Some villages have developed into mass-tourism towns while others have maintained more of their original nature. Compared to the major resort areas in southern Spain those in Catalonia are not at all as heavily exploited. You will see more of low and older cityscapes, and less of the tall hotel complexes. Many of the villages offer genuine Spanish town environments rather than the feel of a tourist destination. There’s plenty of nature, the level of tourism/foreigners is generally lower, and the number of genuine Spanish population is greater.
Some resorts are popular among the Spaniards but have not yet been discovered by many foreign buyers. Here you can find quite affordable housing!
There are trains running along the entire coast. If you want to avoid having a car you will want to live within walking distance to a train station and a city center or ensure that there’s a well-established bus route nearby.
Elevator or no elevator? It is not common that the houses have an elevator. Consider the number of stairs you will be able to climb as you return from the beach or come back home with your groceries. What can seem like a minor detail when looking for an apartment during the winter months can be something else entirely during the summer.
In Spain you own your apartment and only pay a small fee to the association of homeowners to clean stairways and for general maintenance. When major repairs or reconstruction of the complex is required it is decided in a vote and each apartment contributes to the investment based on the area of the apartment (size plus part of any shared spaces). Check with the association of the estate if any major repairs/reconstruction projects are planned and if so what sum will burden the apartment in question.