October – November, 2015
Looking forward to spending more than just a fleeting moment in one place. With a drive along the Catolonian Coast to Cambrils as the chosen One, a day trip to gorgeous Tarragona will also be a treat!
Overslept. The alarm didn’t go off for some strange reason. It’s a travel day so usually try for an early start as you never know what obstacle the highway brings. A race to pack the van, shower, and leave the campsite…but really, we only have an 80km trip from Sitges to Cambrils so I’m exaggerating, slightly.
Smooth trip along the first highway and thought we’d escaped without paying tolls…how delusional of me! Arrived at a toll booth at the end this time, not when entering the highway. Paid the toll and went on our merry way until we arrived at the next toll when taking the 37 exit, and had to pay again. The Tolls are killing our daily budget as it’s much more when converted to Australian dollars.
Lizzy got us to the campsite without any dramas today…always a bonus and a sigh of relief!
Distance: 80 kilometres
Diesel: No fill this time
Roads: B-211, C-32, AP-7, T-312, N-340
Campsite: €16.50/night including power (with ASCI Camping Card); stay 7 nights and get 8th night free.
Camping La Losa Cambrils – This is one of the only campsite open all-year-round. Great to finally meet up with Wendy and Gordon, our friends from the South America trip and had drinks and long travel story catch-ups.
The site isn’t busy but steadily throughout our 9-day stay, more and more motorhomes and caravans pulled up; mostly Dutch, English, and German number plates.
A lovely new ablution block is provided with another 3 older ones on site but all are clean. The campsite is about a 5-minute walk to the nearest bar and 10-minute walk to town. The seafront is a couple of minutes’ walk only.
Washing machine: €4/load
For a taste of genuine Cambrils, walk around the old part of the town, which is hidden behind the seafront and very quaint. The architecture and back alleyways are much older so exude more character than the modern seafront’s sometimes gaudy holiday apartments and streets.
When open (due to Spain’s siesta), the tiny shopfronts in the older part of Cambrils are charming and offer goods at cheaper prices than the seafront shops.
Everything always seems very quiet in Cambrils. Perhaps it’s because shops can be closed anywhere from 12:00-17:00hrs; it’s hard to pick what times shops will open – you just never can be sure. The streets always seem quiet and everything seems to come alive after 17:00hrs, which is the time I actually saw a generous amount of people walking around and going about their daily business. I could get used to this kind of life!
It’s always lovely to walk along the seafront and in this case, there’s a lot of seafront to walk along; maybe about 5 kms plus. A marina sits quietly housing expensive yachts, but sadly, it’s not open to the public.
The walk out to the peer is pretty also; take some great sunset shots or look back towards the marina for a different perspective of Cambrils.
- Sol Y Sombra – Gorgeous way to watch the sun go down in one of the many bar/restaurants along the seafront. A favourite haunt is the Sol Y Sombra. With great welcoming service, snacks, meals, and cheap drinks, you won’t be leaving in a hurry – I think this is the best rest stop in Cambrils.
It’s also very dog-friendly and waiters will often bring out a bowl of water for your pooch without even you asking but don’t mind either if you do ask.
- La Tagliatella – Apart from sharing meals and drinking with our friends at the campsite most days, managed lunch out at this waterfront restaurant. Although not the cheapest around (mains – €11.60-€24; pizzas – €11.50-€13), the pizzas are scrumptious and favour the authentic Italian method of serving up a pizza…very thin crispy crust with a splattering of topping.
- Mercadona (Avda, Adelaida) – Although there’s a SPAR closer to the campsite, the Mercadona supermarket (about 1.5kms from campsite) has all you need, plus more. This became my all time favourite haunt to stock up for all groceries, anytime. You can buy the scrumptious Jambon (ham) freshly slice here at a fraction of the cost (average €15.95/kg) than when you eat this at a restaurant, café, or otherwise.
A serious fresh seafood section, which is absolutely wonderful at excellent prices offers many types of fish and seafood – the ladies will even gut and clean fish and squid on the spot, if requested! You definitely won’t go hungry here but make sure you don’t visit when you are hungry, which could be expensive!
- Lidl (Via Augusta, 2) – Although close to the Mercadona, this Lidl is more expensive than in the UK, which is very surprising as typically, the food (and alcohol) has been much cheaper in Spain.
- SPAR – Although closer to the campsite than the Mercadona, it’s a little more expensive but great for essentials if you don’t feel like walking the 1.5kms to the Mercadona.
- If you’re a seafood lover, then Spain is your Utopia! Most supermarkets have a fresh seafood section with an abundance of very fresh choices – everything imaginable at great prices.
- Bought the must-have La Muralla scrumptious biscuits in all varieties from the Mercado – very addictive and cheap.
- Lorena & Edmi (Calle Pau Casals 59) – Pedicure for €25. Not a bad pedicure but not one of the better ones I’ve had, although the ladies are very friendly.
- Ferriteria L’ Estacio (Cl Barcelona, 22) – Although directed back out onto the A7 highway (a tad far on foot) to the Bauhaus and an industrial area for a hardware, found this amazing close store. Actually,
no need to go very far as Cambrils has 4 Ferriterias (hardwares). This particular one is excellent for all your hardware needs, plus more.
The assistants are great and help with what ever you need; even cut up some timber to an exact template for free! Always something to maintain on an older vehicle but slowly, we’re finishing all the jobs on Reg.
Day trip to Tarragona
Heard much about Tarragona from our friends, so, decided we couldn’t bypass a trip to this city.
Only about 20-minutes on a comfy train (€5.40 return) from Cambrils to Tarragona. The Barcelona train runs pass Cambrils about every 2 hours.
You can easily spend several days here in awe of the many ancient ruins, which remain from its time under the Romans. One day does not do this city justice.
Situated high on a rock, about 75–90 mts (250–300 ft) above sea level in fact, this city was converted into a fortress and arsenal against the Carthagenians in Roman times.
- Tarragona City Walls – Built by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C., the ancient city wall ruins still remain intact with only 3 towers and several sections of the wall.
A gorgeous old town surrounded by a high stone wall dating back to 14th century also entices any visitor. Wander the cobbled streets and sip a café whilst eating a pastry or scrumptious Spanish ‘special’ ham toasty and watch the world amble by, as this is Tarragona and no one seems to rush.
- Roman Amphitheatre (€3 entry) – Wander up the gentle slope to the 2nd-century Amphitheatre, which faces the Mediterranean and is very impressive. I but didn’t venture within the walls as you could see most of it from a better angle from the walkway above. It’s not hard to imagine its capacity for 13,000 spectators vying for gladiators or watching the hunt of wild animals.
- Cathedral of Tarragona (€5 entry) – Built from around 1154, this cathedral was to be entrusted to monks from the monastery of St. Rufus in Avignon. Although I only saw the outside, the cathedral is quite impressive. Apparently, a collection of Gothic paintings and European tapestries await inside.
I was going to venture back to explore inside as a large bus tour had just arrived; sat and ate at several places and never returned! Totally forgot to return until we were walking back to the station for the train.
Enjoyed a delicious 3-course lunch for only €9.95, with bread and a glass of wine thrown in! Spent almost 2 hours there…can’t rush these things! Wonderful company and a great day so quite content just sampling the food on offer whilst sipping on wine soaking up Tarragona’s atmosphere. Sometimes as travellers we’re too busy rushing around the main sites that we forget to just sit and absorb the culture; and do what the locals do best…enjoy the moment!
The train trip back was quite busy but it does follow the coast quite closely about 15 minutes out of Tarragona and very pretty, especially with the sun going down.
Cambrils to Valencia
After 9 excellent days in Cambrils, decided some time in Valencia was due. But also to catch up with Wendy and Gordon again in another exotic location to continue our reminiscing on the South American trip. Only feels like yesterday since we caught up with them and not 4 years!