The coastal city of Tarragona is the perfect option to discover the Roman history of Costa Dorada. Having been declared World Heritage by UNESCO, it was the starting point of the Romanization process of the Iberian Peninsula in the year 45 B.C. After the construction of the walls and the harbour, Julius Caesar named the colony as Urbs Triumphalis Tarraconensis.
Apart from the great variety of Roman buildings and a history that is still alive nowadays, Tarragona prides itself in having a unique collection of medieval monuments, such as its incredible Gothic Cathedral in the historical area of the city.
Whether you are in an accommodation, campsite or hotel in the area of Tarragona, it is incredibly easy to reach the city whether it may be with your own vehicle or public transport.
Once in the city, we recommend you to acquire a map from any of our tourist offices scattered strategically throughout the Tarragona. With your map in hand, we would now like to recommend you some essential sights of interest.
The majestic Cathedral of Tarragona, dedicated to Saint Tecla, is located in the historical area of the city and is one of the most representative of its symbols. Its building started in the XII century, following a Romanic style. Nevertheless, its building process then shifted to a Gothic style, in the fashion of which the process continued until 1331. Due to the Black Death, it remained unfinished. Nowadays, the facade is complete and consists of great wooden doors with a beautiful rosette window, which has become one of the most characteristic and symbolic images of the city. We recommend downloading this audio guide of the cathedral of Tarragona to listen to during your visit.
The Roman Amphitheatre of Tarragona is located at only a few metres from the sea, and offers spectacular views of Tarragona’s coast and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the place where gladiator fights were held during the 2 nd century A.C. Later on, in the 6 th century, a Visigoth Basilica was built, which was then followed by a Roman Catholic Church.
In spite of the passing centuries, the Roman amphitheatre is well preserved. Still nowadays, there are historical representations that are held there of gladiator fights during the Historical Festival of Tarragona, Tarraco Viva. This festival is generally held in May, and we highly recommend it as it has become one of the most popular history festivals of Tarragona.
You may access the amphitheatre at a cost of only 3.30€ per person, and you may purchase the tickets at any of our tourist offices in the city. Apart from this, we also recommend downloading the official amphitheatre audio guide.
The Roman circus of Tarragona was a building destined to chariot and horse races, and was 325m long by 115m wide. Its preservation is optimal despite the fact that part of the structure is still buried underground, where tunnels lie which connect it with the Praetorium and the provincial forum. The visit to this impressive monument is a unique experience, which will take you through the undergrounds of many 19 th century buildings. The tickets can be acquired for only 3.30€ per person and we would also like to provide you with a downloadable audio guide which will enhance the overall experience.
At any of the Tourism Offices in Tarragona, you can acquire a joint ticket which will grant you access to all the monuments at Tarragona’s History Museum (archaeological tour along the walls, Praetorium, circus, amphitheatre and local forum) for only 7.40€. This is a much more economical option to discover the beautiful city of Tarragona and its history.
Tarragona offers many other Roman historical sights. For instance, there are the walls, the National Archaeological Museum, the Roman aqueduct or the Arch of Berà. Please visit Tarragona’s tourism website where you will find a prepared Roman tour around Tarragona, apart from more detailed information that will help you prepare your visit to the capital of the Roman colony of Iberia.
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