Costa Dorada destination guide
Looking for the perfect beach break? Look no further. Your definitive guide to the Costa Dorada’s best beaches (and beyond) starts here
Things to do on the Costa Dorada
The Costa Dorada (also known as the Costa Daurada) has been named the ‘Golden Coast’ and rightly so: the Costa Dorada does indeed boast miles and miles of glorious golden sands attracting 3,500,000 tourists each year.
While it would be easy to spend your entire holiday flat on your back on a beach soaking up the deliciously hot sunshine, that would be just plain slobby. Instead make the effort to get off your sun lounger and venture beyond the beaches to discover Costa Dorada’s other delights: to judge the Costa Dorada only on its coastline is the equivalent of saying that you’re intimately acquainted with the US because you’ve had a Big Mac.
Get cultured up in the old Roman capital of Tarragona – you could easily spend a day getting lost in the walls of this medieval city. Must visit museums include Museu Nacional Arqueologic de Tarragona – a gem of a museum that gives insight into Roman Tarraco – and Museu D’Historia de Tarragona. The latter consists of four separate Roman sites which were designated a World Heritage Site back in 2000. Those mad about museums should seriously think about buying The Tarragona card. Valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, it’s great value giving you free entry to all museums as well as scores of other sights.
Sound a tad too high-brow for a holiday? Bring out your inner kid at Port Aventura – one of Spain’s most popular funfair adventures. The park has plenty of spine tingling rides spread out across themed areas from the Wild West to Polynesia.
Elsewhere shop till you drop in Sitges (quintessential Costa Dorada purchases include pottery, wrought-iron work and handicrafts made of palm), or sample some sensational seafood dishes drizzled with xato (an almond and hazelnut sauce long considered a Costa Dorada culinary delicacy). Costa Dorada has got the lot.
Weather on the Costa Dorada
The Costa Dorada’s enviable climate only adds to the overall appeal of the Golden Coast. Cooler than the Costa del Sol, it’s nonetheless pleasant all year round.
If your main aim is to fly and flop on the long, golden beaches, the best time to jet off is between April and July which will see you relaxing in temperatures of 28C – sounds good to us! September and October are ideal for anyone sans kids – the schools have started back meaning you can catch the last of the sun’s rays without having to witness little Johnny’s temper tantrums.
Sunshine aside, there’s plenty of history and heritage to soak up – take a bow Tarragona and Tarossa with its gothic cathedral and castle – which can be done during the winter months. It starts to get cooler in December but temperatures still average around 17C and rainfall is virtually non-existent.
Nightlife on the Costa Dorada
The Costa Dorada attracts everyone from sun seekers to families, honeymooners, an international gay crowd and last, but by no means, least: night owls. After beaches, nights out are arguably what this holiday hotspot does best – the Costa Dorada certainly knows how to how party. The nightlife thumps until breakfast all year round, but especially so in summer.
Most of the action takes place in the resorts of Salou and Sitges which collectively have more cafes, clubs, bars, restaurants and discos than you can shake a stick at. Here under the setting sun and the blare of feel good music, you can drink margaritas the size of goldfish bowls and enjoy timeless, unpretentious fun.
For more hardcore clubbing, pop over to La Pineda – birthplace of Pacha, the super club for well dressed ravers that regularly pulls in the world’s best known DJs. Tip: don’t bother turning up much before midnight – the Costa Dorada is a destination that wakes up when others are going to sleep.
Finally for more sedate nightlife, check out characterful Cambrils where visiting gourmands can fill their boots with every cuisine imaginable from paella to pasta and pizza.
All told whether you want to drink, dance or dine out, you can do it all on the Costa Dorada – a region that in many ways becomes an even more appealing place after dark.
Beaches on the Costa Dorada
Think of the golden, flour fine sand depicted in glossy holiday brochures and you have the Costa Dorada. The sun drenched strip that stretches some 200km south from the city of Barcelona is brimming with beaches just begging you to plonk your towel on. Confused as to which one to choose? CD Traveller has done the hard work for you. All you need to do now is focus…
If you like your beaches to be buzzing, Salou’s long golden sweep is the answer. This Blue Flag beach aka the ‘beach of Europe’ is one of the liveliest in Spain with sun beds, showers and every water sport under the sun.
Sound a little too exuberant? Peaceful La Pineda, with its jewel-green pine forests and hidden sandy coves, is worth a punt as is Cambrils. Situated south of Salou, Cambrils is the quietest of the three resorts making it the perfect place to read a book – or perhaps even write one? It’s also the most traditional and authentically Spanish resort on the Costa Dorada being blessed with narrow cobbled streets, quaint buildings and a picturesque fishing harbour.
Another place to feel the sun on your back is sophisticated Sitges, which has a slew of sun drenched sandy beaches. But choose your beach carefully; Playa del Muerto has a reputation for being a gay haunt while there’s a number of nudist beaches for anyone wanting to achieve an all over tan.