The Perfect Day in Tarragona: 1-day Itinerary

Things to See in Tarragona in One Day

Going on a short day trip to Tarragona? Whether you’re coming in from Barcelona or a different town in Spain, Tarragona is the perfect destination for a short getaway. With its beautiful beaches, vibrant markets, and lively plazas, Tarragona offers the perfect blend of culture, history, and Mediterranean weather. It is one of the oldest Roman settlements dating to the 5th century BC and has impressive well-preserved archaeological sites and monuments.

If you only have one day to explore Tarragona, here’s the suggested itinerary to make the most of your trip.

Morning: Visit the Tarragona Cathedral and Old Town

Start your day by exploring the historic center of Tarragona, first visiting the Tarragona Cathedral (Catedral de Santa Maria), the most emblematic building of Tarragona. Built on the site of a former Roman temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus, the cathedral dates back to the 12th century and has undergone several renovations and additions over the centuries. It is home to Tarragona’s richest collection of medieval art and has a majestic bell tower, known as the “Campanar de la Catedral.” If you can only visit one place in Tarragona, I recommend seeing the Cathedral and planning to spend at least a couple of hours here.

Depending on when you leave the cathedral, take your time wandering through the charming streets of the Old Town, lined with medieval buildings, picturesque squares, and quaint shops. Soak in the atmosphere and admire the local architecture, but try to make it to Mercado Central a few minutes before noon to see the clock tower show.

Midday: Mercado Central de Tarragona

Next, head to Tarragona’s Central Market, and if you make it there before noon, you can add a little magic to your stay in Tarragona. Right at noon, the figurines come out in the clock tower and start their performance. It’s one of the biggest secrets of Tarragona and is so unique and fun! After the show, go inside the market and grab a snack, while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the market.

If you’re still hungry after Tarragona’s Central Market, go to one of Tarragona’s charming restaurants or tapas bars to savor a traditional Catalan lunch. Sample local specialties such as paella or fideuà and pair your meal with a glass of refreshing sangria or traditional Spanish vermouth, popular in the region. If you’d like to spend some time relaxing, stop for a Menu Del Dia, a lunch offer that you can find in many Spanish restaurants that usually include multiple courses, dessert, and a drink.

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Afternoon: Explore the Roman Ruins

Next, see the Roman ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases Tarragona’s rich history. While many recommend seeing the Roman Amphitheatre, I recommend starting with the Roman Circus, a place of the ancient chariot races. If you only see one of the sites, that’s the one I’d pick. If you have the time, I would next go to the Roman Amphitheatre, where gladiator battles once took place. However, you can see most of the amphitheater from the outside, so if you’re short on time, I don’t recommend going in. Lastly, visit the Roman Walls, which encircle the historic center of Tarragona, and walk along the walls for panoramic views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea.

Evening: Relax on the Beach

As the day winds down, head to one of Tarragona’s beautiful beaches, such as Playa del Milagro or Playa de l’Arrabassada, to relax and unwind.

Night: Dinner and Drinks

End your day with a leisurely dinner at a restaurant, where you can savor fresh seafood and other Catalan delicacies.

Related to your trip to Tarragona…

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Hi, I'm Marina, passionate traveler and blogger, based in the United States and travelling the world. Thanks for following me on my life and travel adventures!

1 Comment

  1. Fransic verso
    May 19, 2024

    This is so cool, love the view of the beach and water. Amazing things to do in one day. Thank you for sharing!


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