Since the city was founded, trade has been the most important economic sector in Tarragona. In recent years, retailers have been an engine of growth for the city, due to both the arrival of outside chains and the organisation and renewal of the genuinely local offer. The major advantage Tarragona offers is that shoppers can find all they need within walking distance in the different commercial areas, or simply by strolling along Rambla Nova, a bustling strip that runs from the busy Plaça Imperial Tàrraco, the city's main traffic hub, to the famous “Balcó del Mediterrani” (Mediterranean Balcony) overlook.

Along the length of Rambla Nova and on the adjacent streets, you can enjoy the warmth of local businesses with a wide range of shops and services. There you will find everything from banks to jewellers’ and all sorts of traditional shops selling clothing, shoes, accessories and more. In the Old District (Part Alta), an almost poetically perfect setting, ancient ruins can still be seen inside some of the shops. Many of them sell antiques. However, you will also find high-end designer jewellers and renowned masters of the art of working precious materials.

Most of Tarragona’s traditional businesses belong to the umbrella association The T of Tarragona, which affords them greater visibility and allows them to provide joint services and offers. VIA T Tarragona-Shopping is a commercial district offering shoppers the chance to shop outdoors, and its members are shops from downtown Tarragona (from the Plaça Imperial Tàrraco to the Balcó del Mediterrani and from the Old District (Part Alta) to the Local Forum).

If you are looking to buy fresh food in a picturesque setting, be sure to visit Tarragona’s municipal markets. The main market, Mercat Central, located just off Rambla Nova, is housed in a hallmark Modernist building (Josep M. Pujol, 1915).