Salou, like many other Mediterranean towns, has a rich cultural history. The modern buildings built as tourism expanded in the town blend with the classical styled older buildings. The Church of Santa María del Mar with a walled belfry and single bell was built in 1766 and was mainly used by seafaring folk. It was extended early in the 20th century to its present form.
The popularity of Salou as a holiday resort is largely built on its superb beaches. The coastline of Salou enjoys eight main beaches, each with fine golden sand and inviting shallow waters due to the long beach and slow tide. The Ponent Beach joins with neighbouring resort Cambrils, while Llevant beach, the largest in Salou, has specially designated areas for sporting activities. Capellans Beach is quite small but a very attractive open beach, while Llenguadets and Llarga beaches are littered with small coves and are shielded by pine trees. Penya-Tallada, Cala de la Font and Cala Crancs beaches are all quite small but have a very tranquil atmosphere.
Keen shoppers will be spoilt for choice in Salou; the local shopkeepers pride themselves on providing a good friendly service. The Jaume I Promenade and Via Roma areas are more modern shopping areas, containing many restaurants and terrace cafes underneath a canopy of palm trees.
Salou has many activities for both children and grown ups. Port Aventura theme park is a fantastic modern theme park built around the basis of five worlds, with rides, live shows, restaurants, and bars. Salou also has two water parks – Aquaopolis and Aqualeon with the slides and pools. Aqualeon also has a zoo.
Bikes and horse riding are available for hire in Salou. The coast here is excellent for sea fishing. The many paths make this a great place for walkers and runners alike. Golf is available nearby.
Local restaurants in Salou serve mainly Catalan dishes, many of which are based on fresh fish caught in the local clear waters, but also incorporates many traditional Spanish dishes such as paella and more international tasting fast-foods such as burgers, pizzas and hot dogs. A coastal town, Salou favours seafood in its local gastronomy; there are excellent bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the delicious catch of the day. Romesco Sauce made with olive oil, hazlenuts, almonds sweet peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes, is a local speciality; its mainly served with fish, but is also delicious accompanying meat dishes. Other specialities of the region include Aros Negre – rice boiled in cuttlefish ink, Rossejat – a rice or noodle dish made with fish broth and calamars amb xocolata, or chocolate squid. Tarragona is renowned for its white wine production; look out for the Tarragona wine denomination when selecting a wine to accompany your meal.
Salou enjoys mild winters with some rainfall, warm blossom filled springs long hot summers and autumns of golden sunlight and rich sweet plums.