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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Foodie Travel Tips #inCostaBrava : Cook & eat your way through these restaurants from Blanes to the Pyrenees.

“You look so different”, I compliment my friend Klaus back home in Austria, “have you lost weight?! I feel like I’ve just gained at least fifteen kilos, travelling #inCostaBrava for the past two weeks”, I add, laughing. Incredible how my foodie travel writer friends Amber & Eric have been able to literally wine & dine themselves around Costa Brava for an entire month straight !!

As I am here sharing about creative travel options in Costa Brava & the Pyrenees, there is no way we could not be talking about food, too. Creativity, and gastronomy, pair up naturally, and I am happy to share this lovely little foodie post, including lots and lots of gourmet travel tips, for you here.

As a #winelover traveller,

As a #winelover traveller, Costa Brava & the Pyrenees offer me delicious opportunities to pair the best in local wine growing with juicy sea & mountain food.

 

1. Tapas. Just about right for a little snack during the day, or winding down for dinner at the end of one.

There is, of course, a rather endless list of (good) tapas bars all over Costa Brava, but I will mention the following for you in terms of their excellent location, their good value for money, as well as the quality of the food we’ve enjoyed on our trip. Note that many restaurants will also offer a (separate) tapas menu, so you will find them almost everywhere – the ubiquitous food item to go for in Catalonia, and Spain.

By the way, did you know that “tapar” literally means “to cover”? Typically served as a first course before the main meal, it “covers” (quiets) the stomach – or doubles as the main course if you order, say, a full selection of different tapas to share. Check this out.

"Vora l'Estany" in Banyoles : It's actually a restaurant, but this time, I just came here for these lovely tapas - a simple salad and a home-made sausage hot dog with a beer, which cost me no more than €8,- .. perfect and right by the lake, to come back to anytime !!

“Vora l’Estany” in Banyoles : It’s actually a restaurant, but this time, I just came here for tapas – a simple salad and a home-made hot dog with a beer, which cost me no more than €8,- .. perfect and right by the lake, to come back to anytime !!

 

Further towards the sea, in a small town called La Bisbal d'Empordà ...

Further towards the sea, in a small town called La Bisbal d’Empordà …

 

... stop and become friends with the owner of "Divinium" ...

… stop and become friends with the owner of “Divinium” …

 

... after he's convinced us with a lovely food selection for a quick lunch ...

… after he’s convinced us with a lovely salad for a quick lunch, featuring delicious anchovies from nearby l’Escala …

 

... or try L'Escut, a bar a little further up the road, hosting us to a delicious selection of five different tapas for dinner the same night.

… or try L’Escut, a little bar further up the road, welcoming us to a delicious selection of five different tapas for dinner the same night.

 

Even "further up the road", on the street from Figueres to Llançà, you can find ... serving both tapas and restaurant meal options. I could live off the fresh mussels ... The best !!

Even “further up the road”, on the street from Figueres to Llançà, you can find “La Valleta”, serving both tapas and restaurant meal options. I could live off the fresh mussels for quite some time … The best !!

 

Llançà, too, has recently opened a new tapas bar called ...

Llançà, too, has recently opened a new tapas bar …

 

... well worth a try just picking different tapas options from the bar, which are later counted for a total prize of your dinner / meal.

… well worth a try picking different tapas options from the bar (similar to my experience in San Sebastián!), which are later counted to make for a total prize of your meal.

 

2. Three utterly charming (and delicious) countryside restaurants. Make way (and escape) from the cities!

Girona, and Barcelona, are great in terms of city life, but what about having lunch or dinner a little further afield? The pace is much quieter, the food well worth it, and chances are you might hug and become friends with, the chef after you’ve had your meal! 😀

Starting in Peratallada, one of Costa Brava's most well-known small towns ...

Starting in Peratallada, one of Costa Brava’s most well-known little villages full of charm …

 

... La Cort serves us delicious, local meals for lunch ...

… Restaurant La Cort serves us delicious, home-made meals, such as this beautiful and refreshing salad …

 

... then also quite nearby, there is Restaurant Es Portal in Pals ...

… also just nearby, is Restaurant Es Portal in Pals …

 

... serving ...

… serving goat cheese & veggies for a creative starter …

 

... followed by a classic seafood rice dish ...

… followed by a classic seafood rice dish …

 

... and hugging the chef before we leave (three hours at the lunch table, on a typical Sunday afternoon .. just so you know: Be prepared for the love of food around here!).

… and hugging the chef before we leave (three hours at the lunch table, on a typical Sunday afternoon, serving at least five courses and many more jokes, stories and laughter .. just so you know: Be prepared for the love of food around here!).

 

Last but not least, just a fifteen minutes' drive from Girona but equally outside in the country ...

Last but not least, just a fifteen minutes’ drive from Girona, let the juices of fresh tomatoes, cheese and olive oil melt in your mouth …

 

... you will find Restaurant Can Xifra ...

… a true insider tip brought to us by the locals: Restaurant Can Xifra …

 

... a great place to go to in order to mix & mingle with the locals.

… thank you so much, dear Jaume & Gemma, for taking us there!

 

The lamb I had was just delicious .. slow-cooked, full of flavours, mmmh! I would have it again anytime.

The lamb I had was just delicious .. slow-cooked, full of flavours, mmmh! I would have it again anytime.

 

3. On your way to the Pyrenees …

… make sure you stop in a place called Lladó, about half an hour’s drive from Figueres (it’s lost, I know, lost on the countryside .. but that’s exactly why I want you to go there, because I, too, would never have found it if it hadn’t been for sweet local winemaker Adriana taking me right there (gràcies, Adriana!).

Restaurant Carles Antoner is such a revelation : The village is quiet but for this one restaurant, the chef is creative beyond imagination, and even cares to serve us a free sample of a delicious dish he just created! Like that. Yum! Go check it out.

Restaurant Carles Antoner, on the main square of Lladó ...

Restaurant Carles Antoner, on the main square of Lladó …

 

... offers us ...

… offers us a delightful local version of “Mar i Muntanya” rice, throwing in ingredients from both the mountains as well as the sea …

 

.. thank you to the chef for hosting us here!

.. thank you to the chef for this wonderful welcome!

 

4. … and back down to the sea: Think Blanes, and La Bisbal d’Empordà, for further delightful foodie stops #inCostaBrava.

Casually, the restaurant owner at La Sola Gastronomic Bar & Restaurant in Blanes, throws in that they have just been nominated for best chef, eventually managing a slightly proud grin. “You deserve it”, my group of friends & fellow travellers proclaim in unison, bellies full from the lovely food we’ve just enjoyed. The story is a similar one in La Bisbal d’Empordà, where Restaurant La Cantonada not only serves us gorgeous food, but also uses lots of locally produced ceramics as plates (more about getting creative with local artists in the Empordà region in a separate post!).

Blanes : The window to exploring Costa Brava ...

Blanes : The window to exploring Costa Brava …

 

... a place where fresh seafood ...

… a place where fresh seafood …

 

... and lovely veggie options await ...

… and lovely veggie options await …

 

... La Cantonada in La Bisbal d'Empordà ...

… La Cantonada in La Bisbal d’Empordà …

 

... for its artful vibes using local ceramics wherever possible ...

… for its artful vibes using local ceramics wherever possible …

 

... and for caring to welcome us in such a personal way!

… and for caring to welcome us in such a personal way!

 

5. Last but not least, the foodie feast is on in Girona. Consider doing something different: Cook your own candle light dinner! The girls at “Local Market Girona” offer you the perfect cooking class experience.

That’s if you wish to be active! For the “lazy” ones among you, I can still recommend heading to Le Bistrot, or Llevataps Restaurants in downtown Girona, both excellent choices for either lunch or dinner.

However, let me now introduce you to Irene Bou. Boy, you will want to meet her : She is smart, sweet, and just loves cooking! “Local Market Girona” for the sweetest girls I’ve met hosting me on a cooking class – ever !!

Lovely Girona city ...

Lovely Girona city …

 

... surprises, and captures, me any time I visit : This time, it's lovely dinner time with these girls, the "cooking angels" as I call them for the night ...

… surprises, and captures me any time I visit : This time, it’s lovely dinner time with these girls, the “cooking angels” as I call them …

 

... and trust me, the food we cook has a capacity to make you fall in love immediately ...

… and trust me, the food we cook has a capacity to make you fall in love immediately …

 

... juicy chicken & seafood ...

… juicy chicken & seafood …

 

... juicy chicken & seafood ...

… served together with salad and “truita”, Catalan for the more well-known “Tortilla” Spanish omelette, besides matching wines …

 

… I love the video Irene recorded from our cooking class: Viewed & commented on more than 1.000 times!

T O R T I L L A 🍳

A post shared by Local Market (@localmarketgirona) on

If you want to know where all of the above mentioned foodie places are, click on the little green icons for further details. You can then save the address straight to your phone or computer, and keep it in mind for your next trip!

 

Tip: Some of the restaurants here are also featured in my latest travel video edit about Costa Brava & Pyrenees, explaining more about my creative travel adventures and the wonderful, wonderful people I’ve met:

 

Enjoy with sound : The song “Camins” I have chosen to go with the video, performed by local band Sopa de Cabra, will make every Catalan cry with emotion, I am told ..! 😀

 

Disclaimer: I have been supported on this trip by Costa Brava Tourism Board. All opinions are my own.

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Four very charming Countryside Accommodation tips for your next trip #inCostaBrava & #inPyrenees.
Girls' Getaway #inCostaBrava: Where to go for #CreativeTravel with your friends.

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