The Day I Discovered Everybody Was Wrong About Lloret De Mar

It’s been a few years since I spend a summer in Spain. Back then I was working in the seaside town of Calella on the Costa Brava and my job was to take care of teenagers who got let out of home for the first time by their parents and who wanted to experience all of the party scene, foam parties and free shots they could get.

But not enough, they also wanted to be entertained while they were curing their hangovers the next day on the beach. Thinking back now, I must’ve been crazy taking this job! Looking back it was certainly an experience!

This time I came to Costa Brava to attend TBEX, a large conference for travel bloggers, writers, new media content creators and travel industry professionals alike. The conference was held in the coastal town of Lloret de Mar, 70 km North of Barcelona.

Lloret-de-Mar

The town actually thrives in thousand-year old history but is now rather well-know for a summer party destination and especially popular with young package tourists. And indeed, when walking the streets of Lloret you will spot many many clubs, bars and pubs and I can only imagine what the place is like in the hot summer months.

Nevertheless, coming here just before the high-season around April/May, the weather is already pleasant with 20 to 25 degrees in the daytime while you can use a jumper at night. I like this time of the year as it has a very comfortable Mediterranean climate and is perfect to explore the town and region without the sweating masses.

Arriving into Lloret de Mar wasn’t actually what it looked like in my mind. It was calm, hardly anyone in the street – ok, it was early afternoon and everyone was starting their Siesta.

The town certainly isn’t fancy but after walking around for a few days, looking beyond the main strip, tourists and high-rise apartment buildings, I discovered that Lloret de Mar is actually more than just beach, sunshine and drinks. The town has in fact a rich cultural and natural heritage, lovely walking trails and viewpoints. I was surprised!

Maybe, I am thinking, everyone just knew Lloret de Mar for all the wrong reasons in the first place?

The city’s administration today is actually trying to confront the party image the town has stuck to for years by actively promoting various activities including cultural events.

And while there is probably still some work to do to restore Llorets image, I have definitely found my favourite spots around town already.

You cannot miss this! The Santa Clotilde Gardens sit on a large cliff which make it a very breezy spot with some impressive views over the coastline.

The garden was designed in 1919 by landscape architect Nicolau Rubió i Tudurí and is characterized by the Italian Renaissance. The Nicolau has also worked on the creation and design of the Montjuic Gardens in Barcelona, another fantastic place to visit in the area!

Santa-Clotilde-Cliff
Santa-Clotilde-Gardens

My favourite spot at the Santa Clotilde Gardens is the large green staircase which is lined with marble sculptures of mermaids. Just beautiful!

The steep slopes and uneven relief of the park are set off by the perfectly cut hedges that form magnificent green architectural shapes and which make it a really interesting place to walk around and take in the views of the coast.

The gardens are a perfect place to visit in the afternoon when it’s too hot by the beach and you will find a breezy oasis of tranquility with incredible scenic points – again to my surprise!

A good spot to visit after you’ve seen the Santa Clotilde Garden.

Santa-Clotilde-Cliff

There is a carpark at the top of the cliff and a small, pretty hermitage dating back to the 14th century to stop by before you take a short walk down the path surrounded by shady trees to reach the beach. Set between two big hills, the beach is well sheltered from wind and waves and is therefore constantly calm which makes it a good spot for snorkeling too.

If you are looking for another fantastic spot for snorkeling on the Costa Brava, check out Cap de Creus National Park.

It feels like a world way from Lloret de Mar main beach. The beach is smaller and the sand finer and there is a sort of feeling of exclusivity as you don’t have to spend the entire day towel to towel with strangers.

santa-christina-beach-Lloret-de-Mar
Santa-Christina-beach

At Santa Cristina beach you also find Hotel Santa Marta set on the cliff overlooking the bay. The hotel is on the higher price end but offers value for money. The facilities include a pool, spa, restaurant and beach bar which make it easy to endure some time here.

I was lucky to attend the opening party of TBEX which happened right on Santa Cristina beach and the dinner buffet was overlooking the sand, just wonderful!

Of course everyone will come to the main beach of Lloret de Mar at some stage. And while the 1,5km long beach is nice to look at in the early morning it get’s crazy busy throughout the day, especially in summer. The sand is more grainy than on the other beaches around.

There are plenty of activities from waterskiing, kayaking to jet skiing and a lot of restaurants, cafés and kiosks selling anything from ice cream, beverages and more. It’s good to know that the beach get’s cleaned every day and you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas for shade.

Lloret-Main-Beach

I took a really cool catamaran trip from here with Catamaran Sensation which brought us to a beautiful secluded bay with super clear turquoise water north of Lloret de Mar called Cala Futadera, just outside of the town of Tossa de Mar.

At the end of April the water temperature is still freezing with about 15 degrees however I was tempted to jump in and would’ve definitely done so if it was a month or so later as the air and water temperatures are getting warmer.

Instead, I feasted on the BBQ and hung out in the mesh between the hulls of the catamaran and soaked up the sun.

cala-futadera-tossa-de-mar
catamaran-jump-lloret

Right in the center of town is this church built in Catalan Gothic style around 1509 to 1522. Later on more rooms and the side chapel was added gradually to what the church looks like today.

Wandering the streets of town you will certainly come across the church which is indeed very beautiful and is one of the distinctive landmarks of Lloret de Mar and worth a visit!

Lloret Parish Church of Sant Roma

Thank you to Melissa from UnClogged in Amsterdam for the great shot!

Fenals Beach is the second largest beach in Lloret de Mar. 700 meters of sandy beach area which is nicely sheltered by a small hill from the wind and separated from the buzzing town center so it generally feels a little less crowded too. Of course you can do various watersports and boat activities such a paragliding or riding on a banana boat.

The beach promenade is lined with restaurants but fewer apartment buildings than the main beach. The sand here is grainy too – think of it as a great way for natural exfoliation!

You can find beach boxes to leave your belongings and valuables so you can enjoy your time on the beach without hassle which is especially valuable in the busy months of July and August. The photo below was taken at the end of April with hardly a soul seen on the beach!

Fenals-beach-Lloret

From one of the backstreets of the beach, I took a Segway tour around the coastal paths. This was actually my first time riding a Segway and hell yeah, I enjoyed it a lot!! It is so much fun and not at all hard to balance as it basically does it all for you and you just have to lean with your weight in the right direction.

Want to sun-bake at even more beaches around Lloret? Check out Canyelles beach and Treumal beach.

Definitely one of the hidden gems of Lloret de Mar which I would not have expected to find here! This atmospheric bar has magnificent views of the cliffs and ocean and is great for a relaxing drink around sunset.

Even in the afternoon is nicely shaded by the many palm trees around. There is however no food served and drinks tend to be more expensive than in the middle of town.

You can of course drive to the bar and park at the top, but the funner part is taking the rocky coastal path which starts at the end of the promenade of Llorets main beach.

I actually went Nordic walking on this path! Again, for my first time ever and I always thought this is only for grandmas but in fact it’s a really great full-body workout.

bar-banys-Lloret

Make sure you stop by the monument of the fisherman’s wife as you will be able to enjoy some great views over the main beach.

Here you also find many love locks, a custom that has become popular in many cities around the world, where a couple fastens a lock marked with their initials and then throws the key into the water as a sign of their love for each other.

Cala-Banys-Bar-View
love-locks-fishermans-wife

Continuing the coastal path from the Bar Cala Banys you can reach the Castle of Sant Joan. There are some good signposts explaining the history of the area while there are only a few ruins visible.

The real highlight is the view after climbing to the top of the castle. Here you can see all the way to the other towns on the Costa Brava and you will understand why the name translates to “Wild Coast” seeing all the cliffs and rugged landscape.

lloret-view-from-castle

Cala Boadella is a charming little cove which can be reached from the Santa Clotilde Gardens walking down a steep hill. Reaching the bottom you will be rewarded with crystal-clear water and 250 meters of peacefulness.

Cala-Boadella-Lloret-de-Mar
Cala-Boadella-Lloret-de-Mar

The beach is rather unspoiled with a small restaurant serving a good lunch and drinks for fair prices. One end of the beach is used by naturist’s so be aware if you feel offended easily. The other side of the beach is often frequented by families.

I actually just found out, that this beach is also used as a film sets (well, that must mean something right?). For example Boadella beach was the setting for some scenes from the film “Sahara” starring the Spanish actress Penelope Cruz.

The cemetery here traces back to the indiano culture and provides an interesting perspective of funerary art of the time when it was built at the end of the 19th century.

Cemetery-Lloret-de-Mar
Modernist-Cementary

Many individuals who had made their fortune in America and returned home had not only built luxurious houses but also sumptuous mausoleums to show off their wealth, also with the belief that they would carry on living well after their death.

The cemetery is certainly an interesting point to visit and easily accessibly be foot from the town centre.

I am sure there is a whole lot more to this town which is still waiting to be explored!

I surely will be back to the Costa Brava, probably still outside the high summer season as I am really not dying to share a spot at the beach with hangover teens but rather enjoy little oases at the time.

But that’s me, I just don’t like huge crowds of people. And even if you never want to visit the main beach, Lloret de Mar has outright some gems away from the center.

Lloret-Main-Beach-view

Thank you to Lloret Tourism to making all these discoveries possible.

All opinions expressed in this article are my own. I truly enjoyed my stay in Lloret de Mar and the Costa Brava respectively and can really recommend a visit to everyone!

I would love to hear your opinion on this town!

Is Lloret de Mar really just crazy parties or have you discovered some gems here too?

By | 2017-09-25T20:49:09+00:00 June 5th, 2015|Europe, export, Travel Tips & Inspiration|20 Comments

About the Author:

Hi there! I’m Carolin, passionate traveller soul and digital nomad. I’ve been globetrotting for many years. Today, I entirely make a living as a digital marketing specialist and running Breathing Travel while travelling the world and seeing amazing places. I love the beach, sunshine, surfing and adventures. Home is where my heart is.

20 Comments

  1. Adam @ Travelideaz June 5, 2015 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    This post really brought back some memories. When I was young I went on a tour around the Barcelona area with my dads band – brass band I should say but it was still pretty cool – and we were based in Lloret. We were travelling around a lot so we only spent a bit of time there but it seemed like a lot of fun for an 11 year old. I’d like to revisit it one day to see the more beautiful side though. Great pics by the way!

    • Carolin June 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      That is really a crazy cool memory to have, Adam!! You shall definitely re-visit Lloret again someday, I bet it has changed a lot since then, excited what you will say anyways 🙂 Thank you!

  2. Natalie Deduck June 5, 2015 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    My first impression of Lloret de Mar wasn’t that good, but after exploring the streets and finding beautiful beaches around I changed my mind… The city and all the region of Costa Brava is worth a visit, summer is brilliant there!
    Happy Travels,
    Nat
    🙂

    • Carolin June 6, 2015 at 7:14 am - Reply

      I had exactly the same feeling, and after I heard so many people talk about it.. Lucky to be here for a little while over summer to keep exploring and verifying the reality! Thank you, Nat, stay happy!! 🙂

  3. I too was at TBEX this year and Lloret de Mar was all new to me. No pre-conceived ideas of what it was or was not. I loved it. I think there is so much to see and do that you will run out of time to do it all (or nothing at all if you just want to lie on a beach :)).

    • Carolin June 8, 2015 at 8:31 am - Reply

      Another TBEXer, awesome, thank you so much Margarita for your comment and sharing your impressions too 🙂

  4. xiki June 7, 2015 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    At first thanks for your nice words about my town. It’s really sad many people thinks that Lloret de Mar is only a place for party, drinking, sun and young people. As you find out is much more than this, but please remember that in Catalunya, we dont know about “siesta” and other spanish topics, we are quite different and work all day long.

    • Carolin June 8, 2015 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Thank you a lot for your comment! Your town is certainly much more than that and I hope more people get to see it that way too! I do know Catalunya is different to the rest of Spain, but my supermarket across the street here in Barcelona still closes over lunchtime for a few hours and I do remember many shops being closed in Calella when I worked there a few years back over summer. Thank you for your kind words 🙂

  5. Mauri June 10, 2015 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Dear Carolin,
    Many thanks for your post! I am happy to see you enjoyed your stay in Lloret. And I agree with you and your post, we have more than one Lloret. Nearly one for every public and time of the year. This is the reason why we wanted to host TBEX. We wanted people like you, share your thoughts and experiences about our destination.
    Many thanks.
    Mauri

    • Carolin June 10, 2015 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      Thank you very much for your great words, Mauri! I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay and do hope more people get to see the different faces of Lloret in the future, I think hosting TBEX was a great step into the right direction!

  6. Wandering Carol June 12, 2015 at 9:37 am - Reply

    I, too, loved Fenels Beach, the Modernist Cemetery and some of the wooded paths. There’s so much more to Lloret than you first think.

    • Carolin June 12, 2015 at 10:06 am - Reply

      🙂 so true, thank you for sharing your thoughts, Carol!

  7. Marc July 14, 2015 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Hello Carolin,
    I read you post and I’m so happy. It’s wonderful to let people know the good things of Costa Brava, and in this case, Lloret de Mar.
    I’m a catalan guy very upset with we call “turisme de borratxera” (party, drinks, sex and more party). I have to thank you for the post for promoting the good tourism.
    Marc.

    • Carolin July 14, 2015 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment Marc and nice to meet more great catalan people, even if it’s just virtually! 😉 I really adore the Costa Brava, it’s beautiful and I am positive more people should and will see this in the future!

  8. Laura December 2, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Oh god, we really must’ve been crazy to take this job. I think you’re the only one I kept in touch with, actually.
    My objective for the job was “Summer, beach, Spanish language and getting paid” but then it turned out to be this total rip-off of their guests and staff-members alike.
    And yes for me, that time in July, Lloret was just the craziest party town where I didn’t like to spend more than five minutes at a time.

    • Carolin December 7, 2015 at 5:42 am - Reply

      So true, Laura, we must’ve been crazy but then I think about it as an experience, something we learned a lot out of, good and bad! And I always have a story to tell about that “one summer in Spain” ;-D very happy I had the opportunity to see some different sides of Lloret! 🙂

  9. Hilary Wedge June 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    We visited Lloret in September 2015. I was told it was the Spanish Blackpool. How wrong those people were. It’s a stunning place. We walked 66 miles in our week there. It’s just beautiful. We left a love lock too by the statue.

    • Carolin June 4, 2016 at 2:10 am - Reply

      September is a great time to visit Lloret 🙂 Thanks so much, great to hear more people had a really good experience!

  10. Therie March 20, 2017 at 4:48 am - Reply

    It looks like a charming little town to me. Perfect for lots of walking and exploring with striking views. I’m in love with that staircase in the garden!

    • Carolin April 9, 2017 at 6:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks Therie, Lloret is indeed perfect for a lot of walking and great views, outside of high season this place still has many little gems, you just need to look a bit harder for them! And definitely make a stop at Santa Clotilde Gardens, they are absolutely stunning! 🙂

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