As a huge fan of Barcelona, I can understand why so many visitors gravitate to this wonderful city and live in blissful ignorance of the fascinating city of Tarragona. I can only strongly encourage you to think again, and visit Tarragona, it’s a gorgeous city. Tarragona is an hour from Barcelona by train or car, and only a few minutes away from Reus Airport (7km), and was once the capital of the Roman Empire here in Spain. Today Tarragona is a place where history and culture are crowned with Mediterranean blue skies, blessed with beautiful beaches and complemented by an abundance of fine wine and cuisine.

Tarragona UNESCO Heritage

Walking around the area where you can see the amphitheatre, the views are absolutely amazing, as the amphitheatre is right by the sea. There’s something both odd and awesome about seeing it. Behind you are parts of Tarraco, which is one of Catalonia’s 9 wonders of UNESCO sites and heritage, but there’s just so much besides in the city, as you’ll read in this Tarragona Travel Guide.

Tarraco is an impressive sight from many places, as are the views from the Mediterranean Balcony (Balcó del Mediterrani). Tarragona has tangible history that palpitates around you, it has modernist architecture, a magnificent cathedral and Ramblas, not unlike those of Barcelona. In the Rambla Nova you’ll find some unique Modernist buildings. The province of Tarragona is also home to a second of the 9 wonders of UNESCO sites and heritage – the Poblet Monastery.

About

Bubbling With Contrasts & Experiences

Tarragona is a city filled with light, colour and contrasts, which is bubbling with sensations for you to experience. On a Sunday go to the market, just outside the wonderfully impressive Basilica Cathedral. The contrast of the grandeur of the cathedral with the buzz and colour of the market is really something else.

Filled With Festivities

Would you believe that there’s hardly a month that goes by in Tarragona, when there’s not at least one festival going on? It’s hard to say which is the best month to visit Tarragona. Maybe go in May if you’re a foodie or a history buff, and be there for the Tapas Festival (25th April to 11th May), and at the same time experience the famous Tarraco Viva Festival (4th to 17th May 2015)– the wonderful ancient Roman festival, where you can check out re-enactments, gladiators, cuisine and much more. This is really out of this world.

My most recent trip was on the weekend of the 16th March, so we were there for the Tres Tombs – Three Turns Festival. This is a tradition that is linked to Saint Anthony Abad, patron saint of animals. The animals do a particular route three times with their owners, and get blessed. Tres Tombs translates into three turns. There were horses and Shetland ponies, some pulling chariots and others being ridden or led. It was so colourful and striking.

Or you could always visit during the last week or so in June, when you will have Corpus Christi (22nd June) where the traditional and religious elements are intertwined in the parade that features towering giants, dances and a drummer, who announces the beginning of the festival by horse. Then on the night of the 23rd June (eve of the Feast Day of St. John) is the Noche de San Juan – Night of Saint John – which is a fantastic summer solstice celebration. This is the ideal time to get rid of your bad stuff from the year before, by going into the water at midnight – in the midst of fireworks, witches, bonfires and parties that go on til dawn. In case that’s not enough, the Human Towers (UNESCO culture) kicks off in Tarragona on the 24th June until the 5th October.

Ask A Tarraconese Local Where To Go

Apart from being one of the most striking cities, I have always found the Tarraconeses to be very friendly and welcoming. We had this experience again, having arrived at our hotel a bit tired, after lots of walking in the heat, we got a lovely welcome from the man at Hotel Sant Jordi. We took a couple of beers up to our lovely terrace, which had amazing sea views… over the beach, which we couldn’t quite figure out was it nudist or not! We asked at the hotel for restaurant recommendations, which they were very helpful about. Then we went for a drink in a bar called La Tabacalera, and the owner there, a man called Joan (Catalan for John) was super friendly.

We talked to him also about what kind of food we wanted to eat and he gave us a great recommendation, but not only that, as it is quite a small place, he actually contacted them and reserved a table for us. Everyone we met in Tarragona was so friendly, making it a lovely experience. We also had a great chat with the restaurant owners, at Sushi Tarragona– which although it’s primarily a takeaway, the amazing food here, makes it worthwhile to consider booking a table.

(At this point, I would just like to mention, that none of the above remarks have been paid for, I really wanted to let readers know, because each of these establishments went out of their way to make our stay very pleasant.)

New York Times Critic, Florence Fabricant About Tarragona

I was curious to see how much coverage Tarragona has had, especially from renowned writers and publications, because for me it is a relatively undiscovered secret. I came across this article about Tarragona in the New York Times, by the critic, Florence Fabricant, and here is one part of what she says about Tarragona:

We left Tarragona feeling as though we had been let in on a wonderful secret that told not only of the reach of ancient Rome, but of other historic periods, layered within and around the city. And that the secret was meant to be shared.

History

Tarragona Very Brief History

Apparently the God Jupiter deserted his mere mortal wife, Tiria, because he was captivated by Tarragona and fell in love with the city! Of course the Romans were also captivated by Tarragona, so much so that they built Tarraco. More about the Roman history here.

During the medieval period Tarragona became an important ecclesiastical enclave, and the construction of important churches began around 1171 – Santa Tecla la Vella, Santa Maria del Milagro and Sant Pau. Also the building of the cathedral started at this time, but it wasn’t consecrated until 1331 because of a lack of funds. Additionally a hospital for poor people was built.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the city grew very strong, and houses were built by nobility and the block houses of Reina Maria Estuardo and Sant Jordi were built, near a part of Miracle Beach.

In 1908 son of the city and a disciple of Gaudí, Josep Mª Jujol, built the Teatro Metropol, this is an architectural gem. Of course Gaudí created a part of the altar of the Sanctuario de Nuestra Señora del Sagrado Corazón and the architect, Doménech i Muntaner left his mark in the Mausoleum of Jaume I.

Things To Do

Architectural Interest

Balcó del Mediterrani – Balcony of the Mediterranean

Rambla Nova, Passeig de les Palmeres, Tarragona 43004

Apart from the gorgeous view of the Mediterranean sea and Tarragona Port, according to local legend if you touch the singular railing it brings you good luck – so when you go there don’t forget to – tocar ferro – touch iron. Being Irish, I can’t tell if it worked for me, as I have the luck of the Irish anyhow!!

Carrer Merceria Arches

Carrer Merceria, Tarragona 43003

Running from the Cathedral’s steps to Baixada del Patriarca, there are these lovely solid 14th century arches. During the Middle Ages this was where the farmers’ market took place, but nowadays there’s an antique fair on Sunday mornings, along here and also in its neighbour, Pla de la Seu.

Beaches

Tarragona Beaches

One of the biggest draws to visitors in Tarragona is the gorgeous beaches. The city boasts a 15km of coastline, with numerous beaches and a fine selection of pretty, easy accessible coves. The beaches of Tarragona are well known for their fine, golden sands, which isn’t a huge surprise as this part of Spain is known as the Costa Dorada, or Golden Coast.

The mild climate here means that between June and September you can enjoy some fun in the surf, while those who like nothing better than relaxing on a beach can indulge in this passion for a great deal of the year. Some days during winter can even be around 20 degrees celsius, but other days could be a good bit cooler, plus we do get very interesting storms. That said, you can often enjoy some winter sunshine. A major bonus, and a top reason why these beaches are so favoured by families, is that they gradually slope into the sea – as there are no sudden drops, they are perfect for little ones to paddle in.

There are many sporting activities organised on the beaches throughout the summer by the city’s Sport Council. This combined with the fact that many beaches are proudly displaying the Blue Flags make Tarragona a fine beach destination, apart from its immense beauty and culture. What many do not realise is that these beaches have a diverse and rich ecosystem, which is formed thanks to the life forms that live in the sea, meeting those which live on the land. This in turn gives rise to a rich diversity of dunes and saltwater plants as well, and many different species of marshland wildlife and birds. The downside of mass tourism is that it damages this over the years, but Tarragona is very proud of the fact that they have two areas of conservation, which are legally protected.

The first reserve is called Punta de la Móra, known as PEIN locally. Here you can see a variety of flora, which also has a dense underbrush, with fan palms and Kermes oaks, plus gorgeous pines and junipers. Along this area, as in some other places on the coast, there’s the unusual sight, because of the wind – of some trees that have been bent into almost poetic shapes. In the sea there are several different strains of seaweed thriving along with a huge expanse of Neptune grass, which is a plant offering sustenance to a vast range of fish.

The second reserve is the Gaià River Delta and Tamarit Beach, where you’ll have the chance to see more than 80 different species of bird. Inland on this reserve is a coastal forest, primarily populated by poplars. Moving closer to the shoreline, the nature is dominated by beds of reeds. The authorities have a launched a programme to repopulate the area with native species, like willows and black poplars also.

Whether you’re travelling by yourself, as a couple or family, both of the nature reserves are well organised, offering routes, which show the visitor the reserve, but also aim to educate. They also do the same for bigger groups, including schools and universities.

Here are some of the Tarragona Beaches – by the way the word “platja” is beach in Catalan and “cala” is cove:

Platja del Miracle/Comandancia

Yes this is a busy beach, but not without good reason, it is the one by the amphitheatre, right in the centre of all the activity. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to sunbathe, at least once in their life, with the backdrop of an amphitheatre? It’s 500m long and 75m wide, with regenerated sand, which is cleaned on a daily basis. Access is via Pg. Rafael Casanova / Robert d’Aguiló and the number 22 bus stops here in the summer. The red cross are in attendance during the summer and those who come by car can access the beach from Passeig Marítim Rafael Casanova.

Platja de l’Arrabassada

Platja de L’Arrabassada stretches for 550m and is 65m wide. The sand here is very fine and cleaned daily. Access to the beach is off Pg. Rafael Casanova / N-340 and the buses which stop here through the summer are the 1, 9, 1E and 1M. The Red Cross are here during the summer months and access by car is via the N-340a, at the end of Via Augusta.

Platja dels Capellans

The fine, soft sand is cleaned every day on this tiny stretch beach which measures 60m long and 50m wide. Access is gained via the N-340, km 1166-1167 and the buses which serve the beach through the summer are 1, 9, 1E and 1M. The Red Cross are on this beach in the summer months and those coming by car can access by beach by N-340a, Cala Romana.

Platja Llarga

Daily cleaning takes place of the fine sand which makes up Platja Llarga. This is a massive expanse of beach measuring 300m in length and 30m in width. Access is gained here via the N-340, km 1167 while the buses that will drop you off here are the 1, 9, 1E and 1M, the Red Cross are on hand through the summer and those in cars can access the beach via the N-340a, residential area.

Cala Fonda

Compared to some of the other Tarragona Beaches, Cala Fonda is a relatively small beach at 200m long and 25m wide. It’s a lot quieter being a separate cove, rather than part of the main beach and the fine sand here is only cleaned on a weekly basis. Access is by Platja Llarga, just head north; or from Cala de la Roca Plana, you need to go south. The buses which stop here are 9, 1E and 1M. There is no Red Cross attendants on Cala Fonda at any time of year an the beach is only accessible on foot.

Platja de Savinosa

We overlooked this beach from the Hotel Sant Jordi, and did wonder if it is nudist. Apparently it is, but there were also people who were not in their birthday suits, so it is obviously flexible. It measures 350m in length with a width of 30m. The sand, which is cleaned daily is very fine and it’s easy to access from N-340, km 1165-1166. There are several buses which stop here through the summer namely the 1, 9, 1E and 1M. The Red Cross are here throughout the summer and access by car is gained via the N-340a, Savinosa.

Cala de la Roca Plana

Cala de la Roca Plana is like Cala Fonda in that it is a cove away from the main stretch of beach. It is 205m long and 26m wide and the fine sand is cleaned weekly. You can find this beach by heading north from Cala Fonda and it is only accessible by foot via Bosc de la Marquesa. There are no Red Cross attendants here and if you catch the bus the numbers you are want are 9, 1E and 1M.

Platja de la Móra

The Platja de la Móra is part of the second main stretch of beach in Tarragona north of Cala de la Roca Plana and is 520m in length and 65m wide. The fine sand here is cleaned, by hand, every day and the Red Cross are in attendance through the summer to make sure all is well. Access by foot and by car is via the N-340 La Móra housing development or urbanisation. Coming on the bus? Then the number 9 will drop you here.

Cala Jovera

North of Platja de la Móra you will come across the tiny but very pretty cove that is Cala Jovera. Measuring only 40m in length and 8m wide, the fine sand here is once again cleaned daily by hand. Access on foot in north from Platja de la Móra or south from Platja de Tamarit. The Red Cross do not attend this beach, the bus you need to catch is the number 9 and those coming by car will have to come along the Tamarit Castle route.

Platja de Tamarit

North of Cala Jovera is the longest singular stretch of sand attributed to being one beach. Platja de Tamarit stretches for 1750m and is 45m wide. Access is gained by the Tamarit exit off the N-340 and by car you will come along the Tamarit Castle route. The sand is cleaned by hand daily, the Red Cross is here in the summer and the number 9 bus will bring you here.

Castles

Castell de Tamarit – Tamarit Castle

10km from Tarragona, N-340 KM 1171 Tarragona to Altafulla

We first hear of this castle during the 11th century. Tamarit Castle has both residential and defensive elements, which include its watchtowers and Romanesque church. Of course no matter what century you find yourself living in, the location of Tamarit Castle is bound to impress, as it imposes gracefully, on the promontory where it stands, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

The church of Tamarit Castle is considered to be one of the earliest, purest examples of Romanesque architecture within the municipality of Tarragona. Between 1681 up until the beginning of the 20th century, it belonged to the Marquises of Tamarit and the Archbishop of Tarragona, but was bought by Charles Deering in 1916. However during the 19th century, malarial fevers had decimated the fishermen’s village that had previously surrounded the castle, and in 1950 the city limits of Tarragona were spread to include the castle and the village.

The entire walled village and castle blends Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance, and the interventions that were made by Charles Deering, which were advised by his friend, painter Ramon Casas, contributed to standardise the different buildings. Today it’s a beautiful picture to behold overlooking the sea.

Churches

Catedral de Santa Tecla Tarragona – Cathedral of Saint Tecla Tarragona

Pla de la Seu, Tarragona 43003

When I first saw the cathedral I was overpowered with awe and admiration for the craftspeople who were involved in the making of this magical monument. In 1905, the Cathedral of Tarragona was declared a national monument. Construction of the current cathedral began in 1154, on the site which was once home to the Roman Temple, which in the 1st century AD was part of the Roman provincial forum, as well as a previous Moorish Mosque and Visigothic Cathedral.

The original form, during the 12th century, is thought to have had only one nave and a large apse, in Romanesque style, but with some defensive elements, especially the impressive bell tower. However just towards the end of the 12th century, in 1195, a project was agreed to change the original plan to a basilica plan.

Construction had commenced in the Romanesque style but then continued during the Gothic period and although in 1331 it had been consecrated, because of the Black Death it couldn’t be finished. Today the soaring entrance of the cathedral and the rose window of its façade are synonymous with Tarragona, yet the impact of the Cathedral, Cloister and Diocesan Museum doesn’t end there.

The sculpture work of the cloister, which dates back to the 13th century, is one of the most important Romanesque art examples in Catalonia. The Saint Tecla’s altarpiece is spectacular. When you visit the Diocesan Museum, there are more treats in store, including stone sculptures, wood carvings, altarpieces, textiles ceramics, wrought iron work, gold work and so on.

A Cultural Visit Gives You Access To the Cathedral. Cloister, Treasure and Diocesan Museum

17th March to 4th November – Mondays to Saturdays: 10.00 – 19.00

5th November to 16th March -Mondays to Fridays: 10.00 – 17.00
Saturdays: 10.00 – 19.00 – Closed Sundays and Religious Holidays

General Admission Prices:

Children under 7 years of age = Free
7 to 16 years of age, plus over 65 years = €3.00
Adults = €5.00

There are also group tickets, plus audio guides available.

Complete Guided Visits

There is a complete guided visit which includes the Cathedral. Cloister, Treasure and Diocesan Museum but also the Bell Tower, where you’ll have the most amazing visits over Tarragona. However very importantly – this entails narrow stairs with around 150 steps, so may not be suitable for everyone – especially if you have heart conditions, vertigo, dizziness, asthma, or any other condition which could be affected.

These visits cost:

Adults: €15.00
7 to 16 years of age, plus over 65 years = €10.00

Complete guided visits need to be booked in advance, and can be reserved using the following email or phone number:

Email: catedraltarragona@dna.es
Phone: 977 226 935

Website:
http://www.catedraldetarragona.com/?lang=en

El Monestir de Santa Maria de Poblet – Poblet Monastery of Santa Maria – UNESCO World Heritage Since 1991

45 minutes drive from the city to Poblet, Province of Tarragona – follow this link to read more about the Poblet Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage

Museums

Museu Nacional Arqueologic de Tarragona – National Museum of Archaeology Tarragona

Plaça del Rei 5 – Phone: 977 236 209 – Website: http://www.mnat.cat/
The roots of the National Museum of Archaeology Tarragona go back to the mid 19th century, at which time it was a provincial museum, making it the oldest museum of its type in Catalonia. It has been hugely important in recovering the Roman city and artifacts of Tarraco. Located in the gorgeous Plaça del Rei (King’s Square), it houses an impressive collection of Roman artifacts, including scuplture and pottery. You can also see a large mosaic collection there.

Roman Routes

Tàrraco – UNESCO World Heritage Site Since 2000

Tàrraco was founded in 218 BC, and this was the capital of the Roman Empire in Hispania Citerior. This was the Romans logistical base here, and covered an impressive space of 60 to 70 hectares, which included its own circus, a Roman amphitheatre, the provincial forum, amongst many other elements. In 2000 this was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and below is a breakdown of the Tarragona Roman Route.

In Tarragona city, on Mondays all monuments are closed except: Model of Roman Tarraco, the Cathedral and Diocesan Museum

Tarragona Roman Route

Follow in the footsteps of the Romans, and find out about life during the Roman Era. This route takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tarraco, where you can see the temple, walls, amphitheatre, circus, local forum and much more. Here is a brief breakdown of what makes up the Roman Route of Tarragona.

Maqueta de la Tàrraco Romana – Model of Roman Tarraco – Antiga Audiencia, Plaça del Pallol, 3 – is where it is currently due to work in the Pallol Vault being carried out, but it is normally in the Museum of Tarragona. This is a detailed model of what Tarraco was like at its peak.

Muralles – Walls – Avenida Catalunya, Phone: 977 245 796

3500 metres of walls were built in the 2nd century BC, of which around 1100 metres remain today. The Passeig Arqueològic is the highlight of the remaining wall, which borders with the old quarter of Tarragona. Unusual megalithic foundations are revealed in these very well preserved sections.

Temple – Temple – Pla de la Seu

The construction of the Roman circus and provincial forum had gained the city monumental status in the second half of the 1st century AD. In Tarraco the provincial forum had been constructed around two squares that were on different terraces – the upper one being the cult complex, which contained the magnificent temple. Of course today’s cathedral is also in this area.

Fòrum Provincial – Provincial Forum – Plaça del Pallol, Pl. del Forum and Pl. del Rei

The lower square of the forum measured 318 metres by 175 metres, and was enveloped on three sides by a portico, inside of which today you can still see a number of inscribed pedestals.

Circ – Roman Circus – Rambla Vella

This is one of the best preserved examples of a Roman circus in the Western world, where once our ancestors would have seen chariot races.

Amfiteatre – Amphitheatre – Parc de l’Amfiteatre Romà

As you may expect from films, this was where the fights and entertainment used to take place – so everything from fights between gladiators, to wild beasts fights, and public executions.

Museu Nacional Arqueològic – National Archaeological Museum – Plaça del Rei 5

In the 19th century this museum was founded two merge to earlier museums, and today there is a fascinating, invaluable collection of ruins from Roman times.

Fòrum Local – Local Forum – Carrer Lleida

This was the forum of daily life, but a fair bit of it was destroyed because of 19th century urban expansion.

Necròpolis Paleocristiana i Conjunt Paleocristià del Francolí – Paleochristian Necropolis and Francolí River Paleochristian Complex – Avenida Ramón y Cajal 84

A burial ground was started here in the middle of the 3rd century AD, whcih includes the remains of St. Fructuosus.

Vil·la de Centcelles – Centcelles Villa – 4km – Afores, Constantí

The remains you can see today are most likely of a villa which was thought to be built around the 4th century AD, although originally there are signs that date to around the 2nd to 1st centuries BC, of habitation.

Aqüeducte – Aqueduct – 4km on N240 to Lleida

Of two aqueducts that were built during the 1st century AD, the one that the Francolí river fed, which was around 15km long, is today the most interesting surviving stretch, with around 217 metres remaining.

Torre dels Escipions – Scipio Tower – 6km on N340 to Barcelona

Situated off the Via Augusta, this is a funeral monument constructed with large ashlars, during the early 1st century AD.

Pedrera del Mèdol – Mèdol Quarry – 8km on N340 Barcelona direction, by the service area of Medol

You can actually see many walls here, from where the Romans would have extracted blocks of stone.

Vil·la dels Munts – Els Munts Villa – 14km – Passeig del Fortí, Altafulla

Just on the boundaries with Altafulla, you can see a Roman villa that is impressive in terms of some of the surviving rooms, and the fact that there were actually three different bathing complexes.

Arc de Berà (MNAT) – Berà Arch (MNAT) – 20km from Tarragona, N-340 Roda de Berà

The N-340 is the National 340 road that runs right down to the south of Spain, and the Berà Arch was built back in the late 1st century BC, dedicated to Emperor Augustus, on what was in those days the Via Augusta. One of Catalonia’s best known monuments, because of its shape and location, originally it was decorated with Corinthian moulding and pilasters, crowned by a frieze, architrave, attic and cornice.

Tarragona Tourism Information here about their – Roman Route of Tarragona

Medieval Routes

Tarragona Medieval Route

There are a number of medieval monuments preserved in the city of Tarragona, of rich artistic heritage. This route takes you to a number of sites which include the churches from this period, the King’s Castle and the Provost’s castle, and of course the spectacular cathedral.

La Muralla – The Wall
Arandes Tower, Montges Tower and Tintoré Tower
Carrer Ferrers, Carrer Merceria, Via de l’Imperi Romà

The city already had Roman walls, which by medieval times needed some maintenance and repair, although the southern closure needed to be entirely re-done. This was reinforced by the towers named above.

El Pla de la Seu – Cathedral Area
Carrer Major 39 and Carrer Merceria

Here you’ll experience the city’s area which most retains its medieval ambience. There are a number of notable Gothic structures here, such as the Casa Balcells and the ancient rectory.

La Catedral de Santa Tecla Tarragona – Tarragona Cathedral and the Cloister and the Diocesan Museum
Pla de la Seu

A truly magnificent cathedral, please refer to the Churches section to read more about this, which also includes information on the Cloister and Diocesan Museum.

La Capella de Sant Pau – The Chapel of Saint Paul
Carrer Sant Pau 4

This is one of a number of religious buildings which has been conserved from the 12th/13th centuries. Austere in the interior, it has a rectangular entrance, decorated with a mullion, with a rose window which crowns it.

La Capella de Sant Tecla – The Chapel of Saint Tecla
Carrer les Coques

Another one of the preserved 12th/13th century religious buildings, inside of special note are two arcosolia, each of which contain a sacrophagus.

L’esglesia de Sant Llorenç – The Church of Saint Lawrence
Plaça de la Pagesia

This church is the only place of worship, which is entirely Gothic, left in Tarragona. Rebuilding was done in 1362 and inside there are two important medieval works – a late Gothic exquisite chalice and the spectacular Saint Lawrence altarpiece.

L’Antic Hospital de Santa Tecla – The Ancient Hospital of Saint Tecla
Carrer les Coques 3

In 1171 the hospital was founded, but as only the façade can be seen today, nothing is known about the original layout, however what is there is worth seeing.

Call Jueu Tarragona – Tarragona Jewish Quarter
Plaça dels Àngels, Tarragona 43003

Back in the 12th century the Call Jueu was entirely separate from the other parts of the city, linked only by four gateways to connect it to the outside world. From the 14th century, however, the Jewish Quarter went into a decline, and in 1492 they were expelled. Today much of this interesting labyrinth of streets has been partially destroyed due to old urban planning reformations, as well as some demolition.

El Castell del Rei – The King’s Castle
Plaça del Rei

At the beginning of Christian re-settlement, the King’s Castle was built on the site where there was a Roman tower and until 1171 it was the city’s Norman family’s residence. When it passed back to the crown, it had restoration work done, and today you can see its southern façade, as well as the walls and arcades of its interior.

El Castell del Paborde – The Provost’s Castle
Avenida Catalunya

In the early 19th century this was destroyed and today it’s only its northern façade that you can see, as well as the Archbishop’s tower. It is situated where the Archbishop’s Palace stands.

L’església de Santa Maria del Miracle – The Church of our Lady of the Miracle
Parc de l’Amfiteatre Romà

The remains of the church, which is actually situated at the very centre of the Roman Amphitheatre, date from the 12th/13th century.

Tamarit
10km from Tarragona, N-340 KM 1171 Tarragona to Altafulla

For more information please refer to the Castles section.

Here you can see further information about Tarragona Medieval Route

 

Modernist Routes

Tarragona Modernist Route

Find out about the city’s Modernist legacy, which reveals the beauty of the architecture, as well as the lifestyles of the people of that period. The route includes 23 different examples, amongst them the Tomb of King Jaume I, the Slaughterhouse, the Central Market, the Metropol Theatre, the Ximenis House and lots more.

1. El Teatre Metropol – Metropole Theatre – Rambla Nova 46

2 El Cambril del Convent dels Pares Carmelites Descalços – The Shrine of the Convent of the Barefoot Carmelites
3 La Capella de l’església de Sant Francesc
4 La Casa Ximenis
5 L’església de Sant Llorenç del Gremi de Pagesos de Sant Llorenç i Sant Isidre
6 El santuari de Nostra Senyora del Sagrat Cor
7 El Mausoleu de Jaume I
8 L’ostensori de la catedral
9 L’escorxador
10 La Casa Ripoll
11 La Barana del Balcó del Mediterrani
12 La Casa Salas
13 La Casa Bofarull
14 El Convent de les Teresianes (Col·legi Santa Teresa de Jesús)
15 La Casa del doctor Aleu
16 L’edifici de la Cambra Oficial de Comerç, Indústria i Navegació
17 La Casa Rabadà o Casa Vallvé
18 La Casa Porta Mercadé
19 El Mercat Central
20 La fàbrica de la Chartreuse
21 El vell Hotel Continental
22 El rellotge del port
23 La Quinta de Sant Rafael

Tarragona Modernist Route

Photo Credits:

Les Ferreres Aqueduct Tarragona © Manel R. Granell
Night view of Tarragona from the beach © Van der Meulen
Platja Arrabassada © Van der Meulen
Tarragona Cathedral © Alberich Fotògrafs
The Walls (Archaeological Promenade) © Manel R. Granell

Marisa Estivill / Shutterstock.com

nito / Shutterstock.com

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Raco de la Mora, Tamarit

Raco de la Mora Tamarit Tarragona

Raco de la Mora Tamarit (Photo from their Facebook page)

A place where you can enjoy a good variety of tapas such as sardines, rice based tapas, and other dishes, and is also where you said that your wife and chldren will have their accommodation (Tamarit ). The place is in the Playa de la Mora – this is the beach where the Tamarit locals go. It’s a family restaurant, that has been there on that beach forever. It is situated virtually on the sand of the beach, with a fantastic terrace. You should ask for Rafa and say that Joan (this is our friend in Tarragona, it is pronounced Ju-an – it’s Catalan for John/Seán) from the La Tabacaleria recommended you should go there for tapas.

More information & contact details on:

https://www.facebook.com/RacodelaMora?fref=ts

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187503-d4068644-Reviews-Raco_de_la_mora-Tarragona_Costa_Dorada_Province_of_Tarragona_Catalonia.html

 

Restaurant Cal Joan

Restaurant Cal Joan Tarragona

Restaurant Cal Joan Photo from Facebook page

Located in the waterfront district of the Seraglio in Tarragona, you’ll find Restaurant Cal Joan. This place strikes a very good price quality balance. Be aware that there’s a lot of tapas bars in this area, but a lot are not as good quality. This one may be in an interior street, but it is good. Another family restaurant that prides itself on great customer service and very good food.

More information & contact details on:

https://www.facebook.com/caljoanserrallo?fref=ts

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187503-d4742094-Reviews-Cal_Joan-Tarragona_Costa_Dorada_Province_of_Tarragona_Catalonia.html

 

 

Cerveseria Nau Tarragona

Cerveseria Nau Tarragona

Cerveseria Nau Photo from Facebook page

In the old town, in a lovely building is the Cerveseria Nau Tarragona. It’s a former home with arches and stone walls. They serve tapas and menu del dia, with quality products at an affordable price.

More information & contact details on:

https://www.facebook.com/cerveserianau.tarragona?fref=ts

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187503-d986930-Reviews-Cerveseria_La_Nau-Tarragona_Costa_Dorada_Province_of_Tarragona_Catalonia.html

 

 

 

Restaurante La Cuineta

La Cuineta restaurant Tarragona

La Cuineta Photo from Tripadvisor

Currently ranked no. 5 on TripAdvisor, this restaurant has been given the nomination of ” Excellence” by TripAdvisor. It’s in the old town, near the cathedral. The offerings are terrific, and there’s a superb menu for €15.00. Most likely you’ll be served by the owner. If you do go there, please let Celia know that Joan (this is our friend in Tarragona, it is pronounced Ju-an – it’s Catalan for John/Seán) from the La Tabacaleria recommended her restaurant. You can be assured of exceptional treatment in this charming, small, but wonderful place.

More information & contact details on:

https://www.facebook.com/restaurante.lacuineta?fref=ts

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187503-d1421447-Reviews-La_Cuineta-Tarragona_Costa_Dorada_Province_of_Tarragona_Catalonia.html

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18 Responses to Tarragona Travel Guide

  1. Paul (@luxury__travel) April 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    I notice Ryanair flies to Reus from a number of locations (inc. Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham and London in the UK) – not my favourite airline but would mean you can visit on a budget and splurge with a few treats once you get there. Looks like there’s some beautiful architecture to explore – love the look of amphitheatre and the cathedral.

    • Jackie De Burca April 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

      Thanks Paul, yes that’s correct and it’s something that I want to include, quite soon, a getting to and from page, for Reus, Barcelona, Valencia and in due course, hopefully, Castellon Airport. There is some fabulous architecture, and of course, like Barcelona, Tarragona is a vibrant, interesting city at the water’s edge.

  2. Kathryn Burrington April 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    So many wonderful things to discover! I have to admit I was completley ignorant of Tarragona’s charms. Lovely architecture and Castell de Tamarit, in particular, sounds enchanting.
    I’d love to visit for Corpus Christi. Joining in a local festival is (nearly) always a wonderful experience. I might even be prepared to fly Ryanair!

    • Jackie De Burca April 17, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

      I find that lots of people are unaware of Tarragona’s charms. As for Ryanair, tomorrow I will be flying out of Reus to Dublin, using them, and I am curious to see if they have improved, in accordance with their hype.

      • John G May 29, 2014 at 9:30 am #

        Hi Jackie
        You will be pleasantly surprised that they are dropping the ‘ we have arrived on time bugle’! Thank God for that! They have imo become a bit more civil also, offering seats and not prodding you like cattle!

        Could I ask you a quick one. Where is the best place in Tarragona to sample tapas/pinchos such as sardinas etc and people watch. My wife and kids going to Tamarit in two weeks and prefer the finger food experience! A recommendation for a nice local red and white wine would be great too!!
        Cheers

        • Jackie De Burca May 30, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

          Hi John,

          Yes I noticed on my last trip, and was both amused and relieved. Also far more civilised in the airport re. the luggage situation. I am back over to Dublin soon again and will continue to observe 🙂

          Anyhow, for your family’s trip, I thought I would ask our friend Joan to help out also (you can find him and his bar here – https://www.facebook.com/latabacalera.cerveseria?fref=ts) and here goes, I would love to get your wife’s feedback when she comes back, that would be great.

          To see the suggestions go back to the article above and you’ll see that I’ve added in a few places under food. I really hope your family enjoys the holiday and that these tips work out well.

          Take care
          Jackie

  3. alison May 30, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Jackie-Your guides are all so detailed and complete. My eyes have been opened to so many different locations since i’ve started reading your blog. Tarragona has so many wonderful places to visit. How many days would you suggest spending there?

    • Jackie De Burca May 30, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Alison, what a lovely comment. How long to spend in Tarragona very much depends on how you like to travel. If you want to “do” the city I would say the minimum of minimums should be 2 days. I think to really enjoy the city 4 days may be a nice length. Have a lovely weekend.

  4. noel June 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    I wish I had time to visit this wonderful city when I was in Barcelona, now I have another excuse to go back again. What an amazing variety of things to see and enjoy, love the modernista architecture so that would be interesting for me.

    • Jackie De Burca June 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

      There you go Noel 🙂 an excuse!! Funnily enough when I was in Valencia last weekend I found myself looking at a modernista building and thinking of you.

  5. Chris Boothman June 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    The number of Catalonia based guides that you are producing is so impressive. Not only that but clearly this part of Spain has a plethora of gorgeous attractions and locations that are off the so called beaten path because they are rarely covered in mainstream tourism guides. I love the uniqueness in all of them, though here in Tarragona I would say the variety of museums and history that is present here is a huge selling point that makes this an attractive destination worth exploring.

    • Jackie De Burca June 4, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Chris, I truly appreciate your feedback. I love the area so much and do want to let people know about it, and I hope that those who love nature and culture as much as I do will come here and also fall in love. 🙂

  6. Justine Emoe June 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi Jackie, that’s a great review. Much appreciated.

    • Jackie De Burca June 27, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Justine,

      I am really glad that you enjoyed it. As you may have gathered Tarragona, in my humble opinion ):, is a wonderful city.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Jackie

  7. Nik Sutherland July 30, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    My wife and I are visiting Tarragona for a week in August, thank you for your work on this guide, I’ve printed it out and I’m sure it will prove to be a great help on our visit.

    • Jackie De Burca July 31, 2014 at 10:06 am #

      Hi Nik,
      Many thanks for your comment, I really hope you’ll find it useful. Wishes for a fabulous trip to a super city. Don’t forget to let us know how you got on.

      Have a great time,

      Jackie

  8. Karen Bryan August 23, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    I thought that Tarragona was beautiful. I enjoyed the Gladitor Show:
    http://www.europealacarte.co.uk/blog/2013/07/24/gladiator-show-tarragona/

    • Jackie De Burca August 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

      Hi Karen,
      It is beautiful indeed, as you probably gathered I am very taken by it. Thanks for link and information for the Gladiator Show.
      Much appreciated,
      Jackie

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