The best things to do in Tarragona
Tarragona is a port city in the Northeast of Spain at the Costa Dorada by the Mediterranean Sea. Tarragona is the capital city of the Province of Tarragona and it is part of Catalonia, just like Barcelona. This beautiful city is located south of Barcelona and was founded before the 5th century Before Christ, which gives this city a rich history.
Many places in the city of Tarragona, such as the amphitheatre, have been designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Just like the amphitheatre, there are many other Roman buildings that can be found in the city such as The Roman walls, The Roman Circus, The Necropolis and many more. Besides the Roman history, the city of Tarragona also has a lot of breathtaking Religious buildings. This all will make it worth it to spend a day in Tarragona and enjoy all the beautiful things this city has to offer. Read further to find out more about the best things to do in Tarragona, and plan your trip!
1. Tarragona Amphitheatre
The Tarraco’s amphitheatre has an exquisite setting, since it is carved into a steep slope between the Roman walls and the Mediterranean sea. This amphitheatre was built in the late 100s and could hold around 15.000 spectators who would show up for some very horrible exhibitions, like the burning of the Christian bishop Fructoso during the rule of the 3rd-centry Emperor Valeriano. It is really easy to get to the lower basement of the amphitheatre, from which the gladiators and wild animals entered the arena floor back in the days.
2. Tarragona Cathedral
The beautiful Cathedral of Tarragona is a romanesque and gothic cathedral that is providing you with a breathtaking view. The streets around the cathedral, such as Carrer de la Merceria and Carrer Major, are small streets with traditional local amenities, antique shops and really good restaurants. At Plaça de Santiago Rossinyol you will find a grand opening with the view on the regal gothic facade of the cathedral, absolutely stunning! The cathedral was constructed in the 12th century and has a sort of temple since this period. When going into the Diocesan museum, you will find renaissance tapestries and Roman artefacts that are recovered during the excavations at the cathedral between 1999 and 2001.
3. Les Ferreres Aqueduct (Pont del Diable)
This gorgeous aqueduct is not in the city of Tarragona, but can be found around five minutes north of the city. Les Ferreres Aqueduct is bridging a pine-wooded valley and is a 250 metre section of an aqueduct that channelled water from the Francolí River to the Ancient Tarraco. The monument is around 27 metres high from the valley floor and has 36 arches, so if you do not mind heights, you can take a walk along the specus, the place where the water flowed, even though the walls of the monument do not reach far above the tigh height of most of the people!
4. Roman Walls
The Roman Walls in Tarragona are also one of the must-do when visiting this beautiful city. If you want, you can take a tour of the ramparts where there is a captivating melange of history. Next to the original Roman towers and stones, that have 2.000 year-old inscriptions on it, you will find Medieval coats of arms and 18th-century gun positions. These defences have been there since the 3rd Century Before Christ, because Tarragona became a base for the Roman forces during the Second Punic War. The most interesting about these walls are that you can clearly see that the lower sections of the walls are much older, which implies that the walls have been extended at the time.
5. National Archaeological Museum
In a historic city like Tarragona, an archaeological museum is of course a must. The city itself found out about its historical treasures in the mid-19th century, almost all the items that are uncovered at the many digs are displayed in this museum. Things as Roman sculpture, ceramics, clothing, coins and everyday household items can be found in this interesting museum. They even managed to preserve a 2000 year old fresco of a peacock found at the amphitheatre in Tarragona. The mosaic room is also something that will take your breath away, with stunning representations of Medusa and the muse Euterpe. The museum also incorporates the Roman Praetorian Tower and also gives you entry to the necropolis and the circus that is next door.
Tarragona is definitely an amazing city to go when you love to see the historical side of cities and countries. Tarragona is a great example of a city with an enormous historical background and definitely the best way to find out more about the historical background of Catalonia! So, when are you going?