We flew into Barcelona and hired a car as the flights into Reus were very expensive when I was booking. Car hire in Spain is extremely cheap and is a great way to get around. Salou is fantastic for families looking for sun, beach and theme parks and a hired car also enables you explore further afield.
We stayed in the 4* Sol Costa Dourada Hotel. It’s a 15 minute walk into town and 15 minute walk to Port Aventura resort. We really enjoyed our stay, a great family hotel with fantastic entertainment for the kids. The pool was terrific and supervised by a lifeguard till 8pm every evening. Food in the hotel was fine a good choice and variety every night. The beaches in Salou offer every imaginable water sport and lots of beach activities. I pre-booked the 3 park ticket for Port Aventura, Ferrari Land and Costa Caribe Waterpark. My kids are age 11 and 6 and to be honest I found the theme park really too much during the day. We were there in July, temperatures were very high and queues can be up to an hour for the big rides, this was very challenging for younger children. My advice is if you are in Salou in July or August, plan to head to the Port Aventura park in the evening about 5.30. Do the first hour in Ferrari Land before its closes and then head into Port Aventura, it remains open until the parade at 10pm. For older visitors, Salou has great nightlife with an abundance of bars, clubs, mega discos etc to keep even the most enthusiastic reveller happy. It attracts a lot of teens and twentysomethings.
The travel agent in me was curious to explore the region so we took two day trips. Our first stop was to the neighbouring towns of Cambrils and La Pineda. I loved La Pineda, just north of Salou, it is much quieter than Salou and has a really beautiful beach. You are only five minutes drive away from Salou and the theme parks. There is a great choice of traditional Spanish restaurants to dine in and we tried a restaurant called ‘Dorado’ which served amazing fish dishes. Cambrils, South of Salou retains a lot of traditional Spanish charm and is probably the most upmarket of the three towns. It has some of the finest fresh fish restaurants in Cataluna and is also a first class fishing spot with lots of fishing trips on offer. On another day we drove up to Sitges which is an hour from Salou and only 30 minutes from Barcelona airport. There are fabulous beaches and a seafront promenade lined with amazing mansions. Sitges is often referred to as the Saint-Tropez of Spain in part because of its carnival, film festival, lively nightlife and glitzy beach crowd. It is known to have an LGBT friendly atmosphere. The Old Town is very picturesque and well worth exploring with beautiful churches and an abundance of shops and restaurants. Foodies will be spoilt for choice with traditional Spanish restaurants located along the waterfront and in the old town. Sitges is surrounded by Garraf Natural Park which has a number of marked walks to choose from. I will definately be going back for a longer stay in Sitges. For this family holiday we were looking for beach and theme parks and so focussed on the resorts, we were not disappointed by the fabulous climate and quality beaches. However, for those looking for more options for their holiday the Costa Dorada has plenty on offer for those seeking art, culture, history, countryside, hiking etc. Off the beaten track there are an abundance of secret beaches, stunning nature spots, ancient sites and quaint fishing villages to discover. For city lovers, Salou is within a comfortable visiting distance of some great cities including Barcelona, Tarragona and Reus.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON SALOU, LA PINEDA, CAMBRILS, SITGES OR THE COSTA DORADA REGION CONTACT LINDA KEHOE 053 9233178 EMAIL: LINDA.KEHOE@OLTA.IE