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Cambrils: a Spanish Secret

Cambrils: a Spanish Secret

Shane Cullen of Killiney Travel, the August winner in ITTN’s Budding Travel Writer competition, reports on the delights of Cambrils and Spain’s Tarragona region.

Cambrils promenade

Cambrils promenade

While travel agents get the enjoyable task of sending people to the far-flung reaches of the globe, agency staff remain in their offices, but then, as karma prevailed, the Spanish Tourist Board invited me to the Costa Daurada. As testament to the region, within weeks after the fam trip I booked flights to return, family in tow.

While most are familiar with the region of Tarragona, the less well-known coastal town of Cambrils lies in its heart. This popular destination for Spanish holidaymakers is just a 20-minute drive from Reus Airport. A short distance south of its more famous neighbour Salou, Cambrils is one of those untouched holiday destinations that only the locals and a select few, clever holidaymakers have discovered.

Cambrils beach

Cambrils beach

The people of Cabrils are warm and friendly. The town has character, beautiful architecture, paved winding streets, and pedestrianised walkways lined with leafy trees. It has the hustle and bustle of a thriving town, not just a tourist trap.

This coastal resort benefits from miles of immaculate beaches dotted with playgrounds, parasols and little eateries. Lining the golden sand is a pristine promenade with pedestrian and cycle paths. A host of water sports are catered for, for those that feel energetic. The town itself boasts an impressive marina and the harbour plays host to the incoming fishing trawlers with fresh catches of the day.

Picturesque church in Cambrils

Picturesque church in Cambrils

Cambrils has an affluent air that, happily, is not matched by the price tag. Eating out is very affordable and, while all tastes are catered for, local cuisine is renowned for its fresh seafood. As you would expect, tapas menus are abundant and excellent value and there are two Michelin Star restaurants for fine dining.

The boutiques here could dress any lady for the races. There is a range of little gems selling everything from organic fresh fruit, local olive oils and artisan cheeses. There is also an inordinate amount of children’s clothes stores catering for all ages (and budgets).

Historic buildings in Reus

Historic buildings in Reus

Scenic Spanish Sites in Reus

For those who like exploring, Cambrils is a hub for day trips to Tarragona (famous for Roman ruins), Barcelona (shopping, sightseeing and football…) and, my favourite, the less well-known Reus. This is a beautiful, historic city with a wealth of stunning architecture, old churches, winding streets and cobbled courtyards. Reus is also the home of world-renowned architect Antoni Gaudi and there is a museum dedicated to his life and work. Slightly off the beaten track, you can find Ferreteria, a tapas restaurant known for fantastic food, drink, staff and atmosphere and which is easy on the wallet.

Needless to say, I’ll be back. It has it all and, to be honest, I don’t want the rest of the world to know about it. However, that would be a disservice to the people and the area. More than the sea glistens in the sunlight here.

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 52 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 42 years.

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