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Rosas (Roses), Spain

The port town of Rosas is as pretty as the flower for which it is named, set on a turquoise bay along Spain’s sunny Costa Brava. Ancient Greeks first settled here in the 4th century BC, followed by the Romans; the unique archaeological site of Empúries, about an hour’s drive from port, comprises dual cities where the two peoples peacefully co-existed for hundreds of years. Rosas’s former glory is still evinced in its 16th-century Trinitat Castle set above the harbor’s entrance and portions of Visigoth fortification walls. The city’s real appeal, however, are her beaches, with long stretches of fine golden sands and plenty of small, pebbly coves that are great for snorkeling. Life here today centers around the fishing port; check out its buzzy fish market for a taste of the local culture. Surrounding the town are plentiful vineyards and olive groves, best admired along numerous hiking trails through the Catalan countryside.