Just half an hour from Girona Airport, Lloret de Mar is one of the most affordable and convenient holiday resorts on the Costa Brava. People come for the Blue Flag beaches, and there’s no doubt that these are first-class: They range from the action-packed sandy bay in front of the resort’s apartment towers, to tranquil and unfrequented coves that you can only get to by coastal path.
Families will adore Lloret for its great amenities and attractions, with a water park, huge adventure playground and plenty of bright ideas for excursions and activities close by.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Lloret de Mar:
1. Lloret Beach
The best remedy to a heavy night out is a few hours comatose beneath a parasol, as well as the odd refreshing dip in the sea.
Right next to the busiest part of the resort, Lloret Beach lets you relax to your heart’s content, on fine golden sands and with more than enough room to make your own little camp.
If you can muster the energy water-based activities are on offer at the far end towards the headland. And if you’re feeling peckish you won’t have to do more than cross the road to get to a wide choice of cafes and restaurants.
2. Fenals Beach
Separated from Lloret Beach by a pine-speckled headland, 700-metre-long Fenals Beach is marginally smaller but has a less touristy atmosphere.
On the upper edge is a small cluster of apartments with bars and eateries, but the further down you go the more natural the scenery.
Until, at the lower end, there’s just the deep green canopy and pale drunks of pines tress behind you.
While Lloret is the pick for fun-loving youngsters, Fenals Beach is for families and couples who’d like a little more privacy but still need good amenities nearby.
3. Water World
No true family resort would be complete without a water park, and Lloret de Mar’s is as big as they come.
Parents who’ll have the job of parking on a sun lounger for the afternoon will be especially happy: The attraction is ensconced in beautiful parkland with palm trees and old pines, as well as swards of verdant grass surrounding every pool and chute.
You can pick from 20 rides and pools, and daredevils will love Kamikaces, a crazy plunge 77 metres in height and reaching speeds approaching 40 mph.
4. Santa Clotilde Gardens
You could spend a refined hour or two ambling through these cliff-top gardens next to Fenals Beach. They’re almost a hundred years old and were designed in the Italian renaissance style by Nicolau Maria Rubió i Tudurí.
So there are stairways festooned with marble sculptures and edged by cypress trees trimmed in to the narrowest columns. Hedges here have been sheared to perfect right angles and every now and again you’ll be taken aback by the supreme views of the Mediterranean.
5. Parish Church of Sant Romà
This colourfully-decorated church is difficult to miss. The original 15th-century building is Catalan Gothic, as you’ll see when you look inside at the beautiful vaulting above the nave.
The exterior though got a major overhaul in the early-20th century. This is when the roofs of the spires and domes were updated with bright-coloured tiles.
Further down the walls, the church was given a design that combined neo-Mudéjar horseshoe arches and contrasting stripes made with Catalan Modernist tiling to create something unique.
6. Santa Cristina Hermitage
One way to get to this secluded hermitage is by boat, setting sail from the resort’s beachfront and passing along the coast before mooring at Santa Cristina beach.
You’ll jump ashore and make your way up to this peaceful 14th-century chapel, enveloped by pine forest. A walk is another option of course. On Cristina’s saint’s day, the 24th of July a large group of Lloret’s residents makes this trip along the seafront to the hermitage to visit the shrine.
The local Catholic Fisherman’s Brotherhood has a lunch of fish stew in her honour here beneath a large pine tree.
7. Castell d’en Plaja
On the end of Lloret Beach is this mansion constructed by the local industrialist Narcís Plaja in the 1930s and 40s. He certainly had a taste for medieval design, because the building’s turrets and crenellated walls look like they something out of a fairytale.
You half-expect to see Rapunzel letting her hair down from one of the towers! You can’t get into the building, but many people clamber up the steep path to the top of the headland for panoramic photos of the resort.
8. Modernist Cemetery
An offshoot of art nouveau, the Catalan Modernism movement swept across the region at the turn of the 20th century, endowing towns and cities with buildings that look like nothing you can find anywhere else.
This definitely true of Lloret’s Modernist Cemetery, which opened in 1901. Some of the movement’s brightest lights contributed mausoleums, shrines and monuments here, including Josep Puig i Cadafalch, whose buildings are prized throughout Catalonia.
The cemetery’s works were commissioned by Indianos, the families of entrepreneurs and traders who had made their fortunes in the New World.
9. Gnomo Park
Lloret de Mar stands out as a family destination because kids are so well-catered for. Gnomo World is yet another attraction that places the littlest ones front and centre. This is an active outdoor fun-park, ideal for children up to the age of 12.
There’s a mountain of things to do: The youngest adventurers will love the climbing areas, ball pool, crafts workshops and cartoon screenings. Bigger kids can tackle the assault course, hit the amusement arcade and take part in organised adventure tours.
Waiting grown-ups can join in for a round of mini-golf at the landscaped course through the forest.
10. Puig de Castellet Iberian Ruins
Dating back 2,300 years these ruins have the twin appeal of historical importance and granting the best panorama of the Lloret and Blanes from these hills behind.
Puig de Castellet stands at 200 metres above the sea, a couple of kilometres in from the coast. If you’re up for the walk there’s a clear trail leading to the site, but many people catch a bus to the top in summer.
What you’ll see from an elevated boardwalk are the detailed foundations of a fort built on this commanding strategic position in the 3rd century. They were abandoned in the Punic War a century later and lay hidden until 1943.
11. Water sports
You can find a big water sports centre on Lloret beach, so if there’s a sea-based activity you’ve always wanted to try it couldn’t be easier to do it here.
Guided sea kayak tours will get you intimate with Lloret’s rough-hewn coastline, and give you memorable views the resort framed by the evergreen mountains behind. Snorkelling expeditions are also organised from this beach.
For these you’ll set off for the headlands that overlook each of the main beaches in Lloret. Here there are caves and sheltered coves with perfect water clarity for spotting marine wildlife.
Lloret de Mar welcomes a lot of tourists from Britain and Northern Europe, so there are loads of pubs and bars that resemble the kind of establishments these guests would find at home.
Things can get quite rowdy in summer but the local police keeps a tight lid on troublemakers. If you want to take your night to the next level then head for a host of clubs, including Londoner, Colossos, Moef Gaga and Tropics.
For those who want something a bit more sedate try sampling Calatalan wine and cava at a bodega, paired with little tapas dishes.
13. Country walks
One of the many cool things about the Costa Brava is the way the rugged limestone mountains encroach on the seafront.
A quiet walk in Mediterranean countryside, through pine and holm oak forest has to be on your list of things to do.
If you’re visiting in spring or autumn you could take on the trail to the Iberian settlement of Montbarbat, which will take around five hours. There are also long-distance trails hugging the coast, like the GR92TR11, which leads all the way to Tossa de Mar, about three hours away.
Allow a day to get the most out of this gorgeous city half an hour to the north. It’s a bit sad that many people visiting the Costa Brava will use Girona’s airport without taking the time to discover its medieval Jewish Quarter or walk along the battlements of its intact defensive walls.
And of course the classic postcard image of Girona is the riverfront of the Onyar, where a picturesque jumble of painted old houses contend for space next to the water.
The city’s churches are also exquisite: The pick has to be the Collegiate Church of Sant Feliu, with its eerie spire.
15. Tossa de Mar
Minutes up the coast is another great resort. The beaches of Tossa de Mar are hard to resist of course, but what really grabs the eye is the Vila Vella, a waterfront citadel to the west side of the main beach.
It’s quite a rare sight in Spain, where most coastal defences have long been taken down. There’s a whole neighbourhood within these 14th-century walls, turrets and battlements.
Every few steps on these twisting streets something exciting will turn your head, whether it’s Roman fragments, the ruins of an early-Christian church or arresting views over the pine-rimmed coast.
If it all starts to look familiar, scenes from season 6 of Game of Thrones were filmed here.