Let me share all the cool Things to Do in Tortosa – one of my most unique day trips in Spain this year.
- This post contains affiliate links from which I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you). For more info, please read my disclosure. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Visiting Tortosa, Catalonia
One of my favorite 2023 travel discoveries in Spain has been the beautiful city of Tortosa.
While constantly traveling across the region of Catalonia, this small town has occasionally popped up in my itineraries. But every time I´d check out the related posts on cool things to do in Tortosa – it would just never grab my attention. So, somehow, with time, I have settled down with the fact that there was nothing exciting for me there.
But this year, I was desperately looking for new Valencia day trip ideas across the region. Since over my 10+ expat years in la Comunidad Valenciana, I have already seen quite a lot and wanted to fuel my discovery vibes with new Valencia Hidden Gems.
This is how I came across Tortosa once again and decided to plan a visit since it is a must-stop on every Tarragona road trip.
Especially since it’s barely a 1 hour 20 minute-long drive from Castellon, where I currently reside.
Tortosa Travel Guide
In a nutshell, I highly recommend visiting Tortosa.
It´s still relatively undiscovered by international visitors, but the local architecture has the best attributes of any major town in Catalonia. Right before visiting, I watched one of the popular Spanish TV shows, Cathedral by the Sea (2018), set in Barcelona. Yet Tortosa was constantly giving the Deja Vu feeling since every corner looked like one of the filming locations.
Where is Tortosa
Tortosa is a small town in the Tarragona Province, of the Catalonia Autonomous Community in Spain.
You can include Tortosa in my Castellon, Tarragona, and Valencia Road Trip Itineraries (the posts will be added next week).
Alternatively, you can focus exclusively on Catalonia and check one by one all the most unique landmarks of the region. Tortosa would also be a great fit for my past family trip to Cambrils (if only I had known about it back then). Also, you can combine Tortosa with my secret Mattaranya Itinerary, to explore Spain off the beaten path.
How to get to Tortosa
You can quickly reach Tortosa by train from Valencia, Castellon, Barcelona, or Tarragona. The nearest airports to Tortosa are Valencia, Castellon, Reus, Tarragona, and Barcelona.
We travelled by car from Castellon, and easily found free parking spots near its central park Parc Municipal Teodor Gonzalez.
Famous celebrations in Tortosa
Your travel plans might overlap with one of the unique Spanish festivities. Top local celebrations in Tortosa are Fiesta del Renacimiento, Semana Santa, Festes de la Cinta.
Tortosa Travel Tips
Start your visit at the Tortosa Tourist Office, where you can get a free map and purchase a Tortosa Card. It costs 7 euros and is valid for 3 days. But honestly, if you visit more than 2 local sights – it´s even worth purchasing the card for one day.
How much time to spend in Tortosa
We only had one day in Tortosa, so it was not enough to see all of the local sights. In my opinion, a weekend getaway is the best time frame to enjoy the city. I´d love to revisit Tortosa one day.
Where to Stay in Tortosa
My top hotel picks for next weekend in Tortosa would be SB Corona Tortosa and Parador de Tortosa. Also, there are a few really unique stays near Tortosa, in Roquetes and Xerta: La Casa del Canal, Casa Josep, Hotel Villa Retiro, and Hotel Casa Ceremines.
Top things to do in Tortosa
The Museum of Tortosa
A great place to start exploring the city is The Museum of Tortosa (since it’s located right by the Tourist Office). The expositions will guide you through different historical periods of the city, including the Roman era in Spain. The design of the Tortosa Museum is really cool.
One of the famous city landmarks is Tortosa Cathedral, an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic Architecture.
To reassure the Spanish multicultural past, it stands on the remains of a Roman Forum, Visigothic Cathedral, and Muslim Mosque. While being rebuilt over a long period of time, its final addition was a Baroque facade in the 18th century. I enjoyed the cathedral tour, it takes you all the way through the tunnels to permanent art expositions and the main altarpiece.
Royal Colleges of Tortosa
Royal Colleges of Tortosa was my favorite stop in the city.
This place was founded by Carlos V with the purpose of educating the Moors. The courtyard is absolutely stunning – it features the busts of the kings of the Crown of Aragon, from Ramon Berenguer IV to Philip IV.
In a nutshell, the Royal Colleges of Tortosa is composed of 3 buildings: College of Sant Jaime and Sant Maties (which houses the Ebre County Archive), College of Saint Jordi and Sant Domenec (which houses the Official School of Languages), and the Church of Sant Domenec (which houses the Interpretation Center). The last one is where you actually start your visit, then they guide you to the courtyard (since it is usually locked with the key).
The Suda Castle & Tortosa Fortifications
One of the coolest things to do in Tortosa is to wander along the city´s 14th-century walls.
The local Suda Castle is a unique local landmark from the Arab presence in Spain. These days it houses a Parador Hotel. So, if you enjoy exploring castles in Spain, you can book a night and actually live inside one of them.
At the Tortosa Tourist office, you can also grab a tiny leaflet called Passeig de les Fortificacions, with an itinerary of Tortosa fortifications. In our case, we were short on time, but it could be one of the most unique things to do in Tortosa for you.
The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter of Tortosa has actually surprised me a lot.
Getting lost in between its white narrow streets is absolutely one of the most peculiar things to do in Tortosa. Very much like my favorite Toledo, Tortosa used to be the city of three cultures, where Christians, Jews, and Muslims coexisted in peace.
However, not so many of the Spanish cities managed to preserve the unique architectural style of the Arabs and the Jews. In Teruel and Andalusia, the Arab past was preserved with the elements of the Mudejar architecture, but the Jewish Quarter of Tortosa entirely looks like time has stopped.
Jardins del Princep
With my love for unique gardens in Spain, I could not miss Jardins del Princep in Tortosa. This place is a nice combo of nature and contemporary sculptures by Santiago de Santiago. The full collection is made of 23 groups, dedicated to the subject of man, his motivation, and his destiny. The gardens were inaugurated the the Spanish Prince Philip in 1991 (who is currently the King of Spain). The gardens were called after him, so it´s where the name of Jardins del Princep comes from.
Currently, the bridge has been rehabilitated and forms a part of the local Greenway of the Val de Zafan (great for bicycles and walkers). Consequently, renting a bike is one of the most popular things to do in Tortosa.
Surprising fact about Tortosa
On the official Tortosa Tourism website, you can book a Hemingway-themed tour and visit the local Air Raid Shelter No.4.
Things to do near Tortosa:
- Ebro Delta National Park: Guided Horseback Riding Tour
- Ebro Delta: Guided Kayak Tour to Gracia Island
- Flamingo-Birdwatching in the Ebro Delta at Sunset
- Ebro Delta Cruise and Jeep Tour with Mussels Tasting
- Ebro Delta National Park Scenic Drive and Kayaking Tour
- Scenic Drive and Kayaking Tour
Have you ever been to Tortosa? Would you like to visit?
- Accommodation: For short stays, I usually book via Agoda, Booking, and Hotellook
- Tours&excursions: My favorites for guided tours are GetYourGuide and Viator
- City breaks&sightseeing: Go City helps to avoid multiple entry fees and paper tickets
- Travel Insurance: find the best trip insurance plans via VisitorsCoverage, EKTA, and Insubuy
- Flights: To find the best deals I like WayAway and Aviasales
- Airport Lounge: Get independent airport lounge access worldwide via Priority Pass
- Train&bus tickets: Currently, I book via RailEurope, Omio, and Busbud
- Car rental: To find the best deals I use Rental Cars, Discover Cars, and GetRentalCar
- Transfers: For individual transfer services I like Kiwitaxi
- For Foodies: Eatwith is great for finding culinary experiences with locals
- Cruise Reviews: To find the best cruise offer I check out Cruise Critic
- Suitcases&Luggage: To eliminate problems of early arrivals/late departures I find helpful Radical Storage
- Compensation for delayed/canceled flights: AirHelp is useful for all flight cancellation or delay claims
- To avoid roaming fees I use Airalo eSIMs around the world
- Budget-friendly stays: Check Hostelworld to find the best deals around the world
- Events: To find the best offers I use Ticketmaster and TicketNetwork
- Renting Bikes: to find motorcycles, scooters, quads, and bicycles I use BikesBooking
- Package Tours: head to CheapOair, Expedia UK, Tourhub, and loveholidays
- For Bloggers: To monetize my blog I use Travelpayouts