Catalonia’s Best Kept Secret – Tarragona

Tarragona is a small Catalan town an hour away from Barcelona. Located by the sea, it’s a relaxing little place with enough history, restaurants and unique architecture to keep you busy for a couple of days.

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I only had one day but that was enough to get a taste for Tarragona. It’s so pretty. The town has one of the best conserved and most beautiful remains of the Roman architecture in Spain, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It’s a big site, previously home to the palace of Augustus, a large amphitheatre and necropolis, among other things. Two more well-preserved ancient monuments in Tarragona are Les Ferreres Aqueduct, also known as Devil’s Bridge, and the Tower of the Scipios, slightly further away from town.

The sinister-sounding, dramatically beautiful El Puente del Diablo is an ancient aqueduct built in the fist century to provide then newly-built Tarragona with water. Rumour has it, after it was built, some natural disaster, like an earthquake, brought it to the ground. Then the devil himself visited the architect of the aqueduct and offered to rebuild the construction in one day and one night in exchange for the first soul that would drink the water coming through. The deal was made, the devil reconstructed the aqueduct, but he got the short end of the stick – the first to drink the water was a donkey.

Tarragona is also home to several religious buildings. The most impressive one is the Tarragona Cathedral, a true architectural treat, combining Romanesque and Gothic styles. It’s a stunning mix and fits right in the cobblestone streets and colourful buildings of the neighbourhood.

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The beach is another huge advantage of Tarragona. It’s somehow healthier-looking and less busy than the ones you will find in Barcelona, and many citizens of the capital of Catalonia rush here for the bikini season. And no wonder they do; miles and miles of silky sand and clear blue water, relaxed environment, lovely town uninterrupted by tourists, although I expect it’s more and more popular every year. Amazing day out.

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