Spain’s beautiful Costa Dorada (‘Golden Coast’) lives up to its name with heavenly beaches of golden sand. The Costa Dorada (Costa Daurada in Catalan) stretches for more than 200 kilometres, and encompasses some of Spain’s most appealing resorts, from charming Sitges to family favourite Cap de Salou.
With our cheap holidays you can experience the popular water parks and theme parks on the Costa Dorada – including PortAventura World (in Salou), one of the biggest in Europe – to keep the kids happy, and plenty of options for eating, drinking and shopping. Inland you’ll find hills, vineyards, ancient monasteries and olive groves, and, if you want a shot of city life, Barcelona and Tarragona are a short hop away by train.
Flights to the Costa Dorada are cheapest in April and May, though holidays to the Costa Dorada are very much a year-round affair. For a truly "golden" holiday in 2018 or 2019, you can't beat this Spanish coastal destination, the Costa Dorada.
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The Costa Dorada has a fantastic array of attractions for a 2018 / 2019 adventure: the gorgeous beaches are the biggest draw on the Costa Dorada, but you’ll also find charming fishing villages, wineries, historic towns and lively resorts offering fantastic entertainment and attractions for all the family.
Your first point of contact with the Costa Dorada is Reus, home to the regional airport. From there it's to the region's popular resorts. Salou is the biggest resort which lays along the northeastern point of the Costa Dorada. An all-round favourite, Salou has a range of beaches to choose from including 34 Blue Flag beaches. Passeig Jaume I, the main promenade in Salou runs along the coast, next to Llevant Beach - the longest beach in this resort town. Being one of the most popular beaches in Salou, Llevant Beach offers a variety of water sports and rentals.
Beaches aren’t the only thing Salou has to offer. It’s also home to PortAventura World, an enormous theme park and water park which will surely keep kids of all ages entertained.
Up the coast towards Barcelona, Sitges is a chic and stylish town with fantastic nightlife. Find out why we love Sitges. Inland, you can explore some of Spain’s best wine regions, watch the castellers make their amazing human castles in Valls, or gaze at flamingos in the vast Delta de l’Ebre nature reserve.
The cosmopolitan Catalan capital of Barcelona is a short train ride away, while Tarragona preserves some magnificent ruins that attest to its importance in Roman Hispania.
Every imaginable cuisine is available in the popular resorts of the Costa Dorada, while in smaller towns and villages you’re more likely to find restaurants serving Catalan and Mediterranean dishes. The larger resorts such as Salou and Sitges have a variety of international restaurants, whereas the quiet, and typically more Spanish La Pineda, is where you'll stumble across traditional Spanish eateries.
Local specialities include delicious seafood dishes such as suquet, a traditional fish stew, and fideuà, which is similar to paella but is made with small noodles. Your food may be accompanied by the classic Catalan pa amb tomàquet – country bread rubbed with tomato and garlic and drizzled with olive oil.
There are lots of tapas bars, as there are in most of Spain, where you can tuck into local charcuterie such as fuet, along with classics like patates braves (chunks of fried potato with a spicy sauce), xipirones (fried baby squid), and truita (tortilla in Spanish, a potato omelette).
Traditional desserts include crema catalana, a local version of crème brûlée, or mel i mató, fresh cheese drizzled with honey. The regional wines are outstanding, with some superb reds, along with fresh and crisp whites, rosés and the Catalan answer to champagne, cava.
The Costa Dorada is a fantastic destination for family holidays. The beautiful beaches, with their fine sand and shallow waters, are clean, child-friendly, and teenagers and kids will be thrilled by the endless possibilities for water sports. You can rent pedaloes, banana boats, jet skis or kayaks, or even try your hand at kite surfing for great family activities.
Salou has an inflatable playground in the sea and a fountain show which kids will enjoy splashing in. Find out why we think Salou is for you on your next family getaway. Cambrils has a wonderful seafront promenade that is ideal for cycling or roller-blading. There are several water parks, including Aqualandia and Aqualeon, along with an adventure park, Jumpland Aventura Ecológica, which has a fantastically long zip line, one of the longest in Europe.
The biggest attraction on the Costa Dorada is PortAventura World in Salou (which includes the recently inaugurated Ferrari World). PortAventura attracts over 300 million visitors each year, making it one of Europe’s largest theme parks. A great quiet place to stay for trips to PortAventura and Aquapolis is the resort of La Pineda, much less busy than its neighbour, Cambrils.
You can enjoy many activities on the Costa Dorada, including hiking, mountain biking and swimming. As well as many water activities, such as kayaking, kite-surfing, windsurfing, jet-skiing and paragliding.
Salou, the largest resort on the Costa Dorada, is where you’ll find the greatest concentration of facilities for adventure sports and water sports, but most of the seaside towns are well equipped with activities for visitors. Plus, Salou is the best resort if you want to visit PortAventura World.
There is a string of nature reserves where you can escape the crowds: the Garraf massif is a great option for hiking and mountain biking, while the Delta de l’Ebre nature reserve at the southern end of the Costa Dorada is a magnificent, empty wilderness, and a fantastic place to go hiking and bird-watching.
The beaches of the Costa Dorada are some of the finest in Spain. Stunning stretches of golden sand fringed with palm trees. Almost 90 of them have been awarded Blue Flag status, reflecting their excellent services and exceptional water quality. There are a variety of hotels along the coast, with everything from bougie suites for loved-up couples, to large resorts boasting large kid-friendly outdoor pools.
The main resorts – such as Salou, Cambrils, La Pineda and Sitges – all boast fantastic sandy beaches, but there are plenty of others along the coast worth seeking out.
Salou's beaches, Llevant Beach and Ponent Beach are two peaceful beaches which are perfect for families. Whilst the town of Cambrils is home to a whopping 7km of coastline, which makes up 9 sandy beaches to choose from. Cambrils' beaches slope gently into the sea, also making this an ideal spot for children. Finally, La Pineda is a top beach destination in Costa Dorada, as all of its 3 beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag and have soft sand and gently inclining shores. With an additional water sports centre, La Pineda is perfect!
For remote and unspoilt beaches, head to the Delta de l’Ebre nature reserve in the south of the Costa Dorada.
The two main hubs for nightlife on the Costa Dorada are Sitges, which has long been a favourite with the LGBTQ community, and Salou. Both have a huge choice of bars, clubs, cocktail bars, and beach bars. Whether you want to dance all night long at one of the massive super clubs or simply enjoy a sunset cocktail at a beachfront bar, you’ll find something for all tastes.
In Sitges, there are summer-only beach bars in the small coves just south of the town, where you can listen to the sound of the waves as you sip your drink. The nightlife peaks in July and August, but a lot of places, particularly the bigger nightclubs, close down for most of the winter.
Although holidays to the Costa Dorada are generally known for their family-friendly atmosphere, there are still plenty of spots to check out if you're travelling with a group of friends.
The Costa Dorada is a wonderful destination for a romantic holiday with your partner. If you simply want to relax, you can spend all day soaking up the sun on gorgeous beaches, cooling off with a dip in the sea, and end the day at a beach club, sipping a cocktail with your toes in the sand. Thanks to the great prices on flights taking your partner on a surprise last-minute holiday to the Costa Dorada is definitely affordable. In particular, we think Cambrils is a fantastic late holiday destination.
In Salou, you could take a romantic stroll along the Camí de Ronda coastal path, which offers wonderful views over the coastline. Or you can hike along the coast to find one of the smaller, less busy coves for some seclusion. If you like a little more adventure, you could spend the day visiting the local wineries, perhaps taking a picnic and enjoying it under some olive trees.
And if you feel the need for some hustle and bustle you can head into the big city of the glamorous Catalan capital of Barcelona, or the second heart of the Costa Dorada, Tarragona. There’s plenty of nightlife to be found in Salou, particularly in the summer months, when the clubs keep going all night.
The Costa Dorada is full of fascinating cultural attractions. Foremost among them is the superb Roman ruins in Tarragona, which was once the capital of an important Roman province. There’s also a beautiful Roman villa in Altafulla, and you’ll find extraordinary aqueducts and arches scattered across the region.
Sitges has several fine museums, notably Cau Ferrat, a charming seafront mansion which has an eclectic collection of paintings and objects gathered by the Catalan artist Santiago Rusiñol. There are lots of colourful festivals held year-round, including Tarragona’s Santa Tecla festival in September, the Nits Daurades (‘Golden Nights’) in Salou in August, and the fabulous Carnival celebrations in Sitges.
Check out our top hotels in Costa Dorada or explore some of our most popular cheap holiday destinations on the Costa Dorada: