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Spotlight on: Tarragona

Located in the south of Catalonia, Tarragona boasts the golden sands of the Costa Dorada beaches,the azure waters of the Mediterranean and the lush green of natural parks.

A region whose colours and climate draw in thousands of visitors each year and with a strong sense of identity through language, cuisine and tradition, it is a fascinating example of Catalonian culture and the extraordinary resilience of its inhabitants.

Siurana Village,
Siurana Village, situated in the Muntanyes de Prades Natural Park

Beaches

Coastal Tarragona is a picture of soft sandy shores punctuated by rocky outcrops and caressed by the crystalline Mediterranean Sea. Between June and September, when the water is at its warmest and the bright sun heats the beaches, children can be found playing with beach balls, scouring rock pools for marine life and skipping through the surf while their parents enjoy a couple of lazy hours on the sand at the end of a hard week’s work.

Many of the beaches, such as those at La Pineda, have earned Blue Flag status thanks to their cleanliness and the quality of their facilities. Shops, bars and cafés line the waterfront, and the Municipal Sports Council arranges sports activities during the summer months. The resort’s star attraction is Aquopolis, an aqua park that features an assortment of water rides, a wave pool and bumper boats, as well as animals and a host of activities for children.

Just along the coast, the charming fishing village of Cambrils is a delightful place to visit. Rich in history and possessing over 150 restaurants, it’s a cultural and gastronomic delight.

The seafood is, of course, locally caught and many of the recipes have been passed down between generations. Fishing is inevitably an integral part of life here, and Cambrils is proud of its seafaring heritage. Visitors can experience what life as a fisherman is like by hopping aboard specially selected boats and helping to haul in the day’s catch.

Playa de Tamarit
Playa de Tamarit, just north of the city of Tarragona

Water sports

One of the most popular locations for water sports is Salou, the tourist capital of the region and a classic family holiday destination. There are several aquatic centres that introduce beginners to a huge array of activities, and help seasoned enthusiasts hone their skills. Conventional sports such as diving, snorkelling, sailing and windsurfing are all offered, as well as waterskiing, jet skiing and wakeboarding. Thrill-seekers can opt for parasailing or kite surfing. 

Kayak in the waters of Tarragona

Tarragona

The ancient city of Tarraco was the first town outside the Italian peninsula to be constructed by the Romans. Even back then it held considerable appeal, becoming a favourite seaside resort of Emperors Augustus and Hadrian. Remains of Roman buildings can still be seen: the amphitheatre, circus, forum and city walls all remind visitors of the might of the Empire in its prime.

Tarragona’s inhabitants celebrate their rich history at the Tarraco Viva festival, held in May, and the Tarragona Historia Viva, which takes place during the summer months. It’s not just their Roman heritage that is honoured, however – the tradition of building castells, human towers, has been alive since the 18th century and was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010.

Fun and magic at PortAventura

A family holiday to Tarragona is hardly complete without a trip to Port Aventura, the biggest theme park in the Mediterranean. The park features more than 30 rides, an aquatic park, six hotels, and performances from Cirque du Soleil. Ferrari Land opened in 2016, the only Ferrari themed attraction park in Europe.

PortAventura, the Med's largest theme park

Where to stay

Tarragona’s popularity as a holiday destination has led to the development of some excellent campsites in the region. The best of the coastal resorts can all be found within easy reach of the cities of Tarragona and Barcelona, and offer a warm welcome, great facilities and good food. Our top recommendations are Playa Montroig Camping ResortCamping Ampolla Playa and La Torre del Sol. For more information about the best campsites in the area, take a look at our latest Europe guide which features over 40 sites across Spain, available for £14.99 in our shop.

The best campsites in Tarragona

What a superb site! Playa Montroig is about 30 kilometres beyond Tarragona, set in its own tropical gardens with direct access to a very long...

This campsite is situated on the beach in the small fishing village of L’Ampolla, famous for its gastronomy, peaceful beaches and coves. The site offers...

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Ideally situated in the Parc Natural del Delta del Ebro, a unique area of wetland and a World Heritage site, Eucaliptus is close to the...

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Camping Clarà is a small family run site with direct access to a fine clean beach which shelves gently into the water. The 125 touring...

La Noria is just over five acres in size with over 200 level touring pitches all having access to electricity (6A). Most of the touring...

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Camping Resort Sangulí Salou is a superb site boasting excellent pools and entertainment. Owned, developed and managed by a local Spanish family, it has something...

A pleasant tree-lined approach road gives way to avenues of palms as you arrive at Torre del Sol. This large, well-designed site occupies a good...

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La Siesta occupies a remarkable location close to the heart of the thriving resort of Salou, yet only two blocks from the fine sandy beach...

Camping Joan is a very friendly, family run site to the south of the popular village of Cambrils and with direct access to a fine...

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El Templo del Sol is a large, luxurious, terraced naturist site with a distinctly Arabesque feel and superb buildings in Moorish style. The owner has...

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