Salou (Catalan pronunciation: [səˈɫɔw]) is a municipality of the comarca of Tarragonès, in the province of Tarragona, in Catalonia, Spain. The city is approximately 10 km from Tarragona and Reus on the Costa Daurada and 112 km from Barcelona. Aside from its string of beaches interrupted by rocky coves, and its landscaped promenade, one of its main attractions is the PortAventura resort. The Dutch movie Costa! and the television series with the same title were both filmed in Salou.
Used as a port by Greeks (who named it Salauris) 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. In 1286 Alfons III of Aragon also departed from this port to conquer Minorca, the last Moorish 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 separated from the adjacent municipality of Vila-seca on 30 October 1989 by a decision of the Supreme Court of Spain.
Historic Buildings and Monuments
- Church of Santa Maria del Mar
- Torre Vella
- Harbour-master’s Office
- Monument to Jaume I
- Fountains of the Font lluminosa
- Monument to Fishermen
- Old Carrilet Railway Station
PortAventura is a growing theme park resort on the Costa Daurada. The resort includes luxury four-star accommodation, a major theme park, Costa Caribe Aquatic Park and a convention centre. The theme park’s main attractions are the Dragon Khan, a massive B&M mega-looper; Furius Baco, which is one of the fastest roller coasters in Europe; and The Hurricane Condor, a tall falling-tower ride which is 100 metres tall. In 2012 a new roller coaster called Shambhala: Expedición al Himalaya opened adjacent to the Dragon Khan. The park also has a grand multi-media show, called the FiestaAventura, every night between the end of June and the end of August which features fireworks, fountains and parade floats. Ferrari Land, with the highest and fastest vertical accelerator in Europe, is opening in 2016, and will also include the world’s first Ferrari hotel.
Lumine Mediterranea Beach & Golf Community
Salou is also home to the Lumine Golf Club (formerly known as PortAventura golf). There are three courses, labeled as north, south, and central. North and central were designed by Greg Norman and the south course was designed by “Green Project”. The facilities consist of two clubhouses, a beach club, Lumine restaurant, Hoyo 19 restaurant, a pro shop, rental services and a golf school. In the future the area surrounding the golf course will be developed into a community with six residential areas and services that include two five-star hotels, a sports area and the International School of Salou that will cater for up to 1200 students as part of the Lumine community.
Auditorium Theatre of Salou
The Auditorium Theatre of Salou (Teatre Auditori de Salou) is an important part of the local community in terms of cultural and leisure in the municipality. The theatre plays local events such as political, school and cultural events and has also welcomed famous musicians to the area such as Sergio Dalma.
Salou’s main promenade is the Passeig Jaume I, which runs along the coast adjacent to the Llevant Beach, the longest beach in the town. Other beaches include Platja de Ponent, Platja dels Capellans, Platja Llarga and Platja Cala Crancs. Salou has 34 Blue Flag beaches. Water-sports, rentals and trips can be arranged on the Llevant Beach.
Salou is used since 2005 as the base for Rally Catalunya, part of the World Rally Championship. Salou has also held volleyball championships, football tournaments, a triathlon  and many other competitive sports.
Saloufest is the University sports festival which takes place on two separate occasions in April on an annual basis. The festival is infamous for its wild nature. The festival includes DJs and parties at the neighbouring resort’s nightclub called Pacha.
In the future the local government is expected to position Salou as a sport tourism destination and therefore will promote different projects that include first class facilities to provide the city with the necessary resources to become a tourist destination that attracts visitors of reference, especially in low season. They have announced a project that will feature swimming pools, football fields and tennis courts. In April 2012 the Mayor of Salou inaugurated the facilities that have been built, which are six football fields (four artificial and 2 natural) including changing rooms, bar, waiting rooms and rooms for training sessions the second phase includes a further 6 more open fields, billiards room and shop selling merchandise.
- Cavalcade of the Three Kings (January)
- Cós Blanc (Winter festival; first weekend of February)
- International draughts tournament “Salou Open” (May)
- Children’s Festival (June)
- St. John’s Eve (Late June)
- Nits Daurades (Summer festival, week of 15 August)
- King Jaume I Festival (7 September)
- National Day of Catalonia(11 September)
- Festa de la Segregació (30 October)
Salou’s closest airport is Reus (which it is connected to by a regular bus service) followed by Barcelona. Reus Airport is mainly served by the low cost airline Ryanair. The major charter airlines from Britain use Reus throughout the summer as a gateway to the Costa Daurada. The airport mainly serves British and Irish destinations, but domestic and other European destinations are also served.
The Railway Station in Salou is served by the Spanish state rail-network, RENFE. The destinations from Salou include major cities in Catalonia such as Tarragona and Barcelona, as well as a train south to the city of Valencia.
There are plenty of taxi services throughout the area including taxi ranks in locations such as opposite the Font lluminosa, Cap Salou and Reus Airport.
The bus company that serves the area is called Plana Bus, the destinations include Cambrils, La Pineda, PortAventura, Reus and Tarragona.