Tarragona is a city steeped in history with many interesting sites. It is often overshadowed by the Catalan capital, Barcelona . But we assure you that it is worth discovering the best places to see in Tarragona . Many of them are related to its Roman past, since Tarraco was one of the most important cities in the Iberian Peninsula . But you can also enjoy pleasant walks by the sea, get to know the historic center or discover the traditions of the city. We tell you 15 essential visits to do in Tarragona . We also tell you about all the transport options to go from Barcelona to Tarragona . On the map you can see the location of all the things to see and do in Tarragona . You can see it at any time from the “My Places > Maps” section of the Google Maps app. You just have to click on the star next to the title to save it in your account.
15 Things To See And Do In Tarragona
Roman amphitheater, an essential visit to do in Tarragona
Tarraco was the first Roman foundation in the Iberian Peninsula and became the capital of Hispania Citerior , the largest province of the Empire. That is why it deserved an amphitheater at the height that was built at the end of the 2nd century. About 15,000 people could fit in its stands carved into the rock, who came to see gladiator fights, wild beasts, hunts and even public executions. Admission costs €3.30. We recommend that you buy directly the combined ticket to 4 monuments for €7.40 or to all the venues managed by the History Museum for €11.05.
Forum + Circus
The forum was the square in which the social and religious life of the city unfolded in Roman times. You can still walk among the ruins of the basilica, which housed the court of justice. It is very impressive to see the remains of columns from more than 20 centuries ago in the middle of Tarragona. Another essential construction in any Roman city was the circus , where horse and chariot races were held. Normally it was outside the walls, but in the case of Tarraco it was inside the city. It had a capacity for around 30,000 spectators and is one of the best preserved Roman circuses.
Archaeological walk along the walls
When the city was more prosperous, in the 2nd century, walls were built around Tarraco to protect it. You can still see part of them today walking quietly along the so-called archaeological walk. It is a very pleasant walk with gardens along the walls . Look especially at the defensive towers. In the Minerva tower you can see the oldest Roman sculpture and inscription on the Iberian Peninsula.
Model of Tarraco, an educational visit to do in Tarragona
This is a highly recommended visit to Tarragona to better understand what the city was like in Roman times. Inside the Old Court , in the very center, you can enter for free to see a model of Tarraco. It represents the city in the 2nd century, the time of full splendor of the Roman Empire. As a curiosity, it is the second largest model of Roman times in the world . Predictably, it is only surpassed by Rome .
National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona
The National Archaeological Museum is another very interesting stop to make in Tarragona to learn about its fascinating past. Its exhibitions collect eight centuries of Tarraco’s history . You will be able to discover what society, architecture and urban planning were like through archaeological remains, paintings, jewellery, ceramics and sculptures of the time. Admission costs €4.
The Cathedral of Santa Tecla, one of the most impressive things to see in Tarragona
The cathedral is another more modern wonder to visit in Tarragona. Although by modern we mean that it was completed in 1334! The Santa Tecla Cathedral is dedicated to the patron saint of the city and is an early Gothic masterpiece . The large rose window on its façade is beautiful. But you should not settle for seeing it from the outside, because inside it houses the Diocesan Museum with extremely valuable pieces of medieval religious art. The ticket costs €5 and you can buy it online to save time .
Part Alta, the historic center of Tarragona
The center of Tarragona is divided into two zones: the upper part and the lower part. The Part Alta is the historic quarter , where all Tarragona lived until the Middle Ages, when the city was enlarged. Get lost aimlessly to discover charming corners and even some Roman ruins. Some of the most beautiful squares in Part Alta are Plaça dels Sedassos (with a huge Lyon-style mural), Plaça del Rei and Plaça de la Font.
There is life beyond Tarraco! If you want to discover all the history of the city regardless of its Roman times, visit Casa Castellarnau. It is an old 15th-century mansion with a beautiful patio that houses the Tarragona History Museum . The Gothic building is a work of art in itself, but inside you can see all kinds of gadgets that recall the city’s past from prehistory to the 20th century.
Pont del Diable, an impressive stop to do in Tarragona
One of the essential visits to do in Tarragona is this impressive aqueduct . It is officially called Pont de les Ferreres, but everyone knows it as the Devil’s Bridge. It is a brutal engineering work that dates back to the 1st century . It served to supply water to the city from the Francolí River. Its state of conservation is amazing, so much so that it is considered a World Heritage Site. With more than 200 meters long and more than 30 arches spread over two levels , it will leave you speechless.
El Serrallo, a very interesting visit to do in Tarragona
El Serrallo is the seaside neighborhood of Tarragona . In fact, for many years it was a separate town from the city. Its promenade is full of traditional fishermen’s houses with colorful facades. But the best are, undoubtedly, its restaurants. They serve authentic delicacies with very tasty fresh fish and seafood. An essential stop to do in Tarragona for lovers of good food !
La Rambla Nova is the main shopping street in the city. This one kilometer promenade that joins the Francolí River with the Mediterranean Sea has more than 150 years of history. There you will find all kinds of shops, making it the liveliest area of Tarragona.
Monument to the Castellers
Castells are a Catalan tradition that originated in Tarragona about 300 years ago. It consists of making human towers , supported by a group of people at the base that provides support. In all Catalan popular festivals there are castells contests . Otherwise, you can settle for seeing the monument to the castellers, which recalls the importance of this tradition in the city.
Tarragona Central Market
Markets are great places to get a taste of local life. The Central Market of Tarragona is no less. In the mornings, its stops are full of atmosphere and delicious fresh products. Also, the market building is a good example of modernist architecture . The roof is covered with ceramic tiles in the purest Gaudinian style.
Balcony of the Mediterranean
At the end of the Rambla Nova you will find a wonderful viewpoint . Raised about 40 meters above sea level, its views will make you lose yourself in the blue of the Mediterranean. Don’t forget to touch the iron railing, local tradition says it brings luck.
You explore the beaches of Tarragona
To end our list of things to do in Tarragona , we could not forget its beaches. The city has 15 kilometers of coastline with golden sand beaches and calm waters . They are ideal for families because they also have all kinds of services: showers, bathrooms, beach bars, children’s play areas… Miracle beach is the most easily accessible from the city center, and has privileged views of the amphitheater!