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Located 100km south of Barcelona, Tarragona is a port city overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Packed with ancient Roman treasures, the city is also known for its Concurs de Castells festival, where teams from around Catalonia build human towers up to ten tiers high. Also a gastronomic destination, Tarragona is famous for fresh seafood and barbecued regional onions called calçots that feature on menus in homes and restaurants across the city between January and March.
You can find Tarragona hostels both by the beach and in the historic centre, some with courtyards and a barbecue. Swing in a hammock under the shade of a fragrant lemon tree, or take a dip in an open-air pool for a break from the city streets. You can munch on a free breakfast buffet including regional specialities like pan con tomate (bread with tomato), while at the on-site bar you can try the local drink vermut. You can expect a Tarragona hostel to have a private room and en-suite and top-quality bedding, helping you to get a good night's sleep after a day of exploring.
Part Alta is the oldest and highest area of Tarragona, within the ancient city walls and home to the cathedral and Roman Forum. Winding laneways lead to plazas filled with restaurants and cafés, while Carrer Major has plenty of shops. The Mediterranean Balcony has panoramic views across the ocean and connects to La Rambla Nova, which stretches out over 2km to the statues, fountains and monuments of Parc Francoli. El Serrallo, the old fishing neighbourhood, has some of the city’s best seafood restaurants.
Ruins include the city’s original Roman walls and the Forum, which dates back to 30 BC and was once the social and religious centre of Tarragona. The Roman amphitheatre, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, hosted crowds of up to 14,000 for gladiator battles and public executions. Nearby, Platja del Miracle is a 500-metre ribbon of beach with seafront cafés and restaurants. Just south of Tarragona, in the town of Salou, is Port Aventura, Spain’s largest theme park.
The historic centre is easy to walk around on foot, but local buses can get you out to surrounding neighbourhoods and the beach. Reus Airport is 7km away and is connected with Tarragona by bus, or Barcelona El Prat Airport is 85km away. The city has two train stations. Camp de Tarragona is located 8km north of Tarragona on the Madrid-Barcelona-French border line. A second station is 10 minutes’ walk from the centre and connects to other cities in Spain, including Valencia.