The Hidden Gems of the Costa Dorada

Discover the magic of the Golden Coast

Oh sure, when people come to stay in Spain, they love to hit the hot spots. Madrid, Barcelona, and the islands are always in demand and heavily populated with tourists. But if you’re looking for something different, let us steer you a little further south along the coast from Barcelona. The Costa Dorada, or the Golden Coast, is a stretch of coastline that is less well known. Stretching from Cunit to Alcanar and featuring the port city of Tarragona, this is one of the best-kept secrets from the majority of visitors to Southern Spain.

But just because it isn’t well known doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit. In fact, there are a number of excellent reasons to make this your next stop on your Spanish holiday season. Make your way to the region, find a beautiful private villa to stay in, and start exploring. We’ve collated some of the best reasons why we believe you should make your next stop to the Costa Dorada with these hidden gems to visit.

Theme Parks

The fun of Port Aventura

Ok, not everything on this list qualifies as a hidden gem. Some of the theme parks in this area are the largest in Spain. Port Aventura is such an example. It’s the largest theme park in the country, situated in Salou. It has 6 themed lands, 4 hotels, a man-made beach (although not as good as the real thing just right nearby) and a very good water park. It’s a great way to escape the heat and give your family a great time out.

Another popular theme park is Aquopolis in Tarragona. Enjoy water slides, pools, kids play areas and a dolphinarium; yet another way to have fun in the endless sun on the Costa Dorada.

Ancient Ruins

The Roman ruins of Tarragona

If you think that visiting Rome on your Spanish holiday sounds a little bizarre, then you haven’t been to the Costa Dorada. The area was once a favourite destination for Roman emperors as they enjoyed the sun and sea just as much as we do today.

Emperor Augustus (as in, the namesake of the month of August) once summered in Tarragona religiously, and his remnants still feature prominently around the region. The Parc Amphitheatre is a Roman relic that dates back almost a full 2000 years when the city was inhabited by the Roman oligarchy every year. These ruins are in impeccable condition and are perfect to experience a way to relive ancient history.

Ruins are popular all along the coast as you rediscover the strata of history that this place hides beneath the surface. You have Roman, Moorish, Arabic, and Spanish history all intertwined in the architecture here. You can even see the history of religions as they were such an important part of this area. Catholic churches, Roman pantheistic buildings and monasteries can be located almost everywhere you go. If you’re a history buff, or if you’re simply looking for something more off-track, you’ll love the ancient ruins that you explore here.

Secluded Beaches

Beaches to yourself are the best!

How could a list with hidden gems in Costa Dorada not include beaches? It seems like a silly thing to add when the whole region is beach after beach, but some seem more specific for exclusive use. These hidden beaches are perfect for escaping the crowds and still getting some excellent time on the sand.

Even the big city of Tarragona has some secluded beaches for less crowded experiences. The Cala de Canyadell, or Canyadell Cove, is one such example. It’s a fairly wide beach with rocks enclosing the beach on either side, making it feel private and exclusive. It’s almost always much less packed than other popular beaches like Cunit Beach or Calafell Beach. The main reason this beach, although just as beautiful as any other, isn’t as populated is that there are no facilities or lifeguards. If that appeals to you, give this beach a visit.

Cala de la Roca Plana is another secluded beach, although, be warned, because it’s popular with nudists. That’s not to say that it’s always full of unclothed people, but you should be warned if you have the family with you. That being said, this beach does have the benefit of not attracting crowds and remaining fairly open and spacious.

Wonderful Wineries

If you want a more civilised (read: adult) experience, may we suggest some of the wineries in the region? What could be better than spending your day sampling the various wines and Sherries produced in the area. All in the name of research, of course.

Visit a winery like Mas Viçens, a reputable winery with good standing in the region. Viçens has a great wine tourism industry that welcomes anybody to come and visit the production and manufacture of some of Spain’s best wines. They also feature many wines that you can purchase after the tour. Other wineries will do the same, but there’s no shortage of places for you to visit on your journey. Go ahead. Live a little and experience a day indulging in some of Spain’s finest exports.

As you come to love the Costa Dorada, we hope that you take time to really discover what makes this region great. The major sites are wonderful, but sometimes, you need to step off the beaten track to discover what truly makes this place great. Let this guide serve as your first steps to finding your own private gems. Let us know when you do!