Previously a quiet fisherman’s village on the Costa Brava, Tossa de Mar may now be considered the most northerly of the busy modern beach resorts that are typically Costa Brava and for that reason Vanya was not impressed with the place but for me it has a great mix of new and old and, at the risk of appearing a pompous git, integrates tradition and contemporaneity or modernism. Vanya won’t be impressed with that either.
One feature which sets it apart is the old town. It is the only place on the Costa Brava to have an almost fully preserved walled (medieval) town complete with castle turrets and cobbled winding streets. It’s not that large but it kept me amused for a good hour.
The town has 5 or 6 gold coloured Blue Flag sandy beaches within easy walking distance of the town centre. Sitting under the old town battlements the largest of these beaches, the 400 metre long crescent shaped Playa Grande, was ranked among the best 25 beaches in the world by National Geographic Magazine but just the other side of the castle and protected from North winds by the headland is the prettier smaller beach of La Mar Menuda.
There are purportedly three churches in Tossa de Mar but to me the the Esglesia Vella de Sant Vicenc amounted to little more than a ruin. The Saint Vicenc de Tossa is smallish well preserved church with a particularly nice ceiling but my favourite is the very little Chapel of Our Lady of Socorro.
We both enjoyed wandering the narrow streets of Tossa de Mar and we both appreciated the warm welcome of the locals. We stopped first at Dino’s Bar Ristorante on Calle San Telmo for a drink or two and got to talking with the German owner, Wolfgang Dino, who has lived in Catelonia for more than 50 years. He gave us his thoughts as to the best places to visit in the area and invited us to stay on and watch the Spain v Italy semi final of the European Championships but we were already committed to a nearby Sports Bar where the equally friendly owner had reserved us a table.
One other piece of relatively useless information before I head off out but it demonstrates the very real contrast that is Tossa de Mar – This town was the first place in the world to formally declare itself as an anti-bullfighting city. You wouldn’t expect that in Spain. Well done Tossa!