Lloret de Mar: it’s a name I first heard in primary school.
We didn’t travel to Spain when I grew up, but friends and neighbours did. They went to Mallorca and Ibiza for the school holidays – and to Lloret de Mar. Some bought holiday flats and villas along the Costa Brava and further south. Today, there are entire Norwegian colonies along the coasts of Spain, complete with schools and everything else from home. For all intents and purposes, it is home, only warmer and with cheaper wine. Some political parties even have their own local chapters down here.
My school mates brought back clicking castanets, soaps with pictures of dark, mysterious señoritas, and oranges with the leaves still on. Very exotic. Back then, oranges were available mostly in winter up here in the northern world. Strangely, they’re still the snack of choice when skiing. (Strange, because frankly, oranges are a bit messy.)
When the Costa Brava Tourist Board offered to take a bunch of bloggers to Lloret, I rearranged my schedule to have a look at this mythical place from my school days.
Was it anything like I had imagined? Well, I suppose it’s difficult to live up to an image seen through childhood’s rose-tinted lenses.
Lloret de Mar today
Today’s Lloret has a lovely setting with clean and pretty beaches, and beautiful coves and gardens. It has its share of bland blocks of flats and beach hotels…
… but also the beautiful Rigat Park Hotel on top of the hill overlooking Fenals Bay; warm and colourful, inside and outside.
Lloret was one of Europe’s first package destinations, a resort town for sun-hungry northern Europeans.
It’s a lively place, especially popular with the young crowd. Clubs and discotheques abound, and ‘proppers’ are there to lure you into their particular bar with free drinks. If you play your barhopping cards right, you might get free drinks all night, I’m told.
Many of the tourists here today are Russians.
A few locals I spoke to went so far as to say they’ve saved the town. Tourism was on the decrease, then came the Russians. And they don’t just buy flats, but also villas like this one.
This pink finca is guarded by watch-dogs – real and in stone…
…and is inside Jardins Santa Clotilde, a gorgeous garden and a Lloret highlight.
I was only in Lloret for a day, so there’s bound to be interesting things I’ve missed.
Have you been in Lloret de Mar? Any further tips?
PS Did you spot the red-and-yellow striped Catalan flag in any of the photos above? As I write this, Catalonia is holding parliamentary elections. President Arturo Mas is expected to be reelected, and if he is, he will likely hold a referendum on Catalan independence. Find out more about that in Catalonia – a new European state? (Both sides have chimed in in the comments, too.) Other European regions, Scotland, Flanders, and more, are on the same path. Interesting times are afoot.
Disclosure: I was in Lloret de Mar as a guest of Pirineu Girona Costa Brava Tourist Board. All opinions are, as ever, my own.
The architecture and the beaches look fantastic, if perhaps a little crowded. I can definitely see why the northern Europeans would find it an appealing place to spend some time in the winter. It’s also appealing to us northern Canadians too.
Yeah, I suppose you Canadians go to Mexico as much as we go to Spain 🙂
It looks very beautiful. I read yesterday about the referendum. I don’t really think that Catalonia will get the independence, but I know that all the Catalans I met in my life wanted this independence. I’m curious to know what will happen.
So am I. We’re in for an interesting time.
Like you I’ve had a ‘hard, deprivedi childhood with no sunny group holidays, so I’ve never visited Lloret de Mar. Still, it looks quite nice compared to some of the concrete high-rises you see further along the Spanish coast.
Much nicer than Benidorm. 🙂
I’ve never even heard of the place. The photo of the stairs is very reminiscent of those I saw in Charleston, SC. I can certainly understand the appeal when you live in a northern country to have a little sunshine part way through the winter.
A week or two in the sun certainly makes winter more bearable.
So awesome, those places and houses create a scenic view. Lloret de Mar seems so beautiful , its an attractive place.By the way did you visit Consum and Dia supermarkets at Blanes end?
No, didn’t go to the supermarkets, but I did visit Muramares botanical gardens in Blanes. Very pretty.
I’ve been to Catalonia four times, but never to Lloret de Mar. I had no idea there were so many Norweigans in Costa Brava – such a beautiful region and so much to explore.
Yep, all flock to the Mediterranean to get a break from the cold. 🙂
Saved by the Russians. Wonder how large their population is now.
I think Lloret de Mar was mentioned in a book I read in high school — I hadn’t thought of it since. I can see it’s appeal. It’s an amazingly beautiful place, especially if you’re coming from someplace cold.
Very pretty. And warm.
This looks like the perfect getaway no matter what time of year. It’s absolutely beautiful and inviting. How interesting how many Russians made this a home away from home. I haven’t heard of this place either but looks like a wonderful day trip.
It’s not too far from Barcelona, so a good day trip from the big city as well.
Beautiful place…the gardens are simply incredible.
Gorgeous gardens they were.
That property is stunning!
I’d love to have a garden like that. With a gardener, of course.
It looks like a great place to take a holiday, a mixture of sun, sea, sand and gardens. Had honestly bever heard about it until I read this post.
Glad to introduce you 🙂
Now you are talking. This is one of my favorite coastal cities in Europe. Such a lovely place. Great photos and highlights.
Thanks, Michael 🙂