This year the TBEX Europe 2015, Travel Bloggers Exchange, will be held on the Costa Brava, in Lloret de Mar. It seems they have a large convention center. For some fellow bloggers this area will be new and unfamiliar, but for me it is a very well known place. Actually it is one of the places that I thought that I would never come back on a voluntary basis. Sometimes life is strange.
This story can go into the archive section: Trips made in the past.
Memories on Lloret de Mar
In the early 70s, this place was synonymous for stupid entertainment, lie on the beach and partying all night exhaustively. It was one of the first foreign tourist destinations that was known in the Netherlands.
I grew up with holidays to Luxembourg, Switzerland and northern Italy, andwas not familiar with this kind of places. Partying is fun, but during the day you need more to enjoy yourself.
Getting to know Lloret de Mar
The very, very first time I arrived in Lloret de Mar was in 1977, with a group on a study trip for the Holland International travel agency, where I worked these days. The Costa Brava was then an important holiday destination, and of course we had to take notice of it. During the day we inspected a lot of accommodations, in the evening we were obligedto go to the fondue and the barbecue (that “funny”, expensive excursions) and we were partying at night. Even then, many hotels needed a face lift. After this trip I did not feel a necessity to go again in my own holiday.
Holidays in Lloret de Mar
However, I’ve been there 4 times again. Life can be strange. For the first time in 1992, almost 23 years ago, with my children, still young. As a newly divorced mother of three children, I needed a nice holiday abroad. Without a car and driving license, what will you do, with little money? A flight was to be excluded, because at that time a holiday flight was rather expensive. Going on holiday with a coach was very common.
I have unraveled all the newspaper ads (it was the era without internet). I arrived at a bus trip to some place, I don’t remember which one, in former Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, a few weeks before our departure, the Balkan war broke out and our trip was canceled. As an alternative, we were presented a trip to Spain, which I initially did not like at all, but you need to go somewhere.
In the end we have had a very nice holiday with the four of us. The children had never been abroad and everything was great.
Holiday with the children
We travelled by coach through Belgium and France, ordered drinks and soup at the hostess and arrived the next day in Spain, in a hotel with a swimming pool and full board service. All day you can swim unlimited, go to the buffet yourself and eat as much as you want, kids like that.
Of course, we went to the beach very often. We were in the Fanals district, which has its own beach area. Down the stairs in the morning and in the afternoon climbing the stairs again. Icecreams on the beach, and in the afternoon shopping in the village. We have also rented a pedal boat and we made a boat trip. We have had four nice holidays.
Of course there were many, many bars, discotheques and English pubs in Lloret de Mar . A very well known bar for Dutch peopel was “Ome Toon”, where many Dutch people had their dinner, because they didn’t like the Spanish food. Just Googling, Yes,Ome Toonstill exists!
We have also beenthere a few times, but for another reason: at that time, in the 90 ‘s, there were no debit cards, as far as I remember. It was very common to withdraw cash with a euro cheque at the bank, or, in my case, a giro card at the post office. However, the post office was open only in the morning. No problem, you could also bring the cheques at Ome Toon to get pesetas. At the end of the season they went probably back to the Netherlands with piles of Dutch cheques.
Also it was still quite common that there were public phone booths on the boulevard, and in the evening, from 6 o’clock, long lines standing up there, because of the cheaper fare to call home. You simply can’t image that anymore.
Never to Lloret de Mar again
When the children became older, I dared to travel by public transport to Italy, without being dropped off in front of the door. After 4 times to the Costa Brava we had (or at least I) seen it enough times.
I have always had the feeling that I have not voluntarily chosen this destination. The last thing I would expect is to come back here again. However, Lloret de Mar certainly has beautiful areas.
The Costa Brava, the Wild Coast. This applies mainly for the most northern portion, just over the French border. 6 km after Lloret de Mar you have Blanes, and there the rocks disappear. In the 4 known beach resorts that come hereafter, Pineda de Mar, Malgrat de Mar, Santa Susanna and Calella, everything is flat, and next to a beautiful wide beach you have to entertain yourself with the shops and bars.
Lloret has a central beach, on the promenade, 1 ½ km long, with along the boulevard a playing area, restaurants etc. On the beach at Fanals, many water sports, on the way tot the beach many shops with bottles of water and beach equipment.
Also some other, smaller beaches, e.g. Santa Cristina, Treumal, Canyelles, where you can als0 arrive by boat. The main beach is crowded in the high season, so sometimes we went by boat to Cala sa Boadella, with a nudist beach and a normal beach, among the rocks. Although, the last time we were there, August 1997, even there it was very very busy!
On first view it looks like sandy beach, but if you are sitting there, it turns out to be a beach made of very small gravels, that so wonderfully stuck in your swimsuit/bikini. On the main beach and at Fanals you see everybody stand up under the showers, trying to wash away the gravel sand.
A few trips that I have made in and around Lloret de Mar:
- Walk over the rocks, a hiking trail starting from the main beach, a very popular route. Or was it from the Fanals Beach? I don’t remember it very well.
- Walk to Blanes, a trip of 6 km over the rocks, through the Platja de Santa Cristina and the Ermita de Santa Cristina monastery. I departed in the morning, around 9 am, from Fanals and around half pas 12 I was standing at the bus station in Blanes. Here the rocks end and the coast becomes flat (and ugly). You are walking there alone, and leave the hustle and bustle of the beach resort behind you.
- To Tossa de Mar, a former fishing village, by bus. Here, too, in the summer, a lot of people, but in terms of hustle and bustle it is nevertheless very different from Lloret. The village is full of artists ‘ shops. You can also walk along the Castle. When you’d like to return by bus in the afternoon, you have the chance of long waiting at the bus stop. Because of the winding road between Tossa and Lloret standing in the bus is not allowed. So, full is full, the bus drives off if all the seats are occupied.
From Lloret de Mar you can also go on a day trip to Barcelona. However, you must first take a bus to Blanes, to take the train to Barcelona. When I did this trip with my children, it looked abandoned.
What has it done?
The number of bus trips to Spain is now declining. For almost the same amount you could go to Spain by air plane. Also, in the meantime, cheap holidays to Turkey. There are still young people traveling by bus for a low price, but I guess families are not travelling in that way very often,
Lloret de Mar is trying to get rid of the image of a cheap holiday for youngsters only. It now has 3 convention centres. I have also seen that there are many newhiking trails, I’m curious about it!
I wonder what will be my experience with Lloret de Mar, after so many years. I only have known it in the high season. Who knows how pleasant and relaxing it will be in the preseason . Also, I am very curious to know how Lloret de Mar now goes as: not only beach and parties.
I am also very curious to what we will see before and after the TBEX. We can trust on our host Jaume Marin, the Marketing Director of the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board. He will do all to promote the region of Catalonia, so that we can start writing wonderful stories again.
Unfortunately I was not there in 2012, when the TBEX was held in Girona. I hope to visit this city now, because that city is quite a while on my bucket list. And who knows, also just a day at the beach, weather permitting.
Back to Lloret de Mar
After so many years, so unexpectedly I will come back again. There is even a chance that I will travel again with a coach. The TBEX is exactly in the Dutch spring break and it is therefore difficult to find an affordable air ticket, with reasonable flight times. In addition, I also have to get to Lloret from the airport with some bus.
Traveling by coach certainly has disadvantages:
- It takes me one day extra travel time there and back
- Sleeping in a coach is not really nice
- It is cheaper
- I will be dropped off in the centre of Lloret de Mar
- I am allowed to bring with me as much luggage, liquids, nail scissors etc. as I want. So also the brochures and goodies that we will receive at the TBEX can be taken home without any problem.
This weekend the registration for the Fam trips arrive, there were as many as 20 options. Too much to choose. If it will be the same as in Athens, we will have a mass of excursions and parties. It certainly will be nice again!
I have found a video: Snorkeling and hiking the coastal path. Very nice, the memories come back again!
The photos are scanned, because at that time I had, of course, only rolls of film.
Maybe not all the names and facts are correct, because I did not make notes, like now. Correct me if I’m wrong!
Who’s ever been in Lloret de Mar before? What are your memories ?