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Tarragona Beach Stay

Heading out on a cruise from the port in Tarragona mid-September 2022 and currently only booked a one night stay close to the port prior to embarkation. Been to Barcelona quite a few times. Wondering about two things:
- Should we stay longer in Tarragona? Of all the beaches nearby, which would be your recommendation for a longer stay (4 nights)?
- As we're flying into Barcelona (BCN), are there other smaller (beach) towns you'd recommend for a stay (if we don't head directly to Tarragona)?

Posted by
767 posts

Tarragona is a great town to stay in. There are Roman ruins (mini coliseum right next to the beach) and a museum that is interesting and you can visit a Roman aqueduct that is totally intact and in pristine condition. The beaches are nice and the restaurants are good.

Posted by
18892 posts

If you enjoy modernista architecture, I recommend a day in Reus, a town just inland from Tarragona. There are a couple of nice modernista buildings you can visit (Casa Navas and L'Institut Pere Mata) in addition to the Gaudi Centre, and there are others whose exteriors you can observe. Gaudi was born in Reus, but the modernista buildings there were designed by others.

Posted by
2212 posts

I probably wouldn't characterise Tarragona as a "beach town" it's more like a working port city. Tarragona's medieval old town is a delight to explore however, it's like Barcelona's Barrio Gotico but with less tourists. Of course there are the ruins as mentioned above, including an amphitheater with museum, intact aqueduct, Praetorium Tower, and Paleo-Christian Necropolis. Though, not much in terms of actual beaches.

If you want a true "beach town" experience, I'd recommend a few nights at Sitges, which is halfway between Barcelona and Tarragona. Sitges is a quintessential posh beach town with multiple small sandy beaches and nice white-washed centre lined with boutique restaurants and shops.

Posted by
32 posts

Appreciate the excellent responses and ideas for our trip. Can always count on Rick Steves' Travel Forums.