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Located on the coast in the southeast of Catalonia, 60 miles south of Barcelona, Tarragona is an ancient city with a history alleged to go back to the Phoenicians. It is a destination that offers cultural and historical attractions, including really impressive Roman ruins, good shopping, nightlife and, above all, fine beaches. Tarragona’s beaches, which lie along a 10-mile strip of coastline to the north of the city, can be easily and quickly accessed by rental car.
Who to Book With
Situated just five miles from the city, Reus Airport is the closest international airport to Tarragona. It is principally served by charter flights and low-cost airlines. The much bigger Barcelona Airport is 50 miles to the north of Tarragona. It is reached via the AP-7 toll road and the C-32 motorway. A wide variety of car rental options exist at both of these two international airports, with all of the major companies represented as well as numerous local firms. Furthermore, you can rent a vehicle in Tarragona itself. It is recommended that travellers book online through our car rental comparison website after comparing prices to obtain the vehicle that most closely matches their needs.
Best Time to Go
Tarragona has a mild Mediterranean climate. The summer months of July and August, peak tourist season, see the average temperature in Tarragona rise to the upper 20s (°C). Rainfall is highest in May and the autumn months. Winter temperatures, although cool, are never extreme and snowfall is highly uncommon.
Need to Know Essentials
When hiring a vehicle, you will need to present the following documents:
- An International Driving Permit or a DVLA driving licence
- A passport or another valid form of identification with a photograph
- The same credit card as the one used for the reservation
- A printed copy of the confirmed reservation
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Tarragona’s main sites of interest to tourists are all concentrated in the town centre, making it feasible to see them on foot. Apart from during rush hour, Tarragona’s traffic is generally smooth. The town is well provided with ‘blue zone’ parking areas to allow for downtown parking
Our Guide to Spain is essential reading for motorists.
Tarragona is well served by a range of public transport options, including train, bus and taxi. The train station is a 10-minute walk uphill to the city centre, while the bus station is just two minutes’ walk from La Rambla, Tarragona’s main thoroughfare. Many of its principal attractions can be accessed on foot, but a rental car is worthwhile for daytrips to outlying areas.
Two main options exist to reach Tarragona by RENFE train. The city centre railway station is served by regional Euromed and Alaris trains. There are also night trains to Granada in the south and to the capital, Madrid. The second option is the Camp de Tarragona station, just 10 minutes’ drive outside of town. Here, you can take AVE high-speed trains to a number of major cities throughout the country. It is possible to reach this station by local bus or taxi from the centre of Tarragona.
Tarragona has an extensive metropolitan public transport system, Emtanemambtu, which covers all neighbourhoods of the city and is inexpensive. A one-way fare costs around £0.90 while a 10-ride pass is £4.40. Regional coach travel is provided by ALSA and HIFE.
Taxis operate from Reus Airport to Tarragona 24 hours. Tariffs for the eight-mile trip cost in the region of £35 and the journey from the airport to the centre takes 15 minutes. Among Tarragona’s taxi companies is Taxi Tarragona.
There are several places of interest within easy driving distance of Tarragona. These include beach resorts, medieval monasteries and one of Europe’s foremost amusement parks.
Salou - Located just six miles from Tarragona, Salou is an ancient port and important beach resort on the section of Spanish Mediterranean coastline known as Costa Dorada (the Golden Coast). It has a series of beaches and coves, including a total of no less than 34 blue flag beaches, and a number of historical monuments of note. The Lumine Mediterranea Beach and Golf Community possesses three golf courses as well as other amenities, such as a beach club, shops, a golf school and a restaurant. Salou is a good place to practice water sports and other outdoor activities.
Port Aventura - One of Europe’s largest theme parks and the biggest in the south of the continent, Port Aventura is located seven miles from Tarragona. To get here, take the A-7 coastal highway south. The park has six different areas: Far West, Mexico, China, Polynesia, SésamoAventura and Mediterránia. In addition, there is an aquatic park and several important seasonal events. Admission prices are in the range of £43 per person. Expect long queues for the rides in peak season.
Real Monasterio de Poblet - A super side trip from Tarragona, this beautifully preserved, still active Cistercian monastery dates all the way back to the mid-12th century. Poblet Monastery lies 30 miles inland from Tarragona. To reach it, take the C-14 road and head west as far as the village of Espluga de Francoli. Notable features of the monastery include: a number of royal tombs positioned in overhead arches within the church, as well as some impressively ornate columns and stonework in the cloister. Don’t forget to try a bottle of wine made from grapes grown in the monastery’s own vineyards.