This was supposed to be an easygoing story about family holidays in Spain when we teamed up with my parents to plan a cool getaway with kids, but it ended up as a trip with a stressful twist. Let me share all the details of our recent family getaway to Cambrils.
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Our family holidays in Spain
Where is Cambrils?
Cambrils is a small coastal town in the Spanish province of Tarragona within the Catalonia autonomous community. It is a popular destination for family holidays in Spain due to its proximity to Port Aventura amusement park. Also, the nearest city of Tarragona is a popular stop for Mediterranean Cruises, so many travelers visit Cambrils on a day trip.
To learn more about all the unique landmarks near Cambrils, check out my Tarragona Road Trip.
Why we picked Cambrils?
It all started with my parents coming over to Spain for a week. As their flights were to Barcelona, we´ve chosen Cambrils as a meeting point. We were supposed to travel to Cambrils by car from Castellon and my parents – to catch a train from Barcelona Sants to escape the city buzz.
But going beyond our personal story, there are hundreds of reasons that make Cambrils a perfect destination for family holidays in Spain.
First of all, if you are visiting Spain with Kids, Cambrils is conveniently located near the famous Port Aventura park. The local infrastructure is well-prepared for international tourism – there are lots of amazing restaurants & holiday rentals in Cambrils.
At the same time, the Tarragona region is still less touristy than the famous Costa Brava and Barcelona. So, Cambrils seemed to us like a perfect choice for a laid-back vacation with occasional sightseeing.
Where to stay in Cambrils
Our holiday rental was located at Plaça de la Creu de la Missió 3, but it´s currently unavailable. Nevertheless, Cambrils has lots of cute places to stay: Apartamentos Ocea, Cambrils Turistic 3b, Mc Atico Vila, and villas. The most popular hotels in Cambrils are Sol Port Cambrils Hotel and Mas Gallau.
The 2019 Protests in Catalonia
Our family getaway was planned and booked before the 2019 Barcelona protests came into the picture.
You might have heard from the media about the tensions in the Spanish Province of Catalonia. It was right after the local Catalan authorities held a referendum not authorized/recognized by the Spanish Government. The Spain Supreme Court´s sentence to jail the Catalan independence activists came out during our Cambrils family trip.
So, my parents were supposed to return to Barcelona to take their flight back home. The airport was blocked. Barcelona looked like a melting pot in the news. My family had a terrible time at their Barcelona hotel, surrounded by pot-bangings and burning trash cans.
I felt so sorry for all the international visitors. Many of them missed their flights and got their European itineraries completely ruined due to the Catalan public transport collapse. It was just so not fair for all the tourists: when you spend lots of money and support the Catalan economy, but do not feel welcome at all.
While Barcelona is one of the most unique European capitals, I clearly get why some prefer Madrid to Barcelona.
My impressions of Cambrils
So, did I like Cambrils? – Yes. Was it our best experience of Family Holidays in Spain? – Probably, not. Nevertheless, it was still full of unique travel experiences.
Things to see and do in Cambrils
Let’s forget our almost-ruined vacation and talk about all the cool things we managed to do in Cambrils.
The port of Cambrils
The port of Cambrils offers a cozy waterfront walkway full of shops and restaurants.
We really enjoyed fresh local seafood dishes, while I should admit everything was a bit overpriced compared to similar small towns in the Valencia Region. But as we were traveling with a baby and a toddler it was awesome to have a decent promenade to walk by the seaside.
Don´t miss a cute old tower Torre del Puerto.
Cambrils old city center by tourist train
A great way to enjoy Cambrils city center with kids is the Tourist train. You can buy your tickets at the nearest Tourist office.
Don’t miss Callejon de las Flores, Santa Maria Church, Madre de Deu del Cami, Castell de Vilafortuny. Our kids also enjoyed a local park – Parque de el Pinaret.
As we live near the charming small town of Benicassim, we were not visiting Cambrils in search of the Spanish beaches. Nevertheless, the local Platja de la Llosa and Platja Prat den Forés in Cambrils looked nice. Beach sunsets never go out of style.
Unique experiences to book in Cambrils:
- Catamaran Cruise with Food and Drinks (check availability)
- Costa Daurada Sail Catamaran Cruise (check availability)
- Sunset Catamaran Cruise with Drinks (check availability)
Things to see near Cambrils
The biggest surprise of our Cambrils family getaway was Parc Sama, a beautiful botanic garden created in 1881. This place has some authentic old charm and will definitely surprise you with its Romantic Spanish vibes.
Of course, the highlight of this trip for the kids was Port Aventura Park. Even though there were not so many attractions they could test (due to the minimum height requirements). I wish they had more places for smaller children in Port Aventura.
Antonio Gaudi is one of the most famous Spaniards ever. While his success is deeply tied to Barcelona (especially Sagrada Familia, one of the most iconic Spanish Cathedrals), Gaudi was actually born and raised in Reus.
In Reus, you can not miss the Gaudi Center and will enjoy lots of unique Modernist buildings.
Salou is another popular destination for family holidays in Spain, located only 7 km away from Cambrils. However, most of the unique day tours across the Tarragona region start in Salou:
- Priorat Wine-Cellar Tour with Wine Tasting (check availability)
- Off-Road Guided Quad Safari with Hotel Pickup (check availability)
- Scuba Diving for Beginners (check availability)
- Canyoning Day Trip (check availability)
- Half-Day Bike Tour from Salou (check availability)
- Hermitage Montroig Red Hills Tour (check availability)
- Salou Kids Buggy (check availability)
- Siurana Medieval Village Guided Tour (check availability)
Deltebre is a unique natural setting full of wetland landscapes, especially beautiful at sunrise/sunset with all the water reflections. Its also a great destination for adventurous activities in Spain:
- Ebro Delta National Park: Guided Horseback Riding Tour
- Ebro Delta: Guided Kayak Tour to Gracia Island
- Flamingo-Birdwatching in the Ebro Delta at Sunset
- Ebro Delta Cruise and Jeep Tour with Mussels Tasting
- Ebro Delta National Park: Scenic Drive and Kayaking Tour
- Scenic Drive and Kayaking Tour
Another great day trip idea could be visiting the Roman sights of Tarragona, the small town of Tortosa, and the beautiful villages of the region like Miravet, Siurana, Prades, Piudecanyes, Montblanc, Altafulla, Aiguamurcia, La Vilella Baixa, Horta de San Joan, and Arnes.
For more ideas, check this post – 20+ Amazing Places to Visit in Catalonia.
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