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Die Costa Dorada bietet traumhafte Strände, Bild: ALEX_UGALEK / shutterstock

Costa Dorada – The finest sand on the Mediterranean

The 200-kilometre-long Costa Dorada (“Golden Coast”) in Spain stretches over the coast of the Catalan province of Tarragona between the two cities and municipalities of Vilanova i la Geltrú in the comarca of Garraf and Alcanar in the comarca of Montsià south of the Ebro Delta.

This coastal section lies between the only 20-kilometre-long “home coast” of Barcelona, the “Costa del Garraf” in the north and the approximately 120-kilometre-long “Costa del Azahar” in the two provinces of Castellón and Valencia in the autonomous region of Valencia in the south.

The Costa Dorada or Daurada is known and loved above all for its many fine sandy beaches and mostly gently sloping beaches. Unlike the two neighbouring coasts mentioned above and also on the much rougher “Costa Brava“, there are hardly any rocky bays or pebble beaches here. Rather, the “Golden Coast” owes its majestic name to the color of its sand, which actually sparkles as brightly as the valuable and sought-after precious metal when the sun is shining.

Costa Dorada – Well-kept and clean beaches invite you to enjoy carefree swimming and sunbathing

The beach of Salou, Image: vitalez/ shutterstock

A large part of the approximately 60 different beaches along the entire Costa Dorada have been awarded the internationally renowned quality and environmental label for sustainable tourism, the “Blue Flag”. In addition, many beaches also have the globally recognized environmental management standard ISO 14001.

In addition to swimming fun, the Costa Dorada is also ideal for all kinds of water sports. In the resorts, guests will find numerous providers of appropriate equipment for surfing and diving, as well as rental stations for kayaks and canoes.

The region is also well suited for culturally interested tourists who want to combine their beach holiday with excursions to historically important sites. Particularly famous and well-visited is the 2,000-year-old Roman triumphal arch “Arc de Berà” on the N-340 national road between Roda de Berà and Creixell in the comarca of Tarragonés in Catalonia. The impressive structure made of white limestone once arched over the 1,500-kilometre-long Roman road “Via Augusta” and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Archaeological Ensemble of Tarraco” from the year 2000.

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The old port of Tarragona hosts events throughout the year

Tarragona, Costa Dorada
The beach of Tarragona, Image: funkyfrogstock / shutterstock

Also part of this well-known World Heritage Site are the Roman tomb “Torre dels Escipions” near Altafulla north of Tarragona from the 1st century, the ancient water supply system “Aqüeducte de les Ferreres” near Tarragona, popularly known as the “Puente del Diablo” (Devil’s Bridge), and the former amphitheatre in the centre of the city.

While the area around Tarragona is economically used mainly for hazelnut and wine growing, the port is the most important economic factor in the city itself. Tarragona is also known for its traditional and colorful carnival. Tens of thousands of visitors also come to the “Semana Santa” (Holy Week), the fireworks competition at the beginning of July and the city festival “Festes de Santa Tecla de Tarragona” with numerous concerts, cultural events, and costume parades always at the end of September. A highlight are the human towers, the so-called Castells. The participants of the human pyramid stand on the shoulders of the other participants until the desired height is reached.

The Romanesque-Gothic cathedral from the 15th century is definitely worth a visit. For several years now, the large warehouses on the “Moll de Costa” at the old port have been used for changing exhibitions, gastronomic offerings and cultural events. The adjacent, approx. 5-kilometre-long “Moll de Llevant” is popular with joggers, cyclists and skaters as a sports route.

Even in the Stone Age, people appreciated the Costa Dorada as a warm home

The small town of Montblanc in the comarca of Conca de Barberà, about 30 kilometers north of Tarragona, is also good for a day trip by rental car. Here, the medieval city wall, which has been preserved almost true to the original, is the biggest attraction. The historic core of the city (casco antiguo) has been protected by the state since 1948 as a cultural monument “Conjunto histórico-artístico”.

In Montblanc, people like to celebrate a lot all year round. For example, the ceramics festival “Festival Internacional de Cerámica de Montblanch” is known nationwide every year at the end of September/beginning of October. In the surroundings of the city (El Portell de les Lletres, mas d’En Llort, mas d’En Ramon d’en Besso), you can also visit rock paintings up to 12,000 years old from the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Rock Art of the Mediterranean in the Iberian Peninsula”. Also in the comarca of Conca de Barberà is the Cistercian abbey “Monestir de Santa Maria de Poblet” from the 12th century near Vimbodí, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.

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The inland coast is also a world-famous wine-growing region

Playa del Trabucador
Playa del Trabucador, Image: Amazing Travels / shutterstock

The town of Sant Carles de la Ràpita in the comarca of Montsià is often visited because of the natural park “Península de la Baña” and the beach “Playa del Trabucador”. There are also many buildings worth seeing in the style of neoclassicism from the early 20th century. Calafell in the comarca Baix Penedès is a modern seaside resort with currently a good 25,000 inhabitants as well as numerous hotels and restaurants.

A cultural monument worth seeing is the church “Iglesia de San Pedro Pescador” from the 1920s. Neighbouring Vendrell has a total of seven kilometres of sandy beach in the individual sections “Coma-ruga”, “Sant Salvador” and “El Francàs”. The main town of the surrounding Penedès wine-growing region is also home to many old wineries. In Cunit, the “Festa Major” is always a big crowd puller at the end of July.

Torredembarra, in the comarca of Tarragonès, is the site of the artwork “Alfa i Omega” by sculptor Rafael Bartolozzi. The Town Hall is the only remaining secular Renaissance building in Catalonia. In Vilaseca, ten kilometres from Tarragona, you will find the leisure resort “PortAventura World”, which is particularly popular with families with children.

Enjoy fresh fish with a sea view and then walk in the evening sun

In Salou you can stroll along the beach promenade “Passeig de Jaume I.” and swim on one of the nine beaches. There are also three large golf courses there. Every year, the Catalan national holiday “Diada del Día Once de Septiembre” is celebrated particularly intensively on 11 September. Cambrils, in the comarca of Baix Camp, is a former fishing village that now lives mainly from tourism. The local marina is still used by a fishing fleet.

There are many small restaurants nearby, where Mediterranean cuisine is served with fine wines from the nearby growing regions of Priorat, Penedès and Tarragona as well as Montsant and Terra Alta. L’Ametlla de Mar in the comarca Baix Ebre is often called La Cala and attracts friends of motorsport to the “Circuit de Calafat”. La Pineda is a small district of Vilaseca and has the 600-year-old stone tower “Torre d’en Dolça” as an attraction.