The Costa Daurada (“Golden Coast”) was named for the intense golden colour of the sand on its beaches with their warm, shallow waters. This is the coastline of the province of Tarragona in southern Catalonia. It borders to the north with Sitges and the Costa del Garraf and ends in the south at the delta of the River Ebro. Inland you will find the county of Conca de Barberà and the Montsant Mountains in the heart of Priorat county.
Since ancient times the Costa Daurada has welcomed the most diverse civilisations, each of which has left its mark on the region’s culture, architecture, gastronomy and art.
From the Iberians, who left some of their most impressive remains in Calafell, to the monumental ruins of Roman Tarraco, the monasteries of the Cistercian Route and the Modernist-style buildings of Reus and Tarragona, the Costa Daurada allows you to immerse yourself in its history and culture.
Signs of this melting pot of cultures can be seen in the ancestral traditions of the local festivals and folklore, events that should not be missed by anyone who wants to enjoy this fantastic region to the utmost. Visit the Tarragona Provincial Government Tourism Board website for information about all the activities that are available.
Tarragona Provincial Tourism Office
Tel: 977 230312
Tarraco was founded in 218 BC by a Roman army under the command of Publius Cornelius Scipio “the African”. Within a short time it had become the capital of the province of Hispania Citerior and one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire.
Thanks to its importance during the Roman period, Tarragona has many grand monuments. Their exceptional state of preservation and historical and cultural importance were key factors in UNESCO’s decision to declare them a World Heritage Site in the year 2000.
Some of the highlights of Tarraco’s archaeology are the walls, the oldest Roman remains on the Iberian Peninsula, that surround most of the historical quarter; the Circus; the “Scipios’ Tower” funerary monument; the Theatre; the Amphitheatre; the Early Christian Necropolis and, outside the city, the “Devil’s Bridge” aqueduct and the Arch of Berà. The National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona (MNAT) has exhibits on all the Roman sites of interest in the area.
Tarragona Museum of History:
Tel.: (+34) 977 250 795
Tarragona Municipal Tourism Office:
Tel: (+34) 977 25 15 15
All along the Mediterranean coast and the banks of the River Ebro there are important remains of the Iberian civilisation. The Iberians settled mainly on high ground near the river and along the coastal strip. One of the most interesting vestiges on the Costa Daurada is the Iberian citadel of Calafell, a fully restored Iberian settlement.
Iberian Citadel of Calafell:
Website: www.ciutadellaiberica.com/ - Tel: (+34) 977 694 683
Inland from the coast, in the counties of Alt Camp and Conca de Barberà in Tarragona province and Urgell county in Lleida province, you will find the magnificent Cistercian monasteries of Poblet, Santes Creus and Vallbona de les Monges.
The itinerary that links them, now known as the Cistercian Route, has become an important part of cultural tourism in Catalonia since it was created in 1989. It has brought these splendid Cistercian monasteries, as well as the cultural and artistic heritage of these rural counties, to a wider audience.
The Monastery of Poblet is the largest Cistercian monastery in Europe still inhabited by monks. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1991.
The Monastery of Vallbona de les Monges is also exceptional for having been occupied by nuns uninterruptedly for more than eight centuries.
Finally, but no less important, is the monastery of Santes Creus, the best preserved example of Bernadine architecture.
More information at:
Office for the Management of the Cistercian Route. San José, 18 – 43400 Montblanc
Website: www.larutadelcister.info/es - Tel: (+34) 977 861 232
The artistic movement known as Modernism was particularly influential in Reus at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Such famous architects as Antonio Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Muntaner left their indelible imprint on a large number of the town’s buildings. Two of the most important Modernist complexes in Reus are the Pere Mata Institute and the Navas House.
Reus Town Council shows off these jewels of Modernism on the “Reus Modernist Itinerary”, a guided tour that includes some of the most outstanding Modernist façades in the town centre.
The “Gaudí Centre” is devoted to preserving and disseminating the life and work of the Antonio Gaudí. It is an innovative space for the interpretation of Modernism and the work of the world-famous architect.
Reus Tourist Office (Gaudí Centre)
Website: www.reusturisme.cat/es - Tel: 977 010 670
The Prades Mountains cover approximately 307 square kilometres in the northern part of the Camp de Tarragona. They run through the counties of Baix Camp, Alt Camp, Conca de Barberà and Priorat.
Populated by Mediterranean woodland, they form part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range and reach their highest point at Tossal de Baltasana (1,202 metres). The Siurana, Glorieta and Brugent river valleys cross them, creating a habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Places of interest to visit include the Font Major Cave in L’Espluga de Francolí, the church of Santa María in Prades and the Monastery of Poblet, all places replete with legends.
The Ebro Delta covers an area of 320 square kilometres, making it the second largest wetland in the western Mediterranean after that of the Camargue in France. Sites of special interest include La Tancada and L’Encanyissada lagoons, the beaches with their impressive dunes, Els Alfacs Bay and La Banya and El Fangar Points. The riverside woodland, salt flats and fluvial islands, especially Buda Island, together with the birdlife and rice fields, make up the characteristic delta landscape.
The Montsant or Holy Mountains rise in the heart of Priorat county, which is known worldwide for its excellent wines. Their highest point is La Roca Corbatera (1,163 metres) near the village of Cornudella de Montsant.
At the foot of the mountains is the Charterhouse of Scala Dei, founded in the 12th century and believed to be the first Carthusian monastery built in Spain. It was abandoned following the government confiscations of religious property in the19th century. Today its still impressive ruins are open to the public.
The approximately twenty-kilometre length of the Montsant Mountains is characterised by high cliffs crowned by unusual rock formations that reach as far as the neighbouring county of Conca de Barberà.
This area of great natural and scenic beauty is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Many hiking routes cross the landscape with its ancient footpaths, caves, gullies and hermitages, just a short distance from the region’s vineyards and magnificent Modernist-style wineries.