Thinking about cycling in Salou or Cambrils on Spain's Costa Daurada? This article aims to help you with the practicalities of planning a cycling trip there. We will cover things like how you get to Salou/Cambrils, what the hotels are like, the weather, food, and things to do when you’re not cycling.
We also provide an overview of Costa Daurada’s cycling routes - you can check out our in-depth Costa Daurada destination guide for the full lowdown.
We hope this article answers your questions about what a Costa Daurada cycling holiday based out of Salou or Cambrils would be like and whether it’s right for you. If you have any questions, add a comment at the bottom of the article and we will get back to you!
This article is sponsored by Costa Daurada Tourism Board as they want cyclists to know about their region. We have editorial control over what we've written (i.e. they haven't told us what to write!)
1. Where is Salou/Cambrils?
Salou and Cambrils are towns on Spain's Costa Daurada.
The Costa Daurada forms a 92 kilometre stretch of coastline in southern Catalonia, within the province of Tarragona. If you’re looking at a map of Spain, it’s about a quarter of the way down on the right hand side!
Salou and Cambrils are just south of the main city of Tarragona, with Salou just closer to Tarragona.
Map showing Costa Brava (top), Costa Daurada (middle), Costa Blanca (bottom)
2. How do you get to Salou/Cambrils?
The closest airport to Salou and Cambrils is in Reus (here's a list of the destinations you can fly from/to).
More airlines fly to Barcelona. From there it’s around 100 kilometres to Salou on good motorways.
If you prefer to travel by train, there are connections to Tarragona from cities all around Spain and high speed trains from the major cities. You can continue on from Tarragona to Salou by train (but it’s then a car ride to Cambrils).
3. What does the Costa Daurada look like?
Both Cambrils and Salou are coastal towns that were traditionally fishing villages but are now busy tourist centres full of hotels, shops, bars and restaurants offering services to people who want to enjoy the impressive beaches that stretches between the two towns. Much of the architecture dates from the 1960s and many of the hotels have hundreds of beds, catering to package holiday makers.
There’s a quick change almost as soon as you head inland; buildings give way to rural countryside with orchards and olive groves. The traffic thins and the architecture of the towns you pass through becomes more typically Spanish.
Around 30 kilometres inland, you reach regions such as the Priorat vineyards, the Prades Mountains and Montsant Natural Park. Now you’re in really rural Spain where craggy mountain outcrops guard vast swathes of unspoilt Mediterranean brush vegetation, olive trees, vineyards and sweeping views back to the coast.
4. Tell me about cycling the Costa Daurada (especially cycling Salou/Cambrils)
You can access some superb cycling from the Salou-Cambrils coast, but if you have a car and are able to drive inland a little way, you can access a whole host of other rides too.
When you’re riding inland from the coast, it’s quite flat for the first 20-30 kilometres, which might be useful for less strong riders or provide a good warm up for stronger riders. Once into the inland areas of the Priorat vineyards, Prades Mountains and Montsant Natural Park, you find long gradual climbs and twisting descents through beautiful countryside.
If you want less demanding rides, you can take on loops of the coastal hinterland and the bike path along the seafront between Cambrils and Salou.
Our in-depth destination guide focuses on the Costa Daurada’s best road cycling routes - this link will take you to the relevant part of the guide where you can find firsthand accounts of rides we’ve done, GPX files and lots of photos. We also have information on Cambrils/Salou bike hire.
5. What are Costa Daurada hotels like?
The majority of Costa Daurada hotels are clustered along the seafront. They are typically large with beach access and lots of leisure activities on offer. Many of the hotels cater to cyclists.
Both Cambrils and Salou are certified Sport Tourism Destinations specialising in sports including cycling. This designation means there is official approval for their facilities and the accommodation. The tourist office can provide you with a list of approved bike hotels which will all have:
If you want to stay inland, there are also options available. They may not be officially approved cycling hotels as such, but you should be able to speak with them to check their facilities will work for your needs.
These inland hotels range from options like Termes de Montbrió (a four star hotel in Montbrió del Camp with an incredible thermal spa) to Hotel Sport (in the heart of Priorat's stunning vineyards) and Mas La Boella (a beautiful country house surrounded by 272 acres of olive groves).
6. Give me an idea of things to do in Costa Daurada (when I'm not cycling)
If you’re not cycling every day or if you’re on holiday with non cyclists, you’ll probably want to know about Costa Daurada’s tourist attractions. Fortunately activities in Costa Daurada are plentiful, so there should be more than enough to keep you/them occupied!
Our top three Costa Daurada activities are below - they’re all easily accessible from Salou and Cambrils:
Enjoy the beach: if you’re staying on the coast, then the obvious starting point is a trip to the golden sands of Costa Daurada’s beaches. There are around sixty along a 92 kilometre stretch of coastline. Many have the Blue Flag destination and are great for swimming and water activities. At Salou, the beaches Llevant, Ponent and Llarga run alongside the promenade and you’ll find toilets, showers, restaurants and be able to rent sunbeds and parasols. There are also more secluded beaches a little further away, if you prefer - for example Penya Tallada or Cala Font.
Explore the promenade: the concrete path between Salou and Cambrils is perfect for walking, cycling, roller skating or even segwaying along! There are lots of restaurants, shops and ice cream parlours near it and you have the beach and sea vista accompanying you the entire length. Cambrils Marina is a particularly nice area.
Get to know Tarragona: if you love history, don’t miss the impressive Roman amphitheatre which is right by the sea and can fit around 14,000 people. There’s also the must-visit Cathedral of Santa Tecla, the Pont del Diable Roman aqueduct and the Torre de los Excipiones, which is one of the most well-preserved monuments in Spain.
We've also got lots more idea for non-cycling things to do in Costa Daurada in this article (which is divided into kids activities and adult-focused things to do).
7. Tell me about the weather in Costa Daurada
Costa Daurada weather follows a typically Mediterranean climate. You can expect warm summers and mild winters. Average temperatures range from around 12℃ in winter to between 23℃ and 29℃ in summer. We’ve got more information on Costa Daurada’s weather and the cycling season, in this section of our destination guide.
8. What's Costa Daurada food like?
Many of the restaurants in Salou cater to the large number of British holiday makers and provide classics like English breakfasts, pies and fish and chips - though you can also search out good quality Spanish options too.
If you’re hoping for a more authentic experience, you might want to head to Cambrils which is more well-known for its traditional Spanish cuisine. There you can find the traditional coca pastry and dishes like arroz negro (black rice where the rice is dyed using squid ink and it is served with fresh seafood) and fideos rossos (red boodles cooked in fish broth served with alioli).
Cambrils and Salou both have Michelin starred restaurants; a good choice for the foodies out there!
A final thought: if you stay at a hotel on a half board basis, you might end up missing the experience of eating out at some of these fantastic local places. Bear this in mind when booking your accommodation!
Want to go cycling in Cambrils/Salou?
Don’t miss our in-depth guides to cycling Costa Daurada: you’ll find our tried and tested reviews of some of the best Costa Daurada cycling routes, all based from Cambrils - plus information on cycling in Salou and cycling in Cambrils, road bike hire and more.
Got a question? Feel free to drop us a comment below - we monitor all comments and will be happy to help!