We annually live two months in Catalonia and we always live in the Tarragona province, where the weather is lovely both in spring, summer and in late autumn. We love the beautiful shoreline, which we walk on several times a week during our stay, we love the wonderful vineyards, who turn red during autumn – an extraordinary view, and we love the regional capital Tarragona, which is a lively, lovely city with a fascinating history. The atmosphere is tranquil and so is the nice local population. There’s simply no reason to rush things in this relaxing region of Catalonia.
Where Girona is home to Catalonia’s ‘upper class’, Tarragona is home to a more relaxed part of the Catalan population. The prices at the restaurants are more competitive and it is always a pleasure to go out and enjoy a lovely three-course ‘Menu del dia’ to around 10-15 Euros (just a couple of euros cheaper than in the northern regions of Catalonia).
If you enjoy wine and/or cava, Costa Daurada is quite simply the perfect place to rent a holiday home. Here you’ll stay right in the middle of the two wine-regions Penedés and Priorat and furthermore, Costa Daurada/Tarragona also has plenty of its own wine production, meaning you have more than enough options to go out and visit nice and great local winemakers and wineries and extraordinarily beautiful vineyards. Personally, we would like to recommend visiting the ‘modernist wine cathedral’ in the small village of Nulles. Generally, the surroundings in the region are heavily dominated by the beautiful vineyards and olive groves. Furthermore, should you arrive during autumn you are nothing but lucky, as the regions many almond trees have flourished, and the tasty almonds are ready to be eaten – enjoy!
After you have convinced the children to go with you on an exhilarating visit to a winery, they might feel like they deserve something in return. But fear not, you’ll have a very attractive counter-offer; Port Aventura. Port Avantura, located in Tarragona, is one of Europe’s largest theme parks. Like Euro Disney, every year we have customers who visit the Tarragona area because they are going to ‘Port Aventura’. It is a fun theme park with an enormous water park on one side and a wildly fun amusement park on the other. It is possible to order a one- two- or three days pass.
If you fancy a more ‘in touch with nature’ experience, the trek along the coast is an absolute must. The trek, dependent on shape and desire, can be either long or short, and furthermore, it is trek that 4-year-old kids will be able to manage and enjoy.
The trip is a scenic experience – the most stunningly beautiful view over the Mediterranean never leaves your side. The trip itself is quite varying as it goes up and down and the surroundings change from dramatic rocks to peaceful passages on sandy beaches. If you feel like stopping for a refreshment, the route offers several stops, as well as it is possible to go for a swim and even have lunch during the trek. The views, the smells, the challenges and the atmosphere make the trip quite unique, and to end it off, you can finish in Tarragona where you can walk past the Roman Amphitheatre and into the antique part of the city.
From Torredembarra to Tarragona is a 20 km. walk, but it is, as said, possible to settle with just a part of the trek and to make it even more convenient, you can always take the train back to Torredembarra or Altafulla (where you might have parked your car). There’s also the short walk from Altafulla to Torredembarra or Mora.
We love the regional capital Tarragona, which was once a Roman colony. Besides a broad Rambla with many, many shopping possibilities, the city has a lively and very charming old town, which is just full of live and great atmosphere. The square in front of the town hall is, on both sides, filled with nice pavement restaurants, great ice cream, and lively cafés. Further up the old town, you’ll be walking on steep alleys and stairways in narrow streets, which are all leading up to the city’s beautiful Cathedral. Tarragona has a weekly market, which takes place on Saturdays between 8:00 – 13:00, and we highly recommend you visit it as it is an enjoyable experience. You’ll be able to find the freshest vegetables, which you can bring home with you and prepare a lovely dinner.
At the end of the Rambla lies the city’s viewpoint over the Mediterranean Sea, which also overlooks the well-preserved ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre – beauty and history all in one place. The old town of Tarragona is filled with history, and we ourselves have found it quite fantastic to enjoy lunch in Tarragona while feeling the historic breath of this magnificent city. ‘Degvsta’ is the name of one our favourite restaurants and it is in Tarragona. Here you can enjoy a 20 Euros three-course ‘Menu del dia’ on the restaurant’s terrace, while you are overlooking the city – not to be missed!
There are some things that are almost certain when you rent a holiday home in the Tarragona province in Catalonia. Travellers spend a day in Barcelona, a day in Tarragona, one or two days at the beach, the children might want to go to Port Aventura and the parents might want to go a winery or an olive producer. And then, of course, relaxing times by the pool and the house’s terrace.
But wait… maybe you’d decided to stay in Catalonia for 14 days or just have a couple of days scheduled for nothing, in that case, we highly recommend the city of Reus.
Reus, which in the 17th century was the second largest city of Catalonia, lies around 10 km. northwest from Tarragona. Inspired by the city development in Barcelona, many valuable buildings in modernist style were built in the 19th century. Reus is also the place of birth of the king of modernist Antoni Gaudí, where he lived for the first 16 years of his life. Because of this, Gaudí is also honoured in Reus, as there is a 1200 m2 mall filled with his works.
Walking in Gaudí’s footsteps and enjoying the unique architecture makes Reus very special and furthermore, despite the extraordinary architecture and great location, Reus somehow feels untouched or uninfluenced by tourism. Visiting the city is simply a guaranteed authentic Catalan city experience. A perfect day in our opinion is spending the forenoon at one of the wonderful beaches and then drive the 10 km. distance to Reus and enjoy a local three-course ‘Menu del dia’, while feeling the joyful atmosphere at one of Reus’ many squares. Furthermore, when the siesta is done, plenty of shopping opportunities arises.
Two of Catalonia’s most impressive monasteries lies in Santa Creus and in Poblét and they can be visited either on a guided tour or on your own. If you plan on visiting the two monasteries, we can also recommend visiting the city Montblanc, which is a lovely city with a wonderful antique city centre filled with pavement restaurants and, not to be forgotten, a delicious chocolate store that lies on a corner just before the city’s square.
If you fancy hiking, the city Prades is the perfect starting point. The local tourist office in Pradés has an exquisite map, which shows routes on everything from 5 km. to 20 km. – all the routes are circular. If you like walking, but are not interested in the longer hikes, you can borrow a key to the chapel in Pradés and then walk 2,5 km. up to the chapel ‘Ermita de l’Abellera’, which is nothing but beautiful – just like the view
Let’s start by translating what Costa Daurada means, as it pretty much sums up what the coast has to offer. Costa Daurada means ‘Golden Coast’. The region has been given this name because it is ‘equipped’ with a 216 km. long golden coastal line. The water is sparkling turquoise – an impressive sight. We think that experiencing the coast and water is not to be missed, even though the children might argue that staying by the pool is more fun. Costa Daurada is simply a fantastic area for adults and children, the shallow water makes the beaches perfectly comfortable and secure for children of all ages, contrary to the wilder shorelines in the more southern parts of Spain.
Costa Daurada’s long shoreline is filled with excellent beaches, some of them are visited a lot and offers activities such as bars, beach restaurants, water sports and beach games. These beaches are a lot of fun, but attracts many people, so an alternative is that you visit some of the smaller, almost secret, beaches. Our personal favourites are beaches that are in former fishing villages, we find them very comfortable and nice. You can also decide to visit a nudist beach, as there are some on the shoreline. No matter what kind of beach you prefer, we can promise a couple of things; the water is a comfortable temperature from May to October, the water has a beautiful clear turquoise colour and the sand is golden. The grounds for a lovely trip to the beach is set in stone!
We present a guide to some of our favourite beaches on the Costa Daurada shoreline, giving you the best of options to go out and explore and find your own favourite beach!
The three beaches Sant Salvador, Coma-ruge and El Francés lies around 3,5 km. from the city Vendrell. The coast is 7 km. long. In 1988 it was given ‘The Blue Flag’. ‘The Blue Flag’ is given to sustainable beaches because of their high quality and high environmental standard. Another remarkable thing about this area is the fact that the water has a high content of iodine, making it especially healthy. Coma-Ruga is the most popular of the three beaches and you must wake up early to secure a nice space. With Coma-Ruga comes a lot of life, a nice promenade, rented beach chairs and parasols, and a lot of water sports activities.
We love the little city Altafulla, it has these small charming houses along the water, a wonderful promenade, small lovely restaurants and not least the wonderful atmosphere by the water. The beach at Altafulla has also been given the environmental stamp ‘The Blue Flag’ and lies within just 10 minutes’ drive from the lovely Tarragona. The beach is approximately 1100-metres-long and 20-metres-broad. The beach is less touristy but still visited, you get local charm and of course just a lovely, lovely beach. If you don’t fancy spending your entire day lying on the beach, we recommend you still visit the beach and try one of the small beach restaurants – it is so delicious and nice!
If you prefer a more quiet and calm beach, you could visit the 60-metres-long and 35-metres-long lagoon Cala de Canyadell. However, it is not possible to park at the lagoon, so you’ll have to park the car in Altafulla or in Torredembarra and spend 20-30 minutes on walking to the lagoon – not a bad walk by any means. The lagoon doesn’t have a lifeguard and the forest behind it creates a unique and very private experience.
The beach Calafell Beacher is a very quiet and calm beach – no rental chairs and you are not disturbed by sellers. The beach is 5 km. long and at the end there’s a small historic castle, which is a wonderful walk if you have grown tired of lying down and relaxing. The city itself lies 1,5 km. from the beach and it is nothing but a lovely day if you combine relaxation at the beach with a lunch in the city, and then finish the visit off with a dip in the water.
Southwest from Altafulla lies Platja de Tamarit Beach, which is a 1750-metres-long and 45-metres-broad beach. It is the latest of the beaches at Costa Daurada that has been given ‘The Blue Flag’. The sand at Platja de Tamarit Beach is cleaned daily, the water is shallow for a longer period, the beach has toilets, bars, and restaurants – quite simply a perfect beach for groups travelling with children. Furthermore, the beach lies by a nature reserve that is home to countless different bird species. Because of the nature reserve, the beach is filled with greenery, which just makes the beach even more lovely. Moreover, if you didn’t already think this beach has it all, the beach lies within walking distance to the beautiful Tamarit Castle. A kid-friendly beach within walking distance to a beautiful attraction, home to greenery and wildlife – enjoy!
The 200-metres-long and 25-metres-broad lagoon Cala Fonda, better known as Waikiki, is a small paradise. The lagoon is surrounded by a green landscape, which makes it very private. It is not possible to drive to Cala Fonda, but it is possible to walk north from Platja Llarge or south from Cala de Roca Plana.
Cala de Roca Plana is another nudist lagoon, which is 206-metres-long and 25-metres-broad. The lagoon has rocks on both sides, making it a perfect spot for divers. The lagoon is, like Cala Fonda, surrounded by greenery – lovely private experience. Reaching the lagoon is only possible by walking, where you can walk north from Cala Fonda or south from Platja de la Móra. Neither of the lagoons has facilities like bars, restaurants, toilets or water activities.