In the southern part of Catalunya you’ll find the beautiful city of Tarragona. Around the year 218 A.D., the Romans invaded the area and declared it the capital of “Hispania Citerior”, naming it Tarraco. Today, the impressive architectural legacy left by the Romans remains. From the 2nd century A.D., there’s the well-preserved amphitheater, in the center of which you’ll find a Visigoth basilica from the 6th century as well as the remains of a Roman church.
Tarragona also boasts a beautiful and well-preserved aqueduct known as El Puente del Diablo (“The Devil’s Bridge”) or the Ferreres aqueduct (pictured at right) which was part of a complex irrigation network that supplied the city with water.
The wall (“La Muralla”)that surrounds the higher part of the city is another example of works left by the Romans during their time on the Iberian peninsula. 1200 yards of the original wall and three towers (called Las torres del arquebisbe, Cabiscol and Minerva, respectively), remain, as well as the original voussoired entrance and five small doors.
The Forum is another well-maintained Roman monument, located in the old part of the city, which houses the basilica, also well-preserved,
and is flanked by an ancient square and a series of Roman homes that are, amazingly, still standing. This “Casco Antiguo” — the old quarter — is also home to even more Roman ruins, among them the Circus (El Circo), where chariot races were held.
Tarragona’s most stunning view can be had by visiting a vista point known as Balcón del Mediterráneo, which is one of the city’s most emblematic spots. Situated on cliff overlooking the ocean, the Balcón is surrounded by an iron railing crafted by Miquel Guinart at the turn of the 20th Century. From here, you can see almost all of Tarragona’s most important sights, such as the bay known as El punto del Milagro, where Tarragona’s reknowned international fireworks festival takes places each June.
The cathedral of Santa María (pictured at left) is another must-see in Tarragona. Located in the higher part of the city, the cathedral was once a Roman temple, then later Visigoth cathedral, and then later an Islamic mosque. It’s a building that’s seen every group that has inhabited the area over the millennia.
Aq (pictured at right). Aq is a modern and simply decorated restaurant with an amazing outdoor dining area, complete with a glass roof. The cuisine combines classic Catalan dishes with innovation — which seems to be the trend throughout Catalunya these days. The tasting menu is just 36 euros and if you want to take part in Aq’s well-reputed synergy of aromas, flavors and even colors via their wine pairing, it’s just 12 euros more. The wine list is a dazzling collection of wines from throughout Spain, with local labels taking center stage.
We also recommend L’ara Cata (La nau,11; tel. 97-722-9451), a modest and traditional restaurant with a serious focus on wines. Make a reservation because the house only has 10 tables and they are almost always full. The menu is centered around tapas and wine (who can resist!) and Benito, an extremely well-informed maitre, is your walking guide to food and drink here. Accept anything he recommends without looking at the menu — take our word for it!