20 Tarragona sights worth seeing
Tarragona, the capital of the province of the same name in the south of Catalonia, combines everything that attracts tourists to the Mediterranean coast of Spain. It is one of the best places in the country where you can see well-preserved examples of ancient culture.
Here is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Roman archaeological sites dating back to a time when Tarragona (then called Tarraco) was one of the most important Roman cities in Iberia.
And these ancient ruins do not look like foreign objects – they harmonize surprisingly well with the streets in the old part of the city. For those who are totally indifferent to history, there is also something to see in Tarragona. A short walk from the center of the city there are magnificent beaches, awarded with the “Blue Flag”, a little further away is “PortAventura”, the main theme park in Spain. So no one will be bored!
Roman Amphitheater in Taragonna
Roman Amphitheater in Tarragonna.
Carved into the steep hillside, you’ll find Tarragonna’s amphitheater between the Roman walls and the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. When you leave the old quarter of Parte Alta, this elliptical arena, framed by the azure sea, literally unfolds before you. The amphitheater was built in the late 100s AD.
This colossal structure could hold 15,000 spectators who came here to watch some rather gruesome spectacles. One such entertainment for the public was, for example, the burning of an early Christian bishop in the third century, during the reign of Emperor Valerian. You can still see the entrance to the basement of the amphitheater from which gladiators and wild animals were released into the arena.
Address: Anfiteatro de Tarragona, Parc de l’amfiteatre, Tarragona, Spain.
Cathedral of Tarragona
Cathedral of Tarragona.
Tarragona’s Romanesque-Gothic-style cathedral impresses visitors to the city first of all by the way it stealthily “sneaks up” on you. The streets around it are not even streets, but narrow narrow alleys with old houses on the first floors of which there are antique stores and restaurants.
And then in Santiago Rusiñol square the houses part and the majestic Gothic façade appears in all its glory in front of you. It is noteworthy that the temple on this site stood in Roman times. It was replaced by a Visigothic sanctuary, then a Moorish mosque.
The latter existed until the XII century, when the present Catholic cathedral was built. Visiting the Diocesan Museum of the Cathedral, you can see the Renaissance tapestries and Roman artifacts found during excavations in the cathedral from 1999 to 2001.
Address: Tarragona Cathedral, Pla de la Seu, Tarragona, Spain.
Las Ferreres Aqueduct (Bridge of the Devil)
Aqueduct Las Ferreres (Devil’s Bridge).
Five minutes north of Tarragona through a valley covered with pine forests is a 250-meter stretch of aqueduct that once directed water from the Francoli River to the ancient Tarraco and was called “Pont del Diable” – “Bridge of the Devil” in Catalan.
This extant fragment of the aqueduct has 36 arches and rises to a height of 27 meters from the valley floor. If you are not afraid of heights, you can walk along the canal where the water flowed.
A little scary really will be, because the walls of this structure are no higher than the thigh of an average person. You can combine the tour of the aqueduct with a visit to the quarry of El Medol, where limestone was mined for the Roman Tarraco. Today, this quarry is filled with lush vegetation because the high stone walls create a favorable microclimate with high humidity.
Address: Les Ferreres Aqueduct, Carrer de Pere Martell, Tarragona, Spain.
Roman walls. | Photo: wikimedia.
Another witness to history awaits you on the west side of the Parte Alta quarter: the Roman walls. These defenses existed as early as the 3rd century B.C., when Tarraco became a base for Roman troops during the Second Punic War.
Next to the original Roman towers and stones, with inscriptions dating back 2,000 years, weapons and gun positions dating from the Middle Ages to the 18th century have eventually appeared. But what is particularly interesting is that the lower portions of the Roman walls are clearly much older. Many of these stones supporting the later and more elaborate masonry are actually remnants of megalithic structures.
Address: Roman Wall Of Tarragona, Via de l’Imperi Romà, Tarragona, Spain.
National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona
National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona.
It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that the city realized the heritage it possessed and excavations began around the Parte Alta. The National Archaeological Museum displays almost all the objects discovered during these excavations.
There is a rich collection of Roman sculpture, pottery, clothing, coins, and everyday objects. Experts have even managed to restore a 2000-year-old peacock fresco found in the amphitheater.
The Hall of Mosaics with its stunning depictions of Medusa and the muse Euterpa is definitely worth your attention. Visitors of the museum also have a chance to visit the Roman Praetorian Tower and the Necropolis and the Ancient Roman Circus, which are located next door.
Address: National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona, Moll de la Costa, Port de, Spain.
Part Alta. | Photo: Jorge Franganillo / Flickr.
The Parte Alta is the highest and at the same time the oldest part of Tarragona. For hundreds of years, until the late Middle Ages, the entire population of the city lived here (only the coastal community of El Serralho was located outside the Parte Alta). It is the site of the ancient provincial forum of Tarraco.
Today Part Alta is a place revered by tourists. They walk through the narrow streets of the neighborhood, admiring the old houses and the ancient stonework of the Roman walls. Some of Parte Alta’s historic buildings have been preserved as museums. An example is Castelarnau, a fifteenth century Catalan Gothic mansion with a beautiful courtyard.
Address: Part Alta, Tarragona, Spain.
The rectangular space west of the Rambla Nova was once a public square until the ruins of the Roman houses, shops and other establishments, half-destroyed columns and arches which stood there during the classical Roman era, when Tarragona was called Tarraco and was the capital of the Roman province, were discovered under a layer of earth.
This is how the city got its Roman Forum, a monumental archaeological site that represents the remains of the center of ancient Tarraco. Today the Forum is open to the public. For a small fee, tourists can see what was once the vibrant center of the ancient city. Be sure to find the House of Curia, the most remarkable ruins found within the Roman Forum.
Address: Colonial forum of Tarraco, Carrer de Lleida, Tarragona, Spain.
Mediterranean Balcony Observation deck
Mediterranean Balcony Viewpoint.
Walking along Rambla Nova, you will definitely come to the “Mediterranean Balcony,” an observation deck with a panoramic view of the sea. Its iron railings are part of the ritual: you have to “tocar ferro,” that is, touch the iron at random.
If you are in town in late June or early July, you can see the fireworks launched from Playa del Miracle beach at the foot of the cliffs in the evening from this spot. On clear winter mornings you can admire the sunrise from the “Mediterranean Balcony”.
Address: Balcón del Mediterráneo, Passeig de les Palmeres, Tarragona, Spain.
Rambla Nova. | Photo: wikimedia.
We already mentioned Rambla Nova, a delightful pedestrian boulevard laid out in the 19th century. On both sides of it there are restaurants and numerous stores selling famous brands.
You can take the Rambla Nova down to the sea or up the hill and going in either direction will guarantee you a different and interesting view of the city. Halfway down the hill is the newly renovated Mercat Central market, housed in a century-old modernist building, and part of the daily life of the city.
Address: Rambla Nova, Tarragona, Spain.
Promenade and beach del Miracle
Beach del Miracle.
On the other side of the railroad tracks, at the foot of the cliffs, is Tarragona’s promenade and the city’s main beach. You can cross the railway tracks through a tunnel next to the amphitheater or at the railway crossing just behind the station.
Beach del Miracle is a long beckoning arc of golden sand. A promenade stretches along it, and there are numerous bars, restaurants, and nightclubs around the maritime club in the western port.
The water here has a moderate current, the strength of which depends on the weather, so inexperienced swimmers and young children are not recommended away from the shore. The picturesque promenade is one of the main attractions of Tarragona and a pleasant place for leisurely strolls. There are numerous restaurants along it, offering tourists a large selection of seafood dishes.
Address: Platja del Miracle, Tarragona, Spain.
Tamarit Punta de la Mora Natural Park
Tamarit Punta de la Mora Natural Park.| Photo: wikimedia.
A short walk from Tarragona is a magnificent stretch of coastline starting with Playa Llarga. This golden beach seems like it will stretch forever, but it eventually gives way to Tamarit Punta de la Mora, a natural park on a promontory covered in pine forest. Here along the trails you can find wild herbs, mushrooms or asparagus, depending on the season. The trails lead to small coves such as Cala Beck and Cala Fonda, where few tourists venture.
Address: Punta de la Móra, Spain.
Port Aventura theme park
Port Aventura theme park.
“PortAventura is one of the most visited theme parks in Europe and a guarantee that you will spend the best day with your family, at least when you are in Spain. It is ten minutes by train from the Renfe station in Tarragona.
What you do at the amusement park depends entirely on your tastes and the age of the children traveling with you. For example, for younger visitors there is a whole area with a “Sesame Street” theme with eleven rides.
For older children and adults there are roller coasters such as Dragon Khan with eight inversions or Hurakan Condor, which “drops” you to the ground from a height of 100 meters. There are shows for spectators of all ages as well as a water park and golf courses.
Address: PortAventura World, Avinguda del Batlle Pere Molas, Vila-seca, Spain.
Monastery of Poblet
Monastery of Poblet.| Photo: xiquinhosilva / Flickr.
On a trip through the Catalan countryside, you are sure to reach the monastery of El Poblet, located half an hour’s drive from Tarragona. This medieval UNESCO monument is located at the foot of a mountain range with magnificent views of the vineyards.
This amazing Gothic complex was founded in the 12th century, after the retreat of the Moors, by French Cistercian monks as part of a plan to consolidate the power of the Catholic Church in the new Christian Catalonia.
The most historically significant part of the monastery is the Gothic Royal Chapel, where several kings of Aragon were buried, starting with Alfonso II in the 12th century and ending with Juan II at the end of the 15th century. On the way to El Poblet, make a short stop in the town of Mont Blanc. It is completely surrounded by medieval walls protecting the old city streets in which you won’t mind getting lost.
Address: Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Poblet, Plaza Corona de Aragón, Poblet, Spain.
The old fishing village of El Serralho
The old fishing village of El Serrallo. | Photo: Jorge Franganillo / Flickr.
El Serralho is an old fishing village located near the center of Tarragona. This area has managed to retain the charm of past centuries, although Tarragona itself has long been transformed into a modern city.
Most of the city’s restaurant owners get their daily fresh local fish from the fish market in the area.
But you don’t have to go far; the best fish restaurants are in this unassuming quarter overlooking the port. Try the local cuisine, such as cod dumplings, cuttlefish in its own sauce or pataco (a hearty stew of potatoes, tuna, garlic and almonds).
Address: El Serrallo, Tarragona, Spain.
Castelarnau Mansion (Museum of the History of Tarragona)
Mansion Castelarnau (Museum of the History of Tarragona).
The Castelarnau was built in the 15th century by one of the most powerful families of the city at the time. Today the mansion is open to the public and you can see the delightful interiors which were intended for aristocratic owners.
The elegant Gothic building is furnished in the style of Queen Isabella II. Interesting architectural details of the mansion are the staircase with Gothic columns and capitals and the patio. Nowadays, the Castelarnau Mansion houses the Historical Museum.
The basis of its permanent collection consists of archaeological and ethnographic relics donated to the museum. The age of the artifacts stored here varies widely, from prehistoric times to the 20th century. The Historical Museum can be proud of its vast collection of coins, dating from Roman times to the 19th century.
Address: Museu d’Història de Tarragona – Casa Museu Castellarnau, Carrer dels Cavallers, Tarragona, Spain.
Streets and squares of the city.
Streets and squares in the city.
To the east of the “Mediterranean Balcony” is the Paseo de le Palmer, a beautiful avenue with attractive terraces. It intersects with Rambla Vella, and halfway down you’ll see the Plaza de la Fuente, the Fountain Square, located on the site of an ancient Roman circus.
Here you can still see the remains of the ancient foundations. On the north side of the square is the Ayuntamiento de Tarragona, a 19th century town hall built on the site of a former monastery. The beautiful facade of the town hall is decorated with Ionic columns.
Walking from the “Mediterranean Balcony” along Rambla Nova is just as much fun. This wide boulevard includes beautiful gardens in the heart of the city. Along the boulevard are two notable churches, Iglesia de San Agustín and Iglesia de San Francisco.
Address: Fuente del Centenario, Rambla Nova, Tarragona, Spain.
Paleochristian necropolis. | Photo: wikimedia.
Just south of Tarragona, archaeologists found a Roman burial site consisting of over 2,000 tombs. Some of them are believed to belong to a bishop and his deacons who were publicly brutally executed in the city’s amphitheater around 259 AD.
The well-appointed burial grounds and the basilica erected in honor of these martyrs give an insight into Roman burial traditions and culture. The museum of the necropolis displays many tombs and sarcophagi from the Roman cemetery.
Address: Early Christian cemetery of Tárraco, Avinguda de Ramón y Cajal, Tarragona, Spain.
Guiding map of Tarragona.
Tarragona is one of the major cities on the Mediterranean coast of Catalonia. It is located in the Costa Dorada resort area about an hour from Barcelona. Every year Tarragona takes a huge number of tourists along with the other resort towns of the area. After all, it has excellent sandy beaches, great hotels, and it is a city with a rich history that goes back to the reign of the Roman Empire. It is believed that Tarragona is one of the first Roman cities in Spain.
The city is good for spending time in every way. For tourists who are interested in history this will be a treasure trove of information, because so many monuments of ancient architecture can be seen in Tarragona. Of particular interest is the amphitheater. Admission is three euros for an adult, this is actually a single ticket to see other antiquities, including the Roman circus and the fortress wall. Admission is free for children. Amphitheater is preserved here in a much better form than, for example, saw such on the territory of Turkey in Mir, Aspendos and Side. It seats 12 thousand people. Being here, you feel like a small particle on the background of such a pompous and majestic building.
For one euro from the observation deck you can get a better look at the port, amphitheater, beaches. It’s a great place to get great pictures to remember for a long time.
Tarragona also has its own La Rambla, like in Barcelona. It’s called New Lambra. It is a pedestrian boulevard, of course, not so… read more
When is the best time to rest in Tarragona?
The best time to go to Spanish Tarragona is, of course, in August, because it is the warmest month in the resort. Besides you can not only enjoy the beautiful sea, but also get to know the rich culture of the city.
Summer is undoubtedly the most beautiful period in almost all of Spain. The sea warms up to its warmest temperatures, and if there are winds and light showers, they only add some coolness to the very hot days.
The average air temperature during this period is kept at a mark of plus 27 to plus 29 degrees, and the water temperature in the sea is also very pleasant – from plus 21 to plus 26 degrees. In general this is the perfect time for any type of holiday that just can come to your mind.
And of course with such a beautiful weather can be assumed that tourists in summer Spain are very, very much. Therefore book hotels, hostels, apartments or houses must be as possible in advance.
In the month of September in Tarragona you can get almost all the delights of the same summer weather from the sea and the air. The temperature stays at an average of 27 degrees, but the occasional rain can still spoil the overall impression. But tourists already less, and breathe much more freely.
The sea will not let you down at all – you can not worry about that, because the water temperature is still at the mark.
Where to stay in Tarragona?
The rest on the Spanish Costa Dorada will be incredibly comfortable for everyone without exception – for young and active tourists who love partying together with dancing till morning, families with children who want to please their children, romantic couples who dream about privacy, and older people who prefer bathing in the warm sea and leisurely walks. The fact is that the Costa Dorada – a fairly impressive stretch of coast, located between the famous cities such as Barcelona and Valencia.
Here the little resort towns are practically one after the other, which is essentially a chain of magnificent sandy beaches, sea views, comfortable hotels and crystal clear bays and coves. Previously, this coast was considered a provincial region, and most of the fishing villages were located here, but about 100 years ago, this modest little coast turned into a tourist area, after the railroad was built here. So today the Costa Dorada is a comfortable, modern and well-kept province with an incredibly well-developed infrastructure, a network of excellent hotels, with good roads, with a quality entertainment industry and sports facilities.
But at the same time, the coast has managed to preserve both elements of traditional culture and historical. read completely
How to reach?
Getting from the airport of Reus
The airport of Reus is seven kilometers from the city of Tarragona. Many people simply call it “the airport of Tarragona”. The airport Reus is connected with Russian cities by charter flights, and you can get from the airport to Tarragona by shuttle bus or cab. Fare on the shuttle will cost you two or three euros, but the cab – thirty-three. However, it is worth saying that in most cases, tourists get to Tarragona through Barcelona.
These days, the bus service to Reus airport includes four routes. The first route connects the airport with Barcelona, the second runs through La Pineda, Salou and Cambils, the third with Tarragona, and the fourth with the city center, taking passengers to the bus and train stations. The timetable of the buses is synchronized with the arrival schedule of the planes, except for the city route number 50.
Cab drivers wait for customers in front of the arrival terminal. For about twenty euros you can get to any nearby town – Reus, Tarragona, Salou and others. It also happens that you have to wait from fifteen minutes to half an hour for a free car if several planes have landed.
If you have any unexplained questions about the work of the airport, I advise you to look for information on its official website [Read more
What tours are worth visiting in Tarragona?
In this article we will talk about what excursions you can book while traveling in the Spanish city of Tarragona.
Sightseeing tour in Tarragona
The Spanish city of Tarragona is at the same time and a beach resort, and the capital of the province with the same name, and a place full of architectural sights. The city inherited monuments from the Roman colony of Tarraco, the nature has awarded it the cleanest beaches on the Mediterranean coast… There are medieval churches and castles, many festivals and carnivals are organized – thanks to all these advantages Tarragona is one of the major tourist centers not only in Catalonia and Spain, but also in Europe.
Because of its rich architectural heritage Tarragona is as attractive as Barcelona, Madrid, Granada or Seville. The main tourist attraction is the wonderfully preserved to this day ruins of the ancient city of Tarragona, which belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List. In Tarragona there are also many monuments from the medieval period – the harmonious and impressive Cathedral of Tarragona which was erected in the twelfth to thirteenth centuries, the Dominican convention, the Jesuit college as well as several dozen other buildings. Tarragona was once considered one of the centers of the Knights Templar. The Spanish Knights of the Knights Templar and the Spanish Knights of the Order of the Knights Templar are not to be missed on the summit of Tarragona.
What to see in Tarragona?
Tourists who have visited Tarragona, very rarely leave bad reviews about the city, because here, they can find any entertainment for all, without exception, tastes. You can spend your vacations in the city, lounging on the beautiful beaches, swimming in the cleanest sea, enjoying the impeccable ecological situation. For tourists who wish to explore in detail the local historical and cultural sites, the Old Town (upper part), full of ancient buildings from different archaeological eras, is open to the public.
Church of St. Francis / Esglesia de Sant Francesc
This eighteenth-century church is located at Rambla Vella 57, Tarragona. The outside appearance of the church is not particularly striking except to admire the rose window made during the last reconstruction in 1911. The facade and bell tower are in the neo-classical style. It is worth going inside the church, the interior of which looks very impressive, especially the wall paintings, unique frescoes and a huge wrought iron chandelier, striking in its richness.
Cathedral of Tarragona / Catedral
How to have fun?
Interesting events in Tarragona
In the middle of April from the 11th to the 17th of April Tarragona is the site for the International Dixieland Festival. For a whole week in the local streets, markets and bars there is jazz performed by musicians from all over the world.
On the night of June 23-24 the locals celebrate the summer solstice: during this time the night darkness is lit up by bonfires and fireworks. Later in the day, from 5-8 July, the celestial fireworks display at Tarragona’s Miracle Beach is an international competition.
From September 16 to 25 the city celebrates the day of the patroness of the city – Santa-Tecla. This is the main event of the city where you can see folk dances, musical installations, medieval plays, meet entertaining and extravagantly dressed characters in the streets, watch the solemn processions and other interesting activities.
Beach vacations in Tarragona
Despite being a major seaport, Tarragona’s beaches meet high standards of cleanliness and even have a blue flag ecological mark. Some of them are located in the vicinity of the city and others can be reached by bus or car on the national road “N-340”. Almost all beaches have showers and toilets, sun loungers and umbrellas for hire, and there are parking and catering facilities nearby. All beaches have comfortable access to the water, clear water and shallow.
What can I buy?
In Tarragona, as well as around the world during the seasonal sales, which are held at the end of July – August and the end of January – February, it is possible to find all sorts of interesting things and, of course, at very reasonable prices.
And also do not forget that Spain is home to very famous brands of typical casual clothing, such as “Zara”, “Mango”, “H&M”, as well as some other very popular.
And then you should also take into account the fact that the prices of these clothes are of course much lower than, for example, at home, and the choice is much wider. First of all you should visit the shopping center in Tarragona, which is called “El Corte Ingles”. By the way it is a very popular chain, and there are many such stores throughout Spain.
No doubt that when you’re coming out of the mall, you simply will not have enough hands to carry all the bags. Just be sure to get a discount card on the first floor at once for a very pleasant 10%.
It is issued immediately to all tourists, who visit this shopping center for the first time. And after that, this card stays with you all the time, and you can safely use it further.
If you are faced with the question of what to bring from Tarragona, it is best to pay attention to some edible souvenirs. Well why, for example, your friends or you yourself magnets or figurines of bulls? Better bring something tasty: jamon, paella.
Holidays with children in Tarragona?
If you come to Tarragona to rest with the kids, the best place to have fun with them is without a doubt the park “Port aventura! There is something for everyone of all ages.
The park is divided into thematic zones – “Wild West”, “Mediterranean”, “China”, “Mexico”, “Polynesia” and separately for children “Sesame-Aventura”. In addition, it should be taken into account that periodically in all areas and in the streets of this huge park, occupying an area of more than 2000 hectares, various performances are held.
So here you will certainly have a great opportunity to have fun while tickling your nerves. In general it should be noted that the Spaniards know a lot about entertainment. As soon as you cross the threshold of the park, you immediately go to the high-speed slide “Shambhala” – it is located in the area “China”.
It does not matter if you are afraid of heights, because believe me – this trip will long stay in your memory. Well, if you’re really afraid of heights, in this case, this trip you will remember for the rest of his life. It just takes your breath away not only from the beauty but also from the speed. You will not regret for sure, and it is even possible that you will run for another ride.
However, immediately plan to visit this park for at least a whole day, because the area is incredibly huge. In addition, there are a lot of different cafes and restaurants, as well as ordinary.