Have you ever considered visiting Barcelona at October Half Term, well actually not Barcelona itself but the beautiful area to the South of Barcelona, the Costa Dorada in Catalonia.
If I’m honest when I think of Spain I think of two things, I think of Spanish beaches full of tourists in swim suits on sun beds eating ice cream or I think of big cities like Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. Like a lot of people I tend to forget about the real Spain, all the bits in-between those places with its own beauty, culture and reasons to visit.
So I was delighted when shortly before October half term I was invited to head out to Costa Dorada, or Costa Daurada as it’s actually called, for a 3 night break. The purpose of the visit was to experience a number of things away from the coast and show that even when the weather might not be tip top sunbathing weather there is always a reason to head to Spain and Catalonia in particular.
So what did we get up to on our 3 night break to Salou?
We based ourselves in the popular coastal resort of Salou at the incredibly popular Sangulí Salou.
You can read our full review of the 3 nights we stayed at Sangulí Salou in October here but Sangulí Salou is definitely somewhere I’d consider for a longer period of time, as it made a great jumping off point for us to explore Catalonia.
The lodges were clean and comfortable, and fairly well spaced out, and had heating to take the edge off the chill when needed.
Where do you fly to when staying at Sangulí Salou?
We flew into Barcelona and it was an hour drive South to Salou, however you can also fly to Reus which is only 20 minutes away from Sangulí Salou if you can make the flight times and the airports Ryan Air fly from work for you.
What was the weather like in Catalonia in October?
For us in October 2019 it was low 20’s. Warm enough to have t-shirts on some of the time, not really warm enough to swim outside (although the kids did) but mainly warm enough to wear light cardigans or jumpers and to feel the sun on our face.
Things to do near Salou at October Half Term
We enjoyed a lovely morning at Adernats Cellar whilst we were in Catalonia over October Half Term. The tour takes you on a 45 minute journey through the vineyards and even to a tiny Iberian village . The girls also learnt to drive the horse and cart and received a really cute certificate at the end to say they had now become licensed to drive a horse and cart. A nice touch.
You can read our full review of Adernats Cellar with Kids here.
Port Aventura World
We spent an afternoon at Port Aventura World with 3 kids aged 8,8 and 9 and perhaps more importantly measuring 138cm and 124cm each. It’s a tricky height for theme parks as we are finding, as they aren’t tall enough to go on the really big rides and the smaller rides are aimed at children younger than them. The 2 parent, 3 child thing is also hard at a theme park as for many rides each child needs an adult to sit next to them and we don’t have the right ratio.
Our kids ages and heights aside it’s a brilliant park, well laid out, with different theming and areas to explore. There is a great article here from the Independent on how to get the best out of Port Aventura World and if we head back in a couple of years I’ll be sure to follow those tips.
It is however a great full day out activity and perfect to pop on the list for those less sunny days in Spring or Autumn too.
Sushi in Salou
During our stay we also had dinner at MIX, a sushi restaurant close to the beach, Platja de la Pineda. What was perfect about this sushi restaurant was that it didn’t just sell sushi, meaning the kids could try some, but also order pasta/burger for themselves. It was a great mix, literally!
You can read the tripadvisor reviews here.
Fancy something a little bit different, well this is it, is learning to be a shepherd in the Catalonia hills, eating goats cheese and the kids absolutely loved it!
This fabulous experience is run by a young couple (Sergi and Eva) who decided to step out of the rat race and learn an endangered ancient trade: shepherding. They’ve then decided to branch out and invite people for lunch and tours to see how you do it, and remind people of a way of life perhaps often forgotten.
A brilliant experience and one I’m so glad we did. Click here for the full review.
Parc Sama just outside Cambrils in Catalonia, Spain is a really lovely place to while away 2-3 hours with or without kids. If you think of a National Trust type of place with a large country house and winding gardens then you won’t go far wrong. I mean Parc Sama is very Spanish and not at all built in the English country house / National Trust style but you’ll hopefully understand what I mean.
Although it’s only 20 minutes from the beaches of the Costa Dorada it really does feel like a million miles away and on a lovely Autumn day with the weather in the early 20’s it was a really great place for a wander when lying on the beach wouldn’t really have been an option.
After a trip to Parc Sama you should definitely take in the harbour town of Cambrills. Its beachfront stretches along 7 km of coastline and the old town is pretty to wander around.
Cambrils is renowned for its gastronomy and is often referred to as the food capital of the Costa Daurada. We had a fabulous lunch at a restaurant set back from the front called El Posit Restaurant.
El Posit gets fabulous reviews on tripadvisor and we really enjoyed our seafood based lunch there, Take a look at some of the pictures. It was the perfect way to end our trip as we called in there after Parc Sama and on the way to the airport.
Aquum Spa & Wellness in Salou is a family friendly spa. The spa has a great swimming area (650 sq. meters of water apparently) with indoor pools at 32° and 36° and an outdoor pool at 30° providing 50 different sensations in over a 100 stations of jet loungers and benches, enveloping beds, cervical jets, waterfalls, water curtain, hot pipes, hydrodynamic river and outdoor hydro massage.
The girls loved the water fountains and the jets and the hot tub outside – it felt a little like the outside area at Center Parcs if you’ve done that, although to be fair with a lot less kids around.
As the pool started to get busier there was sometimes spaces you couldn’t get to, but whilst we were there (late October) it was never full.
It would have cost us €120 but if you’ve booked a trip and the weather isn’t great one day then its lovely to get the kids some well needed pool time in a really lovely environment.
We had a great time exploring some of the less obvious places in Costa Dorada and can’t wait to head back and explore some more!