historia de Salou

Discover the history of Salou II

Salou has as many years of history as the Iberian settlements and the great Greek and Roman cultures. In fact, the first record of Salou, formerly Salauris, dates back to the 4th century by the Roman writer Avienus.

You can find out all about its origins in the blog on the history of Salou. In this second part we are going to focus on the pirate history of the town. Salou was one of the most important and coveted seaports during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Port of Salou during the 1960s. Property of Salou Tourist Board.


Attacks by pirates were constant throughout the Middle Ages. And of all the pirates, one stood out: Turgut Reis, also known as Dragut or Gurgur, who had a special fixation on the coast of Salou. In one of his attacks, he landed in the town’s natural harbour, demolished the castle of Barenys and kidnapped several of its inhabitants. Years later, he also demolished the church.

iglesia Santa Maria del Mar Salou
The church of Santa María del Mar in 1766. Property of Salou Tourist Board.


All along the coastline of Salou, small caves are hidden in which pirates used to hide or steal treasure.

playa de Capellans en Salou
Capellans beach. Property of Salou Tourist Board.


To put an end to the situation, the Archbishop of Tarragona, Pere Cardona, ordered the construction of a defence tower in 1505 to protect the population and property of Salou. This tower is what we know today as Torre Vella.

The Torre Vella was built as a defensive post. Property of Salou Tourist Board.


With the passing of the years and the gradual disappearance of the pirates, other types of infrastructures were set up. Along the Camino de Sanidad, known today as the Coastal Path, guards were set up to patrol the coastline and watch out for smuggling and boat traffic.

Not many metres away was the Llatzaret, built in 1829, which was an old fortification used for the quarantine or period of inspection and observation of people and goods.

Llatzaret Salou
The Llatzaret was the place where the quarantine was carried out. Property of Salou Tourist Board.


What was once a place coveted by pirates is now a paradise of beaches and rugged cliffs. To learn more about the history of Salou, visit this link.