Sèquia Major: The wetlands of the Costa Daurada
Visit this fragile area of Vila-seca i La Pineda, and enjoy other water-related activities
Wed Dec 10 2014
In Vila-seca i La Pineda, discover wetlands with reedbeds and grasslands that serve as shelter to a variety of fauna, including a number of species at risk of extinction, such as the Spanish toothcarp and the European pond turtle. This is a fragile area with important environmental value, and has been protected since 1992; guided tours are available from August to February, the period when birds are not nesting. The place is known as Sèquia Major (which literally means 'large drainland') and is located within the town of Vila-seca, La Pineda Platja in the Costa Daurada. Its 17.3 hectares include a one-kilometre-long canal, areas of ancient wetlands and two flooded zones. A combination of sweet and salt water has given rise to this notable range of environments, and shouldn't be missed if you're a nature-lover or keen bird-watcher. To take a tour, you need to book in advance, by calling the Vila-Seca Municipal Tourist Board on 97 737 30 37.
Another recommendation related to both water and animals, and just as suitable for families as the Sèquia Major, is the dolphin and sea lion shows at Aquopolis dolphinarium and water park. In the summer months, this venue is full of visitors old and young enjoying the water slides, while in the winter it remains open for the animal shows, which take place every Sunday at noon. There is also the option, if you book in advance, of meeting the dolphins up close with a guided tour that includes an educational talk, and observing and learning about these friendly animals from the side of the pool where they live.
Finally, while nothing we've suggested so far has been particularly stressful – quite the opposite in fact – if you arrive in Vila-seca i La Pineda tired and in need of serious relaxation, there are two spas that will leave you feeling like new. One is the Aquum Spa & Wellness centre, which includes some 4,000 square metres of facilities inspired by seas and oceans that seek to bring you harmony and well-being, and also has a spa for children of five and older. The other is Spalas Spa & Wellness, a centre that will take your tension away thanks to water pressure treatments and various massages on offer. You will go home relaxed and with your energy revived.
Where to stay and where to eat
Located to the north of Vila-seca, the castle is neo-medieval in style and was acquired by the town council only a decade ago. Highlights include the Olzina Tower, which is believed to be of Roman origin. The tower is quadrangular and has an inner perimeter of 5.10 x 4.25 m. and its outer walls are built of large ashlars, with a thickness of six feet. The only way of seeing inside the building is to attend the acts that are held here since it isn’t usually open to the public.
- Carrer del Castell, s/n, (Tarragona)