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Plan your perfect Tarragona day trip - Explore Roman Ruins

Tàrraco, the Roman Capital of Spain. Discover the largest collection of Roman ruins in Catalonia. An ideal day trip from Barcelona by train

Updated: Jun 28, 2024 by: Barcelona Travel Hacks Views: 3.3k

About Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

Tarragona is a Barcelona Travel Hacks Top Day Trip or multi day trip when visiting Barcelona, Catalonia. The coastal city of Tarragona, 95Km south of Barcelona on the Costa Dorada is known for its preserved ancient Roman ruins from its days as a Roman Provincial capital.

Tàrraco, founded in 218 BC (modern-day Tarragona) was the first Roman settlement on the Iberian peninsula growing to become a major provincial mercantile port city and the roman administrative capital of the Iberian Peninsula (Hispania Citerior). To put this into perspective, the Roman Empire ruled all of what is today Portugal and Spain from the city of Tàrraco which is why Tarragona has the largest and grandest collection of Roman Ruins in Catalonia.

Today, Tarragona is mainly a port city with large chemical industrial sector outside of the city to the south of the port. The Roman/medieval historic city centre is located on a plateau of 160 meters high that provides beautiful view of the Mediterranean from several places. The Roman remains are UNESCO World Heritage monuments. The narrow streets have many squares with great restaurants and bars.

To visit all of the Roman ruins you should allow three days, However, you can explore the most important ones as a Tarragona Day Trip if you start at nine in the morning in Tarragona and visit Part Alt only.

My recommended Day trip plans for Tarragona

  1. Part Alt: This is the high part of the city sitting on top of a 160m plateau and is Roman in origin with pedestrianised streets with many museums and monuments. This part of the city is where the Romans had a the administrative capital for the whole of the Iberian peninsular. Part Alt retains its medieval buildings and street layout.
  2. Lower part and Port Serallo: in Roman times this was the residential part of town adjacent to the port. You will find a scattering of Roman monuments within a modern residential cityscape as well as some modernist buildings. Port Serallo is an industrial port with a marina for luxury Yachts. You will find historic port buildings that are now museums as well as the famous Port Searllo seafood restaurants.

It is impossible to visit all the attractions in Tarragona in one day. However, if visiting as a one day trip I recommend the Part Alt, if planning a multi-day trip I recommend the bellow itinery to divide the days and time.

Tarragona Day trip - Part Alta (day 1 & 2)

Tarragona Day trip - Part Colonial (day 3)

17 Things to do and see in Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

Map of Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

Attractions

Latitute: 41.4 Longitude: 2.2 Zoom Level: 11

Events in Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

Tickets for Attractions in Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

The museums and monuments are managed by two bodies:

  1. MHT (Museu d'Història de Tarragona)
  2. MNAT (National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona)

The MHT combined ticket costs €15 and includes one visit to each of the below museum spaces:

  1. Roman Amphitheatre
  2. Roman Circus & Praetorium
  3. Casa Canals
  4. Casa Museu Castellarnau
  5. Roman Tarragona Wall / Paseo Arqueológico
  6. Colonial forum of Tàrraco
    1. Individual tickets for each of the above attractions cost €5 each so the ticket is excellent value for money. The ticket can be purchased in any of the ticket offices of the above attractions. The ticket does not expire. When you visit one of the attractions, the ticket is punched to mark off that attraction.

      When you buy a ticket for one of the below MNAT museums it is also valid in the other museum. An adult ticket costs €4

      1. Paleo-Christian cemetery
      2. National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona

      Tarragona Santa Tecla Cathedral is not part of MHT or MNAT so a separate ticket has to be purchased which costs €11. This might seem a bit pricy to visit a cathedral but the cultural visit ticket includes the cathedral, museum, cloisters and roman ruins in the basement of the cloister and is good value for money. I spent about 90 minutes in the cathedral

      Discover one of the oldest cathedrals in Spain with a visit to the spectacular Tarragona Cathedral. Built during the 12th and 13th centuries on the site of an old Roman temple, Tarragona Cathedral will take you through more than 2,000 years of art. Your ticket gives you full access to all of the Cathedral's different rooms, allowing you to discover the magnificent fusion of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. You’ll also be able to access the Chapel of Saint Thecla, an 18th-century mausoleum that is said to contain a relic of a saint's arm. Optional Audio Guide available.

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Getting to Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

Catalunya is divided into four provinces, Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona. Tarragona city is the capital of this province and is located on the Mediterranean Costa Dorada having frequent trains with a journey time of one hour from Barcelona. A Tarragona day trip from Barcelona can be done via train, bus or car.

Where to Eat Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

Plaça del Rei & Plaça del Forum (Near Roman Ruins)

Pla de la Seu (near Tarragona Cathedral)

Plaça de la Font (Near Tarragona townhall)

Barri del Serrallo (Tarragona port)

Documents for Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

Click on any one of the 4 PDFs to view in full screen and download.

Weather for Tarragona

What to take with you for Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

Wikiloc Trail for Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

tar01 - Roman Tarragona (Part Alt)

A city walk in Tarragona (part Alt) that covers the main Roman Museums that are part of the MHT (Museo Historico de Tarragona).

Distance: 5.21 Km

Difficulty: Easy

Return Travel Fare: €20.10

Transport Network: Regional

tar01 - Roman Tarragona (Part Baix)

A city walk in Tarragona (part Baix) that covers the main Roman Museums and Port Serrallo area

Distance: 6.69 Km

Difficulty: Easy

Return Travel Fare: 2€0.10

Transport Network: Regional

How much does Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco) Day Trip Cost?

Description Adult Adult Discounts Child Child Discounts
Return Renfe Regional Train Ticket from Barcelona € 16.10 € 16.10
MHT Combined Ticket (Amphitheatre, Circus & Pretorium, Casa Canals, Roman Wall Passeig Arqueològic, Casa Castellarnau, Colonial Forum) € 15.00 Students, Over 65 years, Disabled. €7.50 € 7.50 Free for undrer 12 years
Tarragona Cathedral € 5.00 Students, Over 65 years, Disabled. €4.00 € 3.00 Child under 16 years
Pont del Diable viaduct return bus fare € 3.40 € 3.40
Tarragona Modern Art Museum (MAMT) FREE FREE
Early Christian cemetery of Tárraco € 4.00 Students, Over 65 years, Disabled. €2.00 FREE Child under 16 years
Tarragona Port Museum FREE FREE
Museo National Archaeological de Tarragona € 4.00 pensioner, students €2 FREE Free for under 16 years olds
€ 47.50 Adult Total € 30.00 Child Total

Things to do near Roman Tarragona (Tàrraco)

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