988, San Lorenzo takes full advantage of the undulating topography of the Quinta do Lago estate.

Lined with Bermuda grass, snaking holes and challenging hazards, San Lorenzo golf course offers perfect Mediterranean playing conditions and players traverse the borders of the Ria Formosa Estuary and salt water lagoons in an expansive figure of eight design. Surely, a golfing experience to savour, whether you play off scratch or to a slightly higher handicap.

Pinetrees Riding Centre

Perfect for a family day out or to keep children occupied when parents need some time together as a couple, Pinetrees Riding Centre has an established reputation across the Algarve for being a horse-riding school of notable merit.

Approved by the Association of British Riding Schools, Pinetrees Riding Centre was established in 1985 and has continued to be a staple attraction in the Algarve. Mere minutes from Dunas Douradas, Pinetrees Riding School was instrumental in introducing dressage to Portugal and is run by experienced riders and was born of a passion for horses.

Situated in the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve which extends from Ancao beach for 70 kilometres, Pinetrees takes advantage of the undulating terrain and scenic countryside vegetation to teach and accompany horse riding excursion that don’t disappoint.

Beginners and novices can have a handful of lessons until the feel confident on the horse and advanced riders are free to explore the landscape, galloping at a comfortable speed whilst admiring the orange blossom and fragrant eucalyptus. Rides and lessons are infinitely affordable – and fun for the whole family.

These are just a smattering of the attractions everyone can enjoy when staying in Dunas Douradas. In truth, there’s much to explore and do when saying around the resort. Book a stay in a villa for a week or two and you won’t be short of things to do.

Dunas Douradas Shopping

The best holidays provide complete reinvigoration. We all look forward and bask in those precious few weeks when we can take a break from the world, replenish our hopefully not too depleted psyches and remember what life should be all about.

Now, lounging by the pool or strolling along coastal paths before dipping our toes into a scenic azure ocean may well be the perfect way to spend the first few days of a holiday, but many holiday-makers want to sample what the region has to offer.

This can mean a trip to local sites of historical significance, taking in arts and cultural exhibitions, even taking to the ocean to indulge in water sports. It can also mean soaking up the ambiance of the area by immersing oneself in some retail therapy.

Visit a market or shop anywhere in the Algarve and you’re sure to discover much about the fabric of the area. Take a trip to Dunas Douradas and you’ll discover shopping opportunities abound. From luxurious, contemporary boutiques with examples of the very latest fashion to everyday essentials, there’s much to satisfy everyone hoping to indulge in a spot of retail therapy.

Dunas Vale do Lobo

A must-visit for anyone intent on being beach chic, Dunas in Vale do Lobo is renowned for its elegant, comfortable and luxury resort fashionwear. Located in Praca, a stone’s throw from Dunas Douradas, Dunas Vale do Lobo has a collection of clothing, footwear and accessories perfect for men and women, boys and girls of all ages.

Browse the selection and choose from luxurious, fashionable and comfortable garments. You’ll find statement garments to suit everyone’s tastes and practical summer clothing sure to enhance everyone’s wardrobe.

Indulge in gaudy coloured clothing or grab some understated garb. Pick-up some trunks or bathing suits for the beach or light and practical dresses for a relaxed evening out. There’s a reason why Dunas Vale do Lobo is one of the most popular shops in the area.

Gant and Lacoste

You’ll find collections from both Gant and Lacoste, two of the most upmarket sportwear brands on the planet, mere minutes from Dunas Douradas. Highly-popular with golfers and the gentleman who takes pride in his appearance, Gant and Lacoste effortlessly combined casual wear with high-street fashion.

Gant has more than 273 stores in 45 countries worldwide. One of the premier popular fashion labels in the world, over the last seventy years Gant has reinvented what men’s American style should be. It’s little surprise that, in addition to its 273 stores, Gant clothing is sold in over 4,000 retailers.

Lacoste is forever synonymous with Tennis. The brand’s founder, Rene Lacoste is a Grand Slam winner. Today, Lacoste clothing has transcended the court and is one of the most popular high-street fashion brands in the world.

Known for designing clothes that draw from a rich and varied colour palette, Lacoste has become the embodiment of sophisticated sporting style – you only need to keep an eye out on the tennis courts on the Algarve – or anywhere else, for that matter – to spot one of the distinctive Lacoste shirts.

Pingo Doce Supermarket

If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation, you’re going to need to find a supermarket with a great selection of fresh produce, cupboard staples and all the ingredients you’ll need to rustle up that quintessential Portuguese meal for the whole family to enjoy.

Happily, if you’re staying in the Algarve, or better still, in Dunas Douradas, you won’t have to travel far to find a supermarket with all the produce you’ll ever need – the Pingo Doce supermarket.

One of the leading supermarket chains in Portugal – with 400 stores nationally – and being well-known for selling high-quality products at highly-affordable prices, Pico Doce has everything that you’ll need to make sure that you won’t ever go hungry during your stay in Dunas Douradas.

Walk down the aisles and it won’t take you too long to spot the range of offers and promotions available at Pingo Doce. Visit the store on the outskirts of the Vale do Lobo resort and you’ll find everything to suit even the fussiest of palates. The shelves are always packed with delectable foods – and they even offer a free home delivery on all shopping over a value of 99 Euros – something that’s perfect for holiday-makers who don’t want to have their relaxation interrupted lugging shopping bags to their villa.

So, there you have it. These are just a few examples of how Dunas Douradas is perfectly equipped to meet all your shopping needs. With amenities like these, it may just be wise to include a few extra Euros in your spending money.

Dunas Douradas Nightlife

Nestled between Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo in the heart of the ‘Golden Triangle’, Dunas Douradas has long been a premier holiday hotspot for adroit and affluent holiday-makers. An award-winning five-star luxury resort, Dunas Douradas has more to offer than merely Blue Flag beaches and an optimal climate for seasonal getaways all year round.

The resort is a smidge over thirty years old having been originally developed by Norwegian Group, Sandegruppen, in the early 1980’s. Benefitting from a range of facilities and located just 20 minutes from Faro International Airport, Dunas Douradas is an example of how holiday-makers can bask in an opulent, yet an accommodating and relaxing atmosphere – one that’s perfect for the whole family.

This atmosphere is encapsulated by the wealth of engaging nightlife in the region. Showcasing why the Algarve is has endured for decades as of the most-frequented European holiday destinations, there’s much to offer – even when the sun goes down.

Considering heading to Dunas Douradas? Interested in learning what’s going int the evening? Why not check out these hotspots.

Maria’s Beach Restaurant

Over the last thirty years, Maria’s has achieved mythical status as one of the premier eateries in the Algarve. Having evolved from a simple beach shack to a rustic restaurant, one that’s rich in contemporary cuisine, Maria’s offers the ultimate in beachside dining.

In 2012, this established eatery changed ownership. Renovations followed and today, Maria’s has a reputation for cultivating a coastal dining experience that’s second to none. Renowned for its premier location, mouth-watering menu and laid back, inviting atmosphere, Maria’s is one night out that holiday-makers need to sample when visiting Dunas Douradas.

Open every day from lunchtime through to the evening, Maria’s is an idyllic restaurant by the beach. Customers are treated to panoramic 180-degree views of the ocean. The simple, yet inspirational menu offers a true taste of the Mediterranean, and there’s also a selection of delectable cocktails to sample.

Monty’s Restaurant and Bar

Arrive at the bustling Praca beachside complex, Vale do Lobo, and you’ll find Monty’s Restaurant and Bar. The perfect place to enjoy great food and great entertainment, Monty’s offers patrons the chance to sample a delectable menu and live music – there’s even something to keep the whole family happy with children’s entertainment.

The menu has an international flavour, with delectable dishes from all four corners of the globe served every day. Sit at a table at Monty’s and choose from a variety of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. Those with a sweet tooth will be in their element when they see Monty’s dessert menu. Larger parties are welcome, and there’s the requisite outdoor seating area to bask in the ambiance of a night out at Monty’s.

In addition to the live music, Monty’s routinely hosts parties for special occasions. Their New Year’s parties are part of the fabric of Vale do Lobo as is their Hibernation Party. Considering staying in Dunas Douradas in the winter season? If so, dine and dance the night away at Monty’s Hibernation Party.

The Beach Bar

Do you fancy sinking your toes into the sand, enjoying a bite to eat whist you relax at the ultimate summer hangout? If so, then a stone’s throw from Dunas Douradas is the Beach Bar.

This tranquil daytime setting transforms in the evening to one of the liveliest venues in Vale do Lobo. Situated on the shores of Vale do Lobo beach, the Beach Bar is the perfect place to unwind, meet new people and enjoy the evenings of your holiday whilst casting an eye out to the scenic blue ocean.

A favoured place to watch sports events, ardent football fans – or fans of any sport for that matter – need never miss a game or event. The Beach Bar has several big screen TVs to catch the most important game of the season, whilst sipping a cocktail or two. A well-known hotspot, at the Beach Bar you’ll find a fun atmosphere with music and a great time.

In truth, Dunas Douradas – and its surrounding area – has much to offer night owls. From fine dining to raucous bars, live music and children-friendly venues, there’s much to sample. These are just three of the best venues. Stay at Dunas Douradas and you’ll discover plenty of venues to keep you out and occupied long past dusk.

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Villa in Dunas Douradas
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  • Luxurious villa to rent in Dunas Douradas
  • 6 bedrooms
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Townhouse in Dunas Douradas
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Villa in Dunas Douradas
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  • Villa to rent in Dunas Douradas
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  • 5 min walk to beach
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Villa in Dunas Douradas
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  • Villa to Rent in Dunas Douradas
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  • Villa to rent in Dunas Douradas
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  • Villa to rent in Dunas Douradas
  • 3 Bedrooms
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Villa in Dunas Douradas
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  • Villa to rent in Dunas Douradas
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Villa in Dunas Douradas
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  • Villa in Dunas Douradas
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Aiguablava Summary


Aiguablava is for many people the Costa Brava`s most perfect spot, where the cliffs reach down into a turquoise bay backed by a beach of gently shelving sand. It was here in 1908 that Ferran Agullo first coined the term Costa Brava. Although Aiguablava (its name means `blue water` in Catalan) has been `discovered` and villas are creeping up the hillsides, this remains a good place to experience the Costa Brava as it was before mass tourism took over in the more southern resorts.

Aiguablava villas

Haven On Earth have an excellent selection of villas with private pools in Aiguablava, as well as apartments in smart developments such as Cap Rubi and Los Oliveres. The villas we have in Aiguablava range from 2 bedrooms to 6 bedrooms. We have a selection of smart, modern villas in this area, offering a contemporary feel to your holiday and for those looking for more of a traditional experience we have older villas which do tend to be better value for those who don’t mind a rustic feel.

Aiguablava beaches

Platja Fonda: Platja Fonda can be reached via the coastal footpath from Fornells. The beach is approximately 130m long, has coarse, dark sand and is quite low down in comparison to the path, meaning that it is reached by a long set of steps. The beach remains unspoilt and wild thanks to its access.

Platja de Fornells: Fornells is well known for its small harbour and can be easily reached from >Begur by road and also via the coastal path that runs between >Aiguablava and Fornells. Fornells enjoys favourable weather conditions making it a pleasant holiday location. The original beauty and charm of Fornells has not been lost despite it becoming more residencial. Fornells is also a great place for fishing. At each side of Fornells there are two small coves: `Ses Orats` and `Can Malaret`.

"Three miles to the north, the triple whammy of Aiguablava, Fornells and Platja Fonda will spark a best-beach debate..." Extract from `The Perfect Spanish Costa` by Chris Haslam from The Times January 13, 2008

Platja d`Aiguablava: >Aiguablava is for many people the Costa Brava`s most perfect spot, where the cliffs reach down into a turquoise bay backed by a beach of gently shelving sand. The beach offers fine, light-coloured sand and beautiful shallow waters – a perfect setting for any holiday maker. The beach of >Aiguablava is easily reached by road with good parking facilities. The beach is one of the most popular beaches not only in >Begur, but the whole of Catalonia. Over the years many artists and writers have depicted this wonderful location in their works.

"Aiguablava: The setting here — a sunset-pink rocky inlet where little boats ride on Smartie-coloured buoys against an amphitheatre of green hills — is Mediterranean perfection." Extract from `The wilder side of the Costa Brava` by David Wickers from The Times, June 26, 2005

Aiguablava history

Aiguablava seems immune to change; probably why it is still among our preferred destinations on the Costa Brava. As we approach, we pass through lush vegetation and catch glimpses here and there of resplendent, well-hidden private houses dotting the hills. At times the ascent from the waterfront is so steep that construction is virtually impossible; and yet the government-sponsored Parador de Aiguablava crowns one of the highest rocky crags. The hotel, modern and spare in style and well over 30 years old, takes a back seat to the vertiginous views. The hotel pool, at the edge of the precipice, is perfectly situated. In the evening, lights sparkle from the houses in the surrounding hills, and we briefly contemplate staying put but we can`t resist exploring nearby villages and their own coves: Tamari, Aigua Xelida, Sa Tuna, Aiguafreda, and Llafranc, where the simple but immaculate little Hotel Llafranc sits along the tree-shaded seaside promenade.

When we returned to the Costa Brava in October, we checked into Mas de Torrent, a few miles inland from Aiguablava. The hotel was at the vanguard of a wave of small deluxe hotels sprouting in Spain. An 18th-century masia (Catalonian manor house) in the countryside, exquisitely refurbished; the hotel is ideally situated to take advantage of both the coast and the rural interior. While here we direct our attention inward, visiting beautifully preserved medieval towns like Peratallada, with cobbled streets, covered passageways and an 11th-century castle (now a deluxe hotel with eight guest rooms), and Pals, former fief of feudal lords that was rediscovered by city folk who have splendidly restored the houses as weekend retreats. We are especially charmed by the isolated town of Monells and its singular Plaza Mayor, from which multiarched porticoed streets, tunnel-like passageways and alleyways emerge at odd angles.

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