The hidden gem of Catalonia

A perfect day tour to Tarragona!

Only 140 € per person
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Barcelona is a wonderful city, we all know that: It is a destination worth choosing for all sort of travellers... and for more than one trip! There are many ways of visiting Barcelona: You can take it as a beach destination, lay all morning at the beach, have an afternoon ice cream and enjoy the nightlife and the tapas in the evening, and the clubs and the concerts. You can also take it as a cultural trip, and go to the wonderful museums, and to the Gaudí houses ?and you can also do a bit of both. Or you can decide to explore its surroundings, as Barcelona is just an hour away from other wonderful places that are waiting for you to discover them.

Tarragona is one of those places. This beautiful city is often overlooked, but it is perfect for a day or a weekend trip if you're travelling to the capital. Tarragona receives over 2,5 million visitors a year lately, and we can guarantee that it leaves a beautiful memory for most of them. As Barcelona, it also enjoys wonderful surroundings, as it is located by the sea, in the Costa Daurada (the Golden Coast), which has beautiful yellow sand beaches, and also has a beautiful interior, full of vineyards and cultivated lands. Besides, now is the perfect time to visit it, as it will be the host of the Mediterranean Olympics of 2017 - so it's really making itself beautiful for the special occasion!

However, Tarragona doesn't need much sprucing up to be beautiful, as it breathes history and has enough attractions as it is. Did you know that is has been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO? And quite an important one! Keep reading this article to find out why, as we're going to tell you all about it.

An imperial history and an old town up to the task

Tarragona is nowadays much less populated than Barcelona, but centuries ago, it was the most important city in Catalonia. In fact, it was one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean coast! Under the name of Tarraco, it was an ancient Roman city, the capital of one of the provinces of Hispania, Hispania Citerior.

Tarraco was a work of the Scipio family. The Romans arrived around 217 BC, and they started using it as a winter and summer residence, as they warred against the Celtiberians. Back then, the capital of Hispania Citerior was Cartago Nova, but the importance of Tarraco kept growing. However, its legal status isn't clear, as it was considered a military base, and it didn't acquire the status of colony until the second half of the 1st century BC. Its splendour would come with Emperor Augustus. After Tarraco had acquired that new status, the Romans needed to give the city the prestige and the monumentality it required. During Augustus' rule, the Roman Forum and a theatre were built next to the sea, in the lower part of the city. The higher part would be built later on, by the Flavian dynasty, where the Roman Circus and another Forum where built. The last great construction that would be given to Tarraco would be the amphitheatre, already in the 2nd century AD.

All of that is considered a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO, and can be visited today. In fact, in the city you can also see a miniature of Tarraco in its peak, where you will be able to appreciate how it didn't follow the typical structure of a Roman city, probably due to the geography of the area. Tarragona is similar to Barcelona in having both the sea and the mountain, by the first is actually located on a hill, which forced the Romans to build Tarraco in a series of terraces that climbed down towards the sea. The theatre and the amphitheatre would remain outside the walls of the city, which was also atypical.

  • 5 hours
  • 500.000