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Old world charm along Spain's Costa Brava

Just a small step off of Catalonia's beaten track you'll find the Baix Empordà. The area is replete with glittering beaches, lush rolling hills, sumptuous gastronomy and a mild Mediterranean climate. 

It makes for a peaceful day trip from bustling Barcelona and is just a short hop over the French border but it has plenty to keep you occupied for a longer stay too. 

A favourite with the stylish Barelona crowd, the town of Begur beguiles all those who make the trip. Its narrow Spanish and Moorish streets lead to crystal clear waters and wind up to the town's medieval hilltop castle.

Beautiful beaches aren't all that's on offer - head inland and you will swiftly succumb to the charm of the region's ancient towns. The town of Pubol is another medieval masterpiece whose main attraction is the castle bought by Dali as a present to his wife, Gala. Head inside the crumbling building and you'll find a gallery of Gala's Sixties couture collection.  

Elsewhere in the region, pretty medieval villages and towns that are mere dots on the map become quaint terracotta coloured settlements the closer you get. Peratallada and Pals are worth prising yourself away from the beach for. Lesser known Monells, Cruilles, La Bisbal Drift are magnificent medieval stop offs on your tour of the region too. Drift from town to town, stopping off for a glass of the region's wine and flavoursome tapas in the tiny local bars.


Lloret de Mar's rugged coastline / © Rex Features 

Beautiful Begur's castle is perched above the town / © Rex Features 

The winding medieval streets in Peratallada / © Rex Features 

Sunflower fields around Pals / © Rex Features 

Colourful buildings line the banks of the river in Girona / © Rex Features 

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Sa Calet beach is overlooked by the Sant Joan castle / © O. Vall Image Archive Tourism Board of Costa Brava, Girona 

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Stop for tapas in a shady bar in Peratallada / © O. Vall Image Archive Tourism Board of Costa Brava, Girona 

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Soak up the surrealist swirl at the Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres / © O. Vall Image Archive Tourism Board of Costa Brava, Girona 

The Gala castle in Pubol / © Rex Features 

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The Playa de Castell is a peaceful spot. The area is renowned for its prawns so make sure you sample the local cuisine / © O. Vall Image Archive Tourism Board of Costa Brava, Girona 

Salvador Dali's wife Gala's dress collection in the castle at Pubol / © Rex Features 

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Wander the streets of medieval Monells / © O. Vall Image Archive Tourism Board of Costa Brava, Girona 

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Head up into the hills and you'll find medieval towns such as Vall d'en Bas / © Rex Features 

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Step back in time in the town of Peralda with its ancient churches and monastery / © O. Vall Image Archive Tourism Board of Costa Brava, Girona