The largest holiday resort town on the north of the Costa Brava is the busy, crowded port of Roses, thought to have been founded by the ancient Greeks but sporting few remnants today of its long history besides a crumbling citadel and sections of city wall. Instead the harbour town, where once a handful of British sailors repulsed an attack by Napoleon, is now a mass of typical high-rise resort developments, rising in tiers from a busy harbour and a few miles of man-made sandy beach, abuzz with holidaymakers indulging in all kinds of water sports. There is an aquatic park, go-karts, numerous take-away and fast food restaurants, scuba centres, cruises from the harbour and many more tourist amenities. The town is the only beach resort in the region that faces west, making it famous for its sunsets over the Gulf of Roses. Roses is a large and popular resort with an energetic nightlife, some good restaurants and many beautiful beaches nearby. It is suitable for relaxed family holidays and popular with the 18 to 30 age group in search of sun, sand and a party.
Most of the shops in Roses are concentrated near the beachfront area. There are a few good markets around the town centre selling locally made holiday souvenirs such as jewellery, leather goods, and fabric. The best market is held in Roses every Sunday. Although not considered a shopper's paradise, Roses certainly provides everything holidaymakers may need on a resort holiday.
For many years Roses was famous for the celebrated El Bulli restaurant, generally considered one of the best restaurants in the world, but it has sadly closed. There are, however, still a number of good restaurants in Roses, which has a reputation as one of the better resorts as far as eating out is concerned. There are several traditional eateries serving excellent local Catalan cuisine; try the suquet de peix, a stew made from fresh fish and shellfish. The area around Xines Mulan has a range of cuisine from Mexican to Chinese food, and some steak houses.
Roses' nightlife is bustling, with every option from live flamenco music to thumping house clubs. New Orleans, in Avenida Clot dels Franquets Nord, is home to the most clubs, and popular venues include Octopussy, Picasso, and Chic. Roses hosts regular fiestas and festivals, on almost a monthly basis. The resort can be noisy at night due to all the revelry, but those wanting a quieter holiday can get accommodation a little further out from the central party hub.
Although the town has lost much of its visible history, travellers will still find plenty of ancient cultural sites to visit, including the Citadel, which was built in 776 BC by the Romans. Roses is a haven for bird watching and other wildlife spotting, with several observatories and other animal centres in the area. Visitors can also see Salvador Dali's former home only 12 miles (19km) away, or visit the Dali Museum in Figueres. The man-made beaches offer opportunities to swim, snorkel, sail, or just lie on the beach and get that golden tan, while the surrounding Catalonian countryside has a great range of sightseeing attractions and is popular with hikers.
Some neighbouring beaches are nudist beaches and families travelling with children should take this into account before booking a holiday.