Let me show you, Tossa de Mar (Gerona), is one of the most beautiful towns on the Costa Brava. It has grown from an old fishing village to a beach holiday destination, where you can also make a 1 or 2 day getaway and enjoy splendid beaches, hiking trails, culture, leisure, delicious food and much more.
An iconic city, for decades it has been a destination for painters and artists. Even Ava Gardner has a statue as a token of her time in this town. In this post I have compiled all the information you need to make the most of your Tossa de Mar getaway.
Tossa de Mar Getaway
Once you make your way to Tossa de Mar, the first thing that will catch your attention is the impressive medieval wall that surrounds the historic center of the city and at its feet the beach, tempting you for a swim. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Read on for all the practical information you need to visit this town.
Best time to visit Tossa de Mar
Overall, the climate is pleasant all year round. From May to October it is mild weather in Tossa de Mar. July and August are the warmest months (31º C).
How to get to Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar is located 88 kilometers from Barcelona, in the province of Girona. To get there by public transport from Barcelona, there are no direct trains, but there are buses.
Buses leave from the Nord Station with the company Moventis Sarfa, and you can buy your ticket online on their website.
What to do in Tossa de Mar
Among the cultural heritage of the city, we find well-preserved vestiges of the cultures that inhabited it in previous times, such as the Roman, medieval and, of course, the contemporary ones.
That is why, among the essential visits for a getaway to Tossa de Mar, we start with the medieval walled enclosure.
1 – Walk along the Vila Vella walled enclosure
The impressive walled enclosure of the Vila Vela is the icon of the town and has been declared a national historic-artistic monument in 1931.
The walled enclosure
This site has several towers and watchtowers. At the highest point dominated a castle which today no longer exists and in its place is the Lighthouse of Tossa.
The fortification protected a town that at the time of its golden age (15th century) comprised 80 houses.
In the first place, to access it and the charming old town Vila Vella, you just have to get to the end of the beach and go up the cobbled road.
It is likely that along the way, the first thing that will attract your attention will be the remains of the Gothic church of St. Vicent. In the sunset light it becomes especially magical, with views of the village and the beach.
Since the acoustics are excellent, it used this enclave as a venue for musical performances.
As a curiosity, the French used this church as a warehouse to store gunpowder and ammunition.
The Vila Vella
In the same fashion, the steep and winding cobblestone streets of the Vila Vella will immediately take you back to medieval times. On your walk, you will find a city dotted with houses of reddish stone, red flowers and others of striking colors, as well as many souvenir shops. However, the following landmarks deserve your special attention:
- The statue of Ava Gardner, standing on a viewpoint overlooking the Playa Gran. It is the tribute that the town pays to Ava Gardner as a reminder of her time in the town. The actress filmed here the movie “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman” in 1950.
- The Municipal Museum showing the works of the painters who lived in Tossa during the 1930s. Most of them were Germans of Jewish origin, including Marc Chagall, Jean Metzinger and André Masson, among others.
Besides, the museum also exhibits archaeological pieces found in the Villa Romana dels Ametllers and the Vitalis mosaic.
The museum opened in 1935 and is located in the Governor’s House.
Admission: 3 euros.
- Tossa de Mar Lighthouse
At 70 meters above sea level, at the highest point of the enclosure is the Tossa Lighthouse (1917). With a height of 10 meters, to this day every sunset is lit to guide the fishers of the Costa Brava.
In addition, from up here you can enjoy a breathtaking sunset with panoramic views of the open sea, the town and the Costa Brava.
Note: its range is 20-30 nautical miles, depending on weather conditions.
The lighthouse’s interior houses the Mediterranean Lighthouse Interpretation Center, which offers guided tours and multimedia content. So, if you are interested, you can learn a lot about lighthouses and maritime signals.
In the summer, the Lighthouse Interpretation Center is open until 10 pm.
2 – Visit the Villa Romana de Els Ametllers
One visit that I found especially interesting in Tossa de Mar was the Roman Villa of els Ametllers. This is the remains of a Roman villa considered one of the most important of the ancient province of Tarraco (2nd century AD).
What amazed me most about the tour were the beautiful mosaics on the floor of the different rooms, which are also very well-preserved.
During the visit, you will find many explanatory panels on the distribution of the Roman Villa of els Ametllers, as well as pointing out the places of the greatest importance.
The site is outdoors and admission is free.
Address: Avda. del Pelegrí, 5 -13.
3 – Visit the Cultural Center (former St Miquel Hospital)
Opposite the site of the Roman villa of els Ametllers is the Cultural Center, located in the former hospital of St Miguel. Tomas Vidal Rea, a nobleman of the time, found the Baroque-style hospital in the 17th century, to care for all poor people in need of help.
Today, the building preserves a Baroque chapel dedicated to St Miguel, open to the public. Besides, the Cultural Center displays several exhibitions.
4 – Get to know St Vicent Church
Another relevant religious building in Tossa de Mar is the parish church of St Vincent.
By the 16th century the population of Tossa had grown and spread outside the walled enclosure, so that the old church of St Vicent had become too small for the faithful.
With the purpose of facilitating the religious service to the faithful, the new church was built and located outside the walls; in neoclassical style, and with a simple facade in which the figure of St Vicent stands out.
5 – Stroll through the Roqueta neighborhood
Roqueta’s neighborhood is the traditional fishing district at the foot of the walled enclosure. A stroll through its charming cobbled streets with white houses will immediately take you back to the old fishing village hundreds of years ago.
As you wander and admire its corners, you will find many souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants; the streets of this area preserve all its charm despite the tourist exploitation.
6 – Check out Virgin del Socorro Chapel
This quaint chapel is another interesting visit in Tossa de Mar for its religious value. According to legend, a devout sailor (XVI century) built it in gratitude to the Virgin del Socorro for having saved him from a shipwreck. It stands out for its medieval baptismal font and several altarpieces.
7 – Visit the weekly market
If your getaway is on weekdays, you can visit and do some shopping at the weekly market in Tossa de Mar. This market takes place on Thursdays from 9 am to 1 pm (in the summer close at 2 pm).
It has about 100 stalls selling a bit of everything: fruit, pickles, charcuterie, clothing, shoes, decoration, hardware, crafts, etc..
Address: Rambla Pau Casals.
8 – Enjoy the beaches
Definitely, one of the best things to do in Tossa de Mar is to go for a swim on its beaches, especially in the summer.
For it, you have 3 beaches within walking distance from the town.
The most popular is the “Playa Grande” and in the same line of the bay is the “Playa Menuda”.
Both charming beaches have all the services (showers, bars and restaurants) and its clear waters invite you to take a dip.
Right at the foot of the wall of the Vila Vella is the beach of Es Codolar, a small cove where besides bathing you can snorkel in its crystal clear waters.
Tip: these 3 beaches are pebbles and coarse sand, so you will need some water shoes when walking on the beach and getting into the water.
There are other beaches equally beautiful and close to Tossa de Mar, but you will need some more time to visit them. Should you have time, be sure to visit these coves: Cala Llevadó, Cala Pola, Cala Giverola and Cala Futadera.
9 – Go to the Camí de Ronda Viewpoint
The route that runs along the coast, Camí de Ronda, goes in its first stretch to the Camí de Ronda viewpoint. You can reach it by walking along an accessible path, and from up there, soak in the breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline.
Taking the Playa Grande as a reference, it is easy to reach the viewpoint.
Walk to Playa Menuda and as soon as you pass the Premier Gran Hotel Reymar & Spa, you will find the signpost of the coastal path which makes you turn left. You can’t miss it…
10 – Discover Tossa de Mar through its trails
On a getaway in Tossa de Mar, you will also have time to take a short hiking route and enjoy some beautiful trails, with views from viewpoints, going into pine forests and passing by cliffs and beaches.
Mostly, the trails are easy, but you will need to wear proper footwear as they are dirt and some sections are exposed to cliffs.
Here are some routes so you can choose the one you like best.
Where to stay in Tossa de Mar
As I mentioned above, Tossa de Mar is a tourist destination so you will find hotels for all tastes and budgets.
Just to make it easier for you to find a hotel and as a reference, I recommend the Hotel Delfin, which was where I stayed. The location is excellent, a few meters from the Playa Grande beach and in the city center. I found it a good value for money.
Where to eat in Tossa de Mar
In Tossa de Mar, you can enjoy delicious food, and in the same way that happens with the hotels, you will find restaurants for all budgets and tastes.
Here are the places I liked the most in the 3 days I was in town.
If you are in the mood for a really exquisite rice, I found the Marítim restaurant to be spectacular for its high quality, presentation of the dishes and friendly staff. In addition, from the restaurant you have wonderful views of the city wall and the beach, you can’t ask for more..
I also recommend the Italian restaurant Da Giovanni, for its pastas and delicious rice dishes.
For tapas, the restaurant Tapas de Mar, has high-quality tapas, and the location is perfect, overlooking the sea.
Another tapas place, with a terrace and very comfortable seating, is the Lounge Bar Veramar. I loved their tapas for their originality, with a mix of cultures: Thai salad, hummus, salmon tartar… seasoned with different sauces. The place also plays excellent music and offers tempting cocktails.
And for a healthy breakfast and snack, Cafe Loop is the ideal place. Their menu includes smoothies, bagels, fruit bowls and cereals. All delicious and in a charming space.
Tossa de Mar Getaway Final Thoughts
I hope the information in this post has been useful and encourages you to make a getaway to Tossa de Mar. Thanks to the diversity of activities, beach, culture, leisure and delicious food, the city definitely deserves a visit, besides you can do it at anytime all year round.
For inspiration on other getaways, check out for more ideas on the blog.
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