Fun for all the family, no matter which resort you stay in
Flights to Reus Airport only take two hours, with transfers to Costa Dorada’s top family-focused resorts in between 20 and 40 minutes, so the kids will have little time to get bored on the journey.
Salou is one of Costa Dorada’s biggest and best set-up resorts for families, with two long beaches plus many more coves and over 250 places to eat. While La Pineda is much smaller and more laid-back but still equipped with its own waterpark and two excellent beaches, plus hotels that provide extra entertainment.
One of the biggest draws to Costa Dorada is the huge PortAventura World theme park, which has five different zones and a vast waterpark on the side, plus the addition of Ferrari Land in April 2017. You can stay minutes from the park at one of the top class PortAventura hotels, which are stacked with more family activities.
With walking times from one resort to another being no more than 15 minutes, you can be chilling on La Pineda beach in the morning, and riding roller coasters in PortAventura World or shopping in Salou by afternoon.
Best family friendly beaches
Salou’s nine-kilometres of beaches start near Cambrils in the west and run all the way through town and around Cap Salou towards La Pineda. The most popular are Playa Ponent and Playa Llevant that are closest to town, the latter of which having Blue Flag status with a playground, gym and volleyball courts, and both excelling in watersports provision.
The further around Cap Salou you go, the smaller and quieter the coves, with a picturesque hilly walk taking you to peaceful bays with gentle waves like Cala Crancs. La Pineda’s Blue Flag beach is two and a half kilometres long and consists of Playa Pineda beach in the centre, lined with tasty restaurants and tranquil Playa del Raco further south.
Best family activities in Costa Dorada
Of course, PortAventura World theme park wins the prize for family things to do in Costa Dorada. How could it not with wild rides, mini zones, themed boat and train trips, entertaining shows ranging from Sesame Street to Westerns, and the vast Caribe Aquatic Park?
That’s not all this area has to offer families though, as Salou has its own fun fix with Adrenaline Park, touting bungee rockets and a go-kart track. Slightly slower paced days can be spent climbing through the trees at Bosc Adventura and whizzing down zip lines, plus there are trampolines, paintballing and rock-climbing walls.
Salou evenings can involve watching the mesmerising illuminated fountain show or visiting the House of Illusion for a magic and comedy show in a striking theatre that all ages will enjoy. Although quieter, La Pineda has its own waterpark Aquopolis, which you can use for free by staying at selected hotels.
Other popular holidays in Spain
For further inspiration on family-friendly destinations in Spain, try Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca or Costa Brava. Or to find out if Costa Dorada is definitely for you read our travel guide that has all the information you’ll need to plan a family holiday here. We’ve also rounded up the top five family hotels for you to choose from in Costa Dorada.
Close to the action in the centre of Salou, and 10-minutes' walk from Llevant Beach, as the name would suggest, this TUI Family Life hotel will equip you for your holiday. It has newly-refurbished suites that have one or two bedrooms and are suitable for up to a family of six, coming complete with conveniences like mini-fridges, sinks and microwaves. Or head to the buffet restaurant for meals, with its dedicated kids' section. The large outdoor pool has a splash zone where the kids can whizz down slides, plus there's another pool indoors. As well as soft play, a playground, a creche for under 3s and a family activity programme that runs throughout summer.
One of the perks of this hotel is the free entry to PortAventura World, a five-minute walk away, with Salou only 15 minutes by foot in the other direction. But El Paso Hotel keeps on giving in the form of two big pools – one of which has a pirate ship for kids to play on – a children's maze and games area. The hotel has a Mexican hacienda feeling throughout its leafy grounds and rooms, and there are three restaurants to try for buffets, Tex-Mex or light meals. A nightly mini disco and children's entertainment show will keep the kids busy come evening.
Another hotel with free entry to PortAventura World, this one's within the park's grounds, so you have unlimited use of the rides, plus the shows – up to 40 a day in summer. The hotel itself is Spanish in style and has two big pools and exceptional dining choices. There are two buffet restaurants, an a la carte Mediterranean one, a poolside snack bar and Italian cafe, with kids' menus galore. Interconnecting rooms are available to stay together as a family.
In quieter La Pineda, the Aquasplash Estival Resort provides lots of entertainment. Firstly there's free entry to Aquopolis Water Park, a 10-minute walk away, plus each of the hotel's three zones has its own pool with kids' section. That's backed up by three buffet restaurants, two snack bars and a children's play area. While the little ones are in the kids' club you can make use of the spa with 50 water features like bubble beds, a sauna and Turkish bath or even get your hair done at the salon. Day or night, the entertainment programme caters for all nationalities and kids will love the mini disco.
If you want to stay minutes from PortAventura World and walk out of your room and onto a beach, the Caribbean-style Caribe Hotel could be for you. There's free entry to the theme park, a 15-minute walk away, and one of the two massive pools laps up on a manmade, white sand beach among the tropical gardens. Also in the grounds are a play area and a kids' pool, while indoors is another pool. The five restaurants cover buffet, Italian, Med and snack, most with views over the lake.