The lurid neon sign above the entrance to the club in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava shouted total striptease and for added emphasis, “sexy sexy sexy.” Presumably the inebriated punters the club was trying to lure needed help in equating striptease with sexy.
I find the main drag in Lloret depressing. You may have seen any number of similar towns along the Spanish coastline – a brash, budget beach town for sun-starved Northern Europeans with an unlimited appetite for drink.
I had to laugh when my friend, Rachel, who blogs at Rachel’s Ruminations, showed me the sign in her hotel room which stated clearly that the hotel would need to be compensated for any towels ruined by tattoo ink. And, this hotel is billed as one of the luxury options in town.
In case you are wondering, I found myself in Lloret de Mar for a few days in May for the TBEX conference. Deciding to explore further, I wondered if there could be more to Lloret than a cursory first look would suggest?
What’s Good About Lloret de Mar?
I tried dinner at, La Lonja, a restaurant recommended by a friend. The restaurant appears charming with its blackboard menu and cheerful blue tables on a little stone side street in the centre of town. Some of the charm is ruined though if you look further down the street and spot the sign that says “sex shop.”
Sort of like your family, you really have little control over your neighbour’s choice of retail operation. For all I know, the restaurant was in place long before the other store opened.
The owner of the restaurant was behind the bar ringing up the tapas orders of which there were plenty. The waiters served up the food fast and furious. The small tapas portions fuel communal sharing of plates and convivial talk all washed down with jugs of wine. I ogled a paella being served to a neighbouring table and felt a slight pang of regret that I did not order it. In all honesty, though, I was very happy with the tapas I ordered.
The cliff walks starting from the beach at Lloret are handy to walk off any big meals. Rocky outcrops, crashing waves, and seagulls flying overhead create an idyllic stroll. The attractive contemporary villas lining the cliff walk suggesting a more genteel clientele than along the main strip.
You have a choice of beaches at Lloret from the wide coarse sandy one in the center of town to the little coves such as Santa Cristina.
The parish church of Santa Roma is a surprising burst of colour in the centre of town. Originally constructed in the Gothic style in the 16th century, the church was rebuilt by wealthy citizens in the early 20th century. The church became a frothy confection influenced by Modernism and Byzantine elements as well as the original Gothic.
What’s Fantastic About Lloret de Mar?
The Maritime Museum, located in a former mansion built by one of the town’s returning sons who made their fortune in Cuba, weaves a rich tapestry of Lloret’s history. The museum describes the town’s early years as a humble fishing village, the building of frigates for the Spanish trade with the New World and the influence of the Americanos who flaunted their wealth.
With explanations in English, Catalan and Spanish, the museum is a fantastic multimedia look at Lloret. This museum is so great it deserves its own future post. I don’t know how many of Lloret’s package holiday visitors will visit this museum (a real shame in my opinion).
Lloret’s days as small fishing village and then a chic home for the returning nouveau riche are long gone. I was heartened though to see small pockets of beauty amidst the sun, sea and party atmosphere of the town.