Sunday 12 February 2017

Visiting Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain with Children

Last August we took our first holiday abroad as a family and we had an amazing time. So amazing in fact that we are again this year heading back to the Catalonia region of Spain and will be enjoying a holiday with Eurocamp at the Playa Montroig Camping Resort in Miami Platja, Costa Dorada.

One place that I expect we will visit again will be the beautiful historic city of Tarragona. it is the capital of the Catalonia region and a real gem to visit. There is such variety and depth in this city that became a UNESCO World Heritage site in November 2000 when it recognised 'The Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco' (modern-day Tarragona) for its importance as a major administrative and mercantile Roman city.

Visit the Tourist Office
Tarragona is such a big and diverse city there are four tourist offices across the city for you to visit. Either plan your visit out using the internet in advance or arrive at one of the offices and let the very helpful staff advise you how to fill your day.

Make sure you check out the calendar of events in advance as there is so much going on in Tarragona from an international fireworks competition to Tarraco Viva (that looks to raise awareness of ancient Roman history) to L'Home dels Nassos (the man of the many noses) festival. In September you may be lucky enough to be there for the festival for the Patron Saint of the City - Santa Tecla,

Historic Interest - Archaeological Walk
Of course, there are so many historic sites to visit and a wander around the city, quite aimlessly and without a map, if you so fancy means you will take in great views of the remains of the Roman walls, towers, amphitheatre, cathedral and so many other monuments and streets of historic interest. there are also lots of free apps and sites that you can use to map out a free walking tour of the city.

TarracoTren (Land Train)
If you want to do something a little more organised you can book for walking tours, the local sightseeing bus tour or the TarracoTren (a land train). Of course, the kids love to ride the train around the city and at 7 Euros for an adult or 4 Euros for a child (2 - 12 years) it is an inexpensive way to hop on and off the train around the city throughout the day.

Puente del Diablo
This free attraction is supposed to be an amazing visit if you either have a car to get there or can be bothered to take the bus out of town. This 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct bridge is not only beautiful to look at but also offer some wonderful views if you are not scared of heights.

Catedral Basilica Metropolitana Primada de Tarragona
We didn't go into the cathedral last year as time was tight but as Christians ourselves we definitely intend to this year as the Trip Advisor feedback is fantastic with most people saying it is worth paying the additional 2 Euros for the audio guide.

Circ Roma
This is another place we didn't get to visit last time and I've heard that 'the underground tunnels' or Roman Circus is well worth a visit. It stopped being used back in 5AD and much of it went to ruin but parts of this ancient chariot race track are still accessible and help you to see how history might have happened all those years ago.

Pilon's Street
On the way to the cathedral, we walked down Pilon's street and enjoyed all the individually decorated posts and street art. The kids really enjoyed being able to explore this area.

Great Shopping and Markets
As you'd expect from any large city there is a fabulous range of shops in the city, you can browse any as you watch the large grand streets but just a stroll away from the city and you arrive at Parc Central where you will find a massive undercover shopping centre with many brands you'll know like H&M, JD Sports, SuperDry and Zara.

You'll also find the multi-screen Yelmo cinema here but of course, generally, you'll find the films are in Spanish!

On the day we visited there was a huge street market in the Rambla Nova selling a variety of gifts and clothes but most days there is a market somewhere and also the Mercat Central is a permanent fixture.

Fabulous Food and Ice-cream
As you'd expect in any big city there is an amazing variety of food available. We started with breakfast in a marvellous patisserie and they seem to be everywhere. Who knew that the Spanish could make amazing pastries?

Lunch was very simple at Pans & Co where my girls loved the chicken nugget sandwich, never having seen one before but we just opted for this simple lunch as we were heading back to the hotel fro our normal nightly feast and therefore decided we wouldn't splash out on a big meal. We did finish off with superb ice cream from a local shop.

When we go back this time I'm planning to eat at Les Granotes and enjoy a massive mix of authentic Tapas. We stopped at the small park and enjoyed a cool drink here last time as the views over the ancient Amphitheatre are just amazing but the lovely covered terrace keeps you cool on a very hot day.

The City of Human Towers
One of the many interesting things we discovered about Tarragona is that it is the home of the human towers or the Ciutat de Castells. You never know if you will be lucky enough to visit when there is a tower building event going on and there is always the Monumento a los Castellers sculpture who can visit and use for some great photo ops.

Have a look at one of the cities Castell teams in action, it really is a pursuit where the whole team have to pull together and totally trust and depend on each other.

Beautiful Beaches - Cala Fonda
Of course, if you have time on your hands there are lots of beautiful beaches to visit too and just a short walk from the popular Platja Llarga is the relatively unspoilt Cala Fonda or Waikiki beach as it is commonly known. This beautiful beach is surrounded by pine forest, cliffs and lush vegetation.

I hope you've enjoyed our ideas of where you might visit when visiting Tarragona with your children, please do leave a comment if you have any other suggestions too.

Thanks, Mich x

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