Costa Dorada on the east coast of Spain, just south of Barcelona, in the autonomous community of Catalonia, is one of the region´s principal tourist areas made up of sleepy white-wash towns and seaside resorts.
Choosing which town to stay in for a summer break can be somewhat of a head-scratcher. So, why choose? Why limit yourself to just one town? Why not hire a car for the length of your stay and go on a road trip around the area.
Here is a suggestion of a route you could take, focusing on the coastal resorts of Cambrils, Salou and La Pineda and their surrounding areas.
First Stop: Cambrils
South of Tarragona, at the centre of the Costa Dorada, is the coastal town of Cambrils. It is a typical Spanish seaside town with a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, especially popular with families. Its principal and traditional attraction is its long, sandy beaches and warm, sunny year-round climate. Additionally visitors can take strolls along the fishing harbour and marina.
Nowadays, however, Cambrils is also being appreciated for its gastronomy and cultural attractions. It has developed a deserved reputation for quality seafood cuisine. Local fresh fish and gastronomic tradition have combined to create many specialist seafood restaurants. It is also surrounded by naturally beautiful countryside.
Second Stop: Salou
Also in the province of Tarragona, north of Cambrils, is the town of Salou. It is one of, if not the, most popular coastal tourist resort in the Costa Dorada. The main reason for this is due to its extensive coastline, offering miles of wide, soft sandy beaches and coves. The sun shines almost year round and there are a wide range water sport and leisure activities available.
Salou is also a popular family resort, like Cambrils, but also has a lively nightlife scene. The Paseo de Les Palmeres (Promenade of the Palm Trees) is one of Salou´s most iconic places. Extending along the seafront, it is a great place to relax in the day and socialize by night. Here and in the surrounding areas, the bars, terraces, restaurants and nightclubs come alive when darkness falls.
Third Stop: La Pineda
During the summer season, the amount of people staying in the area of Vila-Seca and La Pineda can increase six fold. This is, in part, down to their close proximity to Spain´s most visited theme park: PortAventura.
It is also due to La Pineda´s (also a seaside town) well facilitated beaches. The La Pineda beach has received the Blue Flag award for water quality, public services and respect for the environment. The area is dedicated to tourism but at the same time ensures the conservation of its coastline and ecosystems such as the Pine species which grow along the coast.
La Pineda is also home to the ancient Roman Ruins of Callipolis, which are a popular cultural tourist sight.
There is plenty of affordable, suitable accommodation in Costa Dorada, especially within the resorts of Cambrils, Salou and La Pineda. Each would provide the perfect base to explore from, as each are in central locations, right at the heart of the Costa Dorada.