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Let me share all the cool Things to Do in Tortosa – one of my most unique day trips in Spain this year.

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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. 

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The Ebro River in Tortosa

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.

It is conveniently located on the road from Alicante and Valencia to Barcelona. So, Tortosa is a great place to spend a day (or even a weekend) on any road trip across Eastern Spain.

Related Articles

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.

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The Modernist architecture in the center of Tortosa

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.

The Museum of Tortosa - one of the first places to visit in Tortosa
The Museum of Tortosa – one of the first places to visit in Tortosa

Tortosa Cathedral

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.

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Tortosa Cathedral – one of the most unique Tortosa landmarks

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).

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Visiting Royal Colleges – one of my favorite things to do in Tortosa

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.

tortosa spain medieval walls
One of the coolest things to do in Tortosa is to wander along the city´s 14th-century walls

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.

You can enjoy the details via my IG Reel and Tiktok from Tortosa.

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.

tortosa things to do travel guide
Jardins del Princep in Tortosa, Spain

Pont Roig 

Our last stop for a day in Tortosa was Pont Roig or the old Railway Bridge over the Ebro River. It used to be a part of the railway from Valencia to Tarragona, inaugurated in 1868.

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.

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Pont Roig – one of the popular places to see in Tortosa

Surprising fact about Tortosa

One of my favorite writers, Ernest Hemingway, did not limit his travels across Spain to Navarra and Spanish Wineries, he also visited Tortosa during the worst air raids on the city, back in 1938.

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:

Have you ever been to Tortosa? Would you like to visit?

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Cool things to do in Tortosa, Spain

For more Catalonia tips, ideas, and itineraries check my Pinterest boards – Travel to Spain and Barcelona+Catalonia.

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