Salou is a municipality of the comarca of Tarragonès, in Catalonia. The city is approximately 10 km from Tarragona and as well as from Reus, located on the sandy Costa Daurada, and 112 km from Barcelona. Salou was founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC, and this coastal town became a notable commercial port during the medieval and modern ages, while throughout the 20th century, Salou became an important European tourist attraction. Now we have collected for you 10 reasons why to visit Salou in 2021.
- 1. Torre Vella
- 2. The church of Santa Maria del Mar
- 3. The beaches
- 4. Paseo Maritimo
- 5. Xalet Bonet
- 6. Boardwalk
- 7. Cami de Ronda
- 8. Lighthouse of Salou
- 9. All the bays around
- 10. PortAventura World
Are you hesitating of spending your next vacation in Salou? Give us only 2 minutes to convince you to book your tickets immediately.
If you have ever been to Salou, most likely your memories are along the lines of vivid beaches, the variety of pricy tourist attractions, nightlife & clubs. This February we have decided to give Salou a second chance to prove to us, that there are much more things that this coastal town can offer… and we were right! So let’s see what to see in Salou in 2021, in the middle of the pandemic.
1. Torre Vella
We wanted to start our sightseeing tour with a bit of history and we didn’t need to go far. Just right in the center, we can find Torre Vella. The archbishop of Tarragona ordered the construction of the defense tower of Torre Vella in 1530 to protect the population from the pirates that constantly invaded the Port of Salou. The outside of the tower still has its original appearance, with the heraldic shield above the large entry door. The tower is connected to the adjoining buildings, built in the 18th century, by a bridge. The inside has been restored and houses a cultural center that organizes art exhibitions, amongst other activities.
2. The church of Santa Maria del Mar
Continuing our stroll, we can easily walk to the Church of Santa María del Mar, we just need to cross the railways. This church was built in 1766, consisting of a church and a single bell. It was extended in the early 20th century to its present form. It is worth taking a look inside, and admire the spacious inner part too.
3. The beaches
Of course, we cannot avoid the beaches in Salou. Currently, at the end of February, we could spot only a couple of locals playing volleyball, no tourists at all. However, the real popularity of Salou is largely built on its superb beaches. The coastline of Salou enjoys eight main beaches, each with fine golden sand, shallow and calm waters, which makes them ideal for swimming.
Platja de Llevant is the main beach in Salou. It runs for 1200 meters beside the main promenade. There is plenty of free playgrounds, handball nets, etc along the beach that will keep kids and big kids occupied. There are toilet facilities all along the promenade, and disabled access to the beach isn’t a problem. However, the Llevant beach can get very crowded in high season, so if you are finding the crowds in Llevant a little bit too much to handle, Ponent is the place to go.
The Platja Ponent is a beautiful beach just at the other side of the marina from Llevant beach, towards Cambrils. The beach has 1115 meters of fabulous golden sands, toilet facilities, and playgrounds. There are also some beach bars, one of which is also a restaurant.
4. Paseo Maritimo
We couldn’t miss a stroll on the Paseo Maritimo either. Uncountable number of palm trees are framing this passage, and it also guides us to the beautiful building of Xalet Bonet too.
5. Xalet Bonet
Xalet Bonet, when you spot this building, you cannot just pass by, what a pleasing symmetry and look at those vivid colours! This palace was built by Ciríac Bonet in 1918, and by the architect Domènec Sugranyes i Gras, Gaudí’s disciple and collaborator. It is a shining example of late Modernist style and one of the city’s most emblematic buildings. On the main facade, a sundial with ceramic tiles and Neo-gothic letters summarises a philosophy of life: ‘aprofita el temps que passa i no torna’ (meaning: take advantage of time, because it passes and never comes back). Unfortunately the palace is not open to the public, as it is a private property.
When in Salou, it’s always worth taking time to stroll along the coastal path. You can normally start at the marina and continue along the promenade in the direction of Cap Salou.
7. Cami de Ronda
The boardwalk path continues to the lighthouse in Cap Salou but parts are natural and unpaved and may not be suitable for the young or elderly. This path is already called Camí de Ronda (Camino de Ronda in Spanish). There is plenty of photo opportunities available along the coast. This costal path is definitely worth at look.
The sea breeze surrounds us as we walk along the path Camí de Ronda, of about 300m, that goes around the lighthouse of Salou. This path almost allows the visitor to touch the sea and enjoy a natural landscape of great beauty, sheltered from the steep coast and far away from the noise of Salou.
8. Lighthouse of Salou
The lighthouse of Salou opened in April 1858, it has a red main tower that still lightens the gulf of San Jordi in Costa Daurada nowadays. It used to have a white light powered by olive oil which could be seen 14 miles away. Two lighthouse keepers were in charge of making it work. Later, as years went by, technology was implemented. Next to this building, there is another one that had been occupied by the engineer and the lighthouse keeper.
“The restoration of this place has been done in a way very respectful of the natural setting. Therefore, some of the native trees that can be spotted are the asparagus plant, the white pine tree, the sea lilies, the agave, or the thatching grass, among others. Also, there are three viewpoints along the way that allow the visitor to stop and enjoy the breathtaking panoramas of Costa Daurada.“
9. All the bays around
It’s hard even to count the number of bays (cala) around Salou. Now they are completely peaceful, only a couple of locals are appearing with their dogs. But it’s enough to look back to last summer – still in the middle of the pandemic – when it was impossible to find an empty spot for our towels on these beaches. Well, the nature of the calas is like that, the space is limited, it’s better to arrive earlier to secure place for yourself during the warm season. The most recommended calas are: Cala Vinya, Cala Font, Cala Crancs & Cala Penya Tallada.
10. PortAventura World
Aside from its string of beaches interrupted by rocky coves, and its landscaped promenade, one of its main attractions is the PortAventura World resort. It includes luxury four-star accommodation, two theme parks (PortAventura Park and Ferrari Land), the PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park, a convention, center and an RV park.
“The PortAventura Park’s main attractions are the Dragon Khan, a massive B&M mega-looper; Furius Baco, which is one of the fastest roller coasters in Europe; and Hurakan Condor, a tall falling-tower ride which is 100 meters tall. In 2012 a new roller coaster called Shambhala opened adjacent to the Dragon Khan. The park also has a grand multi-media show, called the Fiesta Aventura, every night between the end of June and the end of August which features fireworks, fountains, and parade floats. Ferrari Land, with the highest and fastest vertical accelerator in Europe, opened in 2017, and will also include the world’s first Ferrari hotel.“