Tossa de Mar is a holiday resort located in Catalonia on the Costa Brava, about 33 kilometres north of Barcelona and 100 kilometres south of the French border. It is accessible through Girona airport, some distance north.
There is ample evidence of settlements dating back to the Neolithic period, and it is believed that the area has been continuously populated since that time. Between the 4th century BC and the 1st century BC appeared the first settlementsof the Iberians , followed shortly after by the Romans in the 1st century.
In 966 Tossa is ceded by Count Miró of Barcelona to the Abbey of Ripoll. Some two centuries latter, in 1187 Tossa is granted its charter by the Abbot of Ripoll, coinciding with the building of a church atop Mount Guardí, the remnants of which can still be seen today.
Sometime in the 12th century the mediaeval town was walled off and a castle was built on the highest point of Mt. Guardí, this castle was to be subsequently replaced by a wind mill, and this in turn by a lighthouse which is still operational.
By the year 1500 the first houses were built extra-muros to accommodate population growth. This process was greatly accelerated during the 17th and 18th centuries, shaping an urban configuration which was to remain practically unchanged until the arrival of mass tourism in the 1950s.
Contrary to popular belief that Tossa has traditionally been a fishing town, in mediaeval times and until the arrival of tourism, the local economy was mostly based on agricultural production, principally Grape vine and cork (material). There was a thriving export market of the latter (in the form of cork taps shipped to the Americas) during the 18th century and early 19th century.
Fishing has traditionally been a relatively minor contributor to the village”s economy, although it has consistently provided an alternative source of income in times of economic crisis. A small fishing industry is still active as of 2005 and occupies a few members of local fishing families. Most of their captures are sold to local restaurants and in the fish markets in neighbouring Blanes and Sant Feliu de Guíxols.
Tossa de Mar has three main beaches: a) The Tossa Beach (Platja Gran), in front of downtown: This beach is closed off on the west by the medieval castle. It has a length of 380m and a width of 60 m. b) La Mar Menuda, on the other side of the bay. It has all services and facilities, such a sport equipment. Local police patrol the area on bicycles. It has a length of 180m and a width of 20 m. c) El Codolar, behind the walls.