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Discover 7-must see attractions in Tarragona during your superyacht repair

There are many great reasons to visit Tarragona, from blue flag golden sandy beaches and sizzling hot summer sunshine, a huge variety of entertainment and activities, to top class restaurants, bars and culinary delights.  So if you are wondering what to do in this ancient port city while your yacht is at the shipyard or wintering nearby then fear not because your options are as interesting as they are varied. Here are our top 7 things to do here when spending time in Tarragona.

Paradise of diversity and adventure

Sitting just over an hour south of Barcelona International Airport, on the Costa Dorada, and sharing the name of the province for which it is the main city, Tarragona is a wealth of culture, history and beauty.  Discovered by the Romans around 200 years before the founding of its more famous neighbour Barcelona, this is a city whose mysteries are well worth uncovering.

When it comes to tourism Tarragona is a travellers paradise of diversity and adventure.  Developed beside the Mediterranean Sea with a large deep water port and 13km of fine golden white coastline with several beautiful Blue Flag beaches and a cornucopia of inland delights, it’s obvious why the Romans made this their Iberian capital when they landed in Spain back in the 5th century BC. 

Experience its incredible history

Travelling on the tourist train that runs around the city, you can visit many of the incredible structures built by the Romans.  You will see the stunning Amphitheatre with the mediterranean sea as its backdrop while you learn about gladiators fighting lions and christians.  At the Roman Circus you can imagine the excitement of chariots and horses zooming past as the Romans cheered them on. At the Praetorium you can stand where the roman forum discussed and debated important matters of state and law on a regular basis. Or take a walk around the roman city walls and the old city to visit the stunning Cathedral and Archaeological Museum.  Or take a trip just outside the city to see the incredible Les Ferreres Aqueduct known as Pont del Diable (Devil’s Bridge).  This city has a rich and varied history offering hours of discovery and interest.

Take in all its stunning scenery

Tarragona has a totally enriching atmosphere.  Even just walking around the city will invigorate your senses and offer different landscapes in which to immerse yourself.  Stroll though Part Alta and lose yourself in an historic city centre surrounded by the old roman walls.  Then go from these narrow streets to the stunning Mediterranean Balcony (Balcón Mediterráneo) located at the end of Rambla Nova offering incredible views of Mare Nostrum (the port of Tarragona), Miracle beach and of course, the infamous amphitheatre.  Don´t forget to take the opportunity to touch the iron railing that runs along the Balcón as it is believed locally to bring you good luck.

From the heights of the Mediterranean Balcony stroll down to El Serrallo in the port area and pass through the Maritime districts, Placa dels Carros and onto the golden beaches that stretch out between the Forts of La Reina and Sant Jordi.  The natural beauty of Tarragona makes it a city for all seasons that never disappoints.   

A unique Culture with welcoming festivals

If you like a street party, then Tarragona will be your year round festival delight.  The locals not only love to come out onto the streets to celebrate, they also like to do this in their own unique way.  From January to December, this town has a packed program of local fiestas and parties that celebrate everything from saints and devils to food and fireworks and everyone is welcome to join in.  

Carnival, which is the local way to mark the beginning of Lent, a religious period that honours the 40 day fast of Christ, involves everyone dressing in fancy dress and dancing on the streets.  For an entire week the streets are filled with colour, dancing, party vibes and music.  In May the city celebrates its Roman heritage and on midsummer’s night the skies are alight with fireworks to honour Sant Juan while everyone parties on the beach till dawn.  From the end of June you can experience a truly original festival of Tarragona with the incredible Castellers, a 200 year old event of human towers.  In September you will experience the week of Santa Tecla, when people once again take to the streets to celebrate with literally parades of fireworks or Correfocs as it is known locally when a group of locals dressed as devils light fireworks on pitchforks and dance through the streets to the sound of drums. 

There is at least one festival a month in this city, promoting and sharing local food, wine, oils, music, dance, theatre.  It is fair to say that the locals are always ready to party and if you are willing to get involved then they are delighted to have you join them. 

Shop til you drop

As a city that was once the capital of the Roman empire trade has always been an important sector for the region and there are a number of different shopping districts to be found within the city.  From street wear to high end designer labels, indoor shopping malls to daily local fruit and vegetable market stalls, Tarragona can indulge any shopping spree.  To sample local products visit Central Market which offers visitors a true taste of the Mediterranean spirit encapsulated in the market building designed by the Catalan Modernism design architect Josep Pujol de Barberá.  On Rambla Nova you will find famous designer names as well as popular highstreet brands, while Part Alta offers antiques and local boutiques.   If you prefer to do all your shopping under the same roof the Parc Central and El Corte Inglés will truly satiate your shopping needs.

Food and Wine for the Gods and you

For the foodies and wine connoisseur Tarragona is a true paradise of character and flavours.  The diversity and richness of this port city´s history is emulated in its local wines and dishes and offers an abundance of fresh, healthy and delicious plates.  The local seas offer daily bounties of fresh fish and shellfish and restaurants, particularly in the el Serrallo area, bring their diners daily menus that excite the palate using local ingredients to simply enhance the fresh catch.  Local crops of rice, hazelnuts, almonds, olives and vegetables are served at their best, supporting the main dish of meat or fish without the need to overshadow.  From January to late April enjoy the calcotada, when bunches of local sweet spring onions known as Calcots are roasted on open fires and served with a romesco dipping sauce.  The local tapas festival is a great way to taste local produce as well as the culture, and small bars in Part Alta offer an array of appetising local bites.

The inland regions of Tarragona are famous for their D.O. wines, in particular mistelles and mellow wines which are ideal with desserts.  Wine making here dates back to the Romans and are mostly white, Rose or Cava though reds are also produced though younger and rarer.  There are a number of local producers that offer visits to their vineyard as well as tastings but a glass of any of the local wines is always a delightful accompaniment when sitting at a terrace bar watching the sunset.

The land of Adventure and Outdoor activities

There is no better place to be than Tarragona for the lover of all things outdoors.  The region loves to show off its natural environment and has spared no resources in ensuring everyone can enjoy it at its best.  Whether you are walking, running, biking or driving the local landscape is yours to explore with trails and places of interest well mapped and easily accessible, while the seas and waterways offer scuba diving, kayaking and stand up paddling.

For those who enjoy a bit more adrenaline in their daily activity then rock climbing and Paragliding are two activities available in a variety of local spots.  Of course a trip to PortAventura and FerrariLand should not be missed by any adrenaline junkie. Those two theme parks are also a great day out for families.  Open all year and just a short distance from Tarragona city centre the parks have something to offer everyone from roller coasters and water rides to children’s Street Mission section and entertaining acts. 

Nearby has also a lot to offer

The town and villages that surround the ancient port city have a lot to offer in day trips.  Poblet, Montblanc, Siurana, Miravet, Priorat, Sitges, Montserrat, and Ebro Delta are all interesting towns and regions with local history, wines and produce to share.  Reus, a city lying inland of Tarragona is the birthplace of Antonio Gaudi, famous architect of the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona.  You can see the house where he was born in the city centre and visit the Gaudi Centre, where his true architectural genius is explored in a more immersive way.  For a pleasant walk you can follow the route of modernism or explore the many local fashion stores, books, wine shops and toy shops and local markets.

Tarragona´s famous neighbour Barcelona is just over an hour away and well connected by road and regular public transport.  It offers an abundance of wonderful sites such as Placa Catalunya and The Rambla, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, Casa Vicens, Casa Batllo, Cas Milá (La Pedrera) and Parc Guell as well as other iconic architecture and art installations and, of course, Camp Nou, home ground to Barcelona FC.

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