Tarragona is the capital of the Tarragona province in the Catalonia region of Spain. It is on the Costa Dorada with its wonderful golden beaches.
Tarragona, was once the Roman town of Tarraco, capital of Roman Spain. It was the most elegant town in Spain in Roman times. Its situation on the coast on top of a rocky hill adds to the appeal of the impressive Roman remains.
Roman Remains at Tarragona, Spain
The Roman remains of Tarraco at Tarragona are a UNESCO World Heritage Site:
The Roman amphitheatre, Anfiteatro Romano is an impressive site. The amphitheatre is large and contains also the ruins of a 12th century church. The backdrop is onto the sea making this a beautiful spot. The ampitheatre is reasonably well preserved and dates back to the second century when it was used for fights between gladiators and animals and for public excecutions.
Above here are the remains of the Praetorium, a Roman tower that now forms part of the Museo de la Romanitat. It was home to stairs connecting the lower city to the forum via the circus. Underground passageways lead to the Roman Circus and can be visited from here. It is one of the best preserved Roman circus' in Europe. Go up to the roof of the tower for the best views of Tarragona.
Other Roman remains include the huge walls with two gates - the Portal de Sant Antoni and the Portal del Roser, the capitol, the Forum, the Palace of Augustus and the Tower of the Scipios, which is a 1st century funeral tower.
Visit Tarragona town
As well as the Roman Remains of Tarragona there are plenty of other sights to see. Walk through the huge Roman walls you enter the medieval old town of Tarragona with narrow medieval streets and Tarragona's cathedral.
The cathedral has both Gothic and Romanesque architecture and was built in the 12-13th centuries. Large portions of a 1st century portico can be seen in the Cloister of the cathedral.
Whilst walking through the medieval old town you still get plenty of glimpses of the Roman town that was here before.
Be sure to visit the Museu Nacinal Arqueologic, the National Archeological museum, with a large collection of Roman displays including a part of the old Roman wall.
There is a lovely pathway at the top of Rambla Nova where you have superb views across the sea and the Roman Ampitheatre. It is called the Balco del Mediterrani and has an attractive iron railing running alongside which legend says brings you luck if you touch it!
On the northwest of the city is a Roman sépulcre the Torre dels Escipions.
4km outside the town is the Roman Aquaduct which is well worth the visit. It is known as the 'devils bridge. It is 217m long and up to 27m high. It has 2 tiers of arches built in a beautiful golden stone and dates back to the 1st century.
Port Aventura, one of the largest amusement parks in Europe is in the nearby resort of Salou.
Map of Tarragona and places nearby
Tarragona places to visit
See more places nearby in the Catalonia guide