5 Stars of the Costa Dorada

Costa Dorada, The beach at Tamarit Park

A trip to take in our 5 fab Costa Dorada resorts showed why this is a holiday region with amazing variety, where you can have it all!

The Costa Dorada – what a region! From one of the most vibrant cities in Europe to quaint mountain villages; charming ports to miles of golden sand beaches (which give the region its name); historical Roman remains to one of Europe’s biggest and best theme parks! And pretty much any activity you’d like is perfect here – watersports, road cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, golf, shopping, wining and dining…

Beach near Miami Platja and Barcelona Marina

Beach near Miami Platja and Barcelona Marina

The first time I visited the Costa Dorada was only in 2013, but I’ve been back 4 more times since, to catch up on everything I’ve been missing!

Catalonia and the Costa Dorada is a relaxed and fun-loving region. Running South from Barcelona, the climate is perfect from April through to October – making breaks and holidays attractive throughout Easter, May half-term, June and September as well as the peak months.

Tarragona Amphitheatre and Portaventura Theme Park

Tarragona amphitheatre and Portaventura theme park

Access is really easy from 2 airports in the region: Barcelona and Reus – with short flight times from UK and many great low-cost fares to take advantage of. Options for airport transfers and a great public transport system make car-free holidays a real option.

Firefly Holidays has 5 resorts along the Costa Dorada, which offer as much variety as the region itself. I spent a few days in September, soaking up some late summer sun and visiting each resort, to give an overview of the different character and opportunities offered by each. Having said that, the region’s attractions and airports are within easy reach of any resort.

Vilanova Park – Brilliant for Barca!

Vilanova Park has the appetising treats of Barcelona and the trendy coastal resort or Sitges near enough for you to taste whenever you want. Barcelona airport is only a 30 minute transfer away and the amazing city itself not much further. So, shopping, culture and partying are not far away.

Vilanova Park Main Pool and Slide Area

Vilanova Park main pool and slide area

Vilanova Park Farmhouse Restaurant

Vilanova Park Farmhouse Restaurant

Despite that, The Park feels a world away from the city, in a peaceful elevated spot looking down towards the coast from the main pool area. The classic Catalan farmhouse restaurant area is charming and there are plenty of onsite activities and entertainment if you feel like staying away from beaches and attractions for a day or two. The pool areas are perfect for basking and splashing and you’ll find one of the smartest mini golf courses here of anywhere. Accommodation is mainly in the shape of purpose designed bungalows and chalets, with plenty of shade provided by beautiful mature trees.

Read a review of one of our holidays at Vilanova Park in the Scottish Sun.

Residence Cala Cristal – The Most Exclusive Chill-out Spot

If you’re looking for somewhere exclusive, secluded and sophisticated … Cala Cristal is the place to be on the Costa Dorada. This was one place I really didn’t want to leave! I love to be active on holiday, but this perfect place really made me relax. Just 8 individual apartment suites, each with a garden terrace looking on to Cristal beach at Miami Platja. Small but very perfectly formed, with modern stylish rooms and a lovely pool area, this is an especially fantastic place for couples or small groups of friends. Perfect for a romantic break or a long weekend away with the girls.

Costa Dorada, View from the Cala Cristal apartment garden

View from the Cala Cristal apartment garden

You can’t get closer to the lovely sand beach, which is directly outside a locked gate from the apartment garden, with gently lapping warm water right through to October. The pool is equally nice, and perfect for unattended late night dips. Just so long as no one is left in the adjacent Calma restaurant. Calma complements the residence perfectly, providing fantastic food and drinks right through the day and late into the evening. Really fresh, light and great value (Cala Cristal guests get 10% off). The team there are really welcoming and will bring your refreshments round to the pool if you want. There are a couple of other lovely restaurants along the beachfront (Eclipse and Limonero definitely worth a visit), but Calma’s laid back quality was just perfect.

Costa Dorada, Residence Cala Cristal, From the Calma Restaurant

Residence Cala Cristal, from the Calma restaurant

Costa Dorada, Calma Restaurant next door to the residence

Calma Restaurant next door to the residence

Cala Cristal’s small size and high quality makes it a real gem, and a well kept secret. But it also means it books out very early in the season. Act quick and book the limited availability which remains. You really won’t regret it.

 Tamarit Park – Simply Stunning Beach Location – Wow!

Set right on 2 miles of perfect golden sand, overlooked by a headland topped with a dramatic castle, I’ve not found a resort with a location which beats Tamarit Park. And what’s on the resort’s doorstep is matched by the beachfront restaurant and the exceptional quality of the new accommodation and attractive landscaping within the resort.

Tamarit Park beach restaurant at dusk, under the castle

Tamarit Park beach restaurant at dusk, under the castle

Tamarit Park Drinks in the Beach Restaurant

Chilled drinks in Tamarit Park’s beach restaurant

The newest Lavanda and Tamariu bungalows feature top hotel grade matresses and bedding, stylish indoor and outdoor furniture and modern kitchen and entertainment technology. Firefly Holidays has exclusive access to these units, and we’re the only tour operator with access to the main area of the resort – other operators are positioned in a section separated from the resort’s pools, restaurants and amenities by gates and a road.

Tamarit Park Lavanda Bungalows

Tamarit Park Lavanda Bungalows

It’s well worth venturing beyond Tamarit Park itself – the resort is the most centrally positioned of our 5 on the Costa Dorada. The shops and history of Tarragona is practically on the doorstep, the thrills of Portaventura not far to the South and Barcelona easily reached to the North. With Reus airport only around 20 minutes away, Tamarit Park is also amazingly convenient to get to!

Bonavista de Bonmont – Top Holiday Village & Great for Golf!

Set in the foothills of the mountains, a few miles inland from the coast at Miami Platja, the Bonavista de Bonmont holiday village is a fantastic location to relax and enjoy the region, and with the adjoining Bonmont championship golf course, you can spoil what would otherwise be a perfect holiday with a round or two!

Bonavista de Bonmont Apartments and Gardens

Bonavista de Bonmont apartments and gardens

From Bonmont Golf Club Clubhouse

From Bonmont Golf Club Clubhouse

The resort is really welcoming, with spacious, well-equipped apartments in 5 haciendas, set in attractive gardens, with the restaurant and pool complex at its heart and facing the golf course. The pool and leisure are the base for clubs and activities, but the whole resort has a very laid back feel.

The Bonavista de Bonmont Holiday Village is in a perfect location for short breaks as well as longer holidays. Being close to Reus airport, Portaventura, Tarragona and many of the best beaches, means the highlights of the region can be enjoyed in just a few days.

Residence Comarugga – Best Value

Residence Comarugga provides the simple pleasures of the Costa Dorada, at amazingly good value. The residence sits on the pedestrianised beachfront of Coma Ruga town; spacious and recently refurbished apartments, set around their own swimming pool. The residence may not feature many other facilities or activities, but with direct beach access from at the front of the apartments, there’s not much else you need, as the warmth comes for free too!

Golden sands of Coma-ruga beach

Golden sands of Coma-ruga beach

Residence Comarugga, from the beach

Residence Comarugga, from the beach

Mid-way between Tarragona and Sitges, Residence Comarugga is a great base to explore other attractions and beaches, beyond its own strip of golden sand. It’s also fantastically positioned for flights, with both Reus and Barcelona airports within 40 minutes. So, for a week’s holiday or just a long weekend, this resort is convenient and very affordable.

 What are you waiting for?

So … an amazing region and a brilliant selection of resorts to choose from. Each with something different to offer, but surely one which will suit you well. Question is, which to try first!?

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