Tarragona information

Introduction to the Province of Tarragona
In eastern Spain, the province of Tarragon is part of the autonomous community of Catalonia. It has a coastline and capital city on the Mediterranean, the Costa Daurada, with some excellent beaches. It’s close enough to Barcelona to make Tarragona an ideal location for a holiday that combines beaches with the culture and history of a big city, without necessarily having to stay there.

Tarragona City
The capital city of the province, Tarragona, is a majestically situated place, set high on a rocky hill above the Mediterranean Sea. It has a large working port, a university and also beaches that are within easy reach on foot.

Up in the walled mediaeval part of the city, Tarragona has its own Rambla Nova, to rival that of nearby Barcelona’s, lined with fashionable cafes and bars. The maze of steep streets in this part of Tarragona will eventually lead you to the city’s 12th Century Cathedral, in which, entering via its grand flight of steps, you’ll find the lovely cloisters and the brimming-with-treasures Diocese Museum. There are many more museums in the city, most notable amongst them being the Casa Museu de Castellarnau and the Museu Nacional Arqueologic.

There are many Roman remains scattered throughout Tarragona, most notably the Roman Forum, the Amphitheatre and the Roman Circus. Away from the city centre is a fascinating museum and Roman Necropolis, the Museu i Necropolis Paleocristians, and a little further outside Tarragona is a monumentally impressive Roman Aqueduct.

The working port of Serrallo is within walking distance of the city centre and has some superb fish and seafood restaurants, as you’d expect. There are also two good beaches within walking distance: the Playa del Miracle and the Playa Rabassada.

In the month of September, the Santa Tecla Festival is held and features traditional dances and plenty of music and partying. It has been celebrated since the 14th Century.

Around Tarragona City and Beyond
The beaches of Tarragona, or more specifically the Costa Daurada, are of course, one of its main attractions. Fine beaches are to be found at the towns of Cunit and Puerta Romana, north of Tarragona city and at Salou and Cambrils to the south. Salou is a busy tourist resort, with plenty of pubs, clubs and tourist attractions, whereas Cambrils is a little more relaxed and less developed. There is a huge amusement park at Salou called PortAventura, with themed areas, rides and rollercoasters.

Reus is Tarragona’s second city and is known for being the birthplace of the famous Spanish architect, Gaudi. It has some very fine Catalan modernist architecture (though none of Gaudi’s works), a lovely market square as well of plenty of churches, historic monuments and open spaces in which to relax.

In the far south of the province is the town of Tortosa, set beside the River Ebre. It has a magnificent castle (now a Parador) and cathedral and is also handily situated for visiting the Delta de l’Ebre natural park. This park is one huge sandy delta with marshes, dunes and islands, is the biggest wetland area in Catalonia and also one of the most important aquatic and birdlife habitats in this part of the world. The town of Deltebre is at the heart of the park and has an information centre and an Ecomuseum and from here you can also take boat trips into the delta, to visit the islands and marvel at the rice paddy fields and the birdlife.

The Gastronomy of Tarragona
The two principle ingredients of Tarragona’s typical dishes are of course fish (and seafood) and rice, which grows abundantly here. These two ingredients are to be found deliciously combined in the dish of Paella, which is known throughout Spain and, indeed, the world. A similar dish is Arroz Rossejat, the difference being that the rice is first toasted in olive oil until it is golden brown before the liquid and other ingredients are added. Cassola de Romesco is another traditional dish of Tarragona and it’s a casserole of tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and ground almonds. Other produce of the area includes citrus fruits, hazelnuts, chestnuts, wild mushrooms, potatoes and spring onions (Calcots), these latter often roasted over an open flame and served with a dipping sauce such as Romesco, which is made from tomatoes, almonds, garlic, peppers and rosemary.

Tarragona has its own denomination of wine and also produces its own vermouths (Vermut).

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