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Camping Las Palmeras, Spain

Saturday, June 15, 2019 - 9:15am by Lolo
140 miles and 2.5 hours from our last stop - 2 night stay


Back to lovely Cala Fonda beachBack to lovely Cala Fonda beachWe were in the final stretch - two more days before we had to return the van. We wanted to be situated somewhat close to MrRent at the end of our trip, so before we left we had reserved two nights at Las Palmeras, a very highly rated campground, right on the Costa Daurada. Herb had even splurged for a beachfront “premium plot” for 29€ per night. He spoils me so.

When we checked in, we were escorted by a campground associate in a golf cart to our site. They weren’t kidding about beachfront. It was not just “front” but actual beach, with pretty deep sand. Our escort, who spoke absolutely no English, waved his arms a lot while trying to direct us to stay on the very edge of the site near the pavement, where we would at least have a fighting chance of getting out again. Oh well, we would worry about that in two days. At least for now we could here, and probably feel, the surf.

Part of Herb’s campground selection process includes finding great beaches nearby, and this one had the Cala Fonda, but locals call it Waikiki Beach. I can see why.

Ruins of a 2nd century AD Roman amphitheater in TarragonaRuins of a 2nd century AD Roman amphitheater in TarragonaIt required us walking about a mile along the campground beach, which was fairly narrow and very crowded, through a pristine forest, and then a rocky climb down to a sort of secluded cove. It was probably the nicest beach we had been to yet, and that is saying a lot.

We spent the afternoon reading, swimming, and people watching. I was especially fascinated with a group of guys in a circle, kicking a soccer ball around. Normally, I would have been concerned about getting hit, as we were pretty close, but they had amazing skills and control. Everywhere we had gone this trip, whether it was on a beach or in a square, guys (from 4 years old to 30) were always doing this. Soccer is obviously a very big deal here. I wondered though why we didn’t see girls doing the same thing.

Inside the ruins of a 1st century AD Roman CircusInside the ruins of a 1st century AD Roman CircusThat evening I took a walk by myself and stumbled upon some campground lively entertainment by the pool. A very enthusiastic dance instructor was leading about 30 very enthusiastic women, of all ages, shapes, and sizes, in some very energetic dance moves. Boy, these people know how to have a good time. I wish Herb had been with me to see it. Maybe he would have wanted to bust a move with the ladies.

The next morning, rather than go directly to the beach, we decided to get some exercise in and some culture as well. Tarragona was once one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. At that time it was known as Tarraco. Today it has some of the best preserved ruins in all of Spain.

Our mission for the morning was to find them. I went into the campground office to ask for directions and was told that we could get to them by walking for about 5 miles on trails along the beach. Sounded perfect.

It was, but it did get a bit confusing at times. However, eventually we found them.

Lolo walking in the footsteps of an ancient Roman gladiatorLolo walking in the footsteps of an ancient Roman gladiatorThe first thing we came across was a pretty well preserved amphitheater cut into a hillside above the beach. The Amfiteatre Roma, as it was known then, was built in the 2nd century AD and used to stage contests and public executions. Since we could pretty much look down on the whole thing, we chose not to take the tour.

We did, however, take the tour (3.30€) of the nearby 1st century AD Roman Circus, or Pretori i Circ Romans in Latin. While most of the ancient circus now lies hidden beneath the city, there were some tunnels to talk through that did let us follow in the footsteps of a charioteer entering the hippodrome, which could hold up to 30,000 spectators. Unfortunately, that too is somewhere beneath the current city. Another highlight was climbing to the top of the Praetorium tower for a wonderful panoramic view of the current city of Tarragona.

We thought about walking back to the campground, but we were kind of anxious to get back to our little Waikiki beach and relax for awhile. After all, it was our last night in the van. Instead we got a taxi. It was absolutely the right thing to do.

Choosing to have our last dinner in the camper not in the camperChoosing to have our last dinner in the camper not in the camperWe spent a very pleasant afternoon on our secret cove beach, which wasn’t so secret based on the number of people here.

Afterwards, we did some cleanup of the camper in preparation for its return, and packing in preparation for ours. We did, however, find time to squeeze in a very nice dinner in another very nice campground restaurant.

This van had been our home for the last month, so it was a little sad to think about saying goodbye to it tomorrow.


Cala Fonda beach on the Costa DauradaCala Fonda beach on the Costa DauradaCamping Las Palmeras

Wonderful campground in Tarragona on the Costa Durado. The campground has 2 km of beach on the Mediterranean Sea and is in walking distance to Cala Fonda, a small strip of sandy beach backed by a wooded hill, in a secluded, scenic cove.
There is a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the sea, a lovely pool, and musical entertainment on the weekends.

Roman ruins

Tarragona was once one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. As a result, it is one of the best places to see Roman ruins in Spain. We visited two of them during our stay:

  • Amfiteatre Roma - second century AD Roman amphitheater cut into a hillside above the beach, which was once used to stage gladiator contests and public executions. Cost of entry is 3.30€
    • Pretori i Circ Romans - first century Roman circus used to stage chariot races, theater, and circus. It had a seating capacity for 30,000 spectators. Most of the circus now lies hidden beneath the Medieval city center and all that remains are some walls and tunnels, which originally gave access to the hippodrome. The site also includes the Praetorium tower, atop of which are great panoramic views of the city of Tarragona. Cost of entry is 3.30€

    Camping Las Palmeras location map in "high definition"

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