At 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I walked through the entrance of Barcelona’s Estació del Nord bus terminal; mostly excited, but caffeine deprived. My initial plan was to fall asleep as soon as the bus departed and sleep soundly through the hour and twenty-minute journey. My friend arrived shortly after I did and we stood at our terminal, slouched over and not fully awake, anticipating the bus to arrive imminently to take us to our destination—Tossa de Mar. I had done little to no research about the town we were going to visit, all I knew was that it was part of the Costa Brava—a region of Catalonia known for its jaw-dropping landscapes and sandy beaches. I was fully prepared to let my friends lead the way, and I would wander after them, soaking in the atmosphere and scenery along the way.
The bus, however, did not arrive imminently. In fact, it arrived over an hour later… something neither my friend nor I had planned for. There was nothing much to do in the time it took for the bus to arrive other than wait impatiently for some notice from the bus company about when we could expect to leave. After a lot of sitting and waiting, my friend and I went in search of some answers. We went to one help desk who pointed us to another, who pointed us to another, and then we found ourselves in a big line. The big line trickled down slowly until eventually it was our turn. We went up to the counter where my friend—in his fluent Spanish—only had to mention the scheduled time of departure and destination for the disinterested lady behind the Plexiglas cut us off and say urgently, “it’s here right now, you have to go now.” We thought at first, she just wanted us gone, having probably had to deal with impatient quandaries from every passenger on our bus already that morning. But as we descended the escalator, we saw the bus parked right where it was meant to be, with none of the previously waiting passengers where we’d left them. We skipped down the escalator, sprinted towards the bus, and jumped on. The doors closed behind us and we took our seats. Not a heartbeat later, we were on our way—a close shave, to say the least.
The town of Tossa de Mar is gorgeous. I have never been anywhere like it. There is an elegance about the place, from the crystalline waters to the romantic Mediterranean architecture, that makes the thought of ever leaving detestable. I felt as if I was sauntering through a tourist’s brochure, staring at my Mediterranean beachside fantasies right in the face. The splendour of being in such a location is enough to make any vacation feel complete. I couldn’t stop myself from repeating the word “Wow” out loud, as if it would even come close to exemplifying how I was processing my surroundings.
In one of the local tapas restaurants, a Brazilian server told us while simultaneously chopping chunks of raw meat, about the best spots in town to go swimming. Heeding his advice, we found ourselves at a more secluded, semi-circular beach tucked away behind the ‘Castillo de Tossa de Mar’—a 12th century fortress that presides over the town. We spent hours at this beach sunbathing, relaxing, and swimming in the clearest water that I’ve ever seen.
The hills and ruins behind the Castillo de Tossa de Mar were steep, but certainly not unrewarding. After stopping several times to take pictures of the town on the beach, the trail took us past some ruins, and what appeared to be a concert being set up. Over the hill we were met with an astounding panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea stretching over the horizon. On the coastline to our right, the rust-red cliffs adorned with smatterings of green trees cascaded off into the distance met by a fading amber sunset. I felt like every trial and tribulation that had occurred that day had led up to that point. It was a scene that words couldn’t do justice.
As we left the castle and the day descended into night the lights turned on across the town. As the sunburnt beach tourists scoured the tourist traps for something authentic to eat, my friend and I made our last stop of the day at a gelateria. The realization that it was then time to make our way back to the bus terminal was not an exciting one. The idea of cancelling our tickets to sleep on the beach instead of having to leave, had seemed genuinely appealing earlier in the day. However, with one dead phone, the other nearly dead, and a pile of neglected homework that lay back at home waiting for a lazy Sunday, we thought it best to suck it up and head back to Barcelona.
Albeit short, the day in Tossa de Mar was full of discovery. The town isn’t huge; it’s got restaurants, souvenir shops, clothing boutiques and if you walk five or ten minutes from the beach, it actually just feels like a normal town. Everyone we met there was very friendly, including an older Dutch couple’s dog who we befriended while walking along the beachfront. The town is, in my mind, a quintessential representation of Costa Brava. That being said, I haven’t travelled to any other places along Costa Brava (yet), so I can’t make assumptions. Needless to say, Tossa de Mar is a must-see location if you’re looking to experience the fantastical Mediterranean coast and being just over an hour’s drive from Barcelona (given your journey isn’t delayed…) it’s the ideal location for a day or overnight trip.
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I have a passion for storytelling, I like to spin mundane thoughts and pass-times into narrative spectacles on paper or in my mind. I think everything we do is part of a story and there is no such thing as a boring life.