Tarragona is always quick to captivate its visitors, as it’s a Catalonian port city packed with historical attractions, sublime architecture, and dazzling beaches. Located 112 kilometres south of Barcelona, it's a destination that's proud of its Catalonian heritage and unique old-world charms.
While many visit Tarragona on a Barcelona day trip, the town's allure comes from sticking around and exploring slowly. Meander down the medieval alleyways in the heart of the town, to find an assortment of plazas, tapas bars, and al fresco cafes, some of which were built by the lesser-known of Catalonia's Modernism architects. Saunter along the seaside promenade and stop at one of several spacious beaches, particularly those found to the far north of Tarragona.
The expansive Roman ruins of Tarraco are a World Heritage Site and an iconic place to spend the afternoon, with the most unmissable attraction being the large seaside amphitheatre. Various museums are filled with inspiring Roman mosaics while the Gothic cathedral provides Tarragona's centrepiece. Catalonian culture abounds and the restaurants are a good place to taste the local style.
Tarragona's great attraction is its compact size, especially if coming from nearby Barcelona. Walking is the only way to get around the knot of medieval lanes, although there are buses for those who want a quicker route out to the northern beaches. Tarragona Station is an hour from Barcelona by train. Camp de Tarragona AVE is 12 kilometres north of the town and is on the high-speed rail line to Madrid and destinations across Spain.
Every September, hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on Tarragona for Santa Tecla, one of Spain's most important traditional festivals. Originating in 1321, the festival involves different groups attempting to create the largest human tower, with many reaching heights of eight or more people high. The week-long festivities also celebrate local music and dance.