Situated at the very heart of the Costa Dorada, Cambrils is acknowledged as the second largest town in this region of Spain which is known as Baix Camp. Framed by the Llaberia and Prades mountain ranges, Cambrils retains much of its original character and charm from its fishing heyday; which as an industry is still very much alive and kicking here in 2019, albeit relatively scaled back. The port and old town of Cambrils serve as constant reminders to the town’s proud tradition and historical relevance, and is in many ways described as a typical Catalonian town. That’s in spite of the outlying neighbourhoods edging ever closer to nearby – yet worlds apart – coastal resort, Salou. So much so that both towns are physically connected by an esplanade and a bicycle lane, irrespective of wildly contrasting reputations both home and away. As far as a holiday destination, Cambrils offers tourists visiting the area the perfect counterweight to Salou and its less subtle facilities, yet still manages to harbour an array of impressive beaches, restaurants, bars, cafes as well as numerous things to do and see to compete with its nearest neighbour on altogether different fronts.
Although Barcelona is within easy reach of those choosing to holiday in Cambrils this summer, you can put ideas about checking out the Sagrada Familia cathedral on ice for the time being, as this little corner of the Spanish coastline proffers its own treasures once you start scratching the surface. If you’re looking for a taste of authentic Spain, Cambrils is your ticket to ride. How about heading to the castle and fortress for a lesson on the region’s history, or maybe a tranquil afternoon saunter up the town’s cobbled streets? That old defensive fort we mention happens to date back to the 12th Century, while in the equally convenient Castillo de Vilafortuny, banquets of all kinds still take place during Cambril’s much-celebrated festival season. As a quick whistle-stop tour (at least, virtually-speaking), perhaps some of the following will pique your interest. The red lighthouse of Cambrils offers no better place to enjoy a splendid panoramic view of the port, while the Vila Romana de la Llosa (an excavation of Roman ruins which was not discovered until 1980, when building work was carried out in the area) is definitely worth a pit stop. Successive archaeological digs have unearthed countless ancient remains from the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD.
Cambrils remains a well-known and highly rated seafood-providing community, not just in Barcelona but across the rest of Spain. Therefore visitors can imagine that the town’s restaurant menus tend to be dominated by the inclusion of seafood in various ways, shapes and forms. It’s no coincidence that Cambrils is called the culinary capital of the Costa Dorada, with the town boasting over 200 restaurants, among them some that have been given awards by the Michellin and Repsol guides and have been featured in articles on fine dining experiences.
Given that in 2007 Cambrils was officially acknowledged by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalonian government) for being the ideal holiday destination for families, it’s fair to say that those arranging a Cambrils holiday this summer – with or without their family – won’t be disappointed with their choice of destination. For a start you’ll be ideally located near to the famous Port Aventura theme park, with enough rides and fun-packed activities to cater for the whole family on your break. While not a million miles away (in La Pineda to be precise), the Aquopolis water park lies in wait. There are also a number of boat trips on offer at the beach, including a great glass-bottomed boat trip. The very latest addition to family-orientated fun times in and around (or at the very least, in close proximity to) Cambrils is none other than ‘Ferrari Land’. Brace yourselves for adrenaline-fuelled rides and high-speed racing games set against the backdrop of a rustic Italian town, as Port Aventura throws open its theme park doors to its newest attraction.
As you'd expect with a glittering coastline like the Costa Dorada's, water is never far from the action; and plays a pivotal role in the Cambrils holidays of many. We’re not just talking about a handful of water sports, as effectively there’s pretty much every water sport you can think of, and probably a few you haven't. Most activities and fun revolve around the main beaches, where thrill-seekers can opt for sailing, windsurfing, jet ski-ing, parasailing, inflatable bananas, boats and pedalos. Indeed, something for every level of swimmer/adrenaline-junkie. Away from the water, Salou Downhill Bikes, Cambrils Jeep Aventure and Aventura y Ocio provide even more thrills and spills. The latter allows holidaymakers to explore the surrounding Spanish countryside on buggies, where you can circumnavigate narrow field tracks as well as plot their way through picturesque village to mountains and beyond.
Cambrils is home to over 7 kilometers of coastline, the majority of which is made up of 9 finely sanded beaches which attract numerous holidaymakers annually. Said beaches tend to gently shelve into the sea, providing perfect swimming conditions for children, while if sunbathing is your thing then Cambrils has that holiday necessity covered too; thanks largely to long and warm summers under the glare of the sun (plenty of shade is also widely available). In terms of typical beach activities/water sports options, windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing, banana boat rides, jet-skiing and water skiing are all readily within reach. Summarising just a few of those 9 beaches aforementioned, and in no particular semblance of order (the easternmost beach in Cambrils), Playa Cap de Sant Pere, borders on the beach Playa del Ponent de Salou; where the two coastal towns are interconnected as such. Meanwhile Playa de Vilafortuny beach has been awarded Blue Flag status, while Playa de l'Esquirol (found at the western end) is home to a windsurfing and sailing school; which also offers other water sports like catamaran sailing, kayaking and wakeboarding. Elsewhere, and other Cambrils beaches come complete with palm tree-lined esplanades, shops, bars, beach bars and restaurants.
Those on the look-out for a livelier party atmosphere should book a place in Salou instead. That’s not to say that nightlife in Cambrils isn’t fun-filled and memory-making, just that it’s a little less frantic than its neighbouring resort. Which is great news for those of you planning on letting their hair down; as opposed to tattooing the name of someone special they’ve just met the acquaintance of in a bar on their arms. The nightclubs, cocktail bars and pubs that open their doors when night falls are mainly to be found on the seafront in Cambrils, with a good choice of venues to sample the nocturnal delights of. Like for instance Black (club, lounge bar and mini-theatre for artists all in one; nice terrace on the first floor with sea views), Pub Movie Cocteleria (karaoke bar and dancing), Opera (cocktail bar with spectacular décor and La Bodeguita del Mar (beach bar that belongs to Restaurante Beatriz, that plays chill-out music just a few steps away from the seashore) to name but a few.
A walk around Cambrils harbour is always worth the effort. From the red tower, couples looking for a bit of ‘them time’ are afforded some of the very best panoramic views of the port and Cambrils’ architecturally distinctive old town. This is where the nautical atmosphere is at its most authentic, we hasten to add. At the right time of day or night (sunset being recommended), the pace set is one of winding down and savouring the delights within eyeshot. Don’t forget that this region is famous for its wines too, cava (Spanish champagne) being the primary tipple, while olives are also in abundance – and have gained a reputation - hereabouts. If of course as a couple you wish to crank things up a tad, you could always buy tickets for and attend ‘Cambrirocks’; where every year thousands of Spanish rock and pop fans flock en-masse to a designated area (close to the esplanade Passeig de Sant Joan Baptista de la Salle), where the fun starts and lasts 4 days. Before going to the festival, fans can even vote online for the bands that they want to play in Cambrils.
Culture come in all guises in Cambrils, and can be immersed in all year round. That said, some annual events take place at specific times and, well, places, like for instance Cambrils Festival. Comprising of a heady mix of Catalan dance and music, night-time parades, rockets, firecrackers, fireworks and bonfires (as well as parties on Cambrils’ beaches), this spectacle is certainly worth seeing if you get the opportunity, while Sant Pere (Saint Peter’s day) Festival (which again is staged in Cambrils and, perhaps unsurprisingly happens on Saint Peter’s day) sees the town paying tribute to the patron saint of fishermen. Cue ceremonial acts carried out in the port throughout the festival period. Elsewhere, the last two weekends in July every year holidaymakers can bear witness to ‘Les Nits d’Estiu’ (or the summer nights); who present numerous concerts, acts and dances.