Things to do in Calafell Spain – The arguably best town at Costa Dorada

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Calafell Spain is definitely one of my favorite places in Catalonia. At least once a year, we travel to the small town on the Costa Dorada. This year, we even spent 1 ½ month here. For this reason, I would like to introduce you to this hidden gem in Catalonia in more detail.

Located just under 50 minutes by train south of Barcelona, Calafell makes for a perfect Barcelona day trip or overnighter. But if you have the time, I recommend you visit Calafell as your primary travel destination and experience a few days of a wonderful beach vacation.

In addition to the great Calafell Beaches, there are also more sights and activities waiting for you here. You can find all the essential information about your stay or day trip to Calafell in this article. And of course, we will check with you the best things to do in Calafell as well.

Calafell Facts

  • Around 26,500 inhabitants
  • Divided into three parts: Calafell Place, Calafell Beach, and Segur de Calafell
  • Belongs to the province of Tarragona
  • Located on the Costa Dorada

What is Calafell like

The main reason why many visit Calafell is its splendid beach site. The beaches here are several kilometers long and rarely as crowded as the beaches in Barcelona or Sitges. They are perfect for enjoying the sun to the fullest or for a long walk on the beach.

But downtown Calafell is also worth a visit. Various ruins and attractions await you here, whose roots go back to pre-Roman times. Anyway, Calafell is also perfect for a visit with children. Because the things to see in Calafell also include a small adventure park and a big slide.

How to get to Calafell

Calafell promenade, from barcelona to calafell

By train from Barcelona to Calafell

Travel duration: approx. 55 minutes

Fare: € 5.50 (one way)

Calafell is not only beautiful but also quick and easy to reach from Barcelona. With the R2 (direction Sant Vinçens de Calders), you can reach Calafell within 55 minutes from Barcelona Sants train station or Barcelona Estació de França. The trains run every 20-30 minutes. You can simply buy your ticket at the train station.

By train from Tarragona to Calafell

Travel duration: approx. 35 minutes

Fare: € 3.40 (one way)

Calafell can also be reached from Tarragona by train within a few minutes. Unfortunately, a direct train only runs very rarely. But that’s not a problem at all. First, take the train in direction of Barcelona (line R14, R15, R16, or R17) up to Sant Vinçens de Calders. From there, you can easily change to the R2 (direction Barcelona) and drive one station to Calafell. The trains run 1-2 times an hour.

By bus to Calafell

While the train is recommended from closer locations, you can travel from more distant cities, e.g., from Zaragoza, it can also be reached by bus. The bus station is located in the Segur de Calafell district. The easiest way to find bus tickets is on bus comparison sites such as Busbud

By car to Calafell

The fastest way to get to Calafell from both Barcelona and Tarragona is by car. From Barcelona, you can reach the city in less than an hour, both via the motorway (toll road!) and via the country road. It takes around 25 minutes from Tarragona.

You can arrive either in your private car or a rental car. To save time, it is worthwhile to organize your rental car online before arrival. You can find great and trustworthy offers on Rentalcars.

By plane to Calafell

Since Calafell is a small town, it doesn’t have its own airport. Nevertheless, there are three airports in relative proximity to Calafell. The nearest airport is Barcelona Reus Airport. You can also fly to Barcelona El Prat or (Barcelona) Girona – Costa Brava Airport. For the best flight deals, we recommend, as always, the flight comparison site Skyscanner.

The best things to do in Calafell, Spain

Calafell Beach

Calafell Playa beach, woman in dress

Calafell is home to our favorite beaches on the Costa Dorada. Because if you visit the district of Calafell Playa, the whole main street is located right next to the beach. Therefore, you can take kilometer-long walks along the coast, relax, swim, or let off steam by doing some water sports.

In summer, there are lifeguards, showers, and various water sports activities. And the beach can be used free of charge. Since 2020 you can also reserve a lounger in front of the Hotel Ra for a fee (but in our opinion, it is definitely extremely overpriced if you are not a hotel guest).

In addition to the city beach Playa de Calafell, you can reach the beaches of Segur de Calafell, Platja de Les Madrigueres, El Mas Mel, and Platja de Sant Salvador within a few minutes’ walk.

The beaches are usually (except in the first two weeks of August) not as crowded as the beaches in Tarragona, Barcelona, or the beaches of the Costa Brava, which makes them perfect for a relaxing getaway.

Ciutadella Ibèrica de Calafell

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Opening Hours: Summer: 10 am – 02 pm & 05.30 pm – 08 pm; You can find the Opening hours for other seasons on their official Website

Entrance fee: € 4

If you are interested in Iberian history or in general history as well as ancient architecture, the Iberian Citadel of Calafell is the perfect place for you to visit. It is located on the Las Toxioneres hill between Calafell town and Segur de Calafell.

The former fortification probably dates from the 6th century BC. But what makes the Citadella of Calafell so special is that it has been reconstructed. So you can see exactly what the complex must have looked like in pre-Roman times.

Castell de la Santa Creu & Parque Arqueológico

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Opening Hours: Summer: 10 am – 02 pm & 05.30 pm – 08 pm; You can find the Opening hours for other seasons on their official Website

Entrance fee: € 4

If you are less interested in antiquity and more in the Middle Ages, the next sightseeing spot in Calafell is just the thing for you. The Castle of the Holy Cross, Castell de la Santa Creu, is believed to date from the 11th century.

Admission to the castle includes not only the belfry of the castle, the attached Romanesque church, and of course the castle itself but also the archaeological park that was created around the castle. Here you can find all kinds of information about the history of the castle and Calafell in general.

The Archeological Park and the Castell de la Santa Creu are located in the historic center of Calafell and are therefore easy to reach by foot.

Villa Romana del Vilarenc

Opening Hours: freely available

Entry fee: free of charge

The Villa Romana del Vilarenc is a ruin from the time of the Roman Empire. It is located on the way between the train station and the historical center of Calafell and is therefore easy to reach on foot.

The ruins are two overlapping former villas. One of them dates from the 1st century BC, while the newer one dates from the 3rd century.

Both of those two ruins were found in the 19th century. Since then, they have been examined more and more. So it was found out that the ruins are two villas from a small Roman settlement.

A visit here didn’t necessarily convince us personally. Especially if you also want to take a trip to Tarragona, the ruins of Vilarenc are not overly impressive. But if you walk from the Castell towards the train station or the beach, you should plan a short stop here.

Confraria de Pescadores – Centre d’Interpretació de Calafell Pescador

Confraria de Pescadores, Calafell Maritime Museum

Opening Hours: Summer: 10 am – 02 pm; 05.30 pm – 08.30 pm; For the Opening hours of other seasons, check here.

Entry fee: free of charge

The small maritime museum on the main street of Calafell Playa has been part of the cityscape for years. In the Confraria de Pescadores (fishing club), you can learn more about the history of the fishermen in Calafell. Here you will be brought closer to the tasks, life, history, and culture of the fishermen in the region.

Warning: Unfortunately, the information here is only available in Spanish and Catalan.

The little house can hardly be overlooked. It is still kept in the typical colors of old fisherman’s cottages: blue and white.

Calafell Slide

 

Opening Hours Calafell Slide: Summer: 05 pm – 10 pm. Check all Opening Hours here on their official website

Entrance fee Calafell Slide: 1 ticket: 3 €; 6 tickets: 15 €

Let’s move on to a completely different activity that you can experience here: The Calafell Slide. This is a 700-meter-long summer toboggan run. Especially those who are looking for activities in Calafell with children will love the Calafell Slide. But also all not so young or the young at heart who are looking for a little bit of action during their vacation will definitely have fun here.

The summer toboggan run in Calafell has been a popular destination for young and old since the end of the 80s. At the start of the lift, there is also a terrace where cold drinks and snacks are sold. So you can sweeten your waiting time a little.

Extra tip: If you visit the summer toboggan run, we strongly recommend that you wear a pair of closed shoes and no skirts.

Calafell Aventura

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 5pm – 11pm; Sat + Sun: 11 am – 11 pm

Entrance fee Calafell Aventura: free of charge, the price per activity

At the beginning of 2019, Calafell Aventura, a small theme park, opened its doors directly at the train station. With its large gorilla at the entrance, the park is hard to miss.

Various trampolins, carousels, and other activities invite especially the little visitors to an adventure. Anyway, the actual highlights of the park are also intended for older visitors. The climbing park, Castor Park, takes you through the trees above the heads of the other guests and lets you discover your surroundings from a whole new angle.

But also the park’s newest activity, the Laser Tag Experience, is one of the unique features. This strategy game is played against each other in teams. However, if you want to try Laser Tag, you should make a reservation in advance.

If you get hungry after so much fun, you can also take a rest in the Mexican restaurant in the park.

Calafell Rockability Festival – High Rock-A-Billy

A special event that has become very popular in the region is the annual High Rock-A-Billy Festival. Rockability fans from all over the country, even from other countries, are drawn to the small Mediterranean town.

The festival for fans of the 1950s has been held here since 1999. It usually takes place on one weekend in mid-September. You can then experience various music events at different locations in the city and celebrate with other rock’n’roll fans.

Where to eat in Calafell

The best pizza in town – Giuseppe

Pizza and wine at Giuseppe's in Calafell Spain

Just thinking about Giuseppe’s pizza makes my mouth water. A visit to Giuseppe is a must for us on each of our trips to Calafell. You can enjoy a delicious meal here with a view of the sea.

In addition to typical Italian food such as pizza and pasta, there is also a daily menu with typical Spanish and Catalan dishes.

Our recommendation: Pizza Dama (dates and bacon) or Pizza Tartufata (truffle, brie, and mushrooms)

Address: Passeig Maritim Sant Joan de Deu, 44

Heladería de Valenciana – The best Horchata in town (and ice cream!)

Every child in the region drinks this Valencian cult drink in summer: Horchata de Chufa (Valencian: Orxata de Xufa). This popular drink is tiger nut milk. The taste of Horchata is difficult to describe. Therefore only one thing helps: try it yourself.

Extra tip: Horchata is one of those things that you either love or hate, so you might want to order a small cup first.

If you are not a fan of Horchata, there is, of course, also delicious ice cream with a vast selection of different types.

Day trips from Calafell

Since Calafell has its own train station, it’s an excellent base for day trips to the region. In the following, you will find the most popular day trip destinations from Calafell.

Barcelona

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, popular city trips

If you’re visiting Calafell, a trip to my hometown Barcelona should definitely be on your list. A day trip to Barcelona is incredibly worthwhile for anyone who has already seen the Catalan capital. (If this is your first visit to Barcelona, we strongly recommend spending more than a day there – there is so much to discover!

Sitges

Sitges, Spain, Beach, day trip to Sitges

Sitges is only a 20-minute train-ride from Calafell. Also known as the LGBT capital of Catalonia, Sitges is one of the most popular excursion destinations in the region. But even if you are not part of the LGBT scene, Sitges is the perfect place for a relaxing afternoon. Lose yourself in the narrow streets of this beautiful Mediterranean-style city, discover beautiful architecture, and a great beach where there is always something going on.

Tarragona

the amphitheater of Tarraco in Tarragona

Tarragona, the capital of the Calafell region, is also just under 40 minutes’ drive from Calafell, making it a fantastic day trip. There is so much to discover in Tarragona – and not just for history buffs.

The highlight is probably the ancient Roman amphitheater, which is located by the sea. But there are also other impressive Roman ruins waiting for you in the city. Moreover, there are also some great buildings from the Middle Ages and the Modernism period to discover. But beach lovers will definitely not miss out in Tarragona either.

PortAventura World

If you haven’t had enough adventure besides the Calafell Slide and Calafell Aventura, you should definitely plan a trip to PortAventura. One of the most famous theme parks in Spain is located just a few minutes’ drive from Tarragona.

PortAventura is divided into three theme parks: the PortAventura Park theme park, the Caribe Aquatic water park, and the Ferrari Land theme park. As you can see, there is something for every taste.

Where to stay in Calafell

If you want to stay in Calafell, we definitely recommend staying near the beach. Believe me; nothing is more calming than falling asleep to the sound of the waves and waking up in the morning and being able to have a look at the sea right away. So below are some great places to stay for every budget.

The best budget accommodation in Calafell

Camping Vendrell Platja

Camping Vendrell Platja

Trust me; you’ve probably never stayed so affordable near the beach. Because from the camping site, you only walk about half a minute until you reach the beach. But also the range of services within the campsite merely is fantastic: a great pool, sports and activities, laundry facilities, restaurant, poolside café, supermarket, and much more can be found.

In addition to pitches, there are also great bungalows to stay overnight.

Check further information, prices, and availability here

Best Hotel in Calafell

Hotel Kursaal

Probably the most crucial hotel in Calafell with a long tradition is the Hotel Kursaal. The hotel is located directly on the beach, so most of the rooms have a sea view and terrace. The three-star hotel also offers you sun loungers on the beach that are free to use for hotel guests.

Check further information, prices, and availability here

Tourist apartments in Calafell

There are so many great vacation rentals in town. Some are offered by private providers, others by travel companies. We think that staying in a tourist apartment is the perfect way to enjoy a spectacular beach vacation in Calafell.

Check tourist apartments in Calafell on Booking here.

Check tourist apartments in Calafell on Airbnb here

The best luxury Hotel in Calafell

Le Meridien Ra Beach Hotel and Spa

Arguably the most iconic hotel in all of Calafell. With its 5 stars, this accommodation is pure luxury. Let yourself be pampered and enjoy an incomparable vacation in Calafell. A magnificent sea view in a relaxed atmosphere and sun loungers on the beach are waiting for you here.

Check further information, prices, and availability here.


Have you ever been to Calafell? What is your personal highlight to see in Calafell? Or do you have more questions? Let us know in the comments below!

about-the-author

About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

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