Posted by: debrakolkka | May 1, 2011

Tarragona – a pleasant surprise

Tarragona was chosen because that is where we ended up when we decided we had driven far enough for the day. It is on the Costa Duarada – Golden Coast- and about one hour south of Barcelona. It is a very interesting town full of Roman ruins, a legacy of the time it was the Roman town Tarraco.  One of the principal streets, Rambla Vella follows the line of the Via Augusta, the Roman road from Rome to Cadiz. Those Romans got about.

Roman ruins by the beach

Rambla Vella sometime after the Romans were here

We had our last Spanish paella at El Palau del Baro, a restaurant in a lovely old mansion in Carrer de Santa Anna.

El Palau del Baro

El Palau del Baro

It was served by the very friendly Jose. We had ordered just the paella, but Marco, the chef came out to our tabel and told us it would take a while to prepare and suggested we try a couple of his special dishes while we waited. We did, and they were delicious. Thank you Marco.

Jose and the paella

Marco the chef came for a chat

The restaurant was in a beautiful old part of the town. There was a square not far from the restaurant where what looked like an old Roman wall was incorporated into a cafe – what fun. I want one too.

a lovely square in Tarragona

a great backdrop for a cafe

The next morning we did a quick skid around the town before we headed off. We walked to the catheral at the top of the town. It was built between 1171 and 1331 on the site of a Roman temple. It was closed, but it looked impressive from the outside.

walking up to the cathedral

I liked the drinking fountain at the front

decoration on the front of the church

an interesting roof line

was it something he ate?

We came upon an interesting painted house.

a painted house

And a very cute little garden in a tiny courtyard.

a great courtyard

We thought it quite odd that the railway line runs between the town and the sea.

the railway line cuts the beach off from the town

We stayed at Hostal La Noria which is in an excellent position in the main square of the old town, Placa de la Font. We even had a balcony looking over the square. The car park is under the square so we were able to park in front of the hotel – very convenient. The hotel cost 38 euro for a double room with a bathroom.

Placa de la Font

the narrow, red Hostal La Noria

Tarragona is well worth a visit. The beach looks good and there are lots of interesting things to look at in the town. Call in and say hello to Jose and Marco.

Palau del Baro –


  1. It is really great to follow your blog. Your posts are always intereting to read and inspire to travel more!

    • Thank you. I love to travel and see new places and writing the blog makes me more aware of what I see.

      • I was thinking that it must make you seek out even more beauty than one normally sees in order to take pictures for your blog. I am going to pretend I am doing a blog on my next trip!

      • Writing the blog does make me notice things more than I used to. It also helps me to remember where I have been and to find them again if I need to. You think you will remember where that great restaurant was, but sometimes you don’t.

  2. love the painted house. Plenty of personality with that one 🙂

    • I thought it was great – so much fun. Imagine being brave enough to do that to your house.

  3. Love it all.

    • It was a great town, I would be happy to go back for more.

  4. That painted house is amazing! :O Is it a shop or someone’s house?

    • I think it was apartments.

  5. My husband has a friend who lives outside of the town and we’d loved to drive there from Italy some day.

    • The drive is not too bad. We took our time and stopped lots.

  6. Love the decoration on the church. Always amazes me! Is the wall that the painted house is on flat or are some of the windows real??

    • Some of the windows were real and some not, but I can’t remember which.

  7. Ditto to all the comments on the painted house… I’d be running around like a little kid if I saw that! So cool.

    • I think it would be fun to live in it.

  8. awesome photos as always 🙂

    • Thank you. It is easy when you have good subjects.

  9. The Roman Amphitheater by the beach is my favourite. How wonderful.

    • There were Roman ruins all over the town – amazing.

  10. Deb, I can see the advantage of having a car to drive off the beaten track and discover hidden gems in towns like Tarragona with their timeless beauties. The Roman coliseum by the sea is well designed. Imagine having a cool dip in the sea after a hot day in the arena? I love the painted house and the old Roman walls by the restaurant. I recall a similar experience in Arles, where we dined in a friendly cafe next to the Roman amphitheatre on a clear balmy summer night. Those experiences stay long in our memories. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures.

    • Driving all that way can be a bit of a drag, but it means you can stop where you want and, as you say, get off the beaten track a bit. Having said that, the Romans beat that track a very long time ago.

  11. I love the painted house! How lovely 🙂

  12. […] last stop in Spain was Tarragona, a lovely town by the sea just south of Barcelona (click here). We dropped into St Tropez on our way home (click […]

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