Salou (Greek: Salauris) is a municipality of the comarca of Tarragonès, in the province of Tarragona, in Catalonia, Spain. The city is approximately 10km from Tarragona and Reus on the Costa Daurada and 112km from Barcelona. Salou is the tourist capital of the Costa Dorada, due to its many tourist facilities and its beautiful beaches; it is a popular holiday destination due to its Mediterranean climate. Aside from its string of beaches interrupted by rocky coves, and its landscaped promenade, one of its main attractions is the Port Aventura resort, formerly owned by Universal Parks & Resorts, the theme park division of NBCUniversal. Salou was famous for its permanent fairground at the end of the promenade. Salou is used as the base for the Catalunyan round of the World Rally Championship. The Dutch movie, Costa! and the television series with the same title were both filmed in Salou.
Used as a port by Greeks and Romans, it appeared again in an important historic event, when in 1229 the fleet of James I of Aragon departed from the port of Salou to conquer the Balearic islands, thus creating the Kingdom of Majorca and in 1286 Alfons III of Aragon also departed from this port to conquer Minorca, the last muslim territory of the Balearic Islands. Later, Salou became a nest of pirates. After that it was considered an unsafe place, so in 1530 Archbishop of Tarragona decided to erect a new defence tower, now called Torre Vella. In 1865 the railway station began to operate, opening a new development time, that led one hundred years later to a tourist boom that has brought prosperity to the town. Salou was segregated from Vila-seca on 30 October 1989 by a decision of the Supreme Court of Spain. It is considered the capital and most popular destination of the Costa Daurada.
- By car, from the highway AP-7.
- By plane, from the international airport Reus-Salou or Barcelona El Prat Airport.
- By train, with RENFE medium-distance trains from Barcelona 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 at €10.You'll find them on the Reus airport internet site. Because of the narrow streets, coaches will often drop people little walk from their hotels. A little more expensive at just over €10 is the (shared) http://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 going home.
- The public bus service (PLANA) and taxis service the town.
- To get outside Salou, and to get to the nearby Port Aventura theme park, use the train station which is located up the promenade or you can use taxis and bus services, all are relatively cheap.
As the town is in Catalonia, the main language is Catalan, but there is also a wide usage of Spanish, English, German and French. Sometimes, in certain areas of Salou, you can hear Russian, Czech and Polish being spoken too. All shops and restaurants should speak fluent Spanish, English and German.
- Font lluminosa - A fountain located at the end of the seaside walkway which offers lighting and music shows at night. There is also a beautiful beach lined with many children's play areas and sculptures.
- Cybernetic fountains - The fountains are popular with tourists which are located at the opposite end of the Font lluminosa.
- Salou Promenade (Passeig Jaume I) - The promenade is one of the most beautiful landmarks of Salou, and it runs right along the coast adjacent to the Llevant Beach, the biggest beach in the town.
- Beaches - The main beach is the Llevant Beach, although other beaches include Platja de Ponent, Platja dels Capellans, Platja Llarga and Cala Crancs.
- Torre Vella - Originally built to protect the population from attacks now holds art exhibitions/events.
- Santa Maria Del Mar Church - Built in 1766 for use by seafarers, at a time of great activity in the port of Salou.
- Theatre (Teatre Auditori de Salou) - The theatre plays local events and famous acts such as Sergio Dalma.
- PortAventura Resort - Includes a theme park, aquatic park and four hotels. It has many rollercoasters, water rides , simulators and restaurants. You can access PortAventura via the train, bus and taxi.
- Golf Course - Lumine Golf Club, Salou (formerly known as PortAventura golf). There are three courses, which are north, south and central. North and central were designed by Greg Norman and the green project designed the south course. The facilities consist of two clubhouses, beach club, restaurants, pro shop, rental services and a golf school.
- Watersports - Banana boats, pedaloes, windsurfing, boat trips can be arranged on the main beach (Llevant Beach).
- Arcades - They are open across the whole town of Salou with pool tables, basketball and slot machines.
- Karting Salou - Attraction includes Go-karting, bungee rocket and an arcade.
- Bosc Aventura - Attraction includes zip lines, a climbing wall and paintball.
There are plenty of small souvenir shops in Salou, specially in the streets along the beach and in Barcelona street. You can find some upmarket boutiques further up the promenade, near the station and marina, this is accompanied by a few upmarket restaurants. More upmarket shopping is also located in the old town with a market also located their every Monday. A shopping centre is located in Vila-Seca across the road from PortAventura called Port Halley. Barcelona and Tarragona can be reached by using the many transport services for more extensive shopping.
Most shops and businesses take advantage of the lively night-time atmosphere and are open until quite late. Indeed, you can expect to see streets thronged with tourists shopping for souvenirs and gifts along with more practical items at 10pm in the evening, even in April.
In Salou you can find a high variety of international restaurants, including many Mediterranean restaurants serving Paella as their main dish, although the standard of cuisine is of the "non-Gourmet" type therefore very casual. For more upmarket and quality cuisine, walk up the promenade towards the Marina where many good restaurants surround the area or close to the Spanish mansions along the seafront where there is a upmarket restaurant called Villa Alexander. For local cuisine there is a lovely restaurant called las Brasas.
The area also serves for those wanting fast food such as McDonalds, Telepizza, Burger king, Pans&Company, and Subway.
The neighbouring town of Cambrils is famous throughout Spain for its seafood restaurants and therefore well worth taking a visit.
- The Guinness Tavern, Calle Alfonso V, Salou (Round the corner from Christys Irish bar), ☎ 650435791. 17.00-23.00. The Guinness Tavern has a lovely garden terrace where you can enjoy quality food, Prime fillet steaks, Steak and Guinness Pie, homemade fish cakes and much more, great service qnd reasonably priced.
Salou is a package holiday destination for many different age groups, and is mainly known for its nightlife during the summer time. There are many clubs and discos in Salou many of them crowded they include Snoepy's, Bus Stop, Tropical Salou and the famous nightclub chain called Pacha in the neighbouring resort of La Pineda. During these months, the number of foreigners is higher than the number of locals, which justifies the high number of international bars and pubs that you can find in Salou.
- The Rose & Crown, . Great night with nightly bingo and quizzes during the summer.
- Christys Irish bar, . Great live music every night fantasic atmosphere a great night out for all.
- Charlie Chaplin's. Fantastic disco bar with live entertainment every night.
- Snoepy's Club Sound, . Nightclub offering great music every night with a fantasic atmosphere and a great night out for all.
- Flashback, . Nightclub with brilliant music from yesteryear offering those who enjoy music from the past a guaranteed fun-filled night out.
Salou is a tourist resort and thus has many hotels and apartment blocks located there. Quality varies greatly and can be judged by the number of stars (i.e 3-Star, 4-Star) displayed outside the premises. In the past decade the accommodation on offer has improved dramatically and is no longer relied upon cheap 1/2 star accommodation with major international chains such as H10 and Sol located in Salou.
- Hotel Villamarina Club, Ciutat de reus 42 (Salou), ☎ +34977380504, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 10:00. All inclusive hotel in Salou offering value for money family holidays.
- Festival Village Salou, Carretera de la Costa 61 (Cap Salou), ☎ +34977373056, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 10:00. Large 1 & 2 bedrooms apartments in Cap Salou offering all inclusive family holidays.
There are many contact centres in and around Salou to connect to the Internet including many hotels and apartments, which have internet access in their reception area. There are also phone boxes up and down Salou if you want to contact home. WI-FI is also available in the resort of Salou in designated areas which are clearly marked.
Salou is a base for tourists, but is also used by young people and families as a place to relax and enjoy the sun and beach. For those who wish to see more of the surrounding Catalonia and Spain, consider these day trips.
- Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain and the capital of the region of Catalonia. The city won't disappoint, and has many shops, bars, restaurants and sights to see. You can take the train or bus (PLANA) to access Barcelona which around 2 and 1/2 hours away.
- Tarragona, the nearby town, with beautiful plazas and old traditional cafés, worth a quick visit.
- Reus, the birthplace of Gaudi, with museums, shopping and cuisine tempting people to visit time and time again.
- La Pineda, is home to the Aquopolis water park and the Pacha nightclub. This resort is much smaller than Salou but has bars, souvenir shops and also includes four star hotels and even a 5 star hotel.
- Cambrils, a fishing village with a beautiful marina and many tempting seafood restaurants.
- Montserrat is a mountain near Barcelona, in Catalonia, in Spain. It is the site of a Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and which is identified by some with the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth. It is a place of natural beauty, and is popular with both holiday group excursions and religious groups on pilgrimage. It has a cable car and mountain train for those who wish not to walk to parts of the mountain, although some areas such as the viewing point at the very top is only accessible by walking up relatively accessible paved paths.
- Aqualeon Costa Dorada, is a water and safari park combined to make an exciting day trip. Aqualeon is located in Albinyana, Tarragona.