18 Top Things to Do in Tarragona


The sights of Tar­rag­o­na are a lega­cy of sev­er­al eras, reflect­ed in the archi­tec­ture, the appear­ance of city streets and the cus­toms of local res­i­dents.


Who and why goes to Tarragona

The ruins of ancient Roman build­ings left on the ter­ri­to­ry of this city will be of inter­est to peo­ple whose hob­by is his­to­ry. There are sur­pris­ing­ly many of them left.

The majes­tic Goth­ic cathe­drals and monas­ter­ies will impress any cul­tured per­son, and the non-oblig­a­tory believ­er, as they are of archi­tec­tur­al val­ue in them­selves.

The muse­ums and mon­u­ments of Tar­rag­o­na are a reflec­tion of the spir­it and phi­los­o­phy of mem­o­ry of this ancient city.

Ancient sights of Tarragona

Roman amphitheater

rimski amphitheater

Built in the I‑II cen­turies AD. the Roman amphithe­ater was the epi­cen­ter of cul­tur­al life. The forum, mea­sur­ing 130x120 m, accom­mo­dat­ed up to 15,000 spec­ta­tors who came to watch glad­i­a­tor fights.

The first Chris­tians were burned alive here, and when this reli­gion acquired offi­cial sta­tus in the state, the amphithe­ater fell into dis­re­pair. Some of the stones were dis­man­tled to build dwellings and a basil­i­ca in mem­o­ry of the Chris­t­ian mar­tyrs.

Dur­ing the peri­od of the Mus­lim inva­sion, the church was destroyed, and in the 12th cen­tu­ry, a new Romanesque tem­ple arose in its place, which was destroyed in a fire in 1915. Today, the amphithe­ater oper­ates as an open-air muse­um.

Aqueduct Ferreres


The Roman aque­duct, also known as the “Dev­il’s Bridge”, is locat­ed 4 km from the city. It was part of a con­duit that brought water from the Fran­coli Riv­er to Tar­ra­co (as Tar­rag­o­na used to be called). Water was tak­en from a height of more than 90 m, then passed about 10 km through a com­plex sys­tem of aque­ducts, after which it entered the city.

The bridge was built of huge boul­ders with­out mor­tar. The design con­sists of two sec­tions: the low­er one has 11 arch­es, the upper one — 25. The height of the 250-meter aque­duct is about 28 m, the width is 2 m.

The name “Dev­il’s Bridge” is asso­ci­at­ed with the leg­end. It says that the unclean one built an aque­duct and was going to take the soul of the first per­son who decides to drink water from it. The insid­i­ous plans were not des­tined to come true, since the don­key was the first to cross the bridge.

roman circus

rimski circus

A large-scale struc­ture in the shape of an ellipse appeared dur­ing the reign of Emper­or Domit­ian in the 1st cen­tu­ry BC. Here, under the roar of the crowd, char­i­ot races were held, musi­cians per­formed and actors gave per­for­mances.

The con­struc­tion was used until the 5th cen­tu­ry, until Chris­tian­i­ty became wide­spread — the new reli­gion did not encour­age enter­tain­ment of this kind.

Now the cir­cus is almost com­plete­ly destroyed, but tourists can see part of the stands, frag­ments of a stone stair­case and the ruins of a facade with arch­es.

Roman walls

roman steni

Defen­sive walls with a length of 4 km were erect­ed in the II cen­tu­ry BC. Their height reach­es 12 m, and the width reach­es 6. To this day, a frag­ment of a for­ti­fi­ca­tion about a kilo­me­ter long has been well pre­served. It par­tial­ly cov­ers the his­tor­i­cal part of Tar­rag­o­na and sev­er­al arched gates that appeared in the Mid­dle Ages.

The old­est part of the walls is built of gigan­tic, per­fect­ly fit­ted blocks with­out mor­tar.

Early Christian necropolis


Buri­als of the 1st-7th cen­turies AD were dis­cov­ered dur­ing the con­struc­tion of a tobac­co fac­to­ry in the ear­ly 1920s. The dis­cov­ery turned out to be so sig­nif­i­cant that it was nec­es­sary to stop the con­struc­tion of a new object for archae­o­log­i­cal exca­va­tions.

Sci­en­tists man­aged to find more than 2,000 graves of peo­ple of dif­fer­ent class­es who pro­fessed Chris­tian­i­ty. Traces of the new reli­gion can be seen in the decor and shape of the tomb­stones.

The first Chris­t­ian mar­tyrs Saint Fruc­tu­o­sus, as well as his fol­low­ers Augurius and Eulogius, are buried in this ceme­tery. They were exe­cut­ed in the cen­tral square of Tar­rag­o­na.

Religious sites

Abbey of Poblet

abbey poblet

Found­ed as a monastery in 1151, the abbey of San­ta Maria de Poblet is locat­ed about 50 km from Tar­rag­o­na. Here is the tomb of the rulers of Aragon. In total, eight kings and their spous­es rest in it. The graves are dec­o­rat­ed with white alabaster stat­ues.

In the 1830s, the monastery was seri­ous­ly dam­aged dur­ing the civ­il war and was aban­doned. A hun­dred years lat­er, it was restored and restored. Today, approx­i­mate­ly 30 monks live in Poblet.

Tourists can see the church, the main dec­o­ra­tion of which are the cov­ered gal­leries, the pan­theon and the bell tow­er in the Goth­ic style. Of inter­est is also the monastery muse­um with eccle­si­as­ti­cal and his­tor­i­cal val­ues.

Monastery of Vallebona de les Monges

monastir valbona

The beau­ti­ful monastery, also known as San­ta Maria de Vall­bona, is locat­ed 56 km from the city. When it arose is not known for cer­tain, but the first men­tion of this place dates back to 1157.

Tourists are offered to see the monastery church, built in the XII-XIV cen­turies. The build­ing has the shape of a cross with four aps­es and an octag­o­nal dome. The nave is dec­o­rat­ed with goth­ic lancet arch­es.

Be sure to see the bell tow­er and mas­sive church gates, whose columns are dec­o­rat­ed with intri­cate carv­ings.

The inner part of the ped­i­ment is dec­o­rat­ed with the image of the Vir­gin Mary with the baby in her arms, sur­round­ed by angels. Inside is a col­ored stat­ue of the Vir­gin made of stone.

Monastery of Santes Creus

santa creus

Found­ed in 1158, the monastery enjoyed the patron­age of the kings of Aragon for a long time. Their tombs are locat­ed on the ter­ri­to­ry of the monastery church of the XIII cen­tu­ry. The one-nave church in the Goth­ic style is built in the form of a Latin cross.

The main facade is dec­o­rat­ed with a vault­ed Romanesque por­tal, above which there is a stained-glass win­dow. The inte­ri­or of the church is ascetic, its only dec­o­ra­tion is the 17th cen­tu­ry altar. You can also see the tombs of the mon­archs here.


cathedral cathedral

One of the most beau­ti­ful cathe­drals not only in Tar­rag­o­na, but also in Cat­alo­nia is locat­ed in the his­tor­i­cal part of the city. It was built in the 12th-13th cen­turies on the ruins of an ancient Roman tem­ple glo­ri­fy­ing Jupiter, which at one time was replaced by a Visig­oth­ic church, and then a mosque.

The style of the build­ing is an organ­ic mix of Romanesque and Goth­ic styles. The main façade, which is reached by a high stair­case, is dec­o­rat­ed with a lancet por­tal and a stained-glass win­dow with com­plex geom­e­try. Here you can also see the fig­ure of the Vir­gin Mary with the baby, sur­round­ed by the apos­tles.

Under the roof there is a giant rose win­dow with a diam­e­ter of about 11 m. Naves with point­ed tur­rets are built on both sides of the por­tal. Remains of an ancient Roman wall have been pre­served near the cathe­dral.

Museums in Tarragona

Modern Art Museum

museum sovr isk

Estab­lished in 1976, the muse­um occu­pies three build­ings of the 18th cen­tu­ry at once in the heart of the his­tor­i­cal part of the city. The exhi­bi­tion presents the cre­ations of out­stand­ing Cata­lan mas­ters, includ­ing: Ramon Car­rete, Luis Saumel­sa, Sal­vador Martarell and Josep San­cho. A spe­cial place is giv­en to pho­tographs and instal­la­tions that have won the­mat­ic com­pe­ti­tions.

In addi­tion to paint­ing, sculp­ture and graph­ic arts, the muse­ums dis­play a col­lec­tion of ceram­ics from the 12th-18th cen­turies, jew­el­ry, inte­ri­or items and hand­made tapes­tries.

Archaeological Museum

archeological museum

The muse­um, found­ed in 1848, occu­pies an old build­ing on Roy­al Square. It presents arti­facts found dur­ing exca­va­tions of the ancient city of Tarakko and its envi­rons. These are weapons, jew­el­ry, coins, frag­ments of build­ings, sculp­tures, house­hold and reli­gious items. Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est is the skill­ful mosa­ic depict­ing the head of the Gor­gon Medusa and the fres­coes of ancient tem­ples.

House Museum of Castellarnau

dom museum

This old Goth­ic man­sion was built in the 15th cen­tu­ry. Three cen­turies lat­er, it was acquired by the aris­to­crat Car­los de Castel­lar­nau. He rebuilt the build­ing, adding baroque ele­ments to it. The result is an archi­tec­tur­al fusion that deserves atten­tion.

The inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion is an exam­ple of lux­u­ry and ele­gance. Hand­made fur­ni­ture, a col­lec­tion of Chi­nese porce­lain, paint­ings by emi­nent mas­ters, pan­els, tapes­tries and cute antique knick-knacks are impres­sive.

There is a leg­end that the ghost of the insane daugh­ter of the own­er roams the house. She plays the harp­si­chord or screams in the cor­ri­dors.

Architectural landmarks and monuments

Monument to Kateleros

pamiatnik kateliaros

In Cat­alo­nia, there is a tra­di­tion — on the days of nation­al hol­i­days to build pyra­mids of peo­ple. The liv­ing struc­ture, wide at the base, grad­u­al­ly nar­rows towards the top, and its top is crowned by a man of small weight with a raised hand.

The Castelleros mon­u­ment of 259 full-length human fig­ures is ded­i­cat­ed to this ancient fun. It is believed that a long time ago castells was an ele­ment of folk­lore dance, then it was trans­formed into the idea of ​​nation­al uni­ty, which shows the uni­ty of the inhab­i­tants of this region.

Arena Tarraco Plaza

arena tarrako

The mas­sive build­ing with arch­es and high win­dows was built in 1888 by the archi­tect Ramon S. Rico­ma in the very cen­ter of Tar­rag­o­na. Bull­fights were held here: mata­dors in col­or­ful cos­tumes staged excit­ing shows with a sad end­ing for the bulls.

The diam­e­ter of the are­na is 55 m. At the same time, 17 thou­sand spec­ta­tors could attend Tar­ra­co Palace. In 2008, the build­ing under­went a large-scale ren­o­va­tion, dur­ing which it acquired a large slid­ing dome. Today, con­certs, fes­ti­vals, com­pe­ti­tions and oth­er events are held in the are­na, but bull­fight­ing has been banned in Cat­alo­nia for 7 years.

Interesting places

El Serallo area


A small fish­ing vil­lage in the past, and now a pop­u­lar tourist area, is dis­tin­guished by its beau­ty and orig­i­nal archi­tec­ture. Small hous­es with wrought-iron bal­conies and arch­es close­ly adjoin each oth­er, and shady stone streets have the charm of bygone times. Yachts and boats of all sizes are moored in the port — a real van­i­ty fair for respectable gen­tle­men.

In the evening, fam­i­ly tav­erns and restau­rants offer­ing local cui­sine begin to work here. Din­ner and a walk along the beau­ti­ful prom­e­nade is a great end to the day.

“Balcony of the Mediterranean”


The obser­va­tion deck with a poet­ic name is locat­ed in the city cen­ter and is well-deserved­ly pop­u­lar with tourists. The Bal­cony, 23 meters high, offers a panoram­ic view of the coast, ter­ra­cot­ta roofs of hous­es and the Roman amphithe­ater. Under the bal­cony there is a flower bed with col­or­ful flow­ers in the shape of the city’s coat of arms.

The struc­ture is sur­round­ed by a cast-iron fence designed by archi­tect Ramon S. Rico­ma. There is a belief that if you rub your­self against a fence, then good luck will always accom­pa­ny a per­son.

Rambla Nova

rambla nova

The resort’s main pedes­tri­an street starts at Piaz­za Impe­r­i­al Tar­ra­co and stretch­es across the city to the Bal­cony of the Mediter­ranean. The prom­e­nade is about 1 km long and about 45 m wide.

You should not miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to walk through the his­tor­i­cal cen­ter, past the cen­turies-old sights and mon­u­ments. The walk promis­es to be excit­ing, and the pho­tos are inter­est­ing.

Central market


The build­ing was built in 1915 accord­ing to the project of a tal­ent­ed native of Tar­rag­o­na, Jusepe de Bar­ber. The mar­ket has the shape of a rec­tan­gle 75x35 meters, and its four iden­ti­cal facades are ori­ent­ed to the car­di­nal points. Above all the entrances hangs the coat of arms of the city. The out­er walls are paint­ed by the artist Car­les Aro­la. He depict­ed the scenes of the hol­i­days and the trad­ing every­day life of the mar­ket.


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