Let me preface this Llafranc travel guide with a disclaimer: we couldn’t find a great travel guide when we were planning this part of the trip. And, to be honest, this won’t be an all-encompassing guide because we were only there two days and a lot of the places were closed due to either seasonality or day of the week. But, we absolutely loved this area of Spain and would go back in a heartbeat if we find ourselves nearby again.
Also, I’m going to split my Costa Brava coverage into two posts. One being this one, dedicated entirely to Llafranc and the incredible hotel where we stayed. The other will cover what we did with our days and where we are — the Costa Brava region is known for its density of Michelin star restaurants due to the tradition out of El Bulli. But, for now, let’s get into the Llafranc travel guide.
Why We Chose Llafranc, Spain
As I’ve mentioned in some of my other posts about Barcelona and the Côte d’Azur, this trip came together because we knew we were going to Barcelona and Nice because of friends being in both places, and everything in between was pieced together to make getting from Point A to Point B make sense within a 10-day span. We knew we’d spend the last two nights prior to our flight back out of Barcelona somewhere in Spain, but we didn’t want to go back to Barcelona at the end of our trip. We wanted something more relaxing. I crowd sourced suggestions and one person brought up the Costa Brava region of Catalonia.
Neither of us had it on our radar but, looking at a map, it made sense. It’s on the coast, directly north of Barcelona, and was on our route back from Provence.
Looking at towns, it seemed some had more a reputation for having nightlife, others were more rustic, but Llafranc seemed a little quieter, yet in a central location near the restaurants we wanted to visit. And, once I found Hotel Mas Pastora, I was sold.
The Logistics of Getting to Llafranc, Spain
Llafranc doesn’t seem to be somewhere that’s on the radar for a lot of American tourists, and it seems like somewhere you’d go, similar to us, as an add-on to a visit to Barcelona. However, it’s said that Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, and Ernest Hemingway all vacationed in Llafranc, so if that says anything, it’s worth a stop.
How to get to Llafranc
Llafranc is about an hour and a half north of Barcelona, so I’d recommend flying into Barcelona and then going from there. You could also easily get here from Girona, which is just under an hour away.
When to go to Llafranc
We went at the end of September. It was sleepy while we were there, but there were still a good number of people on the beach, however, the hours of restaurants seemed limited. I assume that was due to seasonality since August is the busy travel month in Europe. We got the vibe it’s one of the nicer towns along the Costa Brava, that perhaps doesn’t attract a younger party scene, but rather older travelers (in a good way!). This could be totally wrong, but that’s what it seemed like!
Do you need a car in Llafranc?
I’m going to say yes, only because I’m not sure there’s enough going on in Llafranc to spend several days and not leave. You don’t need one within the town itself, but Catalonia is a region that’s rich in day trips, and you don’t want to miss those.
Why We Absolutely Loved Llafranc
Y’all, it’s just so picturesque. The beach itself is small. It’s only the area shown in these photos, but the town is small! There can’t be that many people there at once. It’s clean, it’s pretty, you’re looking out on these turquoise waters with massive trees on the cliffs flanking each side of the beach, and boats scattered across the sea. It’s something out of a dream.
While we didn’t get out on the water, there were so many options for half day boating trips, and I wish we’d time. But, alas, Adam wanted to explore Girona so we dedicated our one full day to that — and I have no regrets, except to wish we’d been able to do both.
Where to Stay in Llafranc, Spain
I’m going to start this off by telling you, I don’t like resorts. I like to be out and about. But, I knew at the end of our trip, I would want something incredibly relaxing. When I saw Hotel Mas Pastora, I knew that was it — and it was. We booked one of the rooms in the main building, I believe because they were less expensive if I recall correctly, but our room was light, bright, and airy. Super minimalist, in a good way. The kind of way that feels refreshing and clean.
Their grounds are stunning — green, pastoral, and both manicured and wild at the same time. Our first afternoon, despite the clouds, we sat out by the saltwater pool, which was set organically into the landscape, and ordered cocktails and some sort of small clam-like dish. Literal perfection.
Sitting down to breakfast the next morning in a pea gravel courtyard, surrounded by greenery and listening to the birds chirping was pure heaven. Lounging in the chairs above the lush grounds with an aperol spritz in hand while reading a book in the afternoon sun was perhaps a close second. I could have never left this property over the course of 48 hours and been perfectly happy. Which is to say, I can’t recommend it enough.
Coming Up Next: Two Days in the Costa Brava
My next post will cover everything we did while in the Costa Brava region, where we are, and what I would recommend. Stay tuned!