The beautiful Costa Dorada is situated on the southern coast of Catalonia, to the south of Barcelona. Costa Dorada is comprised of about 20 towns and villages that stretch over a distance of 120 miles, offering a wide range of holiday destinations for holidaymakers considering a Spain holiday in 2018 or 2019. Costa Dorada’s naturally beautiful surroundings, wealth of outdoor activities and top-class attractions continue to attract Irish and European tourists year in, year out, as well as drawing in visitors from across the globe.
The area includes an assortment of towns including Tarragona, but the area itself has the feel of one large resort. You’ll find restaurants lining the beachfront and exhilarating nightclubs, while along the coast there’s an abundance of water sports on offer for the more active holidaymaker. After dark, Costa Dorada comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. One of the best things about holidaying on the Costa Dorada is that you can hop between the various towns and villages to enjoy attractions based on your taste. For example, you can head to the coast’s main nightlife centres at Salou, just outside of Tarragona, for a more bustling nightlife scene, or relax at a low-key chiringuto, or beach bar, at Cambrils. The name Costa Dorada means ‘Golden Coast’ and takes its name from the powdery soft, golden sands of the coast’s beaches. Of course, one of the main draws of the Costa Dorara as a holiday destination is its wonderful beaches, which you’ll enjoy whether you’re a beach bum or a water sports enthusiast. Whether you’re looking for action and adventure or a relaxed beach holiday in beautiful surroundings, Costa Dorada is a top choice of Spain holiday destination for 2018.
Most popular hotels in Costa Dorada
H.TOP Molinos Park Hotel
Salou, Costa Dorada
Salou Pacific Apartments
Salou, Costa Dorada
Cambrils, Costa Dorada
La Pineda, Costa Dorada
Villamarina Club Hotel
Salou, Costa Dorada
Silken Canada Palace
Calafell, Costa Dorada
Best Negresco Complex
Salou, Costa Dorada
Salou Park Resort
Salou, Costa Dorada
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Spanish
- Time Zone: GMT +1
- Average flight time: 2h 35m
When to go
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Whether you’re holidaying with a group of friends, heading off on a romantic couples’ holiday or are looking forward to a family summer holiday, Costa Dorada’s diverse offering of villages means there’s something for everybody. The region’s inland area is fertile and verdant with dramatically jagged, rocky landscapes, and a wide range of captivating historical and cultural attractions waiting to be explored. You can visit locations such as Tarragona, Tortosa and Reus for the quintessential Spanish ambience. The historic monasteries of Scala Dei and Santes Creus are must-see destinations for those that enjoy culturally enriching holidays. If you’re more of a thrill seeker, head to the River Ebro, close to Alcanar, to enjoy the captivating delta of winding waterways and scenic lakes, as well as some truly spectacular wildlife. To get a slice of the authentic Spanish way of life, head to El Perello for a busy market, caves with prehistoric paintings and locally made honey. At the coast, Torredembarra is the ideal place for a picturesque stretch of beach, a diverse shopping scene and a trendy harbour area, all united by a long and proud maritime heritage.
Wine and Dine
Whether you’re an experienced foodie or a novice when it comes to international cuisine, you’ll love Catalan fare. The food and drink here is simple yet delicious, thanks to the fertile Mediterranean soil and warm climate producing sweet fruit and flavoursome vegetables that complement any dish. The warm Mediterranean waters are home to an abundance of sustainable fish, guaranteeing you have everything you need for a delicious meal right on your doorstep. One of the key things to remember about authentic Catalan cuisine is that the inland regions are mostly meat and pork-based dishes, while the coastal regions prefer fish-based recipes. You’ll also find a range of dishes that include richly-spiced stews and soups with key ingredients such as botifarra (pork sausage), and picada (ground almonds, pine nuts and hazelnuts).
No family holiday to Costa Dorada would be complete without a trip to PortAventura, the region’s largest theme park. Spain’s most popular family attraction is huge and diverse, with six different location-themed areas including SesamoAventura, Polynesia, China, Mexico, Far West and Mediterrania. The theme park is a great way for your kids to learn more about the world and different cultures, with plenty of attractions and rides for people of all ages. For kids that love exploring, there’s a castle at Lleida, La Seu Vella and the UNESCO World Heritage Site ruins at Tarragona.
Action and Adventure
Costa Dorada is a fantastic choice of Spanish holiday destination for lovers of action and adventure, whether you like kitesurfing or bird watching. Of course, water sports are a big deal in Cambrils. There’s seven kilometres of coastline here, guaranteeing that there’s plenty of space for everybody from thrill-seeking jet skiers to laid-back sunbathers. There’s an abundance of water sports available here, including scuba diving, water skiing, windsurfing, fishing and sailing, with a wide range of tour operators and hire shops, as well as water sports schools to help you hone your skills. If you’re looking for the ideal family-friendly active day out, there’s PortAventura, Spain’s most popular theme park, with its offering of thrilling white-knuckle rides and fun attractions. If you’re looking for a moderate-level outdoor activity, you can go trekking at the Parc Natural del Delta de L’Ebre and spot some beautiful species of bird while you’re there.
Life's a Beach
Costa Dorada means ‘Golden Coast’, and when you take your first steps on to the warm sands of Costa Dorada you’ll see why. If you prefer your beaches spacious and relatively secluded, the open, wide expanses of sand close to Mont-Roig Cunit will be your cup of tea. The Blue Flag-awarded Altufell Beach has powdery soft sands and hosts a series of international sailing championships, while frisbee lovers will love playing at Calafell Beach’s long, wide sands.
If you’re looking for exhilarating water sports activities, take a trip down to Riumar Beach, an unspoilt stretch of coastline that borders the mouth of the Ebro River and offers scenic views of the rugged mountainous backdrop. If you’re keen to avoid the tan lines and are looking for a nudist-friendly beach location, try the beach at Torn. Mainly gravel, this beach is very well maintained and cleaned regularly, with a secluded location that spares your blushes if do choose to take off your swimwear. Platja Larga is located in Salou, Costa Dorada’s main resort, and is wholesome and family oriented. This is a great beach for a day out if you want to avoid the party crowd, and is nestled amidst scented pine trees for a lovely part-urban, part-rural experience.
A great deal of the nightlife in Costa Dorada is based in and around the town of Salou, located just outside of Tarragona. This is the prime location for late-night bars, nightclubs and discos, as well as a great choice of restaurants that line the coast. As you’d expect, Salou is very popular with young holidaymakers and has a good variety of nightlife venues, many of which serve affordable cocktails and offer great value happy hours with snacks included. If you prefer things more laid-back, relax at Cambrils, a more quiet town with a great choice of chiringuitos, or beach bars. Cambrils is the ideal place for relaxing with a cocktail or cold beer as you take in the scenic ocean views and people watch. Throughout the summer months, the nightlife venues in Cambrils are open until late so you don’t have to compromise by heading to a more buzzing town to have fun late at night. Cambrils’ old town also boasts a selection of backstreet drinking establishments and traditional tapas bars, a great way to socialise with the locals or enjoy a quiet meal with your family.
Whether you’re a party-loving couple or a pair of frazzled professionals looking for a laid-back beach holiday, Costa Dorada’s eclectic mix of towns and villages are the ideal setting for a romantic couples’ getaway. At Tamarit, you’ll find majestic castle towers with views over the quiet beach below, all nestled in a scenic pine tree-lined landscape. This is a picture-perfect spot for romance, with a number of places to take a quick dip in the sea, enjoy a romantic picnic on the sand or spend the afternoon relaxing in the sunshine. If you’re looking to amp up the passion in your relationship, head to Salou for a bustling nightlife scene with romantic traditional Spanish dances or modern club beats to choose from. Cambrils, a quaint and traditional fishing port, is the best choice of location for a peaceful couples’ retreat, with soft, sandy beaches perfect for taking hand-in-hand strolls.
Costa Dorada is the perfect destination for a cultural Spanish holiday. From traditional Catalan cuisine to classical architecture, Costa Dorada is steeped in rich culture and heritage. As with much of Catalonia, you’ll find a unique combination of old and new here, with 14th-century Roman Gothic cathedrals close to modernist architecture by the iconic Gaudi. If you’re looking to maximise the culture you’ll be immersed in on holiday, plan your trip to coincide with one of the region’s main festivals and carnivals, including the Fiesta Major of the Grape Harvest Festival or Corpus Christi. Tarragona is one of the best places to take in the cultural atmosphere of the Costa Dorada with Roman Architecture, fountains and monuments to explore.