ELDA TRAVELS Series: The Catalan Med

Spain DestinationsTravel
Ed’s Note: This is the second of the ELDA TRAVELS series by the wanderlust husband and wife team who makes you think no place in Spain or Portugal is worth visiting if Elda (Elizabeth and David White) hadn’t been there.



One of Elda’s first trips to the Mediterranean coast was to the town of Vilanova i la Geltru, a few miles south of Barcelona, where we stayed in the Hotel Cesar. We wanted to get away for good swimming before the mass exodus to the beaches of people in landlocked Spain.

Hotel Cesar is the personification of a hotel con sabor (literally,  “hotel with flavor”). Heirs to an old family tradition, the Nola sisters own and operate the hotel, providing its romantic, delightfully decadent atmosphere. The 34 rooms are filled with black and white photographs of beach scenes of earlier generations, and in the booklined library there is a chimney for colder months. It is only a block from the beach  but unlike most resort type hotels, it is in a residential area so the atmosphere is definitely not high Benidorm. All the rooms face a courtyard where breakfast and aperitivos are served. The pool has a Jacuzzi and water sprout that blasts one’s head and shoulders, giving a superb massage.

Vilanova i la Geltru benefitted from the arrival of wealthy Catalans who made their fortunes in Latin America, returning to build impressive homes on the coast. The Club Nautic is filled with a large number of sailboats and hosts a big regatta in July. Pretending that we were old hands we enjoyed a gin-tonic on the Club’s terrace. There is so much to do in the area since it happens to be close to Vilafranca del Penedés and San Saduni de Noya, the white wine and “cava” region famed for the Bodega Torres and all of the major producers such as Juve Camps, etc. We could not resist  a visit and made a few important purchases


The lovely town of Cases de Alcanar on the coast of Tarragona

On the drive to the hotel we stopped in Las Cases de Alcanar, a small coastal town in Tarragona Province and very near the Ebro delta. The langostinos in this town are famous and were highly recommended to us by visitors we met at the Torre del Visco a year earlier. This was  a recommendation that we cherished because we never had such a fabulous feast. The beaches were not sandy and as a result there were not many tourists which suited Elda just fine.


Featured image (Promenade, Vilanova i Geltru), uploaded by GôTô,  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:GôTô . CC-BY-SA 3.0

Cases de Alcanar by Espencat:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Espencat . PD