An attractive city to the south-west of Barcelona, Tarragona’s claim to UNESCO recognition revolves around its Roman past, as evidenced by a significant number of architectural remains.
The long history of the city means that the medieval, Renaissance, and modern architecture in the center coexist with remnants of Roman glory. Here is a not exactly successful attempt to peek at one of the city core pedestrian streets through an opening in the ancient wall.
This isn’t really the city wall, though. It is a standalone fragment of the erstwhile Forum walls, on the eponymous plaça.
These are the city walls.
A walk along them can be both pleasant and educational, with a lot of information about the city history displayed on stands along the path (in several languages, English included).
The next picture illustrates how the walls were built up from different types of materials in different eras.
Here is a reminder that this was a Roman outpost.
There are roughly a dozen points in the city where one can find Roman history. One of them is the Circus, with ruins on the ground level and several impressive spaces underground.
After spending time at the Circus, I decided not to visit the Amphitheater. It can be seen from a number of points above, so here are a couple of perspectives.
Less than 10 minutes away from the town center is, for me, the most impressive of the surviving Roman monuments, an aqueduct that bears the name of Ponte del Diablo.
I have seen a few aqueducts in the past but I have never walked across one. That was rectified.
The aqueduct sits in a natural park that practically knocked me out with the smells of pine needles and flowers. Nature lovers will find several miles of trails all around the ancient waterway.
Tarragona Cathedral is among the named places in the UNESCO inscription, largely because it dates back to a Visigoth basilica on the same site. Both Gothic and Renaissance elements are prominent in its architecture, which makes for a reservedly decorated and comparatively bright and airy interior.
Colorful window mosaics are one of the highlights.
The cloister is another highlight, with access to its garden.
World Heritage attractions aside, Tarragona offers many colorful and picturesque perspectives.
This is Plaça dels Sedassos, anchored by an incredible mural on the side of a 4-story building.
Here is a close up of the upper part of the mural.
I walked around town for a few hours, taking pictures of various sights and streets.
Some streets are more exuberantly decorated, such as this connecting block lined by colorful little fence poles.
I have no idea if these poles started with a practical purpose, but they certainly attract the eye.
There are also mini-murals here or there.
From Barcelona, it is less than an hour of driving to get to Tarragona. Half a day to a full day should be enough to get acquainted with most of Tarragona’s sights, but it is a big enough and lively enough town to support longer stays.