Stray beyond Barcelona and you’ll find that Catalonia has some delightful spots for the adventurous boater hoping to make the most out of the Med
Tarragona and Cape Salou
Tarragona! A romantic Spanish name befitting an ancient Roman port and its walled town on a rocky hill between the blue Med and its rolling hinterland.
While the modern port is vast and sprawling, the marina outside it – Portu Esportiu – is a pleasant place to lie and handy for exploring the old city. You simply must call at Tarragona to savour its civilised vibes and rich history.
Portu Esportiu has a welcoming club and a long golden beach to the east. From the marina you cross the coast road and railway into town and walk north-east, climbing through increasingly narrow streets towards the original Roman quarter and a resplendent 12th century cathedral gazing across a tangle of red roofs. Time stands still as you wander its ornate cloisters and courtyard gardens.
Around the cathedral you can explore a warren of shaded alleys and twisting steps. At lunchtime look out for Les Coques restaurant, a block south-east of the cathedral in Calle Sant Llorenc. Here you can truly relax over accomplished Catalan cooking.
The old inner basin of Tarragona docks is now a specialist harbour reserved for superyachts longer than 30m. Smart promenade waterfronts with restaurants and trendy cafés are developing around Port Tarraco, and the opulent vessels moored here are incredible to see.
South-west of Tarragona, the bold headland of Cape Salou juts out to a lighthouse and signal tower. Although the cape is quite built up, there are several sleepy coves around its steep-to shores where you can anchor in quiet weather. A glorious long beach on the north-west side is backed by pines and dunes.