Today we go for it and, as always, I propose a detailed practical tour to be useful in your trip.
Planning a visit to Roman Tarragona (with map)
Come as you come, a Good starting point to visit the Roman Tarragona is the model of Tarraco, S.II and 21 square meters, which will allow us to contextualize everything we are going to see. And what are your options to get here according to your means of transport?
- Yes you come by car, the Saavedra Parking (Google Maps) It may be the best option since it has 420 seats, is wide and is right next to the start of the tour
- Yes you arrive by train / AVE, you barely have 15 minutes walking from the train station to this place (Google Maps)
- If you are hosted (or live) in Barcelona and you want to extend your trip, you have a half-day tour to Tarragona from Barcelona (5 hours) which includes this tour or the option of Full-time tour of Tarragona and Sitges from Barcelona
Located? The route we propose you have in the following map with detailed route and it can be done perfectly while you enjoy the dynamic Tarragona, its people, bars and restaurants.
The main visits that include archaeological ruins of the old Tarraco are:
1 Mockup of Tarraco
2 Walls and archaeological walk: Torre Minerva, Cabiscol, Archbishop
3 Temple (cult enclosure)
4 National Archaeological Museum
5 Circus / Praetorium
6 Roman Amphitheater
F Provincial Forum (Plaza del Pallol, Forum and Rei)
L Local forum
In addition, those passionate who wish and have a means of transport may Complete your visit around the Historic Center with:
- The Paleochristian Necropolis and Paleochristian Ensemble of Francoli
- The Aqueduct
- The Villa of Centcelles
- The Tower of the Scipios
- Medol quarry
- The Villa dels Munts
- The Arch of Berá
Route through the main ruins of Roman Tarragona
The beginning of the archaeological walk in the Portal del Roser is usually a meeting point of theguided visits to Roman Tarragona which is also possible to do with a guide for less than 10 EUR.
The city also has a "nice" little train among the main attractions that is always an option for those who like this kind of way to get to know the cities.
1 Model of the Roman Tarraco
The Mockup of the Roman Tarraco of S.II in the Cultural Center El Pallol, in the Old Audience (Plaza del Pallol, 3), is the one that will give us the necessary context to understand the walk we undertake. Tarragona already existed of an old Iberian settlement but it would be the landing of Cornelio Escipión the seed that would turn this site into the main military base of Hispania
Its importance was growing during subsequent years until, finally, in S.I and II, Tarraco becomes the provincial capital (Hispania Citerior) largest empire with more than half Iberian Peninsula. The splendor is enlarged with the construction of real jewels such as its forum, public baths, amphitheater or the temple of Augustus, the latter an example used later for all the provinces of the Empire
The crisis of the Roman Empire from S.III also reached the beautiful Mediterranean city that never became the same and could not even prevent the loss of any of its treasures. However, its legacy remains one of the best preserved in the world outside Italy itself
2 Walls and Archaeological Walk
Now if, already located in what should have been the splendor of the city of S.II, we enter a beautiful landscaped pedestrian walkway parallel to the Roman wall
We are facing 1100 meters (it reached 3500 meters) of a high-rise wall (about 12 meters high on average) and a width that ranges between 4 and 6 meters.HOURS AND PRICES OF THE ENCLOSURES OF THE ROMAN TARRAGONA:
The schedules The usual places of the Roman Tarragona enclosures are from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 to 21 (at 19 in winter season) and Sundays from 9 to 15. Mondays only open in summer season (May 22 to September 1) from 9 to fifteen.
He price of admission of each enclosure separately is from 3.30 EUR (There is a joint entrance of the Archaeological Walk-Walls, Praetorium and Circus, Amphitheater and Local Forum for 7.40 EUR). There are reduced options for groups, retirees, pensioners, disabled and students for 1.70, large families where only one member pays and children under 16 free.
In addition to being a pleasant journey to start the day, we can distinguish the Archbishop or Paborde tower, of Roman base and medieval elevation. Keep in mind that in the twelfth century the wall was reused and repaired after the Islamic invasion so there are areas that can be slightly modified.
There is also a replica of the famous statue of César Augusto or the Romulus and Remus monument. In the final part, already near the Minerva tower we can appreciate the oldest Roman sculpture and inscription of the Iberian Peninsula
We left the upper part of the city leaving behind a door that gave access to the traffic of the old Tarraco
3 The Temple (place of worship)
The narrow streets of the upper part evoke past times. They are also short distance labyrinths, more solitary, than the city acropolis represented by its Provincial Forum and the Circus, the largest complex in the Roman world at the time with more than 7.5 hectares. However today you have to flaunt your imagination, get lost in the oldest store in the city or imagine a large rectangular enclosure surrounded by porches and adorned with gardens and statues
In recent years, he became much more aware of the importance of such a legacy. This has made it possible to enjoy the vestiges of places in places like Plaza del Pallol, Plaza del Forum or Plaza del Rei. Provincial Forum F while one drinks a cold beer in a lively square
The Tarragona Cathedral is always a must see on any of the routes you do in the city. The facade is simply impressive. And what is the point of this Roman route? Well, that the current early Gothic-style temple sits on a Visigoth cathedral, an Arab mosque and, more importantly, the Roman temple dedicated to Augustus (63 BC - 19 AD) original
In 2007, after an ambitious project, they found in the basement of the cathedral the foundations of the only Roman enclosure of Tarragona that was still not located
4 National Archaeological Museum
The most of the archaeological remains and pieces found in Tarragona and surroundings in the last 150-200 years, are in this National Archaeological Museum located in the Plaza del Rei. Here one can be found from the cyclopean medallions of the forum to the bust of Marco Aurelio, passing through canvases of the Roman wall or mosaics of the Fish and the Medusa.
5 Circus / Praetorium
Something more complex to imagine is the Circus in which the quadriga races took place but which, however, is one of the best preserved under buildings built in the 19th century
The Praetorian tower, in the same place of the Rei, was part of the enclosure of the Provincial Forum F at the time but it seems that in the Middle Ages it was handed over to the Catalan counts-kings. It is a must, not only for hosting a model of the medieval city, but for give access to almost 90 meters of one of the constructive vaults that supported the stands of the Circus
If he catches you at sunset time, like us, don't miss his views from the terrace over the historic center and the amphitheater… !they are wonderful!
In addition to the vaults of San Hermenegildo and Enrajolat, you can see more vestiges of the Roman Circus in Sedassos Square or in plots of Trinquet Vell streets and Font Square.
6 Roman Amphitheater
We leave the historic center leaving behind the imposing Tower of les Monges, of medieval origin (built during the second half of the fourteenth century) affecting a part of the structures of the Roman circus and its 18 meters high, to approach the most visited monument of the city whose location outside the walls causes some surprise. Its about Roman amphitheater, building dedicated to shows with gladiators, beasts or even public executions.
The case is that it was built at the beginning of S. II taking advantage of the inclination of the natural terrain and in times of "relative peace" besides there was no space already inside. It is preserved quite well, with the harrow carved into the rock itself although eroded.
L Local Forum
The curia, the basilica, the temples and numerous shops were the heart of the city's daily life. However, today you can only observe the basilica where to see the Corinthian columns, some statues and cisterns where they stored oil or wine. Also called Forum of the Colony
Practical data for your visit to Roman Tarragona
How long can the entire route last?
In Half a day (about 4-5 hours) you can take the proposed tour in a calm way. However, Tarragona has much more to offer and we would recommend at least one full day sleeping here and complement it with some options in the surroundings (Port Aventura, Sitges, Priorat...) or continue your archaeological route
What options to continue the route I have in the surroundings of Tarragona?
If you want to continue deepening in the Roman Tarraco, as we have mentioned at the beginning you can choose to visit the Paleochristian Necropolis and Paleochristian Ensemble of Francoli, the Villa of Centcelles, the Scipio Tower, the Medol quarry, the Villa dels Munts, he Berá Arch or, especially, the Aqueduct. It dates from the S.I. and is also known as the aqueduct of les Ferreres or Puente del Diablo and is 4 km north of the city, up to 27 meters high and 217 meters long arches. Worth! More information on the website of the Catalan Tourism Agency and Tarragona Tourism
Where to eat in Tarragona?
Obviously the Romans also ate although I don't think as good as now. As always, we are going to give you 3 options based on our experience or close family / friends.Racó de l'abat restaurant, old house with stone walls and arches with excellent cuisine
The Galliner de L'Antiquari, typical old town building with a very good menu of the day for all budgets
Les Voltes, our farewell to Tarragona in a millenary place under three Roman vaults belonging to the circus.
It is essential to try your Codix Skeleton with “Romesco” Sauce
Where to sleep in Tarragona?
On this occasion, in addition to an ideal option in the historic center, we will give you a charming hotel-experience on the outskirts:Hotel Plaça De La Font, in the heart of the historic center but just off the beach with a restaurant with daily menus
Mas La Boella Hotel, surrounded by olive groves and gardens, with tasting menu, swimming pool, terrace,…
Have I managed to seduce you with this route through the Roman ruins of Tarragona? And if we add a medieval, a modernist and a gastronomic? Undoubtedly, the beautiful and dynamic Mediterranean city "catches" everyone who comes to know it, right?
Isaac, from Tarragona (Catalonia)