Spanish Trails has recently added a brand new Barcelona day trip to the list of amazing experiences we offer. The Roman Spain, Tarragona Day Tour features the ancient city of Tarragona and is a great way to discover the largest site of Roman ruins outside of Italy.
Explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The city we know as Tarragona was initially called Tarraco, and was founded by two Roman generals, Gnaeus and Publius Scipio in 218 BC. They built a harbor, massive walls, and turned Tarraco into the only Roman war stronghold in Spain and the first Roman City beyond the Italian Peninsula. It provided the Romans strategic advantage of controlling and monitoring the coast of Spain and became the richest seaport of the Roman Empire with booming industries such as flax and wine. In addition to being a massive economic hub, it was also known to be one of the most beautiful Roman cities.
Due to the city’s phenomenal preservation of its Roman antiquity, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Tarragona has proudly cared for the theater, amphitheater, circus, aqueduct and the ancient Cathedral. The circus was different than the amphitheater and was used for horse and chariot races. It is considered one of the best-preserved circuses from this time period! The 2nd Century Amphitheater was used for gladiator fights, wild beast fights, and public executions. The old quarter contained many typical Roman houses and was surrounded by 3500 meters of walls. Today, 1100 meters remain and offer a breath-taking view of the modern city and the surrounding countryside. It is imperative to visit Tarragona with a guide to ensure one receives the most out of their visit. With sites like the Devil’s Aqueduct located outside of walking distance, guides can provide transportation and valuable information you wouldn’t receive elsewhere. The Devil’s Aqueduct is a perfect example of ancient Roman engineering.
Visit for the Tarraco Viva Festival
Since 1998, Tarragona hosts the Tarraco Viva festival to celebrate and remember their Roman history. The intent is to demonstrate what life was like during this period, so every year in May the town travels back in time to their glorious Roman days. The festival entertains thousands of visitors to Tarragona with a recreation of battles, plays, equine sports and music, all taking place within the ancient city ruins. The festival also features typical Roman gastronomy, wine tastings, speeches, and presentations of products used during the Roman era.
Taste Ancient Rome and Catalunya
Tarragona’s cuisine reflects its historical character; as a Mediterranean port, it owes much of its gastronomy to abundant fresh seafood. In one of the most beautiful parts of the city is the fisherman’s district known as el Serrallo. There lie numerous restaurants complete with their own trademark dishes for everyone to enjoy. A trademark dish of the region is cassola de romesco, a casserole made with a sauce of olive oil, hazelnuts, almonds, sweet peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Visitors to Tarragona should also sample the local version of paella, arroz de negro. This rice dish is made special because of the unique addition of squid ink, which contributes to the dish’s deep black color. In addition, the city boasts a renowned wine region that has earned the official geographical indication or denominació d’origen. Regardless of your interests, you’ll be able to find something you love while visiting Tarragona.