Costa Dorada translates into English as ‘golden coast’, and with 92km of bronzed beaches running south from Barcelona it certainly lives up to its name. But with ancient monasteries, quaint fishing villages and vibrant towns to explore, there’s more to a holiday to Costa Dorada from Glasgow Airport than hitting the sand.
There’s no shortage of markets to explore but the vast Sunday morning shopping fest that is Bonavista Market is easily one of the best. Along with locally grown food and wine (don’t miss the excellent olive oil), traders sell everything from colourful fans to cheap and cheerful espadrilles. Top picks include comfortable Mallorcan leather abarca sandals and traditional plaits of locally grown garlic.
A pretty little town surrounded by countryside that alternates between craggy coastline, salty lagoons and rugged olive groves, L’Ampolla is home to a modern harbour and a marina crammed with colourful fishing boats and yachts. While some parts have fallen prey to the 1970s building boom, others have retained their winding streets and medieval churches – and are all the better for it. The surrounding Ebro Delta is home to a network of pretty trails that take you past some of Costa Dorada’s prettiest panoramas.
Tarragona, or as it was known at the time, Tarraco, was a hugely important trading hub during the Roman period, and as a result some impressive monuments remain. Among them are the UNESCO-listed Pretori i Circ Romans, a 300m-long chariot racing track, the spectacular (and perfectly preserved) Amfiteatre Romà and the Fòrum Romà, which is linked to an excavated stretch of Roman street. If that’s not enough, there are also the remains of a temple dedicated to Juno, Jupiter and Minerva.