Wherever you look, Tarragona simply exudes history.
All the sites that make up the city bring added value about the period in which they were created.
A prime example is the Roman Route, thanks to which you can discover the history of Tarragona through the main monuments that have been preserved from that period.
Tarraco was founded in 218 BC by the Romans. What started out as a small military encampment next to the sea ended up becoming one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire.
If you didn’t already know, the time of its greatest extension and power was the second century AD. Take a look at the Model of Tarraco which gives you an idea of how the Roman city was laid out.
It has achieved such renown that the archaeological complex of Tarraco was distinguished as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
For all these reasons, this post aims to help you discover everything there is to know about the Roman Route of Tarragona.
Don’t miss this thrilling legacy of Tarragona’s Roman years.
We can promise from experience that you’ll really enjoy the tour!
Which sites make up the Roman Route of Tarragona?
The Roman Route of Tarragona is very extensive.
It includes no fewer than 14 locations that have been distinguished as World Heritage Sites.
We’d like to highlight some of these places to give you an idea of everything this route has to offer.
Once you’ve read this post, we know you’ll be eager to get going on the Route.
Or, should we say, to experience it!
Enjoy the Archaeological Walk
The Roman Walls of Tarragona date back to the second century BC.
The Romans built some 3,500 metres of walls to demarcate the city limits, of which 1,100 metres have been preserved, which now surround the ‘old town’.
We suggest you spend some time in this area because it is utterly unique.
The Roman Walls of Tarragona is an incredible place to take a stroll and marvel at the ambition that this construction represented.
Discover Tarragona’s Provincial Forum
Another monumental site on the Roman Route of Tarragona is the Provincial Forum.
This site includes three squares: Plaça del Pallol, Plaça del Fòrum and Plaça del Rei.
An interesting fact is that from this very spot the Roman province of Hispania Citerior was governed, of which Tarraco was the capital.
The Provincial Forum of Tarragona was one of the largest forums in the Roman Empire, covering a total area of around 7.5 ha.
Make sure you get a first-hand look at the whole complex.
You won’t regret it!
Visit the remains of the Temple of Tarragona
The Roman Temple of Tarragona is one of the highlights on the route.
This place of worship was surrounded by a portico, of which you can still see some significant remains in the Cathedral cloister.
Various archaeological digs many years ago managed to shed light on a significant part of the temenos, a porticoed wall that enclosed the Roman temple during the first century AD.
We recommend you hire a tour guide at this site.
Losing yourself in this space and imagining what it must have been like back then is a real joy.
Visit the Roman Circus of Tarragona
The Roman Circus of Tarragona was built in the first century AD to hold chariot races and had a capacity of around 30,000 spectators.
Would you like to know an interesting fact? As of today, it is one of the best-preserved Roman circuses in the world.
It’s worth pointing out that a large part of its structure is hidden beneath some old buildings, but there is also a visible section that you can visit.
We urge you not to miss a visit to Tarragona’s Roman Circus.
Discover the Roman Amphitheatre of Tarragona
Without a shadow of doubt, the Roman Amphitheatre is one of the most visited sites in the city and one of the highlights of the Route.
Built in the second century AD, it had a capacity of 15,000 spectators and it was used to hold gladiatorial combats, fights with wild animals, and public executions.
However, the highlight of this enormous structure is its setting.
Can you imagine the sight of a Roman Amphitheatre with the Mediterranean Sea as a backdrop? We promise you that the vista is absolutely breathtaking.
At this link, you’ll find more detailed information about the Roman Amphitheatre to help you prepare your tour of the Roman Route.
Visit the National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona
The National Archaeological Museum of Tarragona (MNAT) houses a valuable collection of Roman objects from this era.
What kind of Roman objects, you may be asking? Well, the exhibits include sculptures, ceramics, mosaics, everyday objects from ancient Tarraco, and more.
Of the mosaics, the most iconic is the mosaic of the Medusa.
Following the technique known as opus vermiculatum, the combination of little tesserae (cubes) of marble, stone and ceramics in a huge variety of colours and shades produce an almost pictorial result.
There is no doubt that it is one of the most beautiful and delicate mosaics of all those found in Tarragona.
Visit the National Archaeological Museum and immerse yourself in the everyday life of the Roman era in Tarragona.
Visit the Early Christian Necropolis of Tarragona
The Early Christian Necropolis of Tarragona is one of the most important late-Roman funerary complexes in the Mediterranean area.
This site was created in the third century BC, and today you can still see a variety of burial sites such as amphorae, mausoleums, sarcophagi, etc.
A visit to this site is an absolute must.
Admire the Ferreres Aqueduct aka Devil’s Bridge
The last of our most characteristic spots on the Roman Route that we want to highlight is the Ferreres Aqueduct, also known as the Devil’s Bridge.
It was built in the first century AD to supply the entire city with water. A 217-metre section of the aqueduct still remains today.
Tarragona’s Roman Route would not be complete without setting aside a couple of hours to visit the Ferreres Aqueduct.
An interesting fact is that you can walk on top of the bridge, and there are also some stunning romantic-style gardens.
Make sure you don’t miss a visit to this spot!
Would you like to know more about the Roman Route?
We have already mentioned some of the most characteristic sights on Tarragona’s Roman Route.
However, we imagine that this might have sparked off all kinds of questions.
Don’t worry, it’s hardly surprising.
We’ve given some additional details below, so you have all the information you need before immersing yourself in this experience.
What are the opening times and prices of the different sites?
Is parking available in the area?
Tarragona has a wide range of car parks along the Roman Route.
So don’t worry about access.
If you want to know where to park or how to get around, visit the city map which shows the locations of all the different car parks.
Some of these sites are outside the city but are equally easy to get to.
For example, the Devil’s Bridge has a free car park and the EMT bus routes 5 and 85 run from the city centre to the Tarragona aqueduct.
How long does the route take?
The time the route takes is highly subjective and depends on how much time you want to spend on it.
A word of advice: take all the time you want to contemplate, consider and enjoy every site that makes up the route.
All of this means you’ll leave us with some wonderful memories.
Are there any guided tours?
Yes, guided tours of Tarragona’s Roman Route are available. They usually last from one-and-a-half to two hours and take in the main sites on the Route.
Tarragona’s official guides can give you much more information on the Roman monuments, along with anecdotes about the different sites and key events in the city’s history.
We should also mention their extremely reasonable rates of around €10.
Is it better to do the route with a guide or independently?
That depends on each individual. Both are valid options.
If you like people to take you to the sites and explain all the most important details, and you haven’t yet made any plans, then the best thing to do is hire an official guide.
On the other hand, if you like to explore things on your own, spend as much time as you want at each site, and adapt the route to your own preferences, then it’s best to do it independently.
Whatever the case, we recommend you use ImageenTarraco to view the monuments in their original state using cutting-edge technology.
Discover Tarragona on its Roman Route
Tarragona’s Roman Route adds a great deal of value to the city.
It is something that all of us should do to get a better understanding of the city and enrich our cultural knowledge.
Tarragona would not be what it is today without its Roman era, and this is why we should learn everything we can about this key period in its history.
We urge you to experience this activity!
Once you’ve been on the Route, you’ll have a completely different perspective of the city.
We look forward to seeing you!