Costa Dorada Holidays
One of the few places to really qualify as a paradise on earth, Costa Dorada is the destination of choice for those seeking to combine the sea, sand and fun of a traditional Spanish family holiday with a slice of real Catalonian culture. The Spanish themselves come here for their breaks, attracted by the long golden sands that give the place its name, which translates as the ‘Golden Coast’. There’s no surprise it’s on our list of favourite resorts, whether you’re travelling here with friends, family, or as a couple.
Costa Dorada is best for…
Families: One of Europe’s biggest and best theme parks, PortAventura. There are rides and shows for visitors of all ages. Test your nerves against the Furius Baco slingshot ride or take a quiet trip on a Chinese-style boat.
Beach lovers: From golden sands in Cambrils and La Pineda to peaceful coves along the Cap Salou coast, choose from a variety of beaches to top up your tan.
Outdoorsy types: Enjoy a rich selection of outdoor activities, including diving, horse riding and trekking.
Costa Dorada Fast Facts
Language: The official language is Spanish but most staff in hotels, eateries and shops have a good command of English
Currency: You’ll need to convert your pounds to Euros, as this is Spain’s national currency.
Local time: Costa Dorada time is 1 hour ahead of time in the UK.
Fly to: Reus Airport. Transfers to Salou, PortAventura and Cambrils take 25-35 minutes. Cap Salou and La Pineda take 35–45 minutes.
Flight time from UK: The Costa Dorada flight time is 2.5 hours.
Tourist Information: Further Costa Dorada tourist information can be found at https://costadaurada.info/
Local Tax: You must now pay a Tourist Tax Fee of around €0.50-2.50 per person per night which is payable at your accommodation. You’ll only have to pay for the first 7 nights of your holiday. Children under 16 don’t pay the tax.
Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Costa Dorada.
Costa Dorada Weather and Climate
If you’re looking to laze on a beach and get some serious bronzing under your belt, book your Costa Dorada holidays in August, when the temperatures are in the mid-twenties. For fewer crowds and cooler conditions, spring temperatures average between the mid-teens to the low twenties, while the autumn months, between September and November are slightly warmer.
By train: Train services operate along the Costa Dorada coast, including a line that runs from Tarragona to Barcelona in an hour and 30 minutes. High-speed trains are also available from Tarragona to Madrid, taking just two and a half hours.
By bus: There are regular bus services between the region’s larger towns. All towns have bus stops with local travel information.
By car hire: Car rental is available from Reus airport and across the region. Do remember that the Catalonians drive on the right and overtake on the left!
Cultural festivals: Cultural celebrations occur throughout the year in Costa Dorada, the most important of which is the Festival of St Joan on the 23rd June. Catalonia marks the shortest night of the year with dancing in the streets, feasts, firecrackers and bonfires. The Sant Pere Festival in Reus (June) and the Santa Tecla Festival in Tarragona (September) are also not to be missed.
Ready, set, go: Book your Costa Dorada holidays in October and you’ll catch the petrol-powered pleasure of watching the World Rally Championships. The pretty town of Salou is the starting-line and the tyre-shredding event takes place over three days, in the PortAaventura Theme Park.
Where to Stay
Found in the south of Catalonia, the Costa Dorada stretches 216km down the east coast of Spain facing the Mediterranean Sea. Between Salou and Tarragona is the family-friendly PortAventura resort. Kids will love the thrill of the theme park and can splash their way through the Costa Caribe Aquatic Park. Or pick nearby Cap Salou where you can enjoy a leisurely round of golf or pop to one of the many small beaches and enjoy a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.
Cap Salou: Cap Salou holidays are ideal getaways if you’re looking for complete relaxation. Quieter than its neighbour Salou, this resort is perfect for forgetting any worries you may have and spending quality time with your loved ones. Beach fans will be in their element here as the golden sands tend to be more secluded so you can work on that tan in peace. Holidays to Cap Salou have a well-deserved reputation for providing tranquillity for everyone.
La Pineda: If you’re looking for something a little quieter than Salou, La Pineda’s a great choice. Here, you can enjoy the more traditional side of Costa Dorada, with lush vineyards and a rich medieval history; as well as lots of beautiful, golden beaches to spend your sunny days on.
Cambrils: Escape the tourist hotspots in Costa Dorada and discover Cambrils, a quiet fishing village just down the coast from Salou. Cambrils is a great place to try out some seafood, take part in water sports or stroll along the seafront, admiring the pretty harbour.
Salou: Salou’s the perfect family holiday destination. It’s on the doorstep of the largest theme park in Europe, PortAventura World, where the kids will love to spend hours on exciting rides. If you’re looking for an easy way to get from A to B, the land train is great fun.
Things to do
You’ll find plenty of things to do on your holidays to Costa Dorada, whether you’re travelling with family, friends or your significant other. Those with children will enjoy a thrilling day out at one of the nearby theme parks, while romantic couples might enjoy a trip to explore sun-bleached Roman ruins or marvel at some of the finest examples of Modernist Architecture, anywhere in the world. Groups of friends with a taste for the Great Outdoors can take advantage of the variety of activities on offer, including golf, water sports and cycling.
Family fun: Costa Dorada holidays are perfect for all the family, as there are attractions in abundance to keep the kids amused and the adults content. PortAventura, one of Europe’s biggest and most popular theme parks is based here. Hugely exciting for the kids, this state-of-the-art theme park is a tourist magnet with its thrilling roller coaster rides, water adventures and live shows. There are plenty of places for eating and drinking and it makes the perfect destination for a family day out.
Outdoor Activities: The Costa Dorada is an 18-holed oasis for golf lovers. The Golden Coast has no less than seven superb golf courses, with courses and fairways designed to test everyone from complete newbies to seasoned pros. Alternatively, head to the Costa Dorada Marine Resort, where you can enjoy a wide range of water sports including banana boat rides and sailing cruises. For a change of pace, leave the car and enjoy a wide range of biking activities, on and off-road.
Rich History: If you prefer to delve into the region’s colourful history, there’s no shortage of attractions there either. The nearby city of Tarragona is home to the most comprehensive collection of ancient Roman remains in the whole of Spain. Founded back in the 5th century BC, at the time of the Roman Republic, Tarragona has a well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, Roman forum, and a splendid archaeology museum. The Museu del Port Tarragona close by has impressive displays relating to this important port’s history, from ancient times to the present day.
Reus City and Modernist Architecture: Whether you’re a fan or art, architecture or both, make sure you leave some time to visit Reus City, the birthplace of Costa Dorada’s most famous son, Antoni Gaudí. Start your journey at the Gaudí Centre, which gives you a good introduction to the architect and his work through a range of audio-visual exhibits, including a handwritten notebook from the visionary himself. Next, discover the modernist jewels this town has to offer on the Route of Modernism guided tour. Casa Navàs, the Institut Pere Mata, and Casa Rull are just some of the highlights that you’ll discover on the walk.