Costa Brava, in the northern corner of Catalonia (Spain) is one of my favourite destinations in the world. Not many places combine sun, sea, nature, culture and gastronomy as effortlessly as Costa Brava. Every time I visit, there’s always something new to experience: another gastronomic highlight, an artistic wonder or a hidden panorama. A great way to get a stunning overview of Costa Brava is to, literally, see it from above. There are various ways to get a bird’s eye view. Adrenaline junkies can go on a skydive. Another more tranquil option is to go on a Costa Brava hot-air balloon flight.

Seeing Costa Brava from a hot-air balloon.

Experiencing a hot-air balloon flight in Costa Brava

Hot-air balloon flights in Costa Brava are offered by, amongst others, Globus Emporda, a small but very experienced team who do hot-air balloon flights over the Emporda region bordering the Costa Brava coast. The Emporda is a predominantly agricultural region with endless fields of crops, interspersed by forests and quaint medieval villages. Check rates for this flight.

The hot-air balloon flights leave at dawn which means an early rise. That gave me the opportunity to see the sun rise from the beach in front of our hotel, Hostal Empúries.

Sunrise on the Costa Brava

We drove a short distance to the village of Calamers (on a side note, there’s a lovely restaurant there called Mas Pi that serves traditional Catalan fare) where we met the Globus Emporda team in a field ablaze with purple flowers.

Preparing the balloon for our flight
The truck is used as an anchor for the basket

The hot-air balloon lift-off

They had the balloon up very quickly and before we knew it, we were clambering into the basket. Our pilot gave us some instructions and up we went!

Almost ready for lift-off!
The burners were fired up…
And off we went!

The panoramic views

The balloon rose quickly and I felt my knees quiver as I looked at the patchwork of fields below – erm…I have a thing with heights. 🙂

The patchwork of fields in the Emporda

The views of the fields, coast, villages and medieval towns of Costa Brava were absolutely breathtaking and that helped distract me from my fear of heights. I started to relax very quickly and noticed the soft breeze in my face and the wonderful silence. The silence was broken occasionally when the pilot fired up the burners or by a barking farm dog far below. The green/brown patchwork of fields stretched to the foothills of the Pyrenees and the Cap de Creus in the distance, and to the beaches of the Bay of Roses.

The fields and beaches along the Bay of Roses (the foothills of the Pyrenees and the Cap de Creus in the background)
Gorgeous coves near the town of L’Escala
The Greco-Roman ruins of Empuries seen from above
We got to see some fabulous villas too!
A flock of birds flew below us – a gorgeous sight!

Check out my Ultimate Costa Brava Guide!

The flight lasted a bit more than 1.5 hours and took us from Verges to L’Escala, a coastal town. During the flight, we floated to a maximum altitude of 1,200m (just under 4,000ft). We landed in a grassy field near the coast with a soft thud.


As soon as we had our feet firmly planted on the ground, we were whisked away to a nearby village for a hearty breakfast. We enjoyed freshly-made tortillas, bacon and sausages, fried chicken wings, tomatoes and fruits, accompanied by a glass of cava! At breakfast, we received a DVD of our flight and a certificate (proof that my quivering knees withstood the great heights!). I can highly recommend this Costa Brava hot-air balloon flight for a stunning bird’s eye view of this wonderful corner of Catalonia.

I also got to enjoy these views during a skydive in Costa Brava!

Yes, that’s me skydiving in Costa Brava.

Note: a big thank you goes to the Costa Brava Tourism Board for hosting me and for their wonderful hospitality. All views expressed above are, as always, mine.



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