Costa Dorada: perfect for traditional Spanish beach holidays
Seaside resort:
Costa Dorada
Map:

Costa Dorada in brief

 

Visit the Costa Dorada for beautiful beaches, sumptuous food, nature reserves, city day trips, family-friendly attractions, water sports and festivals.

Location:

Eastern Spain

Nearest airport:

Reus and Barcelona

Key resorts & areas:

Tarragona, Salou, Cambrils, Mont-roig del Camp, Ametlla de Mar, Torredembarra, Calafell

Major sights & activities:

Castles, fortresses, medieval monasteries, golf, family theme parks, festivals

Best time to go

May to September; July and August is the peak season

Did you know?

There are several Spanish dishes unique to the Costa Dorada, including a noodle paella called rossejat de fideus, a type of blancmange from Reus and xato, a cod salad with curly endives.

 

Beach holidays in Costa Dorada

 

The Costa Dorada (also called the Costa Daurada and translates into ‘Golden Coast’) is a section of eastern Spain’s coastline running from Cunit to Alcanar in Catalonia.

It’s a popular tourist destination but is perhaps not as well known as some of the other resorts along the Spanish coast, making for some more traditional holiday experiences, especially with the number of historic towns and villages that line the coast.

Here are the main destinations on the Costa Dorada:

Tarragona

This is the main city on the Costa Dorada and is also the second most significant Roman site in Spain. The beaches around the city are mainly made up of fine golden sand and have long, gradual slopes into the water, offering shallow paddling conditions for families.

It’s worth heading into the city to see old Roman sites such as the Forum Provincial complex and the Forum de la Colonia. Other attractions include a cathedral with Romanesque and Gothic elements and an archaeological museum.

Salou

This popular beach resort is especially family-friendly thanks to nearby attractions such as theme parks and the shallow waters that grace its beaches. There are 8 beaches in total, including Ponent, Llevant and Capellans.

There are some particularly good shops and markets in Salou, as well as restaurants serving a variety of traditional Catalan dishes. Horse riding, golf and cycling are some of the things you can do in Salou.

Cambrils

This bustling harbour village set below a castle offers fantastic seafood and excellent beaches for families. There are 9 km of beaches here, including Playa de Vilafortuny, Esquirol and El Cavet, all with fine gold sand and lovely waters.

Some of the main attractions in Cambrils include El Pescador Park, Castle Vilafortuny and the lighthouse in the port.

Mont-roig del Camp

Mont-roig del Camp is a town that famously inspired the artist Joan Miro and offers 12 km of long, sandy beaches, as well as activities such as golf, horse riding, water skiing and windsurfing.

The most popular beach is Miami Platja, which is split into smaller coves offering peace and quiet to sunbathers and swimmers. Bigger beaches include Platja de la Pitxerota, Platja Cristall, Platja Llarga and Platja de la Porquerola.

Ametlla de Mar

Ametlla de Mar is a laidback town not far from the airport at Reus. The golden beaches here are backed by pine trees and the town’s main industry of fishing means the local restaurants offer a dazzling array of freshly-caught seafood for visitors to sample.

Other things to see here include the Castle of Sant Jordi d’Alfama and the Museum of Popular Ceramics. There’s plenty of scope for more active pursuits such as hiking, cycling, sailing and snorkelling, too.

Torredembarra

Torredembarra is a popular resort with one of the few natural beaches remaining in Catalonia Els Muntanyans - as well as unforgettable sights such as the 2,000 m long and 25 m high El Roquer cliffs.

Other top beaches here include La Paella, Baix a Mar and El Canyadell. Look out for notable sights such as Icart Castle, the parish church of San Pere, the lighthouse - which is Catalonia’s highest tower - and the remains of a Roman villa complex.

Calafell

This historic hilltop town boasts 8 km of Blue Flag sand beaches ideal for families with children. The city is famous for attractions such as the Iberian Citadel, the Casa Barral Museum and Sant Miquel Church and is a great place to combine sunbathing with cultural sightseeing.

Food lovers can enjoy local specialities such as cossetans, a type of dessert made with dried fruit, candied almonds or hazelnuts, chocolate and cocoa powder, as well as region-wide delicacies like the xato cod and endive salad.

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