Tarragona: Explore the ancient land of Costa Daurada
This article was sponsored by Costa Daurada Tourism
Costa Daurada is a thrilling region of Catalonia where you can enjoy natural wonders right alongside rich cultural heritage and architectural splendour. The region offers everything you’d expect from a Spanish holiday along with a flair that’s altogether unique to Costa Daurada.
When you visit, you can immerse yourself in the local culture as you follow the history of the Catalan modernist movement expressed in the very bricks of the city buildings themselves. Of course, the coast lets you enjoy warm sands and serene waters that offer fun for the whole family on the shore or out in the water.
Costa Daurada – enjoy relaxing fun in the sun
Costa Daurada is a lovely coastal region where you can enjoy the soft sands and inviting waters of about 60 different beaches. Summer holidays to this slice of paradise let you relax with ease among the Mediterranean landscapes complemented by the vibrant greenery of gardens and forests. Some of the historical mansions here have extensive botanical collections you can explore as well.
When you visit this area, you’ll find an array of nautical activities to experience, thanks to the Mediterranean’s warm and calm waters. Kayaking, fishing and scuba diving are especially popular, though the waters are peaceful enough for more traditional beachfront fun with the whole family.
Mediterranean architecture – stepping through time
Impressive Mediterranean architecture is prevalent throughout the region, letting you see stunning buildings and ruins from across the centuries. Architectural elements vary throughout the city due to the multitude of influences on the region’s history, so it’s a great place to get a glimpse of multiple Mediterranean traditions.
The Via Augusta, one of the main Roman roads passing through the region, will take you by several stunning sites, including the arch of Roda de Bera and the Torre dels Escipions. You’ll also find Els Munts, a well-preserved, centuries-old Roman villa. It’s part of the larger Roman Tarraco, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nature and modernism - the style and flair of Reus
Reus is a city in the Costa Daurada region that’s best known for being the home of Antoni Gaudí, one of the greatest masters of Catalan modernism. Ironically, there aren’t actually that many Gaudí works in Reus, but the city has numerous buildings designed in the Catalan modernist style that you can visit, including Casa Navas, Casa Gasull and Xalet Serra.
The design of Catalan modernism is built on Gaudí’s idea of originality necessitating a return to the origin. Put simply, he, and the movement at large, incorporated a lot of natural influences in their designs. That’s why you’ll find the natural aspects of Reus so influential and prevalent throughout the stone and brick of the city.
Sea lions and pirates - natural tranquillity by the coast
If you and your family are looking to enjoy the sea and the mountains, quite a few areas in Costa Daurada let you do both at once. Vall de Llors and Hospitalet de L’Infant combine both landforms in a singular location. The Llop Mari cave is especially popular, as you can explore the small cove within for stunning and relaxing natural beauty. Getting to the cave generally requires that you take a boat there, but you can swim if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
Taking to the waters in this region means enjoying the bounty of gifts the sea has to offer. One of the most prominent is tuna, a bluefish that’s a staple in quite a few local dishes. In fact, the Tuna Gastronomic Days held between May and June let you enjoy 1,001 unique tuna dishes that bring out all the incredible flavours this fish can offer.
Pray and labour – a breathtaking monastic legacy
Ora et Labora is a popular saying that directly translates to ‘pray and labour’. It’s a part of the Rule of Saint Benedict in the Catholic monastic tradition. In Costa Daurada, it also means that there is an impressive collection of monasteries and churches you can explore when you visit, each showing off incredible architectural design and construction prowess.
The Cistercian Route lets you explore immense monasteries that are towering jewels of Romanesque and Gothic traditions. At the foot of the Prades mountains, you can see Santa Maria de Poblet, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is also the home of the royal tombs of the Catalan monarchs. Right next door, you can visit Bosc de Poblet, a sprawling nature preserve.
Viticulture heritage of the Priorat region – 1,000 years of winemaking
The Priorat region around Costa Daurada is known for its millennium-old winemaking practice. One of the major vineyards in Falset that’s still operating today opened its doors more than a century in the past. You’ll also be able to see the effects of Cesar Martinell’s modernist designs on the winery’s buildings and organisation of the vineyard.
Wine from the Priorat region is known to be delicious, as the richness of the natural soil offers more designations of origin than most other areas of the world. You’ll find more than just standard wine on offer, too, as you can enjoy vermouth, sweet wine and even oils. No matter what you opt for, most of it will come from the Grenache and Cariñena grape varieties.