The Costa Dorada begins just south of Barcelona and extends for over 200km as far as the Ebro Delta. Whilst it doesn’t seem to figure as prominently in the holiday brochures as the better known Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol to the south it still attracts more than 3½ million annual visitors. Reus airport is the gateway to the Costa Daurada with many seasonal charter flights arriving during the summer months. However, the decision by Ryanair to stop using Reus as one of their bases has led to a significant reduction in services in recent years.
The premier resort of the region is Salou which is a popular destination for family holidays thanks to its golden, sandy beaches and its proximity to one of Europe’s largest theme parks at Port Aventura. This is a true wonderland for children which is split into separate themed areas representing the Mediterranean region, Polynesia, China, Mexico, the Wild West and Sesame Street. Port Aventura also has a great water park as does the attractive resort of La Pineda at Aquapolis just along the coast.
Many years ago Salou had a rather tarred reputation as a resort but this is very much a thing of the past and today the coastline boasts more than 30 blue flag beaches. With little in the way of wild nightlife the resort doesn’t attract a particularly rowdy crowd but a good time to avoid for families is the annual “Saloufest” in March/April when thousands of British students head into town for a huge party.
Along the Costa Dorada
Smaller resorts along the coast such as the fishing port of Cambrils with its excellent seafood restaurants are particularly popular with Spanish tourists. The low key resorts of Cap Salou and La Pineda also offer a more tranquil experience than Salou whilst the pretty town of Sitges is mostly popular with the gay community. A great day out along the Costa Dorada is to the historic city of Tarragona which is just 10km from Salou. This is home to the Roman ruins of Tarraco which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inland from the Costa Dorada there is some spectacular countryside with small villages containing medieval monasteries.
As far as activities are concerned there’s plenty to do in the region. Wine lovers can arrange some tastings in Penedes, one of Spain’s chief cava and wine producing regions which is centred on the town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. Golfers will love the region thanks to its excellent courses including three at Port Aventura Golf whilst nature lovers will enjoy a visit to the National Park of the Ebro Delta wetlands which are home to an incredible number of breeding birds.