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Are you planning a trip to the Tarragona region? – Check the details of my recent Tarragona road trip to discover all the best places to visit in this Catalan province.

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Visiting Tarragona

About Tarragona

The region of Tarragona is located in the east of Spain, in the southern part of the autonomous community of Catalonia. Most of the places in Tarragona could be easily visited on a day trip from Barcelona. Nevertheless, this Spanish province has enough unique landmarks to plan a whole Tarragona road trip itinerary.

What is Tarragona known for

Landmarks in Tarragona Region

The capital of the region is the city of Tarragona. It is an important UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the most unique Roman ruins in Spain. Tarragona is also known for its Priorat wineries and the Port Aventura Amusement Park.

In this post, you will find a detailed list of unique places to visit in Tarragona.

Nature in Tarragona

The coastal area of Tarragona holds the name of Costa Daurada and is known for its golden sands and beautiful calas. Therefore, the region is a trendy destination for the beach holidays in Spain. The ultimate travel hub of Tarragona is the small town of Salou.

The fans of Spanish national parks will also find some unique locations for walks with nature in Tarragona: Parque Natural del Delta del Ebro, Parque Natural dels Ports, Parque Natural de las Montañas de Prades, and Parque Natural de la Sierra del Montsant. Each of the following natural parks is known for some unique hiking trails.

Famous people of Tarragona

The region of Tarragona was once home to two of the most Famous Spaniards everAntonio Gaudi and Joan Miro. While the name of Antonio Gaudi is deeply attached to his vibrant buildings in Barcelona, the region of Tarragona was the actual birthplace of the architect.

As for Joan Miro, the painter used to spend lots of time in his father’s Spanish Masia in the village of Montroig del Camp in the region of Tarragona.

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Gaudi Center in Reus – one of the top places to visit in Tarragona Region
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Salvador Dalis speech on Gaudi and Reus (at the Gaudi Center)

How to get to Tarragona

The nearest airports to Tarragona are Reus, Barcelona, and Castellon.

You can easily reach Tarragona by train from Barcelona Sants station.

Where to Stay in Tarragona

The best way to discover all the top places to visit in Tarragona is to plan a road trip across the region. Another alternative is to book a hotel in Tarragona or Reus and explore the regional landmarks via day trips.

Last time we stayed at Breas Hotel, close to the Reus Airport. It was comfortable for traveling across the Tarragona region since we would not need to enter the major cities or search for parking. There was enough space to leave a car overnight for free right in front of the hotel.

Also, there are a few popular camping villages in Tarragona – Camping Torre de la Móra and Camping Els Prats Village.

The most unique experiences in Tarragona region

Hiking in Tarragona region:

If you enjoy occasional walks with nature and love testing new Spanish hikes, here are a few unique trails you can enjoy in the Tarragona region:

Tarragona Road Trip

Here are the top places to visit on a Tarragona Road Trip. At the end of this article, you will find them all marked out on a map.

The city of Tarragona

The city of Tarragona is known for some of the most unique Roman ruins in Spain, protected by UNESCO. You can check the full list of places and photos in my post about Tarragona. Also, right near Tarragona, you will find Les Ferreres Roman Aqueduct, also called Pont del Diable (or the Devils Bridge in English), which is one of the most unique places to visit in Tarragona.

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Visiting Tarragona City and its Unique Roman Ruins

Reus

Reus is an easy stop on any Tarragona road trip since the city is located right near the airport. It is mostly known as the birthplace of Antonio Gaudi and the Spanish capital of Vermouth.

You can not miss a visit to the Gaudi Center of Reus, where one can learn a lot about the unique style and approach of the famous architect. The Tourist Office is also located within the same building, so you can ask for a map of local landmarks and walk towards the tiny house where Gaudi lived (even though you can not visit it since it is a private property).

Also, Reus is known for the second-largest number of modernist buildings in Catalonia (after Barcelona). The most important of them form a local route “Ruta del Modernismo de Reus” (you can get the route map in the tourist office of Reus). The most emblematic modernist buildings in Reus are Casa Navas, Casa Bartolí, Casa Querol, Casa Rull, and Casa Munné. Outside the city center of Reus, you will find Instituto Pere Mata – a psychiatric facility built in 1898, which is full of beautiful modernist elements. I recommend you book your tickets to Casa Navas a few days in advance since they offer guided visits only.

The last thing you can not miss in Reus is its iconic local drink Vermouth (or vermut in Spanish). The city has a long-rooted tradition of drinking Vermouth: back in the XIXth century, Reus was one of the biggest producers in the world. These days you can visit the Rofes Vermut factory or simply enjoy a few original drinks at El Museu del Vermut.

You can read more details about my weekend in Reus here.

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“El nen”- a monument to young Gaudi near his former house in Reus
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The house of Antonio Gaudi in Reus
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Casa Navas – one of the most unique modernist buildings in Reus

Cambrils

While the nearest small town of Salou is considered the touristy capital of Costa Daurada, I picked the small town of Cambrils for one of our first family getaways.

While that trip did not go entirely smoothly, I was still lucky to discover a few gems of the Catalonia region on that trip. I especially enjoyed the nearest Parc Sama, one of the most unique gardens in Spain. This place is the legacy of Marquis de Marianao.

The famous Port Aventura Amusement Park is located close to both Cambrils and Salou.

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Visiting Parc Sama during our Cambrils family getaway

Montblanc

Montblanc is one the the lesser-known medieval towns in Spain.

It was founded as Ducado de Montblanc in 1387. Back then this small town was the 7th most important settlement in the autonomous community of Catalonia. However, the years of splendor were soon replaced by years of decadence due to wars and bad local harvests.

Only in the 18th century, did the small town of Montblanc resurrect thanks to the vine industry in the region. 

One of the most unique attributes of Montblanc is its well-preserved medieval walls (1700m long and 6m high). You’ll enjoy a walk through its ancient streets (like Calle Mayor and Calle dels Jueus). Once there, don’t miss Sant Miguel Church, Sant Francesc Monastery, and Pont Vell Bridge.

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Montblanc – one of the must-stops on every Tarragona road trip

The monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet

El Real Monasterio Santa Maria de Poblet is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Spain.

The current building dates back to the 14th century. Although it was originally founded earlier – back in 1129 by the order of Ramon Berenguer IV, the Count of Barcelona.

Aside from unique artworks and ancient documents, the Santa Maria de Poblet Monastery is full of stunning decorations, altarpieces, carvings, and doorways, influenced by both Gothic and Baroque architectural styles. The most valuable artworks can be found in the monastery´s museum.

You can also visit two other nearest monasteries – Vallbona de les Monges and Reial Monestir de Santes Creus. These three Catalan monasteries form a unique itinerary La Ruta del Cister.

To read more about the other monasteries of Ruta del Cister check out my article about a weekend in Lleida.

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El Real Monasterio Santa Maria de Poblet – one of the most beautiful monasteries in Spain

Tortosa

Visiting the city of Tortosa has been my biggest travel discovery of 2023 in Spain.

Tortosa is such a cute Catalan town, relatively undiscovered by international visitors. Nevertheless, it definitely belongs on the list of the coolest places to visit in Catalonia. You can check all the amazing landmarks of Tortosa in this post.

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Tortosa – one of the most unique places to visit in Tarragona region

Deltebre

Deltebre (or Ebro Delta National Park) is a unique natural park in Spain, located close to the city of Tortosa.

Ebro Delta National Park is known for its unmatched wetland landscapes, bird-watching, and some of the most adventurous experiences in Spain (since the Ebro River is an epic watersports destination for SUP, kayaking, and jet skiing).

Top activities to book in Deltebre:

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Deltebre – one of the most unique places to visit in Tarragona region

Horta de Sant Joan

Horta de Sant Joan is one of the secret Spanish villages, that has inspired numerous works of Pablo Picasso.

The famous Spanish painter spent in this tiny village one year of his life, but the landscapes of Horta de Sant Joan have inspired his numerous artworks. Back in 1898, Picasso was going through a personal crisis. So his friend Manuel Pallarés invited the painter to stay for a while in his rural home in Horta de Sant Joan.

These days you can visit a small local museum Centro Picasso, which is full of world-famous paintings dedicated to or inspired by the landscapes of Horta de Sant Joan. While all of the artworks of the center are copies, it´s an interesting place to follow the evolution of Picasso’s style over the years.

After gaining his international fame, Picasso returned to Horta de Sant Joan ten years later in the company of his girlfriend Fernande Olivier (curiously enough, I got to visit a temporary exposition in her honor only a few months before my Tarragona road trip, during my solo weekend in Paris).

Also, you can easily combine your visit to Horta de Sant Joan with a trip to the nearest region of Matarranya in Teruel.

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The quote of Picasso – “everything I know, I have learned in Horta”
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The drawings of Picasso in the tiny museum of Horta de Sant Joan
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Horta de Sant Joan – the Catalan village that inspired Pablo Picasso

Siurana

Siurana is one of the most beautiful small towns in the province of Tarragona.

Years ago, it made a lot of noise in the international media as “the Spanish small town that has rejected the most beautiful village title” (the local authorities said that they were already receiving way too many tourists).

I was honestly surprised with those headers in the international press since it was a translation error. That´s to say: Siurana might have refused the title of “one of the most beautiful villages in Spain” (officially this list includes 105 places on the Iberian Peninsula) – but that’s it, it is way behind the Top 10 Beautiful Spanish Villages.

Nevertheless, you can not miss visiting Siurana during your Tarragona road trip, since it has a stunning hilltop location and magical views.

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The stunning views in Siurana

Miravet

The small town of Miravet is mostly known for its picture-perfect location. While there is not much to see around, the fortress on the hill is one of the finest examples of Templar architecture in Europe. If you are short on time, you can make Miravet a brief stop on your Tarragona Road Trip (on the way to Horta de Sant Joan, Tortosa, or Deltebre).

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The tiny village of Miravet in the region of Tarragona

Cartuixa Escalardei

Known as the first Carthusian monastery of the Iberian Peninsula, Cartuixa Escalardei is a great place to visit on any Tarragona Road Trip. Set in a quiet valley, it was where the monks followed a life of silence and prayers.

The charterhouse was founded in 1194, thanks to a concession from Alfonso the Chaste to establish a settlement in recently conquered lands. Between the 16th and 17th centuries, Cartuixa Escalardei went through the times of its biggest splendor. But in the first half of the 19th century, these lands were confiscated from the Church, which led to the abandonment and deep degradation of the complex.

Recently Cartuixa Escalardei went through restoration work since the whole complex was in a really bad state and there was a huge risk to losing the original buildings.

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Cartuixa Escalardei – the first Carthusian monastery of the Iberian Peninsula

Priorat Wineries

While Tarragona can hardly compete with the Rioja wineries in terms of international fame, the region of Priorat houses almost 100 bodegas. You can not miss Adernats Vinícola de Nulles a unique modernist cellar, often called the cathedral of wine.

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