Barcelona / Tarragona

Tarragona tourist attractions

What to do in Tarragona? The top 10 sights Tarragona

Tarragona

Visiting Tarragona? Not far from Barcelona is this beautiful Catalan city with a Roman history. Tarragona at the Costa Daurada has all the sights for a successful day trip. Things to do in Tarragona?

Things to do in Tarragona?

Tired of the tourist bustle of Barcelona? Then pay a visit to the lesser known city in Catalonia, namely Tarragona. This city is located 100 kilometers south of Barcelona and you can reach this originally Roman city within an hour by train. Tarragona is located on the coast of the Costa Daurada and has only 133,545 inhabitants and in the area are famous seaside resorts such as Salou and the largest amusement park in Europe, Port Aventura.

In the 2nd century BC. ‘Tarraco’was the capital of a Roman province that at the time covered a large part of Spain (Hispania). Various remnants of this Roman period can still be found, such as the amphitheater, the horse racing track, the forum, aqueducts and the Roman walls. After that, the city had to contend with various conquerors, such as the Western Goths in 475, the eighth century with the Moors and the 19th century even by the French. Today, Tarragona is mainly a port city with the necessary chemical industry and a student city. The city is located on a hill of 160 meters high, from where you have a beautiful view of the Mediterranean from several places. The old center, with several UNESCO World Heritage monuments, consists of narrow streets, many restaurants and bars and nice squares.

TarragonaRoman remains in Tarragona
Things to do in Tarragona?Tarragona's old town and cathedral

Day trip Tarragona from Barcelona?

From Barcelona you can easily take a day trip to Tarragona, and the compact center makes it easy to visit the city in one day. The regional train to Reus leaves from the main train station 'Barcelona Sants'. After more than an hour on the train, get off at the "Tarragona" stop. You can buy tickets (about 8 euros one way) easily via renfe.com or at the train station.

Top 10 Sights Tarragona

During a short city walk it is already possible to see most of the Tarragona tourist attractions. Most of the Top 10 highlights are within walking distance of the old center with the Rambla Nova, an ideal starting point for your tour along these Tarragona sights.

Amphitheater Tarragona Spain

1. Amphitheater

On the coast lies Tarragona's most striking landmark, namely the remains of the Roman amphitheater. An Amphitheater from the 2nd century BC. that used to provide space for more than 15,000 spectators during gladiator fights. The beautiful location by the sea was ideal for the supply of exotic animals for animal fights at the time. The amphitheater can also be visited for a small entrance fee.

tarragona tourism

2. Rambla Nova & Mediterranean Balcony

The Rambla Nova is Tarragona's most famous street. This street of more than a kilometer long goes right through the center of the city. A well-known work of art along the way is the "Monumento a los Castellers", which shows an important Catalan tradition of the human towers. The Rambla Nova ends on the sea side at the so-called "Mediterranean Balcony" (Balcó del Mediterrani), from where you have a magnificent view over the sea, harbor and the amphitheater of Tarragona.

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3. Tarragona Cathedral

The "Catedral de Santa Maria", built between the 12th and 14th centuries, stands at the highest point in Tarragona and is not to be missed on the city's skyline. Originally a Roman temple stood on this site. Next to the cathedral is a monastery with a beautiful inner garden, which also includes a museum (Museo Diocesano) with some of the cathedral's art treasures (address: Pla de la Seu, 5 euros entrance).

Aqueduct Tarragona

4. Roman aqueduct (Pont del Diable)

The largest Roman remnant is the aqueduct (Les Ferreres), also called the Devil's Bridge (Pont del Diable), and at the time it carried water from the Francoli River to the city. This aqueduct is located four kilometers outside the city on the AP-7 and is especially interesting to visit (for free) if you have a car.

tarraco

5. More Roman excavations

In addition to the Roman amphitheater, you will find many other excavations from the Tarraco period around the old center, such as:

Roman circus: The "Circo Romano de Tarraco" used to be the racecourse of Tarragona. Only a small part of this enormous Roman circus (325 meters long and 25,000 spectators) can be visited, as most of it is still hidden under houses. However, the underground spaces are beautiful to visit.

Praetorium: The Praetorium, or the King's Castle, is a Roman tower on the Provincial Forum square (1st century) and later transformed into a royal palace (12th century). At the time it was connected to the circus via underground corridors.

Plaça del Fòrum: In this square, formerly called the forum, you can still find some remnants of the Roman period, such as some pieces of wall.

City walls: Part of the city walls in Tarragona can be walked. There is an archaeological route to follow, where you will automatically walk over part of these city walls.

tarraco spain

6. Casco Antiguo & Plaça de la Font

The old center of Tarragona is a nice area to wander quietly through the narrow, pedestrian and sometimes steep streets. You will find the cathedral at the highest point, you can still see pieces of the old city walls and the Plaça de la Font is the most pleasant square in the center of Tarragona. On this lively square you will not only find the town hall, but also many terraces, restaurants and bars.

Port Aventura

7. Port Aventura

The largest amusement park in Europe (119 hectares) is located just a few kilometers from Tarragona. Port Aventura World contains, among other things, two amusement parks (Port Aventura and Ferrari land), a fantastic aqua park and various hotels. The theme park Port Aventura is itself made up of six worlds (more info). An absolute must with children. From Barcelona you can easily book a day trip to the theme parks via this website.

Plaça dels Sedassos

8. Plaça dels Sedassos

Street art can be admired in many places in the center of Tarragona. Most tourists come to Plaça dels Sedassos square for the striking 1995 mural.

Mercado Central

9. Mercado Central

The more than one hundred year old market hall is located on the Plaça de Corsini. The fresh market in this modernist building is a nice place to go for a walk or to have lunch during the day.

El Serallo

10. El Serallo

El Serallo is a cozy and charming fishing area near the port of Tarragona. A nice neighborhood to walk through, to eat fish or to view the luxury yachts in the harbor.

Tarragona

11. Beaches of Tarragona

There are several beaches around Tarragona, which are popular due to the mild Mediterranean climate and the fine golden sand. The 500-meter-long city beach "Platja del Miracle", at the foot of the amphitheater is the most famous.

tourist attractions in costa daurada

12. Archaeological museum

Currently (February 2020) the archaeological museum at Plaça del Rei is closed for renovation. In the museum you will learn more about the history of the city and about excavations from the Roman period (more info).

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Activities & Tours in Tarragona

Video: impression Tarragona sights


Where is Tarragona in Spain?

Tarragona is located 100 kilometers south of Barcelona in Catalonia and the city is easily accessible for a day trip from Barcelona. Zaragoza is located 236 km west and Valencia is 258 km south of the city.

tarragona spain
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