Paradise Found in Lloret de Mar

Let This Delightful Costa Brava Town Make Your Day

On a recent trip to Spain my husband and I experienced a perfect day in Catalonia. “No such thing as a perfect day,” you say? Let me take you to the Costa Brava town of Lloret de Mar. Not only will you change your mind, you’ll want to experience this day for yourself.

Seaside Location

Twenty-four miles south of the city of Girona lies the seaside resort town of Lloret de Mar. One of the most peaceful and picturesque features of the town is Santa Clotilde Gardens. This was where my husband and I met our guide, Marta, and Bibiana from Lloret Turisme and began our day in Lloret de Mar.

Fountain in Santa Clotilde Gardens

Lloret de Mar is a charming town that seems to have enough of a variety activities and attractions to please everyone: pristine, award-winning stretches of beach covered with small gravel-like stones, historic buildings, a fascinating maritime museum, delectable fresh seafood and for those who absolutely must, fast food chains. To be in this laid-back place for only one day is almost a travesty, but one day was all we had. And so Marta and Bibiana made sure we derived the most out of the time we did have.

Much to See

After exploring Santa Clotilde Gardens, Marta gave us a short walking tour of the town. Like almost everything else about Lloret de Mar, the small main square had an immediate calming effect as soon as we stepped into it. Benches strategically located beneath shady trees made this an ideal spot to meet friends, enjoy some solitude or participate in the local festivals held throughout the year.

Courtyard in Lloret de Mar

But the people of Lloret de Mar weren’t always seaside dwellers. In fact, until the 15th century, they lived 0.6 miles inland. The reason was pirates from North Africa, England and elsewhere, who spread destruction up and down the coastline.

When the Gothic style Church of Sant Romà: was built in 1522, the population began to gravitate to the sea. For the inhabitants of Lloret de Mar, the church became a refuge from pirate attacks. And there it stood for nearly 500 years, until the turn of the 20th century, when a major restoration took place. The simple, functional church was converted into a wondrous structure of Byzantine, Renaissance and modern design.

Iglesia de Sant Romà in Lloret de Mar

The church was closed on our day in Lloret de Mar, but Marta showed us the exquisite black, green and brown mosaic tile work on the exterior of the building. As is often true of so many historical treasures in Spain, the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War, did unspeakable damage to Sant Romà.

Although we had taken the morning at a relaxed pace, after our tour of Lloret de Mar we were definitely ready to rest our feet and enjoy a Catalonian lunch. Restaurante POPS turned out to be just what we needed. After lunch, Marta showed us around Lloret’s Maritime Museum.

Ritual Gerunda Fuga Massage at Institut Gem Wellness

Our day in Lloret de Mar ended with some serious pampering with a massage treatment specific to the province of Girona. As we arrived at the Institut Gem Wellness & Spa Hotel I expected to be pummeled and kneaded. Thankfully,  I experienced nothing of the sort.

After changing into terrycloth robes, my husband and I were taken to separate rooms, where our 90-minute sensory adventure began.

The best way to describe the massage is that all senses – except taste – were called upon to participate in a journey of relaxation. The masseuse used both her hands, fingers and occasionally forearms. She applied gentle pressure to back, shoulders, limbs, face and scalp. Her touch was soft, but firm and deliberate.

Fragrance was also in play with satiny lotions, thick creams and gritty exfoliants with floral and herbal scents. Water was sprinkled on my body and heated lotion applied to my lower back.

In the background audible themes changed, bringing to mind scenes of forests, streams and oceans. Sounds of rain and a thunder storm gave way to birdsong, which blended into bells, and so on. When it was over, I felt loose and relaxed. I was afraid to stand up for fear of melting down into a puddle on the floor.

Tools of the Trade at Institut GEM Wellness Health Spa

We emerged from our respective treatment rooms with whatever aches and pains we had when we went in.  We felt so mellow, we didn’t care.

Before departing for Girona, we were given a short tour of Institut Gem Wellness. The Institut consists of an impressive array of exercise equipment, a pool and a café serving healthful Mediterranean meals. Gem offers diet and weight loss counseling, massage, acupuncture and an array of other services. A 90-minute Gerund Fuga massage costs €95.

A Perfect Day

Yes, this was a perfect day, at least for my husband and me. Perhaps your perfect day requires different elements, but there is a high probability you can find them in Lloret de Mar. Despite Lloret de Mar’s designation as a resort town, prices for food, parking and admissions were not sky high as they tend to be in many such venues.

The Beach at LLoret de Mar

Today, Lloret de Mar is a thriving town that welcomes visitors from other areas of Spain and around the world. We had never heard of it before our Costa Brava visit. However, we’re not likely to forget it any time soon.

Read more about Penny’s Lloret de Mar holiday on MilesGeek.

Restaurante POPS
Santa Clotilde Gardens in Lloret de Mar
Lloret’s Maritime Museum

Disclaimer: Our day in Lloret de Mar was generously hosted by Lloret Tourisme, Restaurante POPS, the Institut Gem Wellness & Spa Hotel and Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava, Girona, who coordinated our entire visit to Costa Brava. However, all opinions, as always, are entirely my own.

Read what others have to say about Institut Gem Wellness & Spa Hotel on Trip Advisor, a MilesGeek affiliate.

Penny Zibula
Penny Zibula

Penny Zibula is a freelance travel writer and blogger based in New Bern, NC. She has had a life-long passion for travel, and for learning as much as she can about cultures crafts, foods and wines through the people she meets in both nearby and far flung places.

Along with her photographer husband, Simon Lock, and her guide dog, “Otto”, Penny has spent the last three years focused on making the most of what is supposed to be the couple’s retirement.

Penny’s background is in public relations and community outreach, with nine years as a television talk-show host and producer. As her career progressed, she found herself writing a variety of copy: articles, newsletters, annual reports, press releases, etc.

When Simon and Penny moved from Atlanta to New Bern in 2006 to start their business in auto repair, she began to cast about for opportunities to continue writing. Through her networking efforts, she  landed a part-time job as staff writer for The County Compass, a local weekly publication, where she learned that writing for a newspaper was a  niche unto itself.  

When Simon and Penny decided to close up shop and retire early in 2013, they began taking online courses and live workshops in travel writing, web copy, blogging and, for Simon, photography, through Great Escape Travel (GEP) and American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI).

Today, Penny writes regularly for her travel blog,, and is continuously expanding her freelance travel writing for newspapers and both print and online magazines, with Simon taking all the spectacular photos. Both Penny and Simon are members of the International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance ITWPA).

Articles: 20