Cambrils (Catalan pronunciation: [kəmˈbɾiɫs]) is a coastal town in the comarca of Baix Camp, provinceof Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain. The town is nearby the tourist town, Salou and is frequently visitedby those travelling by air using Reus Airport and major transport links such as the Bus Plana and the RENFE.
Roman empire to Middle Ages
The town of Cambrils can trace its origins back to prehistoric times, although it was not until the Roman period that the present town of Cambrils began to grow. This is evident from the archaeological sites found throughout the municipality, such as the Roman villa of La Llosa, strategically located alongside the Via Augusta and not far from the Roman capital of Tarraco.
By the mediaeval period there was already a permanent settlement on the right bank of the Alforja Torrent. From 1152 the kingdom of Aragon, having driven the Moors out of Catalonia, granted a series of privileges to encourage the repopulation of the place known as Cambrils. It was in the 12th century that the foundations were laid for the establishment of a stable population centre here at the southern gateway to the Camp de Tarragona, well connected to El Camino Real (the Royal Road) that linked Tortosa and Tarragona. The area also had good maritime connections; indeed, the troops of Jaume I sailed from these beaches in 1229 to re-conquer Majorca from the Moors.
Due to this strategic position, the Crown kept title over the town by establishing a feudal lord—vassal to the king-count—and a detachment of soldiers here. In addition, they built defensive walls and towers that also served to protect other nearby villages such as Els Tegells, Les Planes and Montbrió. This royal initiative lead to the development of the present-day Old Town, with a church, hostel, hermitage, hospital, convent, market, fair, artisans, and, above all, farmers who worked the rich lands surrounding Cambrils.
However, the vitality of the community was severely disrupted in December 1640 when the town of Cambrils was the site of one of the episodes of the Guerra dels Segadors (War of the Reapers) that brought Catalonia into conflict with King Philip IV of Spain. Faced with a far superior army, the population of Cambrils withstood a siege that lasted three days, before they finally capitulated. Contrary to the agreed terms of surrender, the occupying troops killed a large number of the defenders and destroyed most of the town walls. This is one of the most important events in the town’s history and it is commemorated every year by a ceremony held in the Plaça del Setge (Siege Square), in front of the ruins of the walls.
From the 18th century the population began to increase, as can be seen from the establishment of workers’ neighbourhoods outside the walled area. At the same time, the coastal area, now the port quarter of Cambrils, was also occupied, thanks to the construction of the Port or Moors’ Tower. For centuries living on the seashore had been fraught with danger, due to constant pirate attacks. Fishermen and others who did not have time to flee to the shelter of the walled town were often killed or kidnapped. Other small mediaeval villages such as Mas d’en Bisbe, Vilagrassa and Vilafortuny, the latter of which had its own castle and church, also suffered the ravages of the pirates, which impeded the growth of their populations, a situation that did not change until they were annexed to the municipality of Cambrils in the 19th century. Over time, and with the danger largely a thing of the past, the families of fishermen and seafarers began to build their houses around the Port or Moors’ Tower, thus founding the quarter that, a century later, would see the construction of the harbour, which was finished in the mid 20th century and is now the best known symbol of Cambrils.
In addition to the production of flour in the town’s numerous water-driven mills, from the 19th century on small industries began to develop. These included liqueur producers, brick and building material factories, and boatyards building increasingly large vessels. The opening of the railway in 1867 gave a considerable boost to the town’s commerce, agriculture and fishing, despite a series of wars, epidemics, and meteorological disasters suffered during the 19th century. The 20th century brought with it the beginning of an increase in population that would be multiplied in the 1950s with the arrival of various waves of immigration from other parts of Spain.
At the beginning of the 1960s the potential of tourism to the town was realized and began to be exploited. Large estates were built to house these new arrivals, who mainly came to enjoy the Mediterranean sun, beach and cuisine.
The city, along with the rest of the region around Tarragona, has enjoyed very rapid development over the last two decades. The town’s fishing and agriculture background is being replaced by such emerging industries as chemical, petrochemical, services and tourism. These, in turn, have spurred large-scale development, leading to major investments in infrastructure and an increased standard of living. Today, most of the tourists to this area are Spaniards, who have their summer house at this fishing village with high quality beaches.
The Agriculture Cooperative of Cambrils was founded at 1902. Nowadays it is the agriculture and food industry reference around Camp de Tarragona. The local farmers produce fruits, vegetables and arbequina olives which is made the well known Extra Virgin Olive Oil PDO Siurana. This product has been awarded as Best Olive Oil of Spain in Fruity Category by Agriculture Ministry of Spain and best olive oil mill of Spain (2005-2006) awarded by the Spanish Association of Municipalities of the Olive Tree (AEMO).
- Molí de les Tres Eres – The main building of the Cambrils Museum of History.
- Museu Agrícola de Cambrils – Agricultural museum of Cambrils
- Torre de l’Ermita – Chapel Tower
- Torre del Port – Port Tower
- Ermita de la Mare de Déu del Camí – Chapel
- El Parc del Pescador – Fisherman’s park
- El Parc del Pinaret – The newest and largest park.
Cambrils sits at the centre of the Costa Daurada and has a variety of transport options in and out of town. Unfortunately, there are not quite as many transport options once you are in Cambrils itself. If you simply need to get around to the different parts of Cambrils you will rely on the odd bus, taxis or hire bikes. However, you should find that there are enough options to get by.
Here is details for the transport around Cambrils: buses, taxis, the tourist train and hire bikes. It also provides details for the public transport options going in and out of Cambrils: trains, buses and taxis. Each section provides the location for the mode of transport, details of where it goes to and links to detailed information on prices, times etc.
Trains in Cambrils
There is a small train station in Cambrils, offering the opportunity to take day trips from Cambrils to other parts of Catalunya and beyond. Cambrils is too small to warrant having a train line that goes to various parts of town, however the train station can be useful for getting to places including Salou, Port Aventura, Tarragona and Barcelona. If you are looking to travel further afield, it is best to check the cities that the train heads to and whether you can get connecting trains from there.
For details on how to get to Port Aventura on the train from Cambrils, check our Guide to Day Trips from Cambrils.
For details on how to get to Tarragona or Barcelona on the train from Cambrils, check our Guide to Excursions from Cambrils.
To check the options for destinations from Cambrils train station, plus train times and prices, it is best to see the Official Renfe Website.
Cambrils Train Station
Avenida Verge de Montserrat
43850 Cambrils, España.
Tel: Renfe: +34 90 232 0320
Buses in Cambrils
All of the buses in and around Cambrils are provided by two companies – Alsa and Plana. There are two bus lines that run around Cambrils – one servicing the west side of town and the other servicing the east. There are also buses that leave Cambrils coach station to out of town destinations.
Buses around Cambrils
There are two buses that operate in Cambrils – one services Cambrils West and the other services Cambrils East. The Cambrils East bus is called Line 1 and it journeys from the town centre – the marina, to an area called Mas Clariana and then back into the town centre. The Cambrils West bus is called Line 2 and it journeys from the town centre to an area called Cambrils Mediterrania and then back into town.
Both buses can be caught outside the Cambrils Town Hall (Cambrils Ajuntament in Catalan). Each bus service runs six times per day. The bus timetable are subject to change, so, to find out the bus times, it is best to check the Official Cambrils Tourist Office Website.
Plaza de l’Ajuntament
Buses to other parts of Catalunya
It is possible to catch buses from Cambrils to Reus, Salou, Tarragona, Miami, Hospitalet de l’Enfant, Zaragoza, Huesca, San Sebastian, Santander, Berga and Lerida. These destinations are dealt with by different companies, all leaving from the main coach station in Cambrils (see the address and location below). To find out which bus is going to your desired destination and how to buy tickets for it, call the number below for the bus station in Cambrils. If you have difficultly speaking to somebody at this number (as they may not speak English), it is best to contact tourist information who will tell you exactly what you need to do to catch the bus that you need (for their contact details, see our Cambrils Tourist Information page).
Cambrils Estacio d’Autobusos
Avenida de la Llosa
– on the corner of Avenida dels Paisos Catalans
Tel: +34 97 735 4445
Taxis in Cambrils
It is relatively easy to catch a taxi in Cambrils. If you keep an eye out for the taxis in the street you shouldn’t have to wait too long to flag one down. However, in the town centre there are also four taxi ranks where you can go to pick up a taxi. Alternatively, you can call one of the three taxi numbers below and ask them to come and pick you up.
Taxi ranks in Cambrils:
- Rb del Regueral (on the corner of Avenida Diputacio)
- Passeig de Joan Baptista de la Salle (on the corner of Calle de Gracia)
- Avenida de la Llosa (on the corner of Avenida dela Paisos Catalans)
- Calle de la Verge de Montserrat (on the corner of Calle de Tarragona)
Taxi Companies in Cambrils:
Tel: +34 97 736 2622
Radio Taxi Cambrils
Tel: +34 97 736 3323
Tel: +34 97 779 2010
Tourist Train in Cambrils
For a more exciting way of getting around Cambrils, and one that is sure to keep the kids happy, why not consider taking the tourist train? This small green toy train is, in fact, more like a long car that winds through the streets of Cambrils – the type that you would expect to see in a theme park. It has open sides and a roof, making it the perfect place to view the town from on a hot summers day. The train takes a journey that lasts about 40 minutes around some of Cambrils most interesting and popular areas (see below for the route).
Tickets normally cost around €3.00 for adults and €2.00 for children. Tickets can be purchased from Cambrils Tourist Information (see our Cambrils Tourist Information page for the address and opening times) and this is where the train leaves from. Prices and times will vary from year to year, so it is best to check the Official Cambrils Tourist Office website for these details.
The route of the Cambrils Tourist Train:
- Cambrils Tourist Information
- Cambrils Museu Moli de les Tres Eres
- Cambrils Museum of Agricultural
- Cambrils Old Town
- Parc del Pinaret
- Estela Falç (sickle sculpture) at the gate to Cambrils old town
- Plaza de Carles Roig in the old town
- Torre I Ermita de la Mare de Deu del Cami
- Passeig de Miramar in the marina
Bike Hire in Cambrils
Biking is a very good option for getting around Cambrils. Due to the size of the town walking can often seem a little too time consuming and getting the bus can feel lazy! So hiring a bike could provide the perfect solution. You are in a position to make your way easily down the beach front (where there is a bike lane for the entire 7km stretch) or between the marina and the old town.
There are three companies offering bicycle rental in Cambrils. For listings of these with contact details and a location map, see our guide to Cambrils bicycle shops.