TRAVEL GUIDE: Costa Doroda, Spain

If you’re dreaming of sandy beaches, seafood paella and sunshine for your next summer holiday, I’d love to recommend the stunning Costa Dorada in Spain. I was very lucky to visit for 5 days in April and I wanted to put together a travel guide to inspire you.  Situated in South Catalonia, Costa Daurada (Spanish spelling) translates to ‘Golden Coast’ which perfectly represents the 50 miles of stunning beaches along this coastline, running south of Barcelona.

Costa Doroda is also a fantastic holiday destination because it’s super affordable and easy to get to (around a 2 hour flight) and you can fly direct to Reus which takes the stress out of travelling – see flights to Costa Doroda with Jet 2 here.  Our flights from Manchester Airport were a breeze and included 22kg hold luggage as well as 10kg hold luggage.

I was blown away with the range of activities and things to do in this beautiful part of the world, there’s really something for everyone – romantic mountainside villages + roman ruins to explore, wine + olive oil tasting, water sports + spas – I think it’s a great destination for a couples.


H10 Imperial Tarraco

We stayed at the beautiful H10 Imperial Tarraco, bookable through Jet2holidays, a 4 star hotel situated right on the coast with views over the stunning sea.  Tarragona is an idyllic place to stay for your trip. It’s not only a 30 minute drive from Barcelona (perfect for a day trip) but also is an ancient port city full of Roman ruins, Mediterranean courtyards, colourful buildings and bars.


Coastal Path Walk:

Situated in Salou is a 9km coastal hiking trail which is a beautiful way to explore the area, and also allows you to discover discreet beaches and hidden bays with + panoramic views of the sea. We started our walk at the Salou lighthouse all the way to Platja Llarga beach where we stopped for a spot of beachside yoga.  It was an easy walk with wooden pathways but did include some rocky hikes so trainers are recommended.

I recommend checking ut the Cala Crancs beach along the path, it looked much quieter than others and the perfect place to spend some sunny hours soaking up the warmth.

Park Sama:

An absolute highlight of the trip was visiting Park Sama, a luscious and serene botanical garden near to Cambrils. It was created in 1881 by Salvador Sama, a Marquis, and designed as a Mediterranean paradise inspired by his travels. He imported exotic plants and trees from around the world also bought over numerous species of birds and butterflies so the park now proudly boasts over 1500 species of flora and fauna (I need to note that I’ve also never seen so many peacocks in one place! It was beautiful seeing their vivid green feathers everywhere you looked).

The centrepiece of the park is both the Mudejar style palace which served as the family’s summer home, and a stunning waterfall + pond which give the feel of a tranquil oasis.  The Sama family’s legacy lives on in the park with their commitment to preserve nature + to create a haven for both people and wildlife, I’d really recommend a visit!

Visit Siurana for sunset:

If scenic and rustic towns are your idea of holiday heaven, I really recommend watching the sunset from Siurana, Montsant.  Siurana is a medieval town perched high in the mountains with cobbled streets, it’s a very picturesque location that I’d definitely revisit.

Bike Ride from Salou to Cambrils:

One of the hiighlights of my trip was a 7km bike ride from the town of Salou to Cambrils. We hired some bikes and rode the coastal path in the cycle lane next to the beach with palm trees swaying in the wind – it flew by!

Cambrils is a beautiful town with 9km of sandy beaches and some great restaurants. Pick up a gelato from Antonio Sirvent (an award winning ice creamer) and explore the port town (and if you time it right, I really recommend stopping by the harbour at 5pm to see the fisherman loading their catches of the day into the port).

Visit Casa Navas:

If you love architecture and interior decor you must visit Casa Navas in the town of Reus. Designed by renowned architect Lluis Domenèch I Montaner, this architectural gem is a masterpiece in art nouveau and opulence with intricate carvings, elegant stained glass windows and decorative mosaics.

Constructed in 1908, this is the only art nouveau building in Europe that has preserved it’s original interior so it’s an absolute must visit.

Roman Ruins of Tarragona:

Built in the 2nd century, Tarragona has a huge Roman legacy and it seems everywhere you look is a reminder of its rich history.

One of it’s most iconic sights in the Roman amphitheatre, where gladiators once battled for entertainment. I really recommend a visit to the Roman circus (opposite the h10 hotel) which was used for chariot races and is incredibly well preserved. You can take a lift up to the top of the tower which has the most incredible 360 view of Tarragona.

4×4 Tour + Mountain Walk around Wine Region of Montsant

On our 2nd morning we embarked on a mountain tour of the Montsant Wine Region with Paul Kendall from the company Siurana Tours + Montsant Natura (they run multiple authentic tours of this area which is less visited by most tourists so I’d definitely check it out!)

We started at Sant Joan del Codolar, a hermitage built by Cartesian monks. Incredibly, this is still home to a lovely solitary woman named Montserrat who has been living in a small house next to the chapel for the last 50 years (she came out to say hello, she’s very friendly and loves to meet guests!). From there we hiked down the mountain path, lapping up extraordinary landscapes on our walk to the picturesque vineyards where we learnt about the wine in this region, it’s history and also its future of regenerative agriculture. Many of the wine makers in this history are struggling with the warmer climate and so natural, meadow-ed vineyards are encouraged, meaning you can spot poppies and wildflowers growing across the vines which is a beautiful sight.

Wine + Olive Oil Tasting: Cellar Cooperatiu Cornudella de Montsant

After a hike in the region I was very excited to try some of the local wines at the local coooperatiu – an organisation that brings together around 80 farmers from the Priorat region who produce quality wines using the native grapes of the area. We sampled ice cold + straight Vermut (delicious) and two red wines from the region – one of which I purchased to take home, a delicious Castell de Siurana which is 70% Grenach and 30% Carignan – two of the most popular native grapes from the region.

Also a must do in Spain is to sample some local olive oil. We learnt that the reason olive oil prices are so high in the UK at the moment is also thanks to global warming affecting olive production but after our tasting I’m much more willing to pay extra to support small + family run olive oil producers, like the lovely Neus in Escaladei who, despite the language barrier, talked us through the olive oils her family produce and she even made some olive oil cake for us to try too!


Visit Escaladei Carthusian Cortoixa:

The Escaladei Carthusian is a 12th century monastery founded by French monks and nestled in the Montsant mountains, making it incredibly picturesque and one of the most important (and beautiful) historical sites of the Priroat. You can enjoy a guided tour of the charterhouse cells (small hermitages where the monks lived in silence), 13th and 17th century chapels, multiple cloisters, a courtyard and church square.

It was a fully working monastery until 1835, when the monks fled and the land was sized by the state (we learnt this happened because the locals were annoyed at having to pay so much in taxes to the monks, the drama!).  This is such a beautiful spot for some photography (and Insta content!)



Spa Day at Aquum.

If you fancy a pamper after all that exploring, I recommend a couple of hours at the Spa + Club at Aquum, part of the Estival Park Hotel.  For 29 euros you get 3 hours of access to an incredible spa of swimming pools which include waterfalls, underwater jets, hot tubs and a hydronamic river, as well as heated indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, steam room, ice room + much more!

Note: It’s mandatory to wear swimmings caps (provided for 3 euros) whilst in the water, and you have to pay for towel rental as well!

Watch the Human Towers.

I would highly recommend watching a human towers performance (although beware, these do get busy). It’s a Catalonian tradition and we were so lucky to visit for a rehearsal – it’s an incredible display of teamwork and strength as casterllers (translated to castle) work together to build towering human pyramids.  A must see spectacle for anyone visiting Tarragona.

Club Nautic for Paddle Boarding:

If you’re a water baby, you’ll have to visit Club Nautic in Salou who host a huge array of water activities. From kayaking, windsurfing to paddle boarding. I also enjoyed a delicious coffee in their seaside bar if you are parched!


I couldn’t chat about the food in this region without first mentioned the national drink of choice which is Vermut! I was already a bit vermouth fan before visiting but now have an extra appreciation for enjoying it neat as an aperitif. Also – let’s discuss Romesco – a sauce that originated from Tarragona, Catalonia (the town we stayed) and that you’ll find in most restaurants.  Romesco is made with charred red pepper, tomato and nuts and the romseco I’ve tried in the UK just doesn’t compare!

Another tradition in the area is Fideua, which is paella but with vermicelli noodles instead of rice. It can be served with seafood and I really liked it when combined with aioli… Now on to some restaurants I can recommend!

El Llagut, Tarragona.

El Lagut is a small, charming and authentic Spanish restaurant set in a courtyard in the centre of Tarragona. You can enjoy tapas and they also serve up a selection of paella. To start we enjoyed fresh mussels, deep fried artichoke and a really delicious salad of apple, hazelnuts and an orange vinaigrette. I also really recommend the black rice with squid ink, cuttlefish, clams and aioli – a delicious first lunch on our trip.

Casa Balcells, Tarragona

Casa Balcells is situated in the medieval square of Tarragona with views overlooking the cathedral making it an intimate and romantic dining spot. They serve up traditional Catalan home cooking and I can recommend getting lots of sharing dishes to enjoy. We had Aubergine Bravas with miso mayo, Calamari, Iberian Ham Croquettes and delicious Fried Chicken Strips with a mustard sauce.

El Posit, Tarragona

On our final evening we dined at El Posit which overlooks the El Serrallo harbour. This restaurant is lovely and the seafood here was fresh and tasty. We had a set menu for 38 euros which included sharing starters of artisanal anchovies, salon with prawn + melon, Iberian ham and bread with pan com tomato. For main we shared a monkfish, potato + seafood stew with romesco sauce – absolutely stunning.

La Selva Street Food, Cambrils

This was a very fun + memorable meal out – La Selva in Cambrils specialise in a mediterranean and Asian fusion menu and fancy cocktails that arrive in decorated ornaments. The Bao buns are a must order, not only because they’re full of beef + kimchi but because their serving bowl is so cute. The ‘Monkey’ Ceviche is served in a monkey head bowl and is shrimp + fish ceviche cured in lime + grapefruit.  Shots arrive on a flaming serving board – it’s a spectacle!


4R Casablanca restauant, Salou

We stopped for lunch at the 4R Casablanca hotel after our coastal walk and dined in their restaurant which has a nice view of the beach.   They have loads of set much options for lunch + dinner at a very reasonable price (3oeuros for 4 courses) and we enjoyed a tuna + tomato salad, grilled vegetables, fideau and profiteroles!

Restaurant La Morera, Montsant

I really recommend a visit to this gorgeous, rustic restaurant when visiting the vineyards of Montsant. A family run restaurant serving up delicious authentic and hearty Catalonian food. To start, I really recommend the ‘Crestes de la Figeura’ a traditional recipe from La Fonda De La Figuera, which is a fried potato parcel which are stuffed with meat + béchamel and for mains – wow their signature Beef Cheek stewed in Priorat Red Wine on a bed of mash was so succulent, juicy and tender with a delicious sauce. A definite hidden gem!

El Palauet Del Priorat

On our 2nd evening we dined at the most wonderful restaurant in the basement of a boutique hotel in Priorat. This stunning house in the heart of the Montsant wine region has 7 rooms to stay in, and dining here was so memorable.  When you arrive to dine, there are 3 different olive oils on the table with bread and flavoured salts so you can enjoy some olive oil tasting which was delicious. To start I had a pumpkin soup which I’m still craving and I enjoyed a fresh pasta lasagne for main!


Wooooah what a post! I hope this gives you lots of inspiration for your next summer trip.  I’ll be recommending holidays to Costa Doroda to everyone because as you can see this area is so beautiful and there’s so much to do. Be sure to also check out Jet 2 and luxury holidays their offers for a fantastic and memorable trip!  I’ve also posted some Instagram content of the holiday too so be sure to check that out 🙂

Which of these activities would you most like to do in Spain?

Katie xxx



  1. May 10, 2024 / 6:58 pm

    OMG, reading this just gave me major wanderlust! Costa Dorada sounds like an absolute dream, especially with those stunning beaches and all the delicious food!! xx

    Lenne |

  2. May 16, 2024 / 4:14 pm

    Such lovely photos Katie; you’ve captured it all so beautifully! Wish we were back there now, working our way through all those delicious meals again.. 🙂

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