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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?

#InCostaBrava: Five top reasons for visiting the hidden gem of Llançà in northern Catalonia

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.” 😀

Standing on top of the hill at Sant Pere de Rodes in north-eastern Catalonia, overlooking Port de la Selva on Cap de Creus peninsula ...

Standing on top of the hill at Sant Pere de Rodes in north-eastern Catalonia, overlooking Port de la Selva on Cap de Creus peninsula: Magic has the mind travel and your soul relax in the process.

 

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.

Just a stone's throw away from Perpignan, in southern France, and about two hours north of Barcelona, we find the small town of Llancà & its adjacent Cap de Creus peninsula.

Just a stone’s throw away from Perpignan, in southern France, some two hours north of Barcelona, we find the small town of Llançà in northern Costa Brava on Cap de Creus peninsula.

 

Cap de Creus peninsula is furthermore home to the eastern-most point of the Iberian peninsula, marked by Cap de Creus lighthouse just outside of Cadaqués.

Cap de Creus peninsula is also home to the eastern-most point of the Iberian peninsula, marked by Cap de Creus lighthouse just outside of the city of Cadaqués. Conveniently enough, the point hosts a nice lighthouse restaurant!

 

#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.

Love my croquettes !!!

Love my croquettes !!!

 

Beautiful octopus dazzled with seasonal vegetables and crispy potatoes: Lunchtime in Port de la Selva just next to Llanca, on northern Cap de Creus peninsula.

Beautiful octopus dazzled with seasonal vegetables and crispy potatoes: Lunchtime in Port de la Selva just next to Llançà, on northern Cap de Creus peninsula.

 

Fresh sardines served at the Cap de Creus lighthouse restaurant are my favourite!

Fresh sardines served at the Cap de Creus lighthouse restaurant are a true food lover’s delight!

 

#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.

Looking out from a walk up the monastery mountain of Sant Pere de Rodes ...

Looking out from a walk up the monastery mountain of Sant Pere de Rodes …

 

… we find ourselves spoilt to vistas like these, overlooking the port of El Port de la Selva.

… we find ourselves spoilt to vistas like these, overlooking the small town of El Port de la Selva.

 

From the top of the hill, you get even better views of the northern Costa Brava coastline, with little Llanca tucked in between the hills and just visible on the horizon.

From the top of the hill, you get even better views of the northern swath of the Costa Brava coastline, with little Llançà tucked away behind the hills and just visible on the horizon leading up to the border with France.

 

Resting in the shade ...

Resting in the shade …

 

… before reaching the height of the hill (and the midday sun), spoiled to this gorgeous view of

… before reaching the height of the hill (and the midday sun), spoiled to this gorgeous view of the Bay of Roses. Uau !!!

 

In the evening, do not miss the sunset views such as this one, taken from the eastern-most tip of Cap de Creus peninsula.

In the evening, do not miss the magic of sunset views such as this one, taken from the eastern-most tip of Cap de Creus peninsula.

 

#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!

Packing up to go ...

Packing up from the beaches of Llançà …

 

… to go shopping, eating & exploring in nearby Barcelona, two hours from Llançà on the regional train and about one hour on the high-speed TGV trains.

… to go shopping, eating & exploring in nearby Barcelona, two hours from Llançà on the regional train and about one hour on the high-speed TGV trains.

 

Can't miss a visit to "La Sagrada Familia", can you? Here is a link to my recent exploration of it, following a unique mosaic workshop in the city of Gaudí!

Can’t miss a visit to “La Sagrada Familia”, can you? Here is a link to my recent exploration of it, following a unique, creative mosaic workshop in the city of Gaudí!

 

#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!

As local as it gets: Feeling home in Llanca thanks to the welcoming vibes at l'Alberg Costa Brava!

As local as it gets: Feeling home in Llançà thanks to the welcoming vibes of the family-run l’Alberg Costa Brava!

 

My friend Katie and I are being welcomed by Marc, who goes out of his way to make us feel welcome to his home ...

My friend Katie and I are being welcomed by dear Marc, of l’Alberg Costa Brava, who truly goes out of his way to make us feel happy and at ease …

 

… including many sweet memories shared !!

… including many sweet memories of a great time together !!

 

#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.

Beachtime in Llançà, Port de la Selva: Catalonia is the country with most local Catalonian flags raised the world over- even ahead of the United States, we believe. Patriotism is everything & everywhere !!

Beachtime in Llançà, Port de la Selva: Catalonia is the country with most local Catalonian flags raised in the whole wide world- or so we believe. Patriotism is everything & everywhere here in Catalonia (it’s Catalonia we are in, not Spain after all ..!).

 

Evening time means quiet beaches such as this one near Cadaqués ...

Evening time means enjoying quiet, empty beaches such as this one near Cadaqués, including a peek at Dalí’s summer house (!) …

 

… but my favourite among all of the Llançà beaches so far clearly is this one: "Platja del …", a must-go-to for when you are here!

… but my favourite among all of the Llançà beaches clearly is this one: “Platja del Borró”, a must-see for its crystal-clear waters, gorgeous views and relatively few people.

 

Finally, the beach in itself: Always a pleasure to return to.

Finally, the beach in Llançà itself: Easily accessible from all directions, including access to beach shops, restaurants as well as the local SK Kayak school I went on my creative kayak trip with!

 

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! 🙂

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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!
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2 Comments

  1. anne ruane

    Amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Elena

      Dear Anne,

      Thanks so much for your comment, I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Hope you too will enjoy Llançà on your next visit to Catalunya!

      Cheers,

      Elena

      Reply

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