My dear readers. I have fallen in love. “AGAIN!”, most of my friends would exclaim while smiling at me encouragingly. Well, yes! It is not difficult when you are in love with the world. In love with travelling. In love with the places you visit.
Remember me going to TBEX Travel Bloggers Exchange conference in Lloret de Mar earlier this year? “Lloret de Mar … What are you doing there?!”, my friend Liska from the Netherlands would ask. I did answer, slightly bemused, “But Liska! Costa Brava has so much more to offer than your cliché beach tourist image. And I know this because I have started to look deeper. To listen, to observe and to understand. It honestly is, quite a magic place. And I am now keen to discover even more.” 😀
I have discovered a treasure. A blind spot on my European radar, so to speak. North of Barcelona. South of France. #InCostaBrava. Where the hearts of the local people are as open & welcoming as the crystal-clear waters of the sea gently lapping against its shore.
Sweet little Llançà has me sigh with relief. Finally, after all my trips and round-the-world travels researching for my upcoming book publication “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, I have found exactly what I was looking for: A place to relax. A place to finally let go. A place to become enchanted with. A place to indulge myself in the presence of its warm-hearted local people.
Llançà allows you to enjoy the natural surroundings of the nearby Pyrenees, the beautiful Cap de Creus peninsula as well as the northern Costa Brava coastline all at once. It beckons you to go out on a sea algae tasting trip of a kind (on kayaks)! It is a place of perfect balance for a retreat-style vacation mixed with the local vibes & cultural flavours of North-Eastern Catalonia.
#1 among five top reasons for discovering the hidden gem of Llançà & around: The food.
Of COURSE! As a #foodlover traveller, I have to talk food things first. The ubiquitous availability of fresh seafood certainly has a sea-deprived, landlocked Austrian like me bounce up and down with delight. Besides, do not miss “les croquetes”, a local type of juicy croquettes filled with a savoury mash of potatoes, fish or vegetables.
#2 among five top reasons for discovering the hidden gem of Llançà & around: The views.
Get ready to be blown away – literally & figuratively! Strong winds, known by the locals as “la tramuntana“, may well reach speeds that are able to knock you off your feet. In the absence of the “tramuntana” winds, be prepared to be blown away anyway: The views in, around or above Llançà are just mind-boggingly beautiful.
#3 among five top reasons for discovering the hidden gem of Llançà & around: The proximity to Girona & Barcelona.
“Can we go shopping?! And I have to see the Sagrada Familia right? And what about all the other cultural attractions in Barcelona …? And the food?!” My dear friend Katie from New Zealand reminds me of a fact not to be missed: Despite (or because?) of us ‘chillaxing’ in quiet little Llançà, we still have to go and experience some of the buzz of a world city like Barcelona. I am still missing Girona, but shall be returning soon to the charm of this UNESCO World Heritage city #InCostaBrava, too!
#4 among five top reasons for discovering the hidden gem of Llançà & around: The hospitality of the local people.
Travelling: To me, it is always about the local people. Always and always. No matter how isolated you want to go or how much you want to “get away from it all”: At the end of the day, it is the feeling of warmth, of hospitality and of welcome the locals share with you that sets the vibe for you to return, to become enchanted by and to fall in love with a place. I truly believe so!
#5 among five top reasons for discovering the hidden gem of Llançà & around: The beautiful, beautiful beaches.
Yes, my dear readers. Llançà beaches truly deserve the double mention. I don’t know why, but I have been honestly surprised to see water so pure and clear everywhere I went. Amazing! You are literally able to see many metres below you as you swim, and this holds another advantage: Carefully watch the spiky starfish as you walk in on some beaches, especially near rocks! But besides, the beaches in and around Llançà just offer a really picturesque sight, and as there are quite a few dotted around the area, they do not become too crowded either. Check this out.
Need any more reasons for exploring Llançà and its surroundings? Find them here as you flick through the rest of my photographs from my last trips there …
… or enjoy this inspiring travel video, taking you on a cycling trip from the Pyrenees to Costa Brava, highlighting the very local people I have grown so fond of #InCostaBrava:
Ready to go? See you soon #InCostaBrava! 🙂