Tarragona is a large, beautiful and historic seaside town found south of Barcelona, in eastern Spain. The city is a good place to be if you have a day or two to see something else apart from Barcelona. It is situated on a hill right next to the sea, and it’s not only important strategically but also provides excellent views of the Mediterranean.
The city’s attraction lies in its ancient ruins dating from the Roman period which have been designated as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The highlight is the amphitheater which is close to the sea shore, overlooking the grand blue Mediterranean.
There are typical Spanish style cafes and tapas bars all around the town, and the city offers a unique vibe thanks to its rich history.
Old Town of Tarragona
A Little Bit of History
The town was initially a Roman settlement who called it Tarraco, and it was the Romans who built a port, a temple, an amphitheater and a circus.
It is during this era that the ruins we see and admire today have been built, and have survived many wars and destruction until the present time.
Miracle Beach, Tarragona
It was quite a strategic base for the Romans for their conquests deeper in the Iberian Peninsula, and the town flourished during this period thanks to its location at the crossroads of the trading routes.
Christianity was restored in the Middle Ages, but the city was invaded by several armies including the Franks, Alemanni, Visigoths and the Muslims.
Its strategic location was its curse in a way, as each invading army destroyed parts of the city, however the region and the port city itself would progress in the times of extended peace.
Major wars came to an end in the eighteenth century and the industrial boom of the twentieth century led to an increase in the population.
Roman Amphitheater in Tarragona
Tarragona International Dixieland Festival, International Fireworks Displays Competition, Santa Tecla Festival and Tarragona Cultura Contemporania are the major events of this city.
There are many outdoor markets held in the city throughout the week, where you can buy food, clothing, antiques and art.
Where is Tarragona?
- 61.3 miles/ 98.7 km from Barcelona, Spain
- 67.7 miles/ 109 km from Badalona, Spain
- 160.9 miles/ 259 km from Valencia, Spain
- 229.9 miles/ 379 km from Palma, Spain
- 341.7 miles/ 550 km from Madrid, Spain
- 51 miles/ 82.1 km from Barcelona Airport, Spain
- 111.8 miles/ 180 km from Girona Airport, Spain
- 153.4 miles/ 247 km from Zaragoza Airport, Spain
Things to See
- Roman Wall
- The Santa María Cathedral
- National Archeological Museum
- The Paleo-Christian Museum
- Chapel of Roser
- Episcopal Palace
- Roman Amphitheater
- Castle of Sant Joan
- Miravet Castle
- Coma Ruga Beach
- Tamarit Beach
- El Ebre National Park
- Montanyes de Prades
- Montsant Mountain Range
- Meravelles Caves
- Font Major Caves
- Abrics Rupestres de Ulldecona
The peculiar vibe of this city can be felt in the mix of the ancient world ruins and the traditional Spanish way of life, with bars, restaurants and beaches allowing you to enjoy all this at an easy pace.
It’s a great place to visit, and an interesting detour from the crowds of nearby Barcelona – well worth your time!
We wish you a fantastic Mediterranean cruise!