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Photo Essay from around Costa Brava

There is more delicious food and stunning scenery in Costa Brava than you can shake a Pimientos de Padrón at. We present a photo essay of Costa Brava.

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Sant Feliu de Guíxols lookout

We love to capture our travel adventures in words. We like to put you in the moment with us as we tear around the Tuscan countryside on our scooter. Or we want you to live vicariously through us as we face our own fears when we are deep underground caving in Budapest.

However, sometimes it is just easier to paint a picture in your head with photos rather than words…

Costa Brava in Photos

Girona Cathedral Costa Brava

If you want a place to base yourself in Costa Brava, then start in Girona. Colourful houses, cute bridges criss-cross the winding river, and enough scrumptious food to keep any foodie in heaven. Or a food coma.

Pimientos de padron Green Peppers Spain

Apparently 1 in 10 of these delicious salty Pimientos de Padrón (tiny green peppers an inch or two long) are a hiding a secret spiciness waiting to unleash on the unsuspecting pinxtos eater. Luckily, even though I ate a tonne, I never hit a spicy one.

Costa Brava Rail Trail Biking

When we were not eating, we were on a cycling tour along endless tracks with not a soul in sight.

Costa Brava secret waterfall

And being shown incredible secret spots like this secluded waterfall by our local cycling guides. I just wish I had my swimming togs.

Palamos Beach Costa Brava

Costa Brava runs along the northeast coastline of Spain, so there are empty stretches of beaches like this one near the town of Palamos just waiting to be explored. Wouldn’t be a bad place to live and launch your rowing boat through your castle wall.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols Monastery Costa Brava

Sant Feliu de Guíxols Monastery.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols Sunset Costa Brava

One of just the many gorgeous sunsets we watched to finish off our incredible days during our biking adventures.

Sant Feliu de Guíxols lookout

I personally couldn’t think of a better view in Costa Brava.

Disclaimer: Cole was a guest of the Costa Brava tourism board for 3 days. And although I can’t claim that I made the Spanish food and countryside look even more beautiful, my opinions and my photos are always my own.

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70 Comments

70 Comments

  1. Laurence

    October 4, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Some spectacular photos here! Love what you did with the shot of the church at the end – really funky stuff 😀

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      Cheers mate. Someone showed me a trick or two recently 😉

      • Laurence

        October 4, 2012 at 5:08 PM

        Well, when you’re world famous and touring the world with your camera.. just remember us 😉

        • Cole Burmester

          October 4, 2012 at 5:10 PM

          I will probably need someone to carry my tripod for me. Will ask Vera next time haha.

  2. Andrea

    October 4, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Stunning photos Cole! Glad we got to hang out in Costa Brava for a couple of days. See you (and Adela?) at WTM. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      Haha she does exist and will be at WTM! Always fun catching up with you and looking forward to it again.

  3. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    October 4, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    WHOA! Those Lightroom tips from Laurence are clearly paying off! The first and last shots are especially cool. Keep up the good work…

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      Thanks Bret. Can’t take all the credit, considering how beautiful Costa Brava is 😉

  4. BackPackerSteve

    October 4, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Awesome pictures, Cole – especially the HDR!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:08 PM

      Cheers Steve. Now if only I could find the time to put together all our video footage from that bike trip…

  5. Pingback: It’s a Wrap: TBEX Europe in Girona, Spain

  6. Vegemitevix

    October 4, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Awesome photos Cole, shame I missed TBEX but hopefully will catch up with you and Adela at WTM! Vix x

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      Yup we will be at WTM so see you there! Looking forward to it.

  7. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    October 4, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Lovely!

  8. Christina

    October 4, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Ah wow, that picture of the waterfall – it looks so un-Spanish, at least in my vision of Spain. Makes me think I really haven’t seen much of Spain yet! Love that scene. Great to hear you had such a fab time!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      On our bike tour there are all these little secret spots hidden away that they guide you to. Well worth the uphill effort 😉

  9. Just One Boomer (Suzanne)

    October 5, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    You earned your “show and tell” by the Costa Brava Tourism Board. One photo is indeed worth a thousand words (well, some photos, like these, anyway). I now have a good excuse for returning to Spain since we never made it to the Costa Brava.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      Thanks Suzanne! Costa Brava is definitely one of the best spots in Spain, although to be fair we haven’t been right down South yet. Get in touch with the Tourism Board if you ever get to go. They will tell you all the best places to visit.

      (P.S. Glad to have you back again) 🙂

  10. Samantha Bangayan

    October 5, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Wow! These are absolutely gorgeous photos! My favorite is the one of the secluded waterfall, which looks like an HDR image. Somehow, those very places that not all tourists see are the most special.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      It was edited a little to look HDR but really was more beautiful in person 🙂 These “secret” spots you can really only access if they tell you where they are personally. That’s why I loved it so much.

  11. Shamis @ Gawaya Travel Blog

    October 5, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Beautiful photos, Cole! Love the waterfall. I wouldn’t miss to take a dip there. It just so amazing.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      I only had my underwear unfortunately and didn’t want to strip off in front of the group of strangers haha. No need to terrorise them 😉

  12. sasha the traveller

    October 5, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    You certainly have the photographer’s eye…absolutely stunning pictures. I hope you have printed some out and framed them on your wall as they need to be shown!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      We will once we settle down and have somewhere to hang them 😉

  13. Jeremy Branham

    October 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    What a beautiful area! I’ve been to Barcelona but not the Costa Brava area. Jealous that you got to go to TBEX. Hope you had a great time but I know you enjoyed the views!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      Was a great event and would like to get to the North American TBEX sometime in the future. Bit far for us though.

  14. laini

    October 5, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Wow, beautiful shots! Your colors are exquisite!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      Thanks Laini 🙂 Not hard to take good photos with a landscape like that!

  15. Jenna

    October 5, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    I am really looking forward to taking a long trip to Spain one of these days, and these photos inspire me to visit Costa Brava. Looks like such a great mix of history, natural beauty, and culture.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      We have spent 4 weeks there now and cannot get enough. Need to head further south on our next visit I think! See ya there 😉

  16. Jeff Titelius

    October 5, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Such a vibrant tour through Costa Brava my friend. Gorgeous pics! I would have loved to visit the Sant Feliu de Guíxols Monastery pictured above. And relieved to hear that you never hit a spicy Pimientos de Padrón! Great post!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      I kind of wanted to eat a spicy one to see what all the fuss is about… But glad I didn’t haha. You definitely would have loved the architecture around some of the Spanish villages we visited.

  17. Sharon Glanville at BeBetsy

    October 5, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I love reading travel blogs-fun places to visit. Photos are wonderful!

  18. Marlys

    October 5, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Great shots! Are those deep fried chilis? Were they hot! Yum!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Definitely fried in something and quite salty. Luckily they are sweet, apart from 1 in 10 apparently.

  19. Debbie

    October 5, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Stunning, stunning photos. It looks gorgeous! The waterfall looks so inviting!

  20. Andy

    October 5, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Really awesome pictures. They make me miss Spain a lot! Although I am a sucker for beaches, I’d have to go with picture 1 or 4 for creativity and perspective.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 6, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      I prefer the last photo but just because the ocean looks inviting and the clouds just pop!

  21. Jeff Dobbins

    October 5, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Wow. Absolutely stunning. I just got home from the region Tuesday, and you make me want to turn around and head back. Sorry I didn’t meet you at TBEX, but hopefully soon.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      Unfortunately I probably only met about 25% of the people I was trying to meet up with! Would definitely be keen to catch up though Jeff if you make it to Scotland or somewhere else on our travels.

  22. Audrey

    October 6, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    The cornfields look like a blast! I’d love to cycle through there. 😀

    • Cole Burmester

      October 7, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      Very relaxing cycle and such a beautiful spot to do it.

  23. Tim @ Marginal Boundaries

    October 8, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Beautiful stuff 🙂

    Spain is high on my list of places to head to after I finish up in South America, and these photos only reinforce the desire. Good times, good times 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      Maybe we can swap places then Tim! We want to get to South America sometime soon 🙂

  24. Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    October 8, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    We completely fell in love with the Spanish coast earlier in the year. Discovering the area on a bicycle sounds especially nice.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      It is great because you can escape all the crowds you usually get in these beautiful coastal spots.

  25. D.J. - The World of Deej

    October 8, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Great pics…I definitely missed out at TBEX it seems!:)

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      Try and get to the one in Toronto. Even if you buy a ticket now and have to sell it because you can’t go. Totally worth it.

  26. Pete

    October 8, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Some really nice shots Cole, I especially like the road through the corn fields. It is composed really well.

    I’m really bummed we didn’t make it over for TBEX, but we’ll get to this region eventually.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Would have been great to finally meet you guys Pete. Oh well, next time for sure!

  27. Angela

    October 8, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Beautiful pictures, it’s a stunning region!

  28. Mariana Calleja / TravelThirst

    October 8, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Great pics guys! Definitely this place is a little treasure in the whole region. I’ve been able to explore it slowly since living in Barcelona. Totally worth it! Glad you enjoyed. Cheers!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      Cheers Mariana 🙂 You are super lucky to be living in Spain!

  29. Amanda

    October 8, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    It looks so gorgeous! I especially love that last photo.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      Not hard to take good photos of beautiful spots 😛

  30. Cathy Sweeney

    October 9, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    Girona is so photogenic, isn’t it? Of course, so is most of Costa Brava. I loved it there. I wish I could have taken a cycling tour like you did. Looks like a great area to do that.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      Peaceful, relaxing and easy cycling. Couldn’t ask for much more than that 🙂

  31. Mike@frenchtravelguide.co.uk

    October 10, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    I like your pictures of the tourist sports of Costa Brava. It is really inviting me or making me go there very soon! I appreciate the waterfalls! By the way, I must commend you for taking great captures!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 11, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      Thanks Mike. Costa Brava is one very beautiful place to visit.

  32. crazy sexy fun traveler

    October 11, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Aww, I want to go to that waterfall!

  33. Mellisa Turner

    October 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Absolutely stunning pictures there! Going through these
    images leaves a lingering image of Costa Brava. It is just so fabulous. It is
    amusing that not one of those green peppers turned hot and spicy 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      I finally got a hot pepper! But it wasn’t in Costa Brava, was down in Vigo 🙂

  34. PurpleTravelKate

    October 26, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Love it, your pics really show a lot of the gorgeous sides of the Costa Brava. It’s like a whole bunch of reasons to go all in photos. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      Thanks Kate! It is easy to take photos of beautiful places though so I can’t take much credit 😉

  35. PurpleTravelKate

    October 31, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Yeah, but a good eye always helps! 🙂

  36. Alex

    April 18, 2016 at 8:25 PM

    Hello, I spent my summers in the costa brava and these are some of the best pictures I have seen so far of it. I just wonder where the waterfall is? I wanna know since I have already been in the other places.

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Europe

Tips for Making Any Overseas Trip a Romantic One

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Vacations are a great way to leave our everyday lives behind to spend some stress free time with the one we love. Travel in itself can be quite romantic but there are definitely ways you can spice up your holidays even more.

Follow these helpful tips to make sure your romantic holiday gets off on the right foot and continues to head down the tunnel of love and passion. You can easily turn any part of your travels into a special romantic affair.

Choosing the Right Destination

A romantic trip starts with selecting the right destination. There are definitely cities and regions which are much more prone to sparking romance than others. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but generally destinations such as popular European cities, beach getaways, Asian resorts, luxury ski resorts, or tropical islands make for a good choice.

Couples should pick a destination which they both will enjoy as this will of course make it far easier to express their love for each other.

Choosing the Right Time

It is a good idea to select a time that will be most appropriate for your holiday. Choose a time that is easy for you in regards to taking time off work or from household duties. This will make it far easier to feel relaxed while on your holiday, allowing you to focus more on fuelling the romance.

You may also want to research when the best time is to visit your chosen destination so as to avoid peak crowds or unideal weather conditions.

Choosing a romantic date to travel such as an anniversary, honeymoon, or birthday can also turn any holiday into one filled with more passion. Travelling during Valentine’s Day can make for an especially romantic holiday of which there are many perfect Valentine’s Day destinations.

Fly Business Class

Although your destination may be exhilarating, the flight or flights to get there can be stressful. Minimise the stress of flying by booking business class where you’ll enjoy the VIP treatment with far more comfortable seats which many times convert into a bed allowing for a decent rest while in the air.

As a bonus you can many times be granted access to luxurious airport lounges when flying business class which makes waiting for your flight much easier as you are treated to free food and drinks along with clean bathrooms and seating areas.

Private Transportation

Public transportation can not only take longer to get to your hotel or attractions in your chosen destination, but they can also kill the mood for you and your loved one. By booking private transfers via your hotel or on your own, you can avoid buses, trams, and trains which can be crowded and noisy.

Choose a Nice Hotel

It may be difficult to find romance if you are staying in a dodgy motel or hostel. Be sure to book quality accommodation which has private en suites and clean furnishings. Remember that your vacation is supposed to be an escape, so make that escape the best it can be with premium toiletries, fancy marble bathroom floors, plush pillows, quality linen, and a nice hotel room view. All of these luxuries will make for a far more romantic getaway.

Eating Out

Nothing can ignite romance more than delicious food although preparing it isn’t always that much fun. One of the best aspects of travelling is that it gives us an excuse to not have to cook.

Seek out popular restaurants that offer a romantic setting, quality service, and mouth watering flavours that will leave you passionate for more than just satisfying your hungry stomach.

Get Dressed Up

Although you and your loved one may look good in any light and attire, it is never a bad idea to put on your Sunday’s best. It can sometimes be difficult in our everyday lives to find occasions to get all dressed and made up, so why not make your holiday abroad an excuse to do so.

Although clothes may not necessarily make the person, a nice dress or suit and tie can go a long way to giving us a little extra special glow to spark a bit of romance.

Log Off and Put the Phone Away

Nothing can kill a romantic dinner or event than the sound of message notifications, phone calls, or emails. Any holiday should be an excuse to remove the stress of the online world or work and with romantic holidays this becomes even more paramount.

You want to be focusing your attention on the love you and your partner share or if travelling solo you want this time to focus on the beauty of the destination you have selected which may in turn bring you a bit of romance. Disconnecting is all about reconnecting; so log off and put the phone away!

Reduce the Risk of Stressful Situations

Stress can kill romance very quickly. When we are stressed we can easily find ourselves getting into silly arguments or bouts of criticism. Your holiday is supposed to be an enjoyable experience so don’t let it turn sour by making the possibility of stress to creep on in.

Don’t try to overload your itinerary with too much and avoid setting too rigid of a timeline. Prior planning is important to avoid any unwanted surprises or disappointments when it comes to securing reservations for flights, hotels, or activities.

Should anything go wrong during your travels, you want to have the peace of mind you are protected by travel insurance from InsureandGo. Travel Insurance can help when the unforseen happens while you are overseas.

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Europe

How to Plan a Trip to Iceland

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If you have ever heard the amazing stories about Iceland, they are all true!  If you’ve come this far into doing research about how to plan a trip to Iceland, I’m here to help you cross the bridge and fill in gaps so you can make your dream a reality.

As someone who has done this trip, I’m able to assist in every step of the journey.  I’ve boiled this down into cliff notes so you can do your own research after reading them and dig deeper into tours that will fit your personal preferences and budget.

First off, you are going to need to trust the Internet.  It’s a big place with a lot of information that can help you get there in one piece and not be stressed out.  Long gone are the days of visiting a travel agency and having someone plan everything for you – for a fee!  It’s your adventure, and you can know that every item is covered online, you just need to know how to look for it.

The best tip I can give you is to leverage the various Facebook Groups about Iceland.

Resource:  When In Iceland Facebook Group.

Next, you’ll want to decide when to visit Iceland.

The winter months will allow you to have more freedom as the tourism numbers are down.  However, this comes with the caveat that it will be below freezing and there will be very little sunlight!  The sun is only out for approximately six hours during the month of December!

On the positive side, this allows you a great opportunity to view the Northern Lights, which is a marquee attraction in Iceland.

Conversely, the Fall and Spring will bring you better temperatures and less snow, but there will be a much slimmer chance of viewing the Northern Lights.

Lastly, there are the Summer months.  While you will see a greener country and experience a lot of beauty on that end of the spectrum, it does come with a much higher price tag.  Be prepared to spend more money if you choose to visit Iceland in the Summer.

Also, you’ll want to have an agenda.  If you are one to take things in on your own and adventure into the wild, Iceland will be a perfect escape for you.  There are also guided tours that you can hire and they will accommodate to your every need or desire.  Simply ask anyone in the aforementioned Facebook group and they can steer you in the right direction.

You can of course, do public transportation in Iceland.  It’s entirely safe and used by many people.

Iceland is a fantastic, unique place to visit.  If you need any help planning your trip, please visit my Iceland Tour guide resource and leave a comment.  Happy Travels.

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Europe

Overlooked and Underrated Euro Vacations

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Here’s a quick list of places to possibly include in your next European itinerary. 2018 is the year of the underrated vacation spot in our humble opinions, and we want to honor it.

Basque Country:

This place is in this author’s humble opinion easily and hands-down the most underrated little corner of Europe.

And honestly, between the two, the Spanish side of Basque country is going to cost you probably around 50% what the French side will, and most people in the know will agree that the Spanish side is at least 100% more fun!

 

Canary Islands:

There are two ways to do the Canaries: simply fly in and enjoy them, or treat yourself and a loved one to a romantic Canary Island cruise.

Best time to visit is definitely either spring or fall, as it does get quite cold in the winter and quite hot in the summer. If you are a beach bum, on the other hand, summer is best (but there will be a lot more tourists in the summer).

 

Siena, Italy:

This city is often overshadowed by Rome, Florence, and Venice, but it actually is arguably the best-preserved city in Italy and has the best historic city center. The cuisine here is absolutely to die for, and you won’t have to pay inflated tourist prices like you will in the aforementioned places either!

If you can, try to make it for the famous Palio, a horse race that has been going on literally for centuries.

 

Brussels:

Just as Siena is overshadowed by other bigger Italian cities, Brussels tends to stand forgotten next to London and Paris. But Brussels has key elements of the two metropolises, as well as its own unique and delicious cuisine, its own beer (considered by more than a few experts to be the worlds best), and easily the worlds best chocolate, both in solid and drinkable form. Belgian chocolate will seriously change your life forever.

 

Istria, Croatia:

This is one of the world’s best summer beach destinations. It’s incredibly beautiful, and by Western European standards, almost outrageously cheap.

Hipster tourists are starting to come in and drive prices up, but it still remains a great bargain by any standards, and most importantly, it’s a bargain without really having to give up any of our beloved amenities.

 

Budapest:

Budapest could be called the poor man’s Prague, but in reality that name isn’t very fair. For one thing, Hungarian culture and Czech culture are actually extremely different (for one thing, the Hungarian language isn’t in the same family as the rest of Europe, it’s its own thing completely, like the Basque language).

Prague is gorgeous, but it’s getting almost as expensive as the rest of Europe too, and honestly Budapest’s history and culture is much more interesting, especially for the seasoned traveller.

 

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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