Sometimes coastlines are for more than just sunset views, sunbathing, and fishing and that’s definitely true of the Catalan coast. These stunning shores feature rock formations, beaches, and forest paths that make it great for hiking. If you’d like to add an element of adventure and exercise to your next vacation, think about doing a coastal walk. Tarragona, a seaside city located south of Barcelona, features an easily accessible hike that makes for a unique day trip without being too strenuous. You can choose to walk about 12 km (7.45 mi) from Tarragona to Altafulla or add 8 km (~5 mi) and finish in Torredembarra. No matter where you finish, you’ll discover charming spots along the way that will make you fall in love with Costa Daurada.
The starting point: Tarragona
Lace up your shoes and start from Tarragona’s Miracle Beach (Platja Miracle), the main beach of the city. The path is clearly marked with yellow signs pointing the way north to Altafulla (Tamarit). As long as your keep the sea on your right side and head north, you can’t go wrong. Sometimes you’ll find a well-trodden path and other times, stone steps and wooden handrails. Continue along the coastline from Miracle Beach (Platja Miracle) to Arrabassada Beach (Platja l’Arrabassada), Savinosa Beach (Platja de la Savinosa), Capellans Beach (Platja dels Capellans), and finally Long Beach (Platja Llarga), an expansive three-kilometer (1.86 mi) beach featuring restaurants and bars. Platja Llarga is the ideal place to take a break before continuing your trek.
Where the waves meet the woods: Bosc de la Marquesa
Leaving Long Beach (Platja Llarga), you’ll soon find yourself in Marquesa Forest (Bosc de la Marquesa), a forest of white pines, juniper trees, and seasonal flowers. In these three km (1.86 mi) of coastal forest, you’ll find the best of both worlds: the sea and the woods. You’ll enjoy hearing the sound of the waves as you tromp through these woods, and you’ll be happy to know that the forest and its wildlife are protected by the local government. The trail through Marquesa Forest (Bosc de la Marquesa) also leads you to the next highlight: Waikiki Beach (Cala Waikiki).
A little piece of paradise: Waikiki Beach
Originally named Cala Fonda, but commonly known as Waikiki Beach, this beach is one of the best in the Tarragona area. This impressive beach is surrounded on three sides by high cliffs of bright yellow stone that is unique to the area. This small beach looks out onto the calm waters of the Mediterranean and is one more relaxing spot for resting your feet. The trail continues on the northern end of the beach and winds along the famous golden cliffs of this small paradise.
The castle around the corner: Tamarit
Continue on the path from Waikiki passing through the rest of the Marquesa Forest and the lookout at Mora Point (Punta de la Móra). Here you’ll encounter a campsite with small cabins and other facilities and Móra Beach (Cala de la Móra). Keep on going along the beach and climb the rocky coastline until you reach the grand finale: Tamarit Castle (Castell de Tamarit). This dramatic 11th century castle sits on a promontory overlooking the sea. It was once a castle, prison, and church and was owned by the archbishop of Tarragona and the marchioness of Tarragona in different historical periods. The castle is currently closed to visitors but the church is open for mass on Sundays at 11 am. Follow the trail behind the castle to the quiet seaside town of Altafulla, where you can catch the train to Tarragona or put your feet up in a local bar and enjoy a well-earned drink.
Discover a coastal ecosystem: Torredembarra
For those of you who want to continue the adventure, walk along the beach at Altafulla to the next city, Torredembarra. The first big landmark you’ll see is the lighthouse, the tallest one in Catalonia. From here you’ll find another long stretch of beach lined with inviting bars and restaurants. If you’re interested in exploring more of the natural area, continue along the beach until you reach Els Muntanyans. This protected area features the original ecosystem of sand dunes, wetlands, birds, and marine plants. It’s an especially enjoyable spot for birdwatchers and nature lovers who would like to see how the shore looked before coastal development. From Torredembarra you can easily catch a train or bus back to Tarragona where this remarkable coastal hike begins.
Out of the city and on the road
Get out of the city and challenge yourself with a hike on your next vacation. If you’re in or near Tarragona, be sure to check out this coastal walk and explore more of the ecosystems, beaches, and forests that are part of Costa Daurada.
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