Salou is the main resort of the South Catalan tourist region of the Costa Dorada (“Gold Coast”). It is famous not only for its beaches, but also for the largest Spanish amusement park – PortAventura. Some travelers arriving at the Barcelona El Prat airport to spend a few days in the Catalan capital. Other tourists from the airport immediately depart for this popular resort. The distance from Barcelona to Salou is 110 km. Three means of transportation are available to overcome them:
- by train;
- by bus;
- by car.
Comfortable electric trains to Salou depart from Barcelona’s main train station Estacio Sants near Plaza de Espana. On the way, there are stops at the Passeig de Gracia (Gracia Boulevard, near Plaça Catalunya) and Estacio de França (French station near the Barcelonnette).
The electric trains run from about 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every two hours. A regular Regional Express train ticket, which lasts 1.5 hours, costs 8.8 EUR. Speedy Talgo trains reach Salou in an hour. Ticket prices range from 11 to 20 EUR depending on the class of the train. The exact train timetable is available on the Renfe website. It is also recommended to buy a ticket in advance. All trains to Salou arrive at the Estació del Carrilet train station.
There are no direct trains to Salou from El Prat airport. Therefore, travelers who have landed should first get from Barcelona airport to its train station Estacio Sants. The airport’s railway platform is located in its second terminal (T2B building). It is accessed by escalators. Tourists who have landed at the first terminal will have to drive 4 km to T2B. There is a free shuttle bus between the terminals for this purpose. Aeropuerto-Barcelona-Sants train ticket can be purchased at the airport vending machines.
White buses from Barcelona to Salou can also be used by BUS Plana. Their starting point is the station at 36 Passeig de Gràcia. From the city you can get there by getting off at the L3 metro station of the same name. The bus has the following stops in Barcelona (they may be more convenient for tourists):
- 104-106 Passeig de Gràcia (from Avinguda Diagona station on the L3 metro line, walk to the corner of Passeig de Gràcia and calle Rosselló streets);
- 596 Avinguda Diagonal (near the Diagonal – Francesc Macià bus stop on routes 6, 7, 27, 32-34, 63, 67);
- 670-672 Avinguda Diagonal (opposite the exit of Maria Cristina station of the L3 line);
- 686 Avinguda Diagonal (at the exit of Palau Real station of the L3 line).
In the high season buses are operated from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., with an interval of 1-2 hours. The buses are on the way for 2 hours. Tickets cost – 16,9 EUR. Tickets can be purchased online on the website of the company, directly from the driver, at the ticket office or at the points of sale of BUS Plana. On the same site you can see the exact schedule. To book a ticket, you need to enter the names of departure/destination points, the date of travel and the number of passengers. After selecting one of the proposed options, you should enter your personal data and pay with a bank card.
If you buy your ticket directly, you will receive a bonus card that shows bus stops and attractions in Barcelona.
The last bus from Barcelona departs at 11:00 p.m., so unlike the train, a tourist can have two extra hours in Barcelona. Another positive difference is the possibility to take BUS Plana buses right in the second terminal of the airport.
You can reach Salou from Barcelona by: car, regular taxi, individual or group transfer, and rented car.
Driving a black-yellow Barcelona taxi is the most expensive way to get to Salou. When boarding directly at the airport, the fixed rate is 200 EUR.
Transfers from the airport or any Barcelona hotel can be pre-booked on the Kiwitaxi website. This is a more convenient and cheaper way to get there. A driver welcomes you at the airport, helps you to bring your belongings and delivers you to the desired place for about 140 EUR.
In some cases, families with small children or large amounts of luggage, a transfer or a taxi have no alternative. For a company of several travelers, the costs are not so tangible.
Car enthusiasts will prefer to rent a car on the Rentalcars website or directly at the airport. It has offices of 5 car rental companies in its terminals. The cost of daily rent is from 40 EUR. Drivers over 21 years of age must have an international driving license, a national license and at least one year of experience.
There are two routes from Barcelona to Salou by car. The first one is to take the B-10 in the direction of Tarragona, then turn to the road C-32, then go through the last section of the road on AP-7. 110 km of this route can be covered in 1.5 hours, spending about 13.5 EUR on petrol and 12.5 EUR on toll roads.
The second option is to drive 118 km on the AR-7 motorway towards Valencia (La Junquera-Valencia). Travel time is 10 minutes longer. The petrol and toll costs will be 14.5 and 7.5 EUR respectively.
Travelers arriving at the Barcelona El Prat airport in the morning, afternoon or evening can choose between train and bus. For tourists heading directly to Salou, it is more convenient to take the next BUS Plana buses at the airport. Unfortunately, there is the most expensive means of transportation at night – a car (taxi or pre-booked transfer).