Blanes is a seaside resort located in the Girona province of the Catalonia region of Spain, and known as the “Gateway to the Costa Brava”. While smaller than Lloret de Mar, Blanes is still a very popular tourist destination, and a big town! Blanes is a great destination offering a wide variety of activities, eateries, shops, beaches, and attractions! We visited Blanes in June as a day trip from Girona, but many people choose to visit Blanes for extended periods of time as their summer getaway and base for exploring the Girona area of Spain! We thought Blanes was a wonderful day trip with our little one, and hope you plan a visit to enjoy the stunning beauty and local scene!
Travel: Blanes is appx a 1 hour car drive from Barcelona. As already mentioned, we visited Blanes as a day trip from Girona, and the drive took us appx 1 hour. There is also train service from Barcelona to Blanes. You can leave from Barcelona airport or Barcelona city center. If traveling from the airport, the trip should take you appx 2 hours, and will cost less then 7 Euro one way. If you buy the return ticket, it will expire by the end of the following day so it is best to buy 2 individual single rides so you have more flexibility in your timetable especially if traveling with little ones unless you absolutely know you will be returning the next day. Also, you must purchase the train ticket in person at the ticket counter. As of current, it is not available on the RENFE website. There are also day trips available from Barcelona that will take you to the Costa Brava such as this one via Viator that has 5 star reviews!
Jardi Botanic Marimurtra: Our first stop in Blanes was the Marimurtra botanical gardens, and this was quite possibly my favorite spot we visited in Spain! The gardens are located at the top of steep cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean with panoramic views and a variety of over 4000 plant species! There is a small cafe on site with snacks, lunch items, ice cream, etc. which was great for visiting with a child. The gardens are stroller accessible, but some areas are not. You must follow the pathways that are stroller accessible. We usually parked the stroller, and would hike down the stairs when there were areas where we wanted to visit, but could not venture with the stroller in tow. There is also a photo opportunity with exotic birds on site where little ones can hold the birds on their arms – this was a hit with our daughter! 🙂 When we visited in June, the gardens were open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Ticket prices are 7 Euro per adult, and our daughter was free as she was under 4 years of age.
The Beach: There are several beaches to choose from in Blanes, but we we chose: Cala San Francesc. The beach is also known as ‘Cala Bona’ which means ‘pretty cove’ – we heard lots of locals referring to the beach by this name! This beach is located close to the Jardi Botanic Marimurtra gardens which is why we chose it. You can walk from the gardens to the beach down the small road, and you only have to park once! It is a cove beach surrounded by cliffs and trees! There is a restaurant on site, bathroom & changing facilities, lifeguards, chair rentals, and stroller access pads! This is a great beach for kids!
Other local activities to consider: Castillo de San Juan Blanes is an old fortress perched high above Blanes with great views. There is also an outdoor market beachside every Monday on the Passeig de Mar in Blanes from 8 am to 2 pm.
Tips to Remember (especially for kids):
- Most shops and restaurants will close for Siesta starting around 2pm so make preparations for your little ones if they are not used to eating late.
- Spain’s beaches are topless so prepare any children for this in advance if this is different than your norm and as needed.
- Prostitution is legal in Spain, and on the Costa Brava highways we saw about 15 prostitutes with plastic lawn chairs and umbrellas alongside the road. Children may ask a lot of questions regarding this so just prepare your answers ahead of time based on what you are comfortable divulging to them based on age.