Located less than an hour and a half from Barcelona by train, Tarragona is one of those places that most people don’t think to visit unless someone tells them about it or are brought there by chance. I fall into the latter group (I ended up in Tarragona on a business trip), and am hoping to rectify the status quo by being the one who tells people about this wonderful city now.
With it’s quirky squares, holiday vibe and mouthwatering eateries, Tarragona has that wonderful blend of culture, beach and delicious food that so many Spanish cities posses. But make no mistake, it doesn’t stop there – here is just a small selection of occurrences that make Tarragona unique:
Castells: The tradition of human towers is present throughout Catalonia, but has actually originated in Tarragona. Castells happen in Tarragona throughout the year, but the best time to experience them is at the annual competition in October. The concept is seemingly simple: A large amount of people attempt to make a human tower as high as (humanly) possible – pun intended.
I personally have unfortunately only seen this process commemorated as a statue, but it only takes a brief look at pictures of past events to see that the festival is much more than that, the energy and anticipation just pours out of the surreal images. You can judge this for yourself by checking out the photos from last year’s competition.
Roman Ruins: As soon as you reach the Tarragona amphitheatre (Anfiteatro Romano de Tarragon), you can practically picture roman gladiators fighting here. The complex is all the more impressive as it’s just by the sea, offering some gorgeous views.
You can see the amphitheatre in its entirety from the public paths, but if you want to have a stroll on its ground and really feel the history, it won’t cost you too much either; you can access the ruin for €3.
International Fireworks Competition: The main reason why I’m writing about Tarragona now is that its annual International Fireworks Competition will be taking place between 1 and 4 July. I have been lucky enough to witness this last year, and I can vouch for it being a breathtaking experience. Each night, crowds flock to the city beach to witness a spectacular fireworks display right above the sea.
Naturally, as each country is represented by it’s best it’s difficult to judge which display is the best – luckily there are experts for that. However, I can guarantee that the fireworks reflecting in the ocean waves is a sight you are not going to forget for a very long time.