It is no secret that the Costa Brava has many fans around the world, but this is not a new trend, it has been a preferred destination for decades for famous people, artists and intellectuals. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Costa Brava started to place herself in the international map. Let's do a tour around Costa Brava through the eyes of the famous ones.
Hollywood stars in Costa Brava
If we think about Ava Gardner in Catalonia the first place that comes to mind is Tossa de Mar where on 1951 it was filmed Pandora and the flying Dutchman, and shared the big screen with the actor James Mason. In Tossa you can still see this time when Gardner filmed, and to honor her the town built a statue of her in a viewpoint of the fortress. Toss de Mar was full of gossip at that time, it was said that Ava Gardner was having an affair with Mario Cabré, those rumours travelled all the way to America, and Frank Sinatra, her husband at the time decided to appear in Tossa.
If you are a fan of the actress you can't miss the Hotel Tonet in the city center right by the church. They have pictures of her on the bar, some of them unique since were done by a local photographer.
Not only Ava Gardner passed by la Costa Brava for work but any more coming from Holywood ended up here: the Spanish gardener by Dirk Bogarde was filmed in Sant Feliu de Guíxols in 1956, in 1954 Orson Wells filmed Mister Arkadin in Sant Pol beach etc...
Another hotel that was chosen by the famous of that time was l'Hostal la Gavina in S'agaró and had guests such as Elisabeth Taylor, Sean Connery, Sammy Davis, John Wayne or Robert de Niro among others. It is not by chance that the nearest beach of the hotel called Sa Conca, was chosen in different movies such as The Mistery island
Begur, is another key place in Costa Brava, one of my favorites and also a star in the film industry, in 1959 it was filmed some of the scenes in Suddenly, Last Summer with an incredible cast including Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Cliff and Katherine Hepburn.
Costa Brava, inspiration for writers
The Costa Brava has been a source of inspiration for many writers. This is clear to see in the countless books dedicated to the area and the thousands that have been written here. Josep Pla, Federico García Lorca, Truman Capote, Salvador Espriu, Joan Maragall and Caterina Albert are just some of these famous writers.
Between 1940s and 1970s, at the end of the dictatorship, Costa Brava became a tourist destination for some Hollywood stars that already had a taste of the area filming scenes of movies while working in the area.
Truman Capote is one of the famous writers known to have its base in Palamós in the Hotel Trias where he wrote his most famous novel: cold blood in 1959. We were lucky to stay in this incredible hotel, no wonder how Capote was inspired, it is a calm place and right in front of the seaside. The people from Palamós remembers what he used to do in town, he liked to buy food from local farmers, he was a "sardana" lover -typical Catalan dance- and he used to watch fishermen in the harbour when they came back from work.
Tom Sharpe is another writer who was in love with Costa Brava he lived his last years in Llafranc. He arrived in 1992, the Olympic Games year and after spending 4 summers he decided to buy a house in the area. He loved whysky and cigars, and he spent the summers in Hotel Llevant.
Spanish writers have been in Costa Brava often too, Terenci Moix -a catallan writer- was tied up to Empúries, and many other such as Josep Pla, J.V.Foix, Carlos Barral, Jaime Gil de Biedma and José Agustín Goytisolo. Cadaqués was also the residence of Marcel Duchamp during the last ten years of his life.
Costa Brava, the refuge of the famous nowadays
Regardless of what they say, good things don't come to an end, and after a century Costa Brava still is a trendy destination full of things to do. We have seen famous actors and actresses enjoy the coast such as Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz that were caught by paparazzi in Roses.
Roses lovers have stayed in Hotel Vistabella, a luxury 5-star hotel where Eva Longoria, Leo Messi and Bardem and Pe have slept in, the hotel has a magnificent spa and a solarium, apart from their different restaurants one of them Els Brancs with a Michelin star.H
S'Agaró is another paradise place for many famous ones such as Joan Laporta, the Barça ex-president. Hostal la Gavina was the home for many actors from the 50s to the 70s but it is still a must place, where Julio Iglesias, Mike Oldfield and Severo Ochoa among others have slept in.
Begur the blue jewel of Costa brava could not be ignored either. If you are travelling there, you can't miss the beach Sa Conca and the coastl path called Camí de ronda. Cadaqués is another must place in Costa Brava, we have recently returned to town and loved Salvador dalí's house in Portlligat, and you probably bump into the Tous family, Tela Ortiz or the film director Alejandro Amenábar.
Perelada is another posh spot in Catalonia, we have been enjoying and Opera in Peralada Castle, and you can breathe sophistication and money all over the place. Their famous Peralada music festival attracts celebrities from the music world and even the aristocracy, prince Albert from Monaco has been sene in the festival.
Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart, count of Siruela has its base in l'Empordà, others like Gerard Piqué's family is in Blanes and the footballer used to go there with Shakira while they had their home being refurbished. The pilot Dani Pedrosa and the ex Barça Xavi Hernánde have their house in Sant Antoni de Calonge, a beautiful town.
Pique and Shakira picture by Disney/ABC