Costa Dorada, Catalonia coast
Tarragona, a lively city with a historic past, is the capital of this coastal area stretching south of Catalonia from Castelldefels to the south of the Ebro delta.
More or less covered by the C-31 road, from Barcelona to the Ebro delta, the Costa Dorada is a succession of seaside resorts which, if they are provided with all the tourist infrastructures, are nevertheless places sometimes charged with history and monuments.
In addition, a railway line more or less closely follows the stretch of coastline between Barcelona and Tarragona, serving these coastal towns on the Costa Dorada. This line passes through Barcelona El Prat International Airport.
The Costa Dorada is endowed with numerous marinas presenting numerous nautical activities.
Two natural parks decorate the Costa Dorada, the delta de l’Ebre natural park and the del Garraf natural park, the name given to the massif del Garraf, along the 40 kilometres of the Costa Dorada coast between Castelldefels and Cunit.
Stages on the Costa Dorada
Castelledefels, a prime destination only 25 kilometres south-west of Barcelona, lies between the Parc du massif du Garraf and the Mediterranean Sea.
The 5 km of fine sand on the Gavá beach, bordered by the long Passeig Marítim promenade, are dominated by Fels Castle, the defensive towers of which can still be seen built in the 16th century.
By the numerous possibilities of nautical activities proposed at the marina of the seaside resort, that to practise kayaking at the Olímpic canal built on the occasion of the Olympic Games of Barcelona in 1992.
Sitges is considered to be one of the trendiest destinations in the Mediterranean and is very popular with the LGBT community. Moreover, a memorial to the homosexual community, the first in Spain, was inaugurated there in 2006.
Often compared to Saint-Tropez for its beach, Sitges is also a favourite place of Barcelona’s golden youth, who come to celebrate, and the holiday destination of large Spanish families, which makes Sitges one of the most expensive cities in Spain.
The seaside resort is equipped with three marinas: Ginesta, Garraf and Aiguadolç which houses the Sitges yachting club. To the south are 4 kilometres of white sand beach with a long promenade.
Garraf Natural Park
Spread over 12,820 hectares to the southwest of the Catalan coastal cordillera, the park offers activities for nature lovers, including hiking, mountain biking and discovery trails.
These marked out circuits propose a coastal route, a medieval path and a discovery of the farms (masías) of the massif of Garraf as well as two guided routes.
The main attractions of the park are the many canals and chasms, some of which are several hundred metres deep.
The Garraf Park houses a Buddhist monastery, the first in Catalonia, in the grounds of the Palau Novella: cultural activities, a visit to the Palau Park, a building with eclectic architecture, an exhibition of Tibetan art and culture.
Natural Park Office and Pleta Information Centre: Ctra del Rat Penat a la Plana Novella. km 3,5. Sitges. Open from Tuesday to Sunday and on public holidays, from 10 am to 3 pm.
Vilanova i la Geltrú
Vilanova i la Geltrú, an old town with a medieval layout, is located at equal distance from Barcelona and Tarragona (45 km). Very marked by Romanticism, the city has kept from this period buildings and mansions that reflect the splendour it experienced at that time.
Third largest port in Catalonia, its marina, framed by two beaches, is home to a yachting club.
Segur de Calafell
Designed about fifty years ago according to the concept of a garden city 25 km from Tarragona, Segur de Calafell is a residential area in the municipality of Calafell.
It is around the old fishermen’s quarter called La Platja or Marina de Calafell located near the port that tourist activities are concentrated. The seafront of Segur de Calafell opens onto a vast beach that stretches from Calafell to the nearby town of Cunit.
A reconstructed Iberian village, the Iberian Citadel of Calafell recalls that the place was occupied during the last centuries before the Christian era.
El Vendrell and Comarruga
As a seaside resort developed from the fifties and sixties, Comarruga became a very popular and family tourist and seaside destination. The local coastline offers more than two kilometres of beach.
Torredembarra is known for its Els Muntanyans beach, one of the last natural beaches in Catalonia with mobile dunes and lagoons, about fifteen kilometres northeast of Tarragona. Bordered by a vast promenade, the urban beach of Torredembarra runs 2 kilometres to the port. Apart from the beach, the surroundings of the port concentrate activities and leisure, restaurants, bars and shops.
Do not miss the cliffs of El Roque which culminate at 25 meters high and stretch over 2 km to the Torredembarra lighthouse.
Tarragona owes its tourist success as much to the long urban beach Del Miracle open to the Costa Dorada, as to the leisure centres and the historical, artistic and cultural heritage, including the ancient city of Tarraco, classified as a UNESCO world heritage site.
El Balcó del Mediterrani, a place to stroll, located on the heights of the Rambla, offers a panorama of the Amphitheatre, the port complex of Tarragona, the beach of the Miracle and the blue waters of the Mediterranean.
Among the beaches of the city, let us note the naturist beach Savinosa a few hundred meters northeast of the beach del Miracle.
An old fishing village a few kilometres south-west of Tarragona, Salou and its marina, protected by Cap Salou, offer all the infrastructures of a seaside resort.
Past Cap Salou, Capellans and the neighbouring town of Vilafortuny, the coastline is a succession of fine sandy beaches over several kilometres joining Cambrils.
Less than 5 km from Salou, the theme park “PortAventura Parc” is one of the most visited amusement parks in Spain.
Cap de Salou
A few kilometres southwest of Tarragona in the municipality of Salou, the Cape of Salou separates Platja from the Pineda often called the Pineda of Salou and the city of Salou itself.
Platja de la Pineda
The Pineda is a family district of the municipality of Salou, essentially a seaside resort, with second homes, restaurants and seasonal shops. It is its long beach that makes its success. This is divided into two parts, the beach of Raco which runs towards the port, and the beach of Pineda which stretches over several hundred metres towards Cape Salou.
Cambrils is active around the marina with a yacht club and the long beach along Avenue de la Diputació. As for the walk (passeig) of Las Palmeres, it allows to discover the port of Cambrils.
Located 30 km southwest of Tarragona and 23 km from Salou, the coast station is one of the favourite destinations on the Costa Dorada. Miami-Plage was developed in the 1960s in the seaside district of the town of Mont-Ruig del Camp, in which mainly second homes, hotels and restaurants are located.
Surrounded by pine forests, a coastline dotted with creeks and beaches, Miami-Platja is a family destination that loves peace and quiet, so for the evening and festive summer activities, it is better to make a jump to Salou or Cambrils.
L’Hospitalet de l’ Infant
The seaside resort of Hospitalet de l’Infant comes alive around the marina. With a nautical centre, Arenal beach occupies the south-west coast of L’Hospitalet, while Cristall beach stretches north towards Miami-Platja. The Torn beach, at the extreme south of the Arenal, remains the busiest despite the nearby presence of the Vendellós nuclear power plant.
Once a fishing village 70 kilometres south of Tarragona and at the gateway to the Ebro delta, L’Ampolla lives to the rhythm of its marina and nautical activities.
The long coastline of Ampolla is characterized by sandy beaches and pebbles alternating with small coves.
Several of these beaches follow each other from Cape Roig. Cap Roig Beach, Cala Maria Beach, L’Ampolla Beach, Avellanes Beach which is closest to the port on the north side.
Around the resort, the landscapes are made of rice fields and natural lagoons. Trails and watchtowers make it possible to observe the many migratory birds which find refuge there.
Illa de Buda / Ebro Delta Park
Located south of Costa Dorada, the Delta de l’Ebre Natural Park is the largest wetland area in Catalonia. The varied landscapes include ponds, peninsulas, dune cords, springs, islets and canals. Several small roads cross it, it is easy to go on the immense beaches which border the whole park.
To the northwest of the dunes of Illa de Sant Antoni, stands the lighthouse of Fangar. At its feet, a beach jacket runs to Riumar on the north bank of the Ebro.
On the south side, from Illa de Buda, the sand borders the coast for several kilometres, joining the towns of Sant Carles de la Rapitá and Les Cases de Alcanar to the southwest.
Located 110 km southeast of Tarragona, the long beaches of Alcanar close off the southern coasts of the Costa Brava and Catalonia.
12 kilometres long, with beaches, coves and a variety of water sports, it is a major tourist attraction.
4 km from Alcanar, in the village of Les Cases de Alcanar, where mainly shrimp and octopus are fished, the seafront still has many traditional fishermen’s houses, giving it a special cachet.