The ever popular Costa Daurada is getting another superb attraction – Ferrari Land opens at PortAventura World on Friday April 7.
It is the only Ferrari Land in Europe and home to 11 attractions, including Red Force, Europe’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster.
Tourism bosses in the Spanish region of Tarragona expect the theme park to boost visitor numbers from the UK – with couples and families also exploring the nearby towns of Salou, Cambrils, Vila-seca and la Pineda.
So what can you expect to find? Take a look…
Beach & Sun
The Costa Daurada enjoys a Mediterranean climate with average temperatures of between 21 – 29°C in the summer and 14°C in the winter. The 81km stretch of Costa Daurada’s coastline has 60 beaches, many with ‘Blue Flag’ status and offering fine golden sand and clear, shallow waters. Walkers and cyclists can make their way along the 15km coastal path that runs from Salou, through Cambrils to l’Hospitalet de l’Infant.
The sea is central to life in Costa Daurada and the coastline is home to eight different marinas. The Nautical Station in Costa Daurada is the biggest in Catalonia and activities include kayak tours, jet-skiing, scuba diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddle surfing, parasailing and flyboarding, where participants are propelled into the air with a ‘jet-pack’ style board.
Good food and wine is at the heart of the Costa Daurada’s culture, with many local dishes, restaurants, wine tours and food festivals delighting visitors throughout the year.
The cuisine is shaped by traditional Mediterranean produce and fresh quality seafood a key part of the local menu with paella and many steamed or grilled shellfish and molluscs popular. Other local specialities include romesco sauce, xató salads and calçot onions. The fishing port and agricultural town of Cambrils is known as the gastronomic capital of the Costa Daurada, home to two Michelin star restaurants – Can Bosch and Rincón de Diego.
In early spring, Salou hosts Sabor Salou (May 5-7), a gastronomic fair that gathers local products and producers. Other highlights in the food calendar include Gastrotour Salou that takes place in the summer (similar events also occur in Cambrils and Vila-Seca) – a food walking tour of the town where visitors can sample the best of the local restaurants – and the Festival of the Squid that takes place in Salou in November.
The Costa Daurada is a land of rich heritage. Tarragona was once the capital of the Roman Empire’s Hispania and Roman Tarragona is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travellers should make sure they visit Tarragona and its amphitheatre during their stay in the Costa Daurada. Each year the city hosts the Tarraco Viva Festival (May 15-28), a celebration of Roman culture and a chance to watch some thrilling re-enactments in the city.
The unique tradition of building castells (human towers) originated in Valls in the Costa Daurada towards the end of the 18th century. Since then it has attracted visitors from around the world and in 2010, UNESCO declared the castells as a ‘Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. Throughout the summer, visitors can watch locals practice building the towers at special events – an incredible spectacle.
Visitors to the region could also make a trip to the monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet in Vimbodí i Poblet, which was the first monument in Costa Daurada to achieve the UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Adventure & Sport
A trip to the Costa Daurada offers a plethora of active options, and thanks to its temperate climate it’s a great place to try cycling, hiking and watersports. Travellers could also choose horseriding, quad biking and four-wheel-drive driving routes, while families can explore the countryside discovering prehistoric caves, monasteries and ancient walled towns.
Cambrils is well connected to the inland area of the Costa Daurada and has become the point of departure and arrival of numerous road bike routes. Designated as a ‘Sports Tourism Destination’ by the Catalan Tourist Board, the town itself has 27km of bike lanes. There are also a number of hiking routes throughout the region, with the best trekking areas are Montsant Massif and the Prades Mountains.
Tarragona will host the 18th Mediterranean Games in June 2018 with cycling and watersport events taking place alongside other Olympic sports. The Games are organised with the recognition of the International Olympic Committee.
Around 80km south of Cambrils is the Delta de l’Ebre, the largest wetland in Catalonia and one of the most important aquatic habitats in the western Mediterranean. Ideal for a day trip from the Costa Daurada, the Delta is perfect for birdwatchers and there are walking and cycling routes available for visitors.
Active travellers could also visit the Serra de Montsant mountain range, a diverse Natural Park with wild forests, ravines and valleys to explore. Further north is the Prades Mountains, home to multiple hiking and mountain bike routes, as well as Poblet Forest, one of the best-preserved forests in the region.
The Costa Daurada is currently a well-kept secret when it comes to golfing holidays, but with four golf courses and ‘pitch and putts’ it’s unlikely to stay that way for much longer. The region has an array of golf courses including one designed by noted architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. (The Bonmont) and golfing great Greg Norman (the 36-hole Lumine).
The accommodation options available in the Costa Daurada are better than ever with a number of two to five star hotels now available in Cambrils, Salou and Vila-seca, la Pineda, providing a wide range of choice for families, couples, groups and solo travellers. These hotels are ideal for those looking to spend time in the three nearby themeparks (PortAventura, Caribe Aquatic Parc and Ferrari Land) and explore the local area.
The Costa Daurada is also known for its outstanding campsites, eight of which were honoured with the ‘Best Campsites in Europe’ award by the Association of Campsites in 2016. Camping Sangulí Salou has unveiled its brand new Africa Resort this year, with family safari tents available from €85 (£72).
Ryanair flights from London Stansted to Barcelona (Reus) are available from £37.40 (return)
Jet2 flies from Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds-Bradford, Edinburgh, East Midlands or Glasgow to Reus. One way flights are available from £29.
More information on visiting the Costa Daurada here