Salou (Greek: Salauris) is a municipality in the Tarragona province, in Catalonia, Spain. The city is about 10 kilometres from Tarragona and Reus on the Costa Daurada and 112 kilometres from Barcelona. Known as the tourist capital of the Costa Dorada, because of its many tourist facilities and beautiful beaches; its Mediterranean climate is what makes it such a popular holiday destination. Aside from Salou’s series of beaches interspersed with rocky coves, and its promenade, one of its main attractions is the Port Aventura resort, formerly owned by Universal Parks and Resorts, the theme park division of NBC Universal. Salou was once famed for its permanent fairground at the end of the promenade. Salou is the base for the Catalunyan leg of the World Rally Championship.
In ancient times, Salou was a port used by the Greeks and then the Romans. In the Middle Ages it became a refuge for pirates and other lawbreakers and that background contributed to the building in 1530 of Torre Vella (Old Tower), which stands to this day to keep them out. The advent of railways linked Salou with other localities in Spain in 1865, and this marked the beginning of the heyday of this city, which in the 20th century led to Salou’s tourist boom. Being a popular holiday destination, Salou is rich in parks and water parks - Costa Caribe and Port Aventura - the second largest European park after Disneyland Paris. The historic centre of Salou has a wealth of historic buildings.
The Motor-Star Festival, is dedicated to vehicles and held in mid-June. Vintage car parade passes along the boulevard Jaime I and the city's main streets.
Golden night – is a holiday that takes place in mid-August, and has something for everybody including a queen of the festival contest, concerts, firework displays, street performances and fairs.
In early September, is a festival of the king, who went in 1229 on a conquest of Mallorca - Jaime I - this abundance of musical performances , exciting gastronomic events , enchanting show, parade everyone in medieval costumes and binding on the regatta fleet of King Jaime I.
Rally "Salou - Costa Dorada" - motorsports festival in October centred around the World Rally Championship.
In Salou the nearest airport is Salou-Reus 9 kilometres outside the city.
The journey from Salou-Reus Airport by bus takes 20-30 minutes (ticket cost 5.10 EUR).
RENFE runs trains daily from arcelona via Tarragona. Some long-distance trains on the Barcelona-Valencia line also stop in Salou.
By shuttle service There are now buses to Lloret from the airport for 10 EUR.You'll find them on the Reus airport internet site. Because of the narrow streets, coaches will often drop people a little walk from their hotels. A little more expensive at about 12 EUR is the (shared) www.barcelonatransfers.com which is direct and will drop you off and pick you up at your accommodation. There are also a number of official pick up points round town for bus (shuttle coaches) which you will probably leave from rather than your hotel. You must confirm pickup with the shuttle service up to 72 hours before leaving.
The most convenient way to travel around Salou is on foot, it’s a small town, with lots of fountains glistening in the sunshine, palm trees and shops and is ideal for a leisurely walk .
Another option for transportation around town is a bike that can be rented for free is you only want to cycle for a couple of hours (the service cost for the day is about 12 EUR), almost all hotel provide such a service.
Public transport is all based close to the seafront. When travelling on a bus in Salou it is better to buy a card T-10 (it’s a refillable card you pay 2 EUR for initially, then to load it for 10 trips will cost you 8.90 EUR). Scan the card onboard and you will be issued with a paper ticket - a single ticket costs 1.75 EUR.
To discover ancient Salou look no further than these monuments:
Medieval lookout tower Torre Vella – one of the mains historical and architectural attractions in Salou, built in 1530 to protect it from pirates. Now it often hosts various exhibitions. The castle also features a museum dedicated to enamel.
The Church of Santa Maria del Mar - consecrated in 1766.
Manor Maziya Catalana - the embodiment of national traditions. Typical house of the local peasants, made in accordance with the lifestyle of several centuries ago. In summer near the homestead operates a handicrafts fair.
To see some Roman ruins travel to Tarragona about 10 kilometres from Salou (there are regular bus routes). There remains a forum, palace of the Roman governor, amphitheater, aqueduct, and a more modern (12th century) Cathedral .
The main venue for entertainment in Salou park is Port Aventura, which also includes the water park Costa Caribe. The park is divided into six themed parts (China, Mexico, the Wild West, etc), each of which represents different forms of entertainment. To cover the entire park with its rides, shows and various entertainment, you will need at least two days .
For most visitors to Salou beaches they will find well-developed infrastructure and golden sand. For the more privacy there are a lot of rocky and secluded coves. All the beaches of Salou thanks to a gentle gradient to the sea are safe for children. All along the waterfront are cozy cafes.
Restaurants in Salou are so numerous most streets have no less than five, the choice presented includes Indian, Italian, Mexican, and, of course , traditional Spanish (for 10 EUR you can buy a large paella pan and for 12 EUR - a pitcher of sangria). Glass of beer will cost a minimum of 2.5 EUR. For children there are ice cream parlors (Gelateria), which flavours of ice cream for every taste (a cone costs an average of 2 EUR).
Rice and seafood – are the most traditional Spanish food products. Those who love exotic cuisine can enjoy suquet de peix, a way of cooking monkfish. For meat lovers there’s mongetes amb botifarra (meat sausages), fried in hot oil and served with vegetables. Also suitable for meat lovers is the dish cap-i-pota (pork stew), which is served with fragrant white bread .
Most ethnic restaurants have their own wine cellar with local wine.
Tourists who want to buy souvenirs, can go to the local shops and retail shops that have a fairly wide range of goods, for those who are interested in fashion boutiques, jewelry stores and huge shopping complexes, is better to go to Barcelona or Reus.
Grocery stores in Salou include the supermarkets Mercadona (closed Sundays), located in the center of town near the municipal market, and Michelangelo.
To support the lively nightlife in Salou are numerous discos : Flash back with foam parties on Thursdays at Puerto Principe music techno-house, try Discoteca Tropical specializing in Latin American music, as well as other dance halls, cafes and music bars.
Flamenco – is an important element of life on the Spanish coast. Admire its execution in one of many bars and restaurants, such as Villa Alexander - where visitors will see the show of dance, live singing, guitar while eating a hearty meal of several courses and wine.
Accommodation options in Salou span the full range and most of them are suitable for families with children. In high season room rates are very affordable. The swimming season in Salou lasts from 15 May until early October. Rather than the summer months is better to book in the spring. In Salou all hotels are located quite close to the beach from 100 to 600 metres.
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