Tossa de Mar is absolutely worth visiting! Just an hour away from Barcelona, Spain, on the Costa Brava, Tossa de Mar makes a spectacular day trip to the beach and away from the busy city of Barcelona.
During a recent trip to Barcelona, I debated whether to take this day trip. I took the plunge and travelled solo by public bus. It was the highlight of my trip, and I’m so glad I went!
Keep reading if you want to see all the reasons why I believe Tossa de Mar is worth visiting on your next trip to Barcelona, Spain.
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Tossa de Mar Old Town (Vila Vella)
The magnificence of the Tossa de Mar Old Town, also known as Vila Vella, will take your breath away when you step foot in this medieval walled town. The Old Town is the only example of a walled medieval town still standing on the Catalan coast.
With its cobblestone roads and narrow streets, you’ll feel as if you’ve walked back in time.
You will quickly come to realize, however, that Tossa de Mar is much more than a medieval town! Tossa de Mar has something for everyone.
In addition to exploring the medieval castle walls, you can swim or snorkel at your choice of beach, explore the local shops, or take a hike on one of the many walking trails.
And, of course, you can stop to enjoy a delicious drink of Cava Sangria and some tapas while enjoying stunning views of this beautiful coastal town in Northern Spain.
10 Things Worth Visiting In Tossa de Mar
1. Spend Time at the Tossa de Mar Beaches
There are many beaches that you can explore in Tossa de Mar. Inside the city walls, the main beach is Platja Gran. From here, you can see the walled Vila Vella, which is one of the Costa Brava’s most photographed landscapes. National Geographic magazine even rated Platja Gran one of the top 25 beaches in the world in 2013.
Within the Tossa de Mar Old Town, there are also smaller coves, such as Platja d’Es Codolar. The beaches in Tossa are much less busy and crowded than Barceloneta Beach in Barcelona.
Tossa de Mar beaches are a perfect way to spend the day swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing with a book.
2. Explore Tossa de Mar’s Old Town and the Historic Castle Walls
Vella Villa (Tossa de Mar’s Old Town) is the medieval part of the city. With narrow streets, stunning views of the sea, and the remains of a medieval castle, the old town is full of history and beauty.
You can walk around the castle walls, visit the small historic streets, and explore some of the local artisan shops. Here you will find some stunning photo spots and can enjoy spectacular views of both the sunset and sunrise.
3. Hike the Tossa de Mar Walking Trails for Stunning Views
There are a number of walking trails that pass through Tossa de Mar. These walking trails (part of the Cami de Ronda) take you along a coastal path and include beautiful views of the Tossa de Mar, the castle, and the sea.
You can take a short walk up the side of the Catalan Mountains for some spectacular views, or put on your hiking boots and take a longer hike along the top of the cliffs with a view of the coastline. With observation desks scattered along the paths, the views will leave you breathless.
One of the mistakes I made, however, was not being prepared for a coastal walk. I sort of stumbled across the path accidentally, and I didn’t realize how far I could walk along the trails. I hadn’t brought extra water or worn my comfortable shoes. I was definitely disappointed to have to turn around and go back.
There are also excellent organized tour options for visiting the Costa Brava and coastal towns such as Tossa de Mar as day trips from Barcelona.
4. Do Some Local Shopping
The small town of Tossa is filled with quaint shops, lots of restaurants, gelato, souvenirs, and more! Many of the shops have pieces from local artisans, and they are a perfect place to find a unique souvenir or gift from your time in Spain.
Enjoy a stroll through the shops after a relaxing day at the beach and before a delicious seaside meal.
5. Enjoy a Cava Sangria with a View of the Beach and Old Town
Of course, food and drink are also an important part of your stay in Tossa! I recommend stopping for some tapas at the Vila Vella Terraza Bar located on the hill within the castle walls. It has a spectacular view of the beach below and is a perfect place to order a Cava Sangria and take in the views.
6. Take a Cruise on the Costa Brava
There are several short boat tours available from the main beach, Platja Gran in Tossa, from companies such as Dofi Jet Boats. You can take a tour on a glass-bottom boat and visit a number of other towns on the Costa Brava. Taking a cruise allows you to see the coastline and different beaches along the Costa Brava.
7. Take in the Sunrise and Sunset from the Lighthouse
If you love sunsets and the sunrise as much as I do, then you will love the views from the lighthouse. You can watch both the sunrise and the sunset over the sea from different sides of the hilltop. This is likely one of the best Costa Brava sunrise spots!
The lighthouse is located at the top of the streets of the old town, and is worth strolling through, no matter what time of day you choose to visit!
8. Have a Delicious Meal with a Stunning View
There are so many excellent restaurant choices in Tossa de Mar. Whether you want seafood, tapas, or a heaping cup of gelato, there are many delicious places to eat in Tossa with stunning views.
Whether you eat at a restaurant nestled in the castle walls of the old town, or sit on the beachfront overlooking the sea, you will not be disappointed with the ambiance and the food! As Tossa is a fishing village, you can be sure to enjoy some delicious seafood options.
9. Take the Little Train Tour and Visit Ava Gardner
If your feet are getting a little sore from walking, you have some mobility issues, or you want a bit more history about the area, consider taking the Little Train Tour. This small train takes visitors on different mini-tours around Tossa, the most popular being the tour of the Vella Villa (old town).
The tour starts on the main beach and takes you to the Tossa lighthouse, driving along the castle walls. You can get off the train at the top of the castle walls, have a walk around or enjoy a drink, and then hop back on the train for a return trip to the beach.
As you explore, watch out for the statue of Ava Gardner. The statue is a tribute to the 1950 Hollywood movie starring Ava Gardner, who filmed the movie “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman” in Tossa, making it a desirable holiday destination.
10. Go Snorkelling or Scuba Diving
Tossa de Mar is an excellent place to go snorkelling or scuba diving. You can bring your own snorkel and easily have a swim from any of the beaches in Tossa. Scuba diving is also popular in Tossa. With the clear water, there are many excellent dive sites close by.
For those interested in learning to Scuba Dive in Tossa, you can take beginning diving lessons from the beach. You might also consider a Try Scuba Diving tour from Barcelona, which includes transportation from Barcelona and a short tour of Tossa.
☞ See Also: 10 Best Costa Brava Tours from Barcelona
How to Get from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar
The trip from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar takes just over an hour. If you have a car, it’s an easy drive. Even without a car, Tossa de Mar is easy to get to on the public bus. Another option is as part of a guided tour.
A day trip from Barcelona is certainly possible, but you may also want to consider spending a night or two in this beautiful, relaxing, historical town on the coast of the Costa Brava.
Moventis Sarbus public buses run hourly from Barcelona, and the cost of a return bus ticket is less than €15. From Barcelona, you will head to the Estació del Nord to catch the bus. My journey made several stops along the way to Tossa. Tossa de Mar was the last bus stop.
When I took the bus in September it was full, so I would recommend purchasing your ticket ahead of time. Once in Tossa, it’s a very short walk to the Old Town or the beach.
There is no direct train route to Tossa de Mar. You can take the train to Blanes and then transfer to a bus. But in my experience, the bus was an excellent, direct option for travel from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar.
Another option is to travel from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar as part of an organized day trip. There are lots of excellent options for Costa Brava day tours, especially if you are looking to visit different locations in one day and do not want to worry about finding your own transportation.
How Long Should You Stay in Tossa de Mar?
It’s always hard to answer how long someone should spend anywhere, as it all depends on so many factors such as what you like to do, who you are travelling with, and how you like to spend your time.
However, a day trip from Barcelona is certainly do-able and a great option. I highly recommend coming and spending the day in Tossa.
During my visit, I chose to stay one night, and I felt this was an ideal length of time to visit. I did not feel rushed to explore the town, and I was also able to enjoy Tossa once the majority of day visitors went home.
I did, however, meet some visitors on my trip who spend a whole week in Tossa every year, and they love visiting and relaxing at this beach town for an extended stay. Their recommendation, however, is that you rent a car and visit other parts of the Costa Brava such as Girona, Pals, Calella de Palafrugell, and other local spots.
If you use Tossa as your main base, there are lots of great places to visit and explore on the Costa Brava and around Barcelona.
Where to Stay in Tossa De Mar
If you choose to stay in Tossa de Mar, I highly recommend staying at the stunning boutique hotel, Boutique Hotel Casa Granados. This historic hotel has just seven rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, and beautiful gardens.
I stayed in a lovely room and enjoyed the most delicious breakfast in the gorgeous restaurant that makes you feel like you are dining in a garden.
There is also a pool, a hot tub, and lots of lounge seating on the rooftop overlooking the town of Tossa de Mar. It was the perfect spot and I highly recommend this hotel in Tossa de Mar.
The hotel is steps from the old town and about a 5-minute walk from the main beach. The staff were wonderful, and it was the perfect place to rest at the end of a long day of exploring. I highly recommend this hotel and will definitely stay here on my return.
If you want even more details about this fantastic boutique hotel, read my full review of the Casa Granados Boutique Hotel in Tossa de Mar.
What Other Towns are Close to Tossa de Mar?
In addition to the charming city of Tossa, there are several other beautiful and historic towns that are worth exploring during your visit to the region.
My personal favourite, Girona, located about 40 kilometers from Tossa, a medieval city with lots of historical charm, beautiful architecture, and many attractions to see.
Besalú is an enchanting medieval town that is known for its impressive bridge crossing the Fluvià river. Figueres is famous for hosting the Dalí Theatre-Museum, which houses the largest collection of Salvador Dalí’s artwork.
Llafranc and Calella de Palafrugell are two beautiful coastal towns close to Tossa, where visitors can enjoy the beaches and indulge in fresh seafood. All of these nearby towns are worth visiting if you have some extra time in the area.
Final Thoughts: Is Tossa De Mar Worth Visiting?
Tossa de Mar is an absolute must and well worth visiting if you want to spend some time on the Costa Brava in Spain. It’s the perfect combination of history, beaches, food, drink, and local shopping.
No vehicle is required to get to Tossa or around Tossa. I felt very safe visiting as a solo traveller and taking a day trip from Barcelona to Tossa de Mar is an excellent way to add some diversity to your visit to Barcelona, Spain.
Before You Leave: Explore the Costa Brava
Now that you’ve read this post and have decided to visit Tossa, you will want to read my Casa Granados Boutique Hotel review. This hotel was the perfect place to stay during my visit, and this post shares all the details.
During your trip, you will also want to consider visiting other towns in the Costa Brava. Read my post about the fascinating medieval town of Girona, located just 30 minutes from Tossa de Mar.
And finally, if you are looking for a guided tour of the Costa Brava, my post highlighting my top ten recommended Costa Brava tours from Barcelona is a must read!