Like many others, our search for summer this year has led us to explore closer to home. Just a short trip up the coast from Barcelona lies the Costa Brava–translating to the Wild Coast, the naming of which leaves no mystery driving along its rugged coastline.
Back in June we set our sights on Begur, a small town known for its medieval castle that overlooks the sprawling Fisherman’s coastline.
Wandering through the town, we happened upon an un-expected gem – Hotel Aigua Clara–a striking pink renovated colonial-style mansion that stands proudly amongst its less colourful neighbours.
Originally built by a wealthy businessman in 1866, the architectural style and bright colours found both inside and out are directly influenced by Cuba–a homage to the country where he made his fortune.
Of course our, curiosity led us inside where we were met by a very friendly face – Clara, the owner. Surrounded by antiques that line the wooden cabinets in the hallway, quirky lampshades, rows of vintage suitcases from the 1940s, turntables, hat stands and vintage film cameras. Clara seemed equally as fascinated by us and our cameras as we were with the building–and so we got talking. She and her husband purchased the property twenty years ago with a vision to turn the magnificent building into a boutique hotel worthy of its eccentric heritage.
Upon invitation, we returned to the pink palace three months later with cameras in hand. We were greeted on arrival with cava and led to our own room–a magnificent space divided by towering wide glass doors adorned with intricate gold fixtures, offering a cinematic entrance to the bedroom.
We learned that no two rooms in the hotel were the same, each offering an entirely unique and spectacular experience.
There is a celebration of music that ripples throughout the entire hotel. Vinyl from all eras can be found in every room of the building, including the honesty bar–a charming feature where guests are left to their own devices and trusted to log their own consumption. At dinner in the evening, it became very clear that Hotel Aigua Clara is the social heart of Begur. On the weekend, the restaurant and outside terrace are filled with locals eating, drinking and dancing (on tables apparently).
In a bid to squeeze every last drop of summer from this coastal town, we pack our picnics and head to the nearby cove of Cala S’Alguer–a secreted spot flanked by quaint and colourful fishermen’s houses.
To access it one must take a sandy trail that goes from the Fosca, which offers views of Castell beach and the Agulla del Castell point.
There is no sandy beach here, but finding a rocky spot to settle on isn’t a difficult task. The sparse clouds above cast shadows over the boats that gently bob at the edge of the cove, setting a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
Naturally we had our very own Maison des saisons totes on our arms, to stylishly transport our beachside essentials.
Once settled, we were approached by a curious onlooker, whose interest was piqued by our wine-fuelled photoshoot on a rock. We came to learn that he had a particularly interesting relationship with the area–having fallen in love with the pastoral fisherman’s huts that encircle the cove twenty years ago, he vowed to purchase one for himself.
He left a handwritten note under each door expressing such desire and after ten years’ persistence, he finally got the phone call. He told us this story with all the pride of a local and we couldn’t help but feel elated for him. So naturally we celebrated with a little more cava.
We spent the afternoon sipping wine and sampling various cheeses, with the occasional interval to dip in the sea, before bundling up for our return to Barcelona.
To break up our journey, we stopped at Tossa de Mar Located between Barcelona and the French border.
We grabbed some patatas bravas before climbing the walls of the castle from the Plaza de Armas, to enjoy fantastic views of the village and the Mediterranean.