The Costa Dorada - 1,000 Mediterranean contrasts
Salou. Cala Font
Flamingos on the Ebro River Delta
The amphitheatre in Tarragona, with the Mediterranean Sea in the background
The cloister in Poblet Monastery
Art, history, nature, sport, enjoyment and, of course, sun and sand. Are you looking for a destination that mixes all these ingredients? If so, your answer lies in Spain, on the Costa Dorada (Catalonia). Located between the sea and the mountains you will find this land, bursting with life and with contrast. Here you can soak up the sun and warmth of Spain, and if you are also interested in getting to know Spanish culture, then this area will not fail to please.
The Costa Dorada is one of the main Mediterranean tourist destinations. 216 kilometres of broad, peaceful beaches, on the coast of Tarragona province in northern Spain. If you are coming for sun, sea and sand, you will find this, and much more: contrasting landscapes you will never tire of looking at. Mountains and countryside, sport and culture, art and entertainment… The range of options offered by the Costa Dorada is huge and, best of all, will suit your tastes down to a tee.
A sea of different alternatives
Variety is par for the course in this coastal region, and you will not have to travel far to have access to all of the many possibilities. Do you like quiet places, or prefer lively tourist centres? The choice is yours. We have small seaside villages, where fishing is still the main
local industry and where the style of life has remained largely unchanged for centuries. Close by you will find small towns like Calafell, Torredembarra and Cambrils, which retain a strong medieval flavour and considerable historic heritage. Neither should we forget the many larger towns offering all kinds of services and comforts for tourists, with lively beaches by day and by night. Salou is a good example of this, and is also an ideal family destination with the Port Aventura theme park.
If you prefer sports and a more active holiday, however, then the Costa Dorada also has some great options for you. There are many marinas and water sports facilities offering scuba diving, windsurfing, water skiing and a host of other activities. Golf, cycle touring and hiking in inland areas are an ideal option for pleasant days out in the countryside.
Whims of nature
The Costa Dorada has many a surprise for nature lovers, too, with many nature areas of great environmental value. Among these, we should make special mention of the Ebro River Delta, very close to the town of Amposta. It is interesting to note that this is Spain's second largest wetland area - an ornithological paradise with more than 300 registered species. Why not explore it peacefully by boat, on a trip that will take you right to the delta's opening on to the sea. If mountains and heights are your thing, you can visit the Tortosa-Besseit range, an area with the National Hunting Reserve designation, home to many different birds of prey. From its highest peak there are stunning views on a clear day that reach from the Pyrenees to the Balearic Islands.
Neither should you miss a visit to the region's caves: Las Meravelles de Benifallet, with their weird and wonderful rock formations; Font Major, in Espluga de Francolí, one of the world's longest caves, at 3,590 metres; or the Ulldecona Caves, whose rock paintings date back 8,000 years and are designated World Heritage.
History in all its splendour
Coming to the Costa Dorada you will have the opportunity to discover a hugely valuable artistic and cultural heritage. To start with, a visit to Tarragona is a must. Its historic centre is of Roman origin and is designated World Heritage. You can take an archaeological stroll (with Roman amphitheatre, circus, etc.) around the old city walls, built in the 3rd century BC, with the sea as backdrop. You should also visit the Paleo-Christian necropolis, the Western Mediterranean's largest ancient burial site on account of the number of tombs it contains.
Another interesting suggestion would be to combine some beach time with excursions inland. In towns like Reus and Amposta you can see good examples of Modernist architecture. It is also well worth exploring inland areas of the province to visit the Santes Creus and Poblet Monasteries, both of which date from the 12th century and are excellent examples of Cistercian abbey constructions. The village of Poblet is designated World Heritage and has an interesting palace-fortress.
Culture, art, sports, beaches, countryside… There are a host of good reasons to visit the Costa Dorada. We would only recommend the following: Come and discover it for yourself!