Looking for a great family destination in Spain? South of Barcelona on the country's east coast, the Costa Dorada—or "Golden Coast"—is wildly popular with families from Great Britain and Ireland thanks to short flight times, beautiful beaches, and the large array of family-friendly resorts and kid-friendly attractions in the region.
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Take on Spain's biggest theme park
PortAventura aims to take visitors on an around-the-world tour in a day with its six themed lands, water park, man-made beach and four hotels. There are plenty of thrill rides and coasters for big kids and the SésamoAventura land delivers plenty of cute rides and play areas for little ones. (Avinguda de l'Alcalde Pere Molas, km 2, 43840 Vila-seca, Salou)
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Explore ancient Roman ruins
Built in the 2nd century AD, Tarragona was the Emperor Augustus's favorite winter resort. The remains of the ampitheater—once the venue for gladiatorial and other contests—still has an amazing sea view and tiered seats you can explore. Nearby are the excavated vaults of the 1st-century Circus Maximus, where spectators gathered to watch chariot races. (Parc de l'Amphiteatre Roma, Tarragona)
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Hit the beach
With several dozen beautiful beaches with fine golden sand, there's never a shortage of places on the Costa Dorada to enjoy the sun and surf. Families will love Cambrils Beach, Llevant Beach in Salou, and Playa de la Pineda.
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Scream for ice cream
When you feel like a cool, sweet treat, head to one of the Costa Dorada's best gelatarias. In Salou, go to Ferretti Gelato E Caffe for amazingly creamy homemade gelato (Carrer de Bilbao, 2, 43840 Salou). In Pineda, Heladeria Il Gelato offers the most dazzling array of flavors under the Spanish sun (Passeig Maritim, La Pineda).Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Cool off at a water park
The Aquopolis water park in Pineda offers plenty of wet rides, water slides, splash pads and play areas, plus dolphin and sea lion shows. (Passeig Pau Casals, 65 43481, La Pineda)
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Take in a magic show
Kids of all ages love the show at the House of Illusion in Salou, which delivers a night of superb entertainment featuring everything from card tricks to disappearing acts. (12 Calle Penendes, Edificio Pino Alto B, 43840, Salou)