Are you trying to find a holiday destination that will be great for both your road cycling ambitions and your family holiday requirements?!
Well Costa Daurada may just be it.
Road cycling on the Costa Daurada is fantastic (more on that in our cycling guides here and here), but there are also loads of really fun things to do in Costa Daurada, both for kids and adults alike, when you're not riding. Your main problem may be choosing what to do first!
From Costa Daurada’s water park and theme park to its fantastic beaches, Roman towns and Tarragona's amphitheatre, there are tons of Costa Daurada attractions.
In this article we'll go into the detail and share our top 10 best places to visit on Spain’s Costa Daurada, especially if you’re planning to stay near Salou or Cambrils.
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!)
Things to do in Costa Daurada:
1. Sample the local wine
A few miles inland from the coast, you find mile upon mile of vineyards, including the designations of Montsant, Tarragona, Conca de Barberà, Penedès and Priorat.
All the regions organise events to celebrate their wine-related heritage, including wine routes, tastings, concerts and festivals.
Many of the wineries are contained in spectacular ancient buildings, known as ‘wine cathedrals’ and taking a tour inside one of the wine cathedrals is a particularly fun idea. They provide the opportunity to learn about why these incredible structures were built, as well as taste the wines and choose bottles to take home with you.
2. Visit a UNESCO protected monastery
Poblet Monastery is an ancient and beautiful Cistercian monastery nestled in the mountains inland from the Costa Daurada.
A monk community still lives within the monastery, which dates back to the 12th century. The monastery is open for guided tours at selected times each day and the stunning Gothic-style cloisters, monks’ quarters, royal tombs and intricate architecture in the church make for a fascinating place to visit. You can even choose to stay here!
Together with the monasteries of Santes Creus and Vallbona de les Monges, these three ancient monasteries form the well-known Cistercian route.
3. Visit the medieval town of Montblanc
The Spanish town of Montblanc is famed for its defensive walls and historic buildings from the 13th and 14th century. Here, you can visit the very spot where legend has it that St George killed the dragon. There’s even a festival every April to celebrate the victory (the festival is called the Medieval Week of Montblanc).
There are a number of Gothic and Romanesque monuments to see in Montblanc, including the church of Santa Maria with its ornate façade and the Els Jueus, which was once Catalonia’s parliament building.
4. See the Roman legacy in Tarragona
Built around the second century, Tarragona’s UNESCO-listed Roman amphitheatre was used for two things: fighting animals and gladiator battles. It accommodated up to 15,000 spectators, and this absolutely huge structure has been very well preserved throughout history.
For the best views, head up the hill to the Balco del Mediterrani, or ‘Mediterranean Balcony’ to see the amphitheatre from a height, as well enjoying vistas of Tarragona’s beach, harbour and city buildings.
The banner photo of this article shows Tarragona amphitheatre in all its glory.
While you're in Tarragona, don't miss the incredible other Roman sites, including the circus (which was once used for chariot races), the provincial forum, praetorium and the aqueduct. All this ancient history at your fingertips is really quite an awe-inspiring spectacle.
5. Enjoy a Michelin-starred meal
Salou’s Deliranto is a Michelin star restaurant offering highly creative dished themed around classic stories such as the Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol. The restaurant promises ‘never-before-tasted’ flavours to fill your palate with new sensations.
For something more traditional, head to Cambrils to San Bosch, where you can enjoy savoury dishes made with only the highest quality ingredients. The Can Bosch arroz negro (black rice) is a must.
Alternatively, seafood lovers should visit Rincon de Diego, which offers a spectacular seafood menu and hosts themed food events throughout the year.
Things to do in Costa Daurada:
6. Have fun on the beach
Like much of the coast of Spain, the beaches are a focus in this region, and you’ll find many Costa Daurada beach activities to enjoy. For example Salou’s Ponent and Llevant beaches have floating platforms in the sea which you can swim out to. They come complete with slides and diving boards.
On Costa Daurada’s beaches you’ll find a whole host of water sports such as jet skiing, scuba diving, water skiing and wind surfing. For some family fun, why not hire a pedalo and take it for a ride in the sea? Some even have slides on the back which kids will love!
Another family-friendly point to consider is that Costa Daurada’s beaches are always lined with great bars and restaurants that allow you to enjoy a sea view while you dine.
7. Spend a day at PortAventura World
PortAventura World is one of the biggest attractions in Costa Daurada. It’s about 15 kilometres from Cambrils (less from Salou) and is meant to be one of the best theme parks in Europe.
There are all the usual rollercoasters and rides, as well as Ferrari Land based on Formula 1 and Ferrari - and a Sesame Street themed zone for little kids. A final attraction on a hot day is the wonderful water park - the Caribe Aquatic Park.
8. Visit a festival
The Catalans love a festival and events go on throughout the year.
Some of the most impressive are the Castells festivals - people balance on one another to create human towers which can reach up to ten storeys high! While these events do get very busy, kids are likely to be wowed by the spectacle of these human pyramids. Peak season for these starts in April and they run through to the start of October.
9. Make a splash in the water park
Aquapolis Costa Dorada is located in La Pineda, just 5 kilometres from Salou.
This fantastic water park has some truly terrifying slides including the Kamikaze, Black Hole and Hurricane, with lots of smaller slides and splash areas for younger kids too.
10. Visit Parc Samà in Cambrils
Parc Samà is a beautiful Mediterranean garden, found between Cambrils and Mobtrió.
It's a romantic place, started in 1881 by the Samà family and built up over the generations. It incorporates a sense of an exotic, colonial life with plants and styles brought back from Cuba, England, Italy, France and China.
There's a stunning lake and waterfall, modern art and a forest with palm trees, eucalyptus, banana trees, glycines and bougainvilleas. There are also exotic birds from Central America.
It's a wonderful place for the whole family to enjoy and it even incorporates a children's playground.
Tempted to book a holiday to the Costa Daurada?!
You can find out more about the fantastic cycling opportunities within our in-depth guides to cycling Costa Daurada. They contain our tried and tested reviews of some of the best Costa Daurada cycling routes, plus information on where to stay, 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!