Offering rich history and great architecture, fantastic places to eat and beautiful beaches, Tarragona is a great destination if you want to spend a few days out of Barcelona and a good point of departure for the beautiful and unspoiled beaches further south.
Facing the Mediterranean on the Costa Dorada or the Golden Coast, Tarragona is a city awash in light and colour. The mild climate, the charm of the streets and the warmth of the people make it an ideal spot for outdoor leisure and cultural pursuits, and here the many festivities take to the streets. Thanks to the many traditional and Catalan regional holidays, the agenda is packed with popular celebrations all year long. Now for instance, and until August the 25th, you can enjoy historical re-enactments of Tarragona’s Roman past at the city’s Amphitheatre.
Tarragona is home to the Tárraco Archaeological Site, awarded the World Heritage designation by the UNESCO. The Cistercian monastery of El Poblet also has the World Heritage distinction, and can be visited by taking the Cistercian Monastery Route which also includes the monasteries of Santes Creus and Valbona de les Monges.
There are only few more Roman places, outside Rome, than the ancient Tarraco. It was the capital of a huge province, the Tarraconense, which covered two thirds of the Iberian Peninsula, and its walls sheltered the Emperor himself, Augustus, who spent two years here, directing the world for the first time from a city that was not Rome. That immense past has left an overwhelming trail of ruins that are World Heritage shuffled with medieval, modernist and contemporary architectures …
Using Mediterranean ingredients – olive oil, baked tomatoes, almonds or hazelnuts and fresh fish and seafood, and taking pride in their par excellence sauce called romesco which is also the name of a dish, the cuisine of Tarragona like that of the entire Catalan coast is tremendously tasty. Highlights of the province’s gastronomic attractions are particularly a range of wine-related activities, especially along the Penedés Wine and Cava Route. There are also numerous gastronomic festivals where visitors can enjoy specialities such as the calçotada (grilled spring onions) and xató (cod and escarole salad).
Cover image via Tarragona Tourism website where you can find lots of information about planning your trip.