A day in Tarragona, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important cities in Roman Empire…
Despite traveling so much around Spain and flying a lot from the Barcelona airport, in all these years we’ve never made it to Tarragona. While the only thing I’ve heard of the city were its remains of Ancient Roman Theatre, I’ve never realized there was more to the story.
Founded before the 5th century BC, The Roman town of Tarraco was one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. With all the ancient walls and defensive towers – exploring the streets of Tarragona feels like time-traveling back to the Roman Times.
As we were traveling with a little baby – skipping the museums and just enjoying a walk through the old town and its ancient walls seemed like the best plan.
I felt like the city itself would be a perfect choice for a day trip from Barcelona: significantly less touristic and yet exciting for the history lovers. Here are the main stops on our Tarragona sightseeing route.
1.El Balcó del Mediterrani / The Roman Amphitheatre
We started from the Balcó del Mediterrani viewpoint (we left our car in one of the local parkings nearby). Here, you get the most amazing coastline panorama of Playa del Miracle and stunning views of The Roman Amphitheatre, where Gladiator contests and public executions took place. Built in II century, it accommodated around 15 000 people.
2. The Roman Circus
300m long and 100m wide, The Circus was used for the events such as chariot races. It accommodated around 30 000 people.
Torre de les Monges, XIII – XV
3. Petrori Tower
Petrori Tower is another place, where you could enjoy some wonderful view of the Mediterranean coast.
4.The Old City
The Old City of Tarragona is a curious combination of ancient walls, stone, arcs, fountains with modern terraces and shops. After entering the walls via Plaça del Rei we went all the way towards the Tarragona Cathedral, but it was quite spontaneous. I mean, The Old City of Tarragona is way too small to get lost and sometimes I really love not having a route and just “going with a flow”.
The ancient squares were full of people having drinks and tapas in the sun. Consider having a lunch in one of the local terraces only if you have time – the service was so slow, I felt like this lunch would transform into an early dinner…
The Old City
The Old City Walls
5.The Cathedral of Santa Tecla
Built during the XII -XIV, The Cathedral of Santa Tecla centuries is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Previously, on its place there was a Roman temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus, a Visigoth Cathedral and a Moorish mosque.
6.Portal San Antoni
Another impressive monument from the XVIII century – Portal San Antoni.
At the end of our city tour (in front of the Portal San Antoni) there was a playground for kids and another amazing balcony with some great sea views… Romans knew where to built cities, didn’t they?!
Have you ever been to Tarragona? Do you like visiting Roman historical sites?