Sixty-six kilometres northeast of Barcelona, tourist-central LLORET DE MAR is everything you've ever heard about it and a lot more besides. Yet underneath its undeniably brash commercialism and gaudy nightlife is a centuries-old town trying to make itself known; the result is one of Europe's highest concentrations of clubs clustered around a delightful fifteenth-century church, high-rise monstrosities alongside genteel mansions and a packed main beach that belies some splendid rocky coves tucked away either side of town.
Any sightseeing in Lloret is centred on the warren of streets in the old town, amid the sometimes overwhelming hustle of T-shirt shops and tourist paraphernalia. Holding court over all this is the colourful church of Sant Romá (services only), originally built in Gothic style in 1522. A spectacular modernista renovation was begun in 1914, but much of this work was destroyed in the Civil War; only the adjacent Capella del Santíssim, with its Byzantine cupolas, Mudéjar and Renaissance influences (daily 10am–2pm & 5–8pm), remains. You can explore Lloret's maritime legacy – illustrated by ship models and a replica of an 1848 figurehead – and other aspects of the town's history in a new museum, the Museu del Mar ( 4), sharing space with the town's turisme in one of Lloret's few remaining nineteenth-century mansions, on the town's stately promenade, Can Garriga.
Clubs are mainly centred around Avinguda Just Marlés, the main road into town running perpendicular to the seafront, while the liveliest bars dot the streets around Plaça d'Espanya and Plaça del Carme, just behind the beach.
Lloret's main beach and neighbouring Fenals beach, where many of the hotels are grouped, get packed and noisy; the south end of Fenals, backed by a pine wood, is much less crowded. Farther afield are a number of tiny coves favoured by local bathers. Of the more accessible by road and public transport, Cala Santa Cristina and the adjacent Cala Treumal are the best, while the lovely Cala Boadella is popular with nudists; all are off the Blanes road.