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Tarragona

  • Arco de Barà, Tarragona © Turespaña

    Arco de Barà, Tarragona © Turespaña

  • Roman Amphitheatre, Tarragona © Turespaña

    Roman Amphitheatre, Tarragona © Turespaña

  • Roman Forum, Tarragona © Turespaña

    Roman Forum, Tarragona © Turespaña

  • Tarragona Cathedral

    Tarragona Cathedral

  
Tarragona
Tarragona, Catalonia
Tarragona

On the banks of the Mediterranean, in the heart of the Costa Daurada, the ancient Roman city of Tarraco has no standing an important monumental legacy located amid its long expanses of beach. Its archaeological site has been awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO and is one of the main attractions of this Catalan city. From here visitors can enjoy a whole series of excursions, such as the route which leads to the well-conserved Cistercian monastery of Poblet, also distinguished with the World Heritage designation. This cultural option is just one of many possibilities on offer along this coastline on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea: fishing villages, delicious fish and shellfish, and a whole range of nautical sports.

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Tarragona, declared of Cultural Interest and capital of Hispania Citerior (Further Spain) during the Roman Empire, still conserves numerous constructions dating from that period. The walls which surrounded the historic centre were raised in the 3rd century B.C. although they were reformed during the mediaeval period. Beside the sea rise the stands of the Roman amphitheatre (2nd century B.C.), which had capacity for over 12,000 people. This was the venue for fights between gladiators and wild animals.

The ancient city of Tarraco also had a theatre and a circus. The theatre stood outside the walled enclosure on what is today the Paseo Arqueológico (archaeological walk), and was built to make the most of the difference in level in this area for the structure of the stands. The vaults which supported the seating area of the circus can still be seen around the Plaça de la Font square; this was the where the chariot races took place.

Medieval Tarragona

The historic centre of the city unfolds between the Mediterranean Sea and the ancient city walls. In this area stands the cathedral of Santa María, a construction raised on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter, and a Muslim mosque. Its Romanesque facades, covered with Gothic tracery, and cloisters with Romanesque origins reveal the transition from one style to another. Also from the Middle Ages are the colonnades in the Calle Mercería street, although the street considered the main thoroughfare in mediaeval Tarragona is the Calle de Çavallers. Sites worth noting in this central area are the houses of Degà, Concilis, Ciutat...

At the other side of the Rambla Vella is the rationalist urban layout of Tarragona, with the Rambla Nova, which extends until the Paseo de las Palmeras avenue and the Balcón del Mediterráneo (or balcony over the Mediterranean), which offers one of the best views over the sea and the beach of El Miracle.

Among the Modernist buildings worth visiting in ancient Tarraco are the tower and tribune of the Casa Ripoll, the iron construction of the central market and the chapel of the college of Jesús i María, whose construction featured the work of Antoni Gaudí, the foremost representative of Spanish Modernism.

The city of Tarragona also has one of the most important paleo-Christian necropolises in the West. The decoration on wooden coffins, headstones, sarcophagi and mausoleums offers a fine example of the art of the early Christians.

It should not be forgotten that the capital of the Costa Daurada has one of the most important seaports on what has historically been known as the 'Mare Nostrum'. A good opportunity to sample the area's typical fish and shellfish is to head for El Serrallo, the city's fishing neighbourhood. The langoustines from San Carlos de la Rápita, the crustaceans from Cambrils and the baby eels from the Ebro Delta are just a few of the coastal products on offer at the tables in Tarragona. The vegetables from the interior are accompanied with romesco source (made with dried red peppers, tomatoes and almonds), while the casseroles combine all the raw ingredients of the area. Pataco (a casserole of snails, potatoes, tuna, almonds, garlic and parsley), cod fishballs, and black rice with cuttlefish are just a few of the options. The main ingredients in the region's desserts are almonds and lemon. The broad extensions of vineyards in the province have produced five interesting wines with the Designation of Origin label: Tarragona, Conca de Barberá, Penedés, Priorato and Terra Alta.

Routes through the province

Tarragona's location in the heart of the Costa Daurada is an invitation to explore its coastline with its calm, shallow waters –ideal for the younger members of the family– and its outstanding beaches with golden sands. Places such as Calafell, Torredembarra and Altafulla offer a combination of historic buildings with a wide range of holiday options on the shores of the Mediterranean. Enclaves such as Salou, Cambrils and the Delta del Ebro nature reserve, located beside transparent waters, also provide the chance to visit the nearby Port Aventura theme park, as well as the area's famous gastronomic tradition and beautiful protected spaces. Other places to visit include the Iberian settlement of Moleta del Remei, declared a historic artistic monument, and located in the municipal district of Les Cases d’Alcanar. In addition to the cultural options available, there is also a whole range of environmentally-friendly sports and all kinds of nautical activities.

The interior of the province is home to the important monumental site formed by the Modernist buildings in the Plaza de Prim square and the Casa Navàs in Reus. Tortosa, declared a historic-artistic site thanks to its mediaeval, Renaissance, Baroque and Modernist architecture, is another place which is well worth a visit. Its Parador hotel, the castle of Zuda (or Suda), has been declared a national monument, and makes an excellent option for accommodation in the fertile Ebro river plain.

The Route of the Cistercian Monasteries is an excellent way to explore the monasteries of Santes Creus and Poblet in the province of Tarragona, the last of which has been awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO. This singular route can be followed through the lands of Lleida, to the monastery of Vallbona de les Monges.

The Costa Daurada also offers travellers the chance to learn more about the production process of the wines and cavas for which this area is famous. In El Pinell de Brai, Falset, Gandesa, L’Espluga de Francolí and Sarral there are various Modernist wineries to visit, some of which have been built by César Martinell. A good way of discovering the integration of art in daily life.

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Apr 25, 2019 to Apr 30, 2019

Festival

Tarragona
International Dixieland Festival

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May 4, 2019 to May 19, 2019

Festival

Roman Amphitheatre - Tarragona
Tàrraco Viva Festival

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Jun 23, 2019 to Jun 24, 2019

Tarragona
Sant Joan

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Jul 4, 2019 to Jul 7, 2019

Show

El Miracle - Tarragona
International Fireworks Competition

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