Big adventure in Costa Brava

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Finding land, air, and sea excursions to frame a Costa Brava adventure

This is the third post in a 4-part series about our epic visit to the Costa Brava region of Spain. We partnered up with fellow Expedia Viewfinder contributors, Captain and Clark, to create an adventure that touched on the storybook themes of discovery, adventure, and camaraderie. To honor this once-in-a-lifetime trip, we each kept a journal of our experiences. We share some snippets of those journals here.

Costa Brava is located in a geographically varied part of the world—an area with both mountains and ocean—so we made sure our activities allowed us to really explore the region. We sought out experiences that were exciting and regionally relevant; experiences that enabled us to take in the very best Costa Brava has to offer. With almost two weeks with which to play, we concluded that our itinerary could include five or six cornerstone adventures.

While we planned ahead for many of our experiences, one of our most memorable exploits was completely impromptu; an early morning trail run to Castell Montgris from the small village of Torroella de Montgrí. While covering the region on Segways, Burricletas, and 4x4s were great thrills, there is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing an ancient edifice after powering up a steep hillside on foot.

Viewfinder Tip: In Costa Brava, you can enjoy ocean and mountains in the same day.

Tawny: Today’s morning could only be described as magical. We awakened early and made our way to the trailhead of Castle Montgri. The four amigos scurried up the rocky path without another soul in sight. When we triumphantly reached the top, we found that we had the fortress to ourselves. There was a moment of silence. I could only hear the pounding of my heart as I watched my three comrades circle the castle in awe. This is why we’re here.

We wanted a storybook adventure and Costa Brava delivered. We knew that our trip would have to include some time on the turquoise waters off the shores of a town well known for sailing: L’ Estartit. With a the one-two punch of Chris’s expertise (the title of Captain is not an affectation) and the training of an expert guide, we were able to experience the exhilarating feeling of capturing the wind and tasting the briny breeze.

Sailing off of L’ Estartit

Chris: I can think of no finer location to tame the winds than the marine preserves of Costa Brava. The air is fresh, the water’s clean, and the locals with whom you sail are so friendly that you don’t even need the sun to feel the warm glow of afternoon.

Having covered the region by land and sea, we had just one way to go: Up. First on the list of “by air” adventures was a series of micro-light flights. Earlier in the trip, we were forced to cancel skydiving due to fierce winds, so we all had a bit of apprehension about taking to the sky in super light, two-seat planes. Whatever fears we’d had quickly diminished as we took in the region from above. It was a delight to see Castell Montgris and the Medes Islands—two iconic points we recently had visited—from a few thousand feet in the air. Talk about a new perspective!

Kent: I was more nervous about the flight than I thought I would be. The plane was small. It would just be me and the pilot up there (and Caanan in another plane). After we got above some bumps, I let the jitters go completely. We whizzed by the castle that we had climbed just the other day. We then swooped over the beautiful ocean. Caanan and I took pictures of each other from our tandem-flying planes.

Enjoying a hot air balloon ride

Despite an itinerary packed with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, we all eagerly anticipated one of our final excursions, a hot-air balloon ride over the volcanic interior region. After the initial thrill of take off, we watched mesmerized as our shadow grew smaller against the hilly landscape and Costa Brava opened up below us. By the time the rosé cava came out, we were so overwhelmed that we could barely muster the words for a toast.

Caanan: Being in a hot air balloon is smooth. Eerily smooth. Cava has played such a big part during this journey. I was astonished when our pilot whipped out some for us to enjoy during the flight. It was that calm. The wind was light and the sky was clear blue. We all looked so in awe.

What’s your favorite travel adventure and why?

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No Vacation Required

Kent and Caanan are self-described fulfillment fanatics who rejiggered life so that every day could be a dream day. They started a virtual consulting business (specializing in helping individuals and organizations navigate change) in order to see the world, give back, and make a living from anywhere while doing work they love. On the side, they share their adventures by writing about LGBT getaways, nature-centric journeys, the tech side of travel, globetrotting with purpose, and luxury escapes that aren't fussy.

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