Why go?

Named for its golden sand, the beaches along this stretch of coastline are not just stunning but also very clean with great facilities. There are enough waves to be fun without being scary for children and if you pick the right beach, the slope is very gentle so the sea stays shallow for ages.

The area is good for just about anyone – there is a huge array of watersports available in the area but it’s equally good for those who just want to sunbathe or splash about in the sea.

Activities

Catherine Cooper lifts the lid on an action-packed holiday to Spain's Salou, and why it's worth to explore some of the regions less-crowded beaches.

We loved the beach at Mont Roig which was sandy with a shallow sea and almost deserted, and Del Cavet beach in Cambrils was similarly quiet despite being very easy to find and park (you can also easily get a bus to this one.) The children loved whizzing along the sea front on motorised scooters and other activities on offer included sailing, windsurfing, parascending, waterskiing, jetskiing and being towed behind boats on various inflatable things.

We also spent a day at the Gaudi Centre in the pretty nearby town of Reus and visited the Roman ruins of Tarragona. The restaurants in Salou were, indeed, on the whole pretty uninspiring, but Villa Alexander close to the sea front was fabulous and reasonably priced if you stuck with the set menu (which offered many choices). There were also some nice-looking seafood restaurants in Cambrils – especially if you looked beyond the main tourist drag of the port. PortAventura – Spain’s version of Disneyland – is also nearby and well-worth a visit, it also has an enormous water park.

The lowdown

Where to stay: I arranged our trip to Salou as a house swap through Homelink on whim without doing much research and then panicked having read online about crowded beaches and endless English pubs. True, some of the main town beaches are crowded, but you don’t have to go far at all to find a bit of solitude.

Price: Thomas Cook offers seven nights staying at the 4 star Salou Princess in Cap Salou on half board flying London Gatwick from £1,428 for a family of four travelling in Sept 2014 . If you’d prefer to travel independently, Ryanair offers flights to Reus from several UK airports.

About the author

Catherine Cooper is a freelance travel writer and author of Travelling with Children: A Parent’s Guide. She lives in the South of France with her husband and two children, and writes for various national publications, airline magazines and websites. To read more of Catherine's work, visit her blog catherinecooper.wordpress.com