Tarragona is located on the Mediterranean coast, 60 miles southwest of Barcelona, in the region of Catalonia.
The city is the smallest of the four province capitals of the region, yet it has the historical and cultural appeal of a larger city.
Located on the Costa Dorada (Golden Coast), Tarragona is a beautiful destination for those who want to explore Catalonian history and culture, combined with a fabulous beach destination.
The first occupation of Tarragona is attributed to Gneus Scipio, who founded a Roman military camp here in 218 BC. It grew quickly and was named a colony of Rome in 45 BC by Julius Caesar. Tarragona is considered the most important Roman town in Spain.
The Roman Amphitheatre is situated on the coast, just off the Rambla Nova. At Tarragona’s highest point sits the 12th century cathedral; located within cathedral is the Museu Diocesà, housing an interesting collection of Catalan art.
The Archaeological Museum can be found at Plaça del Rei 5, overlooking the sea and the Necropolis Museum, just outside of the main town, displays one of the most important Christian burial sites in Spain, which was used between the 3rd and 5th centuries.
During festival celebrations it is a Catalonian tradition and sport to build human pyramids. It’s the Castellers task to build Castells, the human amazing human towers. This tradition has been around for hundreds of years and towers of five story high have been achieved over the years. You can see them in action in Tarragona during the Sant Magi festival, which takes place during August.
Leisure & recreation
Port Aventura, Spain's largest theme park, is on the doorstep in Salou; plus there are several water parks and a zoo.
The beaches offer excellent facilities for water-sports and light pleasure craft can be hired. Inflatable fun such as banana boats add to the entertainment. Sea fishing is popular and boats with or without skipper can be hired.
There is horse riding nearby at the Club de Polo i Hípica Tarraco in La Secuita, approximately 25 minutes drive from the centre of town.
Tennis and paddle are available at numerous clubs and locations in and around Tarragona. Athletes can go to the track at Les Pistes Municipals de Camp Clar and train with the local club between 19:00 and 21:00 weekday evenings.
Try the Costa Dorada Tarragona Golf Club with its magnificent sea views from the elevated tees. Visitors are welcome, however booking is recommended.
A coastal town, Tarragona favours seafood in its local gastronomy; there some excellent bars and restaurants in the town and along the coast where you can enjoy the delicious catch of the day.
Romesco Sauce made with olive oil, hazlenuts, almonds sweet peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes, is a local speciality; its mainly served with fish, but is also delicious accompanying meat dishes.
Other specialities of the regiona include Arrs Negre – rice boiled in cuttlefish ink, Rossejat – a rice or noodle dish made with fish broth and calamars amb xocolata, or chocolate squid. Tarragona is renowned for its white wine production; look out for the Tarragona wine denomination when selecting a wine to accompany your meal.
Tapas are plentiful in the Rambla Nova area, as well as in the interesting Placa de la Font, where you will find an excellent selection of bars and restaurants; it’s also the place to head for an enjoyable evening stroll.
Head down to the port for a further choice of bars and seafood restaurants, which is located next to the marina. Remember Spanish dinner time is around 10pm, so don’t expect a buzzy environment until at least 9pm.
Tarragona is the main city on the Costa Dorada and there are plenty of beaches and coves nearby for you to choose from. If you want to enjoy a nudist environment then head to Playa El Torn beach.
How to get there
Train: Tarragona train station is in the Plaza Pedrera; there are eight trains a day to and from Madrid, and more to Barcelona, which is just up the coast, about an hour and a half journey. The station at Tarragona is close to the port and to the main street, the Rambla Nova.
Plane: The international airport at Reus is just a few minutes drive from downtown Tarragona.
Car: The A7 and A2 motorways bring in visitors from Valencia, Barcelona, Madrid and all other points in Spain.
Tarragona enjoys mild winters with some rainfall, warm blossom filled springs long hot summers and autumns of golden sunlight and rich sweet plums.