Spring and summer getaways to the Costa Daurada
Eleven routes to discover the nature, culture, cuisine and beaches of the Costa Daurada while the weather's just right
Tue Apr 1 2014
The landscape of Priorat has little in common that of its neighbouring regions, or indeed, with any other place in the Principality. If you approach the area from Reus, shortly after passing by Riudecols you soon start to penetrate a world of rugged mountains, with slate walls and sharp bends on the roads. The small villages here are surrounded by vines, olive trees and have a spectacular backdrop - the Montsant range of mountains. This is a severe and unique land, whose inhabitants have managed to make it produce high quality wine and oil, and minerals, as we'll see on the first stop of our itinerary.
One of the best things about Catalonia is that here you can spend the morning soaking up the sun on the beach and, the next minute, find yourself mountain-biking in piney woods or scaling impressive peaks. This is especially true of the Costa Daurada and specifically the Baix Camp region. Mountain ranges like the Serra de Llaberia, Serra de Pradell-l'Argentera and Muntanyes de Prades are beautiful areas at high elevation located only a few kilometres from the beaches, and they offer a whole world of great views and charming villages just waiting to be discovered.
We would like to propose a trip to Calafell that balances physical activity and cultural exploration. This town offers the perfect combination of both worlds - you can swim or sail from one of its extensive beaches, play golf or go Nordic walking with a qualified instructor and then visit a rebuilt Iberian settlement or climb up to the Castle of Santa Creu.
The municipal area of Vandellòs and l'Hospitalet de l'Infant is the most extensive in the Baix Camp region, which it "closes" to the south. The two towns really have very little in common - in fact the contrast between them could hardly be more stark - in the first one you will find peace and quiet year round and it is encircled by mountains that lend themselves very well to hikes, while the second offers a good selection of restaurants, hotels and campsites, as well as blue flag quality beaches. On this getaway, we will try to get to know both of them in depth.
Like many other towns on the Costa Daurada, Mont-Roig del Camp - Miami Platja is made up of an important, historical town located a few kilometers inland and a seaside town given over to summer tourism. This getaway will allow us explore both the Mont-Roig that captivated the painter Joan Miró and the beaches that are home to thousands of visitors every year who come in pursuit of the town's sea and sand.
The Costa Daurada has been a breeding ground for artists and geniuses like Antoni Gaudí, and on this getaway we'll be following in his footsteps around the streets that he knew during his childhood and as a young man. Reus has always been synonymous with dynamism. The town's theatres offer a stable programme of high quality productions, it has avant-garde art spaces like the Gaudí Centre, it has museums with interesting collections and exhibitions, and its streets are full of modernista style buildings and tributes to its most illustrious sons. At the same time, you only have to stroll around Plaça del Mercadal to get an idea of the airs of commerce that exist here, along with a varied selection of great restaurants. In the next few hours we'll be getting a taste of the best that the capital of the Baix Camp region has to offer.
Poblet, Santes Creus and Vallbona de les Monges make up a unique, special, almost magical triangle and are unmissable visits for everyone from lovers of history and architecture to anyone interested in seeing magnificent landscapes or seeking spiritual peace. This is undoubtedly one of the most complete getaways you can do, not only in the Tarragona region, but indeed, in the whole of Catalonia, many of whose historical and spiritual roots lie here.
Considered by many to be the capital of the Costa Daurada, Salou is always bustling with tourists in summer who come from all over attracted by its fine sand beaches and sheltered coves. On these beaches you can walk a long way into the sea without the water reaching more that waist high and there are plenty of local leisure facilities for children (Bosc Aventura, horse riding, karting, mini golf, PortAventura...) making Salou an eminently family-oriented resort.
Our aim for the two days we'll be spending in Tarragona is to get an idea of its splendid Roman past. The city has riches enough to justify multiple visits and when you leave here you're sure to start looking through your agenda trying to find a return date. That's why we want to focus especially on exploring the Roman city of Tarraco. We'll always have other opportunities to discover its other charms, its squares, its ancient streets... The Costa Daurada has been populated by civilizations that have left a mark that endures to our days, and that is especially the case of Tarragona.
El Vendrell and Pau Casals are inseparable. The musician was born and lived there for the first period of his life, before exile took him away from the Baix Penedès. His memory permeates the whole town: you can visit his family home, where he spent his summers, the auditorium is named after him, a beautiful sculpture by Joseph Viladomat in Plaça Nova pays homage to him... even the motorway that takes us to the town bears his name. But El Vendrell offers plenty of other things to enjoy during a short but activity-packed getaway.
This getaway to Vila-seca i la Pineda is focused predominantly on leisure and relaxation. This is the land of PortAventura, but of lots more besides - you can also enjoy a water park, spa centres, and, of course, the area's beaches. A lot of water is involved, as you can see. We will also explore some of the unknown corners of this town on the Costa Daurada.