So you have read our restaurant reviews, you have read our hotel reviews and you have read our attraction reviews and recently we are starting to interview government officials.. But what about a mix of it all? A full holiday review! So if you have a low budget, still want a good time and to explore a new city… Here is my experience of the spanish gold coast, 4 nights and 3 days for under £300!
To sum it up in a few words it is a wonderful, cute coastal city that is great for mainly family holidays, but also has an appeal for those “Mini Break” get aways. With it being just over 100KM away from Barcelona, you can venture out into the big city too! So here is my take on Salou, Spain!
I booked the holiday with Teletext Holidays (5 days before I was due to fly on the 15th May) and I opted for a half board option in a hotel in Cap Salou, about 5 mins away from the main city area (By bus). The package included my flights, hotel, breakfast, dinner, and transfers to and from the hotel and airport! For a measly £150, it wasn’t too bad at all!
I also explored the area online and took the advantage of buying my waterpark tickets early online, at 14 Euros online and 28 on the day, it was another great saving! I booked it for my last day!
I booked an evening flight, so leaving East midlands at 6pm and due to arrive at Reus airport in Spain (25mins drive away from Salou) at around 9.30pm. We had an hour delay at east midlands (Maybe don’t book a Ryan Air flight), however, the pilot made up some time in the air and we arrived at around 9.45/10pm. The transfer was in a very comfortable coach, and we reached the hotel before 11pm! The check in process was smooth, the staff were a delight and gave me all the information I needed. The wifi was charged, so I grabbed that for the 3 days I was there too!
NOTE: If you want all inclusive, it might be cheaper to just upgrade at the hotel, my hotel had a deal on for half board-All inclusive 15 Euros and 10 for full board-All inclusive). I opted to stick with half board because the nature of my trip, being out most of the day and back in the hotel in the evenings.
Anyway, upon check in I requested a higher room and was told it would be possible tomorrow, and thats exactly what happened. I was moved to a higher (Better view) room for the rest of my trip! The hotel I was given in my package was; H top Motions Park, now if you look at reviews, you will see a lot of bad ones, but in this case you get what you pay for.. And maybe a little more. You cant expect 5* when you pay for a 3*, in my case I knew I would be out exploring and not in the hotel a lot, so if you are going to be out and about a lot, it is a great, affordable option!
All the rooms are standard, 2 (Single-ish) beds, a dresser, 2 side tables, a chair, a luggage rack, and a wardrobe (With sufficient hangers and folding space). The only downside was the safe was chargeable, you can do this daily, weekly or for 3 days, as you wish. The room had a balcony, and although it didn’t look directly onto the coast, a gentle turn to the right and the beautiful coast and blue skies are in view, the below selfie does no justice, but it seems to be the only one I have from my balcony;
All in all the room was pretty decent for the price I paid.
Breakfast was from 8AM-9.30AM (Not masses amount of time but you don’t want to spend all your time in the dinning room when you’re on holiday right?). The showers and baths need a little updating, but they were clean and I was supplied with 6 towels, more than enough for one person.
The breakfast had a selection of salads, breads, baguettes, cheeses, and then hot food such as eggs (friend and scrambled), mushrooms, beans, bacon, and such standard breakfast items. If anything, the spanish know how to perfect eggs, the scrambled eggs were perfect! There was also a selection of sweet, fresh fruit and ice cream at the bottom of the buffet! Tea, coffee and juices were in 2 machines along side, with a wide variety, again, it was decent enough! After breakfast I set out to explore the local area. There is a beach at the end of every road from this hotel, wether you go down the hill, right at the end of the road or decide to take the 5min bus journey to the main city centre! Here are a few pics of the surrounding areas;
On the corner of most roads you’ll find a phone box sized red Bus plana representative, they are there from 9-12 and then 4/6-10Pm, depending on the seasons. If you know anything about Spanish culture, you’ll know everything shuts down for a siesta (Daytime nap) around lunchtime! This chap (below) was great in directing me around the coast, and I purchased a “Bus card” for 12 Euros (which had 10trips) and I could top it up if needed! IF you don’t want a card you can pay as you go, but I found the card very easy! A very friendly British man who is more than happy to help, direct and you can even stop by for a quick chat!
After exploring the wonderful beaches, scenery and climbing spots around my hotel I walked down the road and hoped on a bus to the city centre! The city is a looonnnnngggg strip along the coast with restaurants, cafes, shops and water activities; from water slides to jet ski’s and much more! The locals are friendly, theres some great quirky cafes and the shops are all fairly cheap. I did a bit of shopping for gifts but all in all I don’t think I spent more than 100 Euros, that includes the light snacks I picked up for lunch, a few fridge magnets, 2 t-shirts and some wonderful scarves!
Being a muslim, I was looking for a halal place, now I felt a bit deceived when the below restaurant told me they were the only one in the area, because I later discovered another one!
Here are a few pics of me and the city!
The fountains are usually turned on in the peak summer and easter break periods!
Lunatics had a great selection of burgers, pizzas, shakes, ice cream, desserts and the music was great! The staff were very friendly and attentive, always smiling and checking up on you!
Antolia was more homely kebab shop or Pakistani dishes, they had traditional kebabs, scewers, pizza, and then also curries, rice and naans, etc. The staff were also nice and welcoming, but I felt quite deceived when they said they were the only halal place, when clearly they were not! Still worth a try! The food is cooked live infant of you, so you can see who and where it is cooked, always a bonus in my books!
At the end of Day one I headed back to my hotel for the evening meal, and again, you get what you pay for. If you are on a budget, you can’t expect every cuisine in the book. It was pretty basic pasta (Changed every night; spaghetti, fusilli, penne and mixed!) with white or red sauce, fries, a selection of boiled veg, salads, cheese, bread, fish, chicken, paella, pizza, soups, rice dishes and a few other things! There was always a fruit section and desserts from jelly and custard to mousse, poached pears and apples, cream cakes and the occasional cheese cake! There was also a little “Mcdonalds” like section at the end for children, it was slightly lower which allowed the little ones to reach it easier. This section had burgers, fish fingers, chicken nuggets, and fries!
I loved the fresh, sweet watermelon and always made a point to have some after every meal! The peaches were lovely and soft and just as sweet too!
On day two I took advantage of the excellent in-house expert tour operator; Sandra and booked a day Visit to Barcelona! She was a lovely women with over 7years experience and knowledge in touring the area and sight seeing. There were several packages and deals, and she did tell me about the public transport alternatives, but I opted for the day Visit. The public ones were a little slower in time! Other packages included the outlet, the magic fountains, water parks, the football stadium and theme parks, all of them seemed to be under 50 Euros or so too! However, on my specified day, the day visit seemed to be the best option! We were collected from the hotel at 8.45AM and were backfire around 18.30 (In time for the evening meal at 19.30!)
The tour included;
Gran Via (Plaça Espanya); Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village); mountain Montjuïc – mirador del alcalde (viewpoint of the mayor); passing Olympic Stadium and a few more sights from the coach on route to La Sagrada Familia, the church of Antonio Gaudi; Passeig de Gracia: 2 houses of Gaudi (Casa Milà or La Pedrera; and Casa Batllò ; next to it Casa Amatller. On the next corner we were show the Casa Lleò (of architect Domènech i Muntaner).
- Carry a bottle of water
- Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes
- Take a packed lunch or 10-15 Euros for lunch.
- In your free time; You won’t be able to see everything but the Ramblas, Gothic cathedral and roman remains would definitely be in my top 10!
- Ask questions! Your tour guide is there to explain anything you may not understand or may want to know more about!
On my final full day I headed to the waterpark, as booked prior to my arrival, but was quite unfortunate as it was forecasted to rain, therefore I only “Checked it out” and wouldn’t want to write a full review. So please excuse the lack of detail!
The park has lots of fun for everyone, from big slides to pools and little water park area for the young ones. Rides include; Blackhole blue, Boomerang Lagoon, Zig Zag, Waves beach, Splash, Hurricane Indiana, Castilo Adventure and much more! There is also a Dolphin encounter opportunity, and a chance to swim with sea lions! It really is a full day adventure, but sadly the weather wasn’t on my side!
The park is located in La Pineda, which was about 15 Mins on the bus away from my hotel! Again, Using my 10 trips card made this easier!
After the weather started to brighten up a bit, I decided to have one last walk through the city, going by the port and admiring the WONDERFUL architecture the gold coast in this wonderful Spanish city had to offer!
Well there was only really the morning, the transfer to the airport was a little late but the hotel printed my boarding passes for me so I only really needed to go through security. The Reus airport is very small and a bit like a canteen in the way the tables are laid out. The airport has a small duty free shop and a cafe with both hot and cold food and some lovely fresh pastries! The airport is a little disorganised, but I think that is because of the tight space. A woman working with a tour company came round and asked about my Spanish experience and holiday, something I felt was an excellent portrayal of the Spanish tourism departments efforts to improve.
All in all, with the hotels, flights, waterpark, Barcelona trip, transfers and trips into the city (Bus pass, food and drinks), I didn’t spend more than around £300. NOTE: Exchange your currency IN country, never do it at home!
Hotels, flights, transfers and evening and morning meals= £150 (Teletext holidays)
Barcelona Day visit- £30 (In hotel)
Lunch in Barcelona- £15 (Sandwich, ice cream and some churros!)
Waterpark- £12 (In advance online)
Food/Drink/Souvenirs for 3 days (Mostly lunch, as dinner and breakfast were in my package) – £45
Got any questions? Want to know more about a certain part of my trip? You can reach me on Facebook, twitter @dxbblog or Instagram @dxbblog or drop me a mail; firstname.lastname@example.org