Salou Guide

Located on Spain’s Costa Dorada (Golden Coast), Salou was founded by the Greeks in the 6th Century, and from its origins grew to become an international city of commerce. Its natural positioning in a small, protected peninsula made it a favourable spot for ships to dock and it soon emerged as one of Europe’s most important trading ports.

From the early 20th century to the 1960's Salou grew rapidly as a result of tourism. During this period, many chalets, houses, holiday apartments and hotels were built, until the town could eventually lay claim to being the tourist capital of the Costa Daurada.

Situated 10km from Tarragona and 111km from Barcelona, Salou today is a popular family resort, blessed with secluded rocky coves, beautiful beaches, a palm-lined promenade and a warm, Mediterranean climate. The town is fairly spread out and merges with the neighbouring resorts of La Pineda to the east and Cambrils to the west.

How to get to Salou

Reus International Airport is 11km from Salou town centre. There are regular buses to Salou that depart from outside the airport arrivals hall.

There is no direct train from the airport to Salou. However, you can take a taxi or bus into the centre of Reus and then catch a train to Salou.

The next nearest airport is Barcelona, which is around 100km from Salou. From here you can catch an RENFE train from Barcelona Sants station which will take you directly to Salou.

Alternatively, the bus company Plana links Barcelona city centre to Salou. You can pick up the bus from next to the Passeig de Gracia Metro Station.

When to visit Salou

A major advantage of the Costa Dorada over its southern counterparts on the Costa del Sol is that it is distinctly cooler. This makes it an ideal destination for families with children, as temperatures are pleasantly hot but never unbearable.

The beaches in Salou can get very crowded in July and August and if you don’t fancy playing sardines on the sand then you may want to avoid these peaks times. However, even during high season, there are quieter beaches and empty coves that can be found nearby with a little detective work.

If you’re planning to travel during the winter months, you should be aware that the highly popular Port Aventura theme park is closed during this period. 

Things to do in Salou

Beaches


The beaches of Salou are some of the resort's main attractions. There are two large, sandy beaches and several smaller coves nearby. Starting to the west of Salou there’s the Ponent beach – a long and spacious stretch that is popular with families. There are facilities dotted along it including cafes, showers and toilets.

Following this you pass the port and come onto the Llevant beach, which has a gym, volleyball courts, beach bars and cafes, as well as children’s play areas.

A ten minute drive out of Salou to the west is a picturesque area called Cap Salou. There are 3 little coves here, and a backdrop of mountains with pine trees make it an extremely picturesque area. Be warned that it is quite hilly so you’ll have to walk down quite a few steps to get to the beaches.

Activities


Salou’s activities will sap the energy of even the most hyperactive child. Watersports such as banana boats and windsurfing can be arranged at the main beach while the go-kart track and the aqua park in Pineda on the outskirts of town are also great fun for all ages.

But Salou’s marquee attraction is unquestionably the Port Aventura theme park, which is a 5 minute drive from the town centre. The park boasts hundreds of rides, ranging from gentle ones to thrilling roller coasters. Furthermore, Port Aventura is more than just a theme park. It has 3 of its own hotel complexes, including restaurants, bars and entertainment

Shopping


There is a fine selection of souvenir and fashion stores in Salou, as well as a flea market in the old town centre on Mondays. However, if you are looking for more extensive shopping experience then you’ll have to hop on a train to a larger urban centre such as Barcelona.

Nightlife


There is a strong British and Irish influence on the bar and pub scene in Salou, wth Christy's Irish Bar, 007 Bond, Charlie Chaplin's, O'Conners, Temple Bar and Danny Boy amongst some of the town’s more popular watering holes. However, for those wanting a truly raucous night out, they may find Salou a little too sedate, and once again, a trip to Barcelona may be in order. 

Day trips


Sightseers interested in ancient history will find plenty to occupy them in nearby Tarragona (10km east of Salou), which is home to several roman ruins.

West of Salou, and a quick taxi ride away, is Cambrils, which has a distinct Spanish flavour and is also a working fishing port. It has a 9km beach with water sports in the summer. Cambrils is also known as a gourmet town, and its waterfront is home to numerous seafood restaurants. Dedicated foodies drive here from miles around to sample the cuisine.

 

Salou Web Sites



In our travels around the web, we found these Salou web pages useful:

A guide to Salou, Cambrils and La Pineda, your holiday destination
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