The Costa Dorada (the Gold Coast), with its 216km of coastline, is one of the main tourist destinations on the Mediterranean with Reus airport reachable in 2 and a half hours from Shannon. Less than 10km from the airport lies the beautiful port city, Tarragona, where many ancient ruins remain from its time as the Roman colony of Tarraco. Salou, one of the most popular holiday resorts on the Costa Dorada, is just 20 minutes from Reus Airport and also close by is one of Europe's largest theme parks, PortAventura World. Cambrils, also in the vicinity and possibly more inviting for the whole family, is often considered the more peaceful and grown-up alternative to Salou.
Barcelona, capital of the Catalonia region, is known for its art and architecture and is often considered both the cosmopolitan and cultural capital of Spain much to the chagrin of the Madrileños. Located just over 100 kilometres from Reus, the easiest way to get to and from Barcelona is with La Hispano Igualadina bus company which links Barcelona Sants Station with Reus and Reus Airport in 90 minutes. Tickets costs €12.50 for a single and €22 for a return journey. Catching a train to Barcelona is also an option but necessitates either a taxi or bus from the airport to Reus Rail Station.
From luxury, boutique to budget hotels and hundreds of rentals listed on Airbnb, Barcelona has accommodation for every budget. For design buffs, try the Room Mate Emma Hotel replete with futuristic designs created by a renowned interior designer Tomas Alia and Emma’s siblings Anna, Pau, Carla and Gerard. Rock yourself to sleep in a VIP Cabin in The Boatel - a yacht serving as a floating boutique hotel located in Barcelona's harbor marina.
With hundreds of books, maps and apps, a walking tour of Barcelona is an excellent way to see the city and no walk is complete without a ramble along La Rambla, Barcelona’s main street popular with both tourists and locals. This tree-lined pedestrian mall stretches for 1.2 kilometres connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Tours of Barcelona by electric bike that include tapas and drinks or museum entry might be preferable to those wanting local input.
Although Barcelona is renowned for its Modernist architecture, there are plenty of parks and gardens worth a visit. Barcelona’s best example of where nature and architecture meet is in Park Guëll, a public park system composed of gardens and architectonic elements located on Carmel Hill. L'Aquàrium, the world’s largest Mediterranean-themed marine attraction, is one of the top visitor attractions offering occasional opportunities to swim with sharks or spend the night.
Although originally from Valencia, ‘paella’ features prominently on local menus but look out for ‘fideuà’, a Barcelona variant which uses thin noodles instead of rice. More famous is the Allioli, a typical Catalan sauce similar to mayonnaise made with only garlic, olive oil and salt. Also worth a visit are the Boquería Market for traditional gastronomic products or Plaza del Pi square, a traditional food fair on the first and third weekend of every month.
Barcelona itself is like one large shopping centre whose main axis, known as the Shopping Line, consists of a five-kilometre pedestrian precinct with wide pavements. There are three main shopping areas in the city: the Centre, Eixample, and Diagonal. The most exclusive shops of the city are to be found around the Passeig de Gràcia and the Rambla de Catalunya while you’ll find all the souvenirs and Barcelona FC merchandise in La Rambla.