Tarragona Travel Guide

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Tarragona, Spain

Tarragona, Spain


Tarragona 'the Balcony of the Mediterranean' is, owing to the Romans, arguably the most elegant city of the Iberian peninsula. Just like in Barcelona, Tarragona's main promenades are called 'Rambla', where you can see the beautiful modernista buildings. Tarragona also has a beautiful beach which you can admire from the clifftop 'Balco del Mediterrani'. This balcony divides the city into an old and new part. Furthermore there are interesting museums and the remains of Tarragona's Jewish quarter is also worth seeing.

The Romans called it Tarraco and the huge part of Hispania they conquered was called Tarraconensis. The Roman walls surrounding the Old Town were built on even older huge stones that had been placed there to fortify the hilltop town long before the Romans arrived (that's not true!!! The Romans built even the one with huge stones). These days is is a thriving city, centered around the elegant Rambla Nova and expanding away from the sea into uninteresting suburban zones of apartment blocks (The Forum and the Theater are located in those uninteresting suburban areas!!!).

The interesting parts of the main town can easily be explored on foot, though it is probably less suitable for weelchair users due to big slopes. It is a long way up from the railway station at sea level to the Cathedral at the highest point of the Old Town. The Cathedral is attractive outside, the interior is rather dull (specially if you come from a boring country where the most astonishing buiklding is a McDonalds Drive Thru!!!). A walk around the walls, a visit to the old Roman Forum and a drink and snack on the Rambla Nova or in the 'Plac,a de la Font' would be suitable way to pass a few hours. Longer stays could include visits to a wider range of Roman remains and a trip to one of the better beaches, like 'l'Arrabassada' or 'Llarga', further East along the coast.

On the Rambla Nova there are information boards about forthcoming festivities. These include an annual Fireworks Competition, where different companies from all over the world take it in turns to do one spectacular display each night for a week with the public voting for the winner. The setting for these displays is the point jutting out into the sea and the best vantage place is the clifftop Balcony (arrive early).

Also there are local festivals and occasionally the locals come out to dance the Sardana (national dance of Catalonia), with its unique, reedy, rhythmic sound provided by a small band of brass and woodwind players.

To the West, those so inclined may visit Salou and Port Aventura Theme Park.


May 12, 2006 change by ant501 (2 points)

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