Tarragona Spain Travel Essentials

tarragona spain picture
Tarragona Castellers: Human Pyramid Statue. James Martin

Tarragona is located on the Costa Dorada, 60 miles southwest of Barcelona, Spain, in the region of Catalonia. While earlier settlements may have inhabited the area, the first occupation of Tarragona is attributed to Gneus Scipio, who founded a Roman military camp here in 218 B.C. It grew quickly and was named a colony of Rome in 45 B.C. by Julius Ceasar. Tarragona is considered the most important Roman town in Spain.

Tarragona is home to about 110,000 people.

Getting There by Train

The Tarragona train station is in the Plaza Pedrera. There are 8 trains a day to and from Madrid, and many to Barcelona, just up the coast, about an hour and a half away. The station at Tarragona is close to the port and to the main street, the Rambla Nova. Turn right out of the station and go up the hill; there are several hotels on this end of the Rambla.

Where to Stay

Look for a hotel near the sea, where the Rambla dead-ends.A good option is the Hotel Lauria at Rambla Nova 20, centrally located, and air-conditioned.

If you'd prefer a vacation rental home or apartment, check out the Costa Dorada - Tarragona Vacation rentals from HomeAway.

Food, Wine & Cuisine

Think seafood, nuts, onions, tomatoes, oil, and garlic. Romesco sauce is a product of this area. Tapas are plentiful in the Rambla Nova area, as well as the interesting Placa de la Font, which you'll find loaded with cafes and restaurants--this is the place to head on your early evening stroll.

Tarragona is known for its fine wine as well.

Tarragona Attractions

Amfiteatre Romà - The Roman Amphitheater is located seaside, just off the Rambla Nova.
Cathedral - At Tarragona's apex sits the 12th-century cathedral. Inside is the Museu Diocesà, with a collection of Catalán art.
The Archaeological Museum - At Plaça del Rei 5, overlooking the sea.

Free on Tuesdays.
Museu Necròpolis - The Necropolis Museum outside town that's one of the most important Christian burial sites in Spain, used in the 3-5th centuries.