Tarragona’s excellent access routes make it a starting point from which to enjoy the cultural, historical and recreational wealth of nearby neighbouring destinations.
To the north of Tarragona
Following the coastline you will enter the region of Baix Penedès and will soon come across the region’s capital, El Vendrell, home of the musician Pau Casals. To get acquainted with his life and works you can visit the house he was born in, the organ he helped to restore, the Pau Casals Auditorium or the Pau Casals Villa (28 minutes from Tarragona).
Calafell is another wonderful place to stop where you can see a magnificent mediaeval castle located on a hilltop and an Iberian fortress over 2,500 years old (26 minutes from Tarragona).
An hour north of Tarragona lies the city of Barcelona, with its long history and widely diverse culture. The city is home to over fifty museums as well as the architecture that has made it famous and offers a wealth of culinary, leisure and recreational options to choose from. Barcelona is also an excellent destination for shoppers looking for modern and traditional items alike.
Tarragona's inland regions
The Cistercian route is a very attractive cultural tourism route in a rural setting combining culture, cuisine and nature and takes visitors to three monasteries: The Poblet Monastery at Conca de Barberà, the largest inhabited Cistercian community in Europe, which was declared a World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 1991; the Santes Creus Monastery in the Alt Camp region, the only monastery along this route without monastic activity today; and the Vallbona Monastery in Urgell, which stands out for its on-going female monastic life which began over 800 years ago. (The Poblet Monastery is a 45 minute drive from Tarragona, the Santes Creus is 37 minutes away and Vallbona de les Monges is an hour away).
Other routes such as the Montblanc route take you to other eras, to the mediaeval bequest (36 minutes from Tarragona); or the Priorat route (42 minutes from Tarragona) will bring you closer to nature and to a land producing the best quality products. At the nature park of Serra del Montsant, you will be welcomed by places of extreme beauty with unique geological and landscape characteristics, all of which are ideal for trekking. Wine is the region’s star product, with two Designations of Origin: Priorat and Montsant. However, the vineyards lie side by side with olive orchards, the homes of young or hundred-year-old olive trees, the fruit of which is used to make the cherished extra virgin olive oil with the Siurana Designation of Origin.
The Modernist route of Reus is a pleasant walk through the city centre to discover the most interesting modernist façades, as well as a modern Interpretation centre and the Gaudí Centre which is exclusively dedicated to the life and work of the genius. (10 minutes from Tarragona)
Ebro river territory route
Following the coast to the south, beyond the beach, the sea and the fun, you will arrive at El Parc Natural del Delta de l’Ebre (Ebro Delta Nature Park), a marshland region characterised by its peacefulness and diversity of bird life, as well as its ecological interest (1 hour from Tarragona).
Inland, the Parc Natural dels Ports (The Ports Nature Park) combines nature and fauna. You can see the habitat of the wild goat, the ecosystem of a long list of plant species and even go trekking, caving, exploring and rock climbing (1 hour from Tarragona).
When in Horta de Sant Joan, a must-see is the Ecomuseu dels Ports (Ports Ecomuseum) and the Centre Picasso (Picasso Centre). The painter lived in Horta de Sant Joan in the house of his friend Manuel Pallarès over two different periods (1889-1899 and 1909), the second of which represents the beginning of his cubist period (1 hour and 39 minutes from Tarragona).
And you must visit the town of Miravet, south of the Ebro river, with its impressive castle. This is one of the best examples of western military Templar architecture. You can take a ferry trip across the river on a boat powered solely by the force of the water (57 minutes from Tarragona).
The region of Terra Alta is home to two of the most beautiful cooperative wineries, the Gandesa winery and the Pinell de Brai winery, both designed by Cèsar Martinell, one of Gaudí’s apprentices. The combination of brick, stone and ceramic and the use of the parabolic arch to hold up the vaults gives it an unmistakable style (1 hour and 10 minutes from Tarragona).