Tarragona Off The Beaten Path

  • Dolphins show (time).
    Dolphins show (time).
    by Jerelis
  • Our start at Port Vell.
    Our start at Port Vell.
    by Jerelis
  • Watching animals is fun!
    Watching animals is fun!
    by Jerelis

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Tarragona

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    Convent of the Barefoot Carmelites

    by Oleg_D. Written Feb 6, 2014

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    Convent of the Barefoot Carmelites was built between 1896 and 1918 and then it religious foundation become one of the most famous educational institution of Tarragona. Have a look at the pictures, just to make sure this convent is excellent example of neogothic architectural style. Although I’m no fan of neogothic, this convent really impressed me. Unfortunately only the church is opened for public.

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    Day three in Barcelona.

    by Jerelis Written May 21, 2013
    The front facade of Sagrada Familia.
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    Most people try to rush Barcelona on a budget so they end up missing some of the highlights in a whirlwind. The key to seeing Barcelona properly is a game plan, you must know what you want to see before setting out. Before we visited Barcelona we saw on a city map that the huge city of Barcelona is divided into multiple areas and those areas are to be visited seperately at their best. We visited the city three times, and hiked our way through all areas.

    Our last visit (day three) was at the Sagrada Familia, the Pau Hospital and Parc Guell. When we arrived at La Sagrada Familia we were gladly surprised by the fact that it wasn't that busy at all. Of course we had our mind set on visting the towers. Steep stone steps - 400 in each - allowed us access to the towers and upper galeries. After our strenous walk down the spiral staircases we had a well deserved refreshment and after that we entered the Sagrada Familia for a closer look at the interior, but this led to a huge disappointment. La Sagrada Familia was completely empty ... everything was taken out for restauration ... O gheee ...

    Sometimes there are places you want to see, and in advance you know that you won't be disappointed once you're actually there. The Hospital de la Santa Crue i de Sant Pau is one of those places. Despite of being within viewing distance of La Sagrada Familia, or perhaps because of it, many people pass by Hospital de Sant Pau, a beautifully ornated building. Such a shame to pass by! Gaudi's work is admired by architects around the world as being one of the most unique and distinctive architectural styles. His work has greatly influenced the face of the city of Barcelona architecture and you will see Gaudi's work all over the city. You simply can't miss it! Park Guell is just one of Gaudi's creations and lies north of Barcelona centre. The park is full of narrow twisting pathways which meander through the park. Amazing to witness! The real Barcelona?

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    Day two in Barcelona.

    by Jerelis Written May 14, 2013
    Dolphins show (time).
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    We visited the Barcelona Zoo at our second visit to the city of Barcelona. We knew that didn’t want to speed through the Zoo like a whirlwind and therefore took our time (maybe the entire day) for having an extensive look at this amazing Parc Zoològic. We parked our car at the car park under the Arc de Triomf. Maybe it is not the cheapest car park, but is very close by and ideal for this occasion. There is also a metro station at Arc de Triomf, so take your pick. From the Arc de Triomf it is just a short walk towards (and through) the Parc de la Ciutadella, where the Zoo is located. Walking towards the Zoo made us just wonder where we were exactly, because the Parc de la Ciutadella was such a beautiful park. We saw amazing building, impressive fountains and beautiful spots just to chill and relax. Therefore we did decide not to walk to the Zoo in one straight line, but just to have a quick look around in the Parc de la Ciutadella en we were not disappointed about that.

    The Zoo is also a great place and do take time to meander - losing yourself in the maze of alleys and lanes is one of the Barcelona's Zoo's principal pleasures. The streets wind and wander with no discernible order or object. After our stroll we rewarded ourselves with a cool glass of beer or wine for our effort! After our refreshments we headed to the Aquarama, were there was a show at 1 pm and we were right on time, because it was already getting crowded. Just imagine that the Aquarama is home to four Common Bottlenose Dolphins from the Barcelona Zoo collection, and will offer spectacular performances everyday for huge audiences. Especially for the kids this was a grand experience. We saw the dolphins play with the trainers, water jets, toys, ice-cubes and sometimes even with some guests! It’s just great to see how the dolphins and trainers demonstrate how well they work together. We learned that you won't do justice to the entire Zoo of Barcelona whenever you won't visit other parts than just the main sights and animals. So ... do meander, but the more secret pleasures of the hushed backstreets with some exoting animals to watch at are just entrancing.

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    Day one in Barcelona.

    by Jerelis Written May 3, 2013
    Our start at Port Vell.
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    Barcelona is a city a lot of history indeed. On our first visit to Barcelona we explored the area of the Gothic Quarter The medieval town had its golden age between the 11th and 16th century and despite several changes undergone in the 19th and early 20th century, many of the buildings date from Medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona. This rather compact part of the city of Barcelona Pals is easy to get around, and the ideal place to explore on foot. The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is Spain, and yet it is a culture unto itself. It was an small city of the ancient Roman Empire and its legacy of monuments can be admired in the streets to this day. This part of Barcelona is definitely about getting lost among the narrow streets and discovering a plaza you've never seen before.

    We started Port Vell, this old harbour stretches from the Columbus Monument to the Barceloneta and offers great possibilities to enjoy some leisure time. We continued our hike to Las Rablas and visited the historical Mercat de la Boqueria. We did walk around for almost an hour and we smelled (and almost could taste) the aromas from the various exotic flowers, fruit and vegetables, willow works, fish and other local Catalonian products. Closeby is the famous Plaça Reial which attracts a very mixed crowd. By the time we were there we saw tourists taking photos of the fountain or having a good look around, locals and expats having a drink on the terrace, street performers, and immigrants who pass by selling beer (illegally) on the street. Finally we ended up at the main square, called Placa de Catalunya on which all these beautiful historical buildings are situated. This square is the natural centre of the city of Barcelona: a stage for various minor and major events, a reference point, a meeting place and the starting point or destination for walkers who want to discover the city. So we can honestly state that the best way to explore the Gothic Quarter is by foot and the second best way is also by foot! Besides giving you the opportunity to roam the narrow streets and the cozy squares, it is the quickest way too. If you really want to, you can cross the Gothic Quarter in approximately 50 minutes. Remember that sometimes it might be quicker (and nicer!) to take a few short-cuts into picturesque alleys instead of following the masses of tourists. Maybe this is easy for us to say as we stayed for a longer period of time and not like most of the tourists only for one day. But even when your stay is rather short, do try to get away from the crowds and just have a 'look around'. The Gothic Quarter is simply a perfect place to walk for a few hours and pretending to know where you are.

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    El Pont del Diable - Ancient engineered waterway.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Arriving at El Pont del Diable.
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    When we decided to visit Tarragona I had my mind set on seeing El Pont del Diable. Seeing the pictures on the internet and reading about it in our travel guide just made me wonder -> This is something I have to see! And I must say, we haven't been disappointed.

    But first of all, most people visiting Tarragona go by car to see El Pont del Diable, the famous section of the Roman aqueduct. But, it is also accessible by foot, allowing for some pastoral surprises along the way. We started this hike of 1 hour at the Tarragona Cathedral and rambling footpaths lead past farmhouses, alomond, hazelnut and olive groves, hermitages, abondoned mansions and other ancient aqueducts. Vestiges of ancient engineered waterways ring the northern fringes of Tarragona, and although El Pont del Diable is the most celebrated section, it is not the only one.

    The route we hiked was rather easy to follow as it was well-marked with red and white stripes painted onto walls and rocks. When we arrived at the entrance of the parc that lead us to the aqueduct, our vains were pumped with excitement!

    Directions:
    It's about 4 kilometers outside Tarragona, follow the A7 to Valencia and you can see a well-signposted rest area.

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    El Pont del Diable - Seeing is believing.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Iris is having a look around.
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    In olden days, Tarragona dealt with its water problem by collecting rainwater, digging wells and engineering water courses that allowed a flow of water from higher elevations into the city. The Romans began the construction of their first aqueduct in Tarragona in 200 BC, bringing water to the distribution tanks (castella aquae) located around the city. They took advantage of the natural slope of the land, although in places it was necessary to built aqueducts. The aqueduct of Les Ferreres, better known as El Pont del Diable, is a good example of this and is probably the most famous stretch of this aqueduct and serves as one of the architectural symbols of the city.

    Seeing it was believing it! It's trully amazing to even think about the fact how people must have done that all those years ago. So perfectly produced and productive for what it's exact purpose. We simply stood awe for a couple of minutes, just to admire its beauty and huge structure.

    Directions:
    It's about 4 kilometers outside Tarragona, follow the A7 to Valencia and you can see a well-signposted rest area.

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    El Pont del Diable - Impressive architecture.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    All the way on top of the Aqueduct.
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    El Pont del Diable was built in the first century AD over a natural valley, it carried water from the present-day Puigdelfi to Tarraco. It consist of two rows of super imposed arches built with stone blocks (opus quadratam). The lower section has eleven arches, each 6,30 metres wide and 5,70 metres high. The upper 25 arches are of similar size. The maximum height of the aqueduct is 27 metres and it is 217 metres long. How about that!

    When we were there we had a little chat with the supervisor of the parc in which El Pont del Diable is located. He took me to the top of the aqueduct. The view was terrifying high, but trully amazing. He also told me that the water conduit that runs along the top of the arched structure would originally have been covered. Besides that it is water proofed with a special type of mortar to prevent leaks. We simply can draw up one conclusion: the simplicity of its form, perfection of its proportions and monumentality of its size makes it one of the most impressive architectural structures we have ever seen.

    Directions:
    It's about 4 kilometers outside Tarragona, follow the A7 to Valencia and you can see a well-signposted rest area.

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    El Mèdol - Trying to find it???

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The entrance of El M��dol.
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    One of the most outstanding features of Tarragona city is its important monumental heritage which is currently being evalueted by UNESCO to see whether it can be awarded World Heritage status. In 218 BC the city was invaded by the Romans who established themselves there and converted it into the capital of 'Hispania Citeror' calling it Tarraconenses. In 45 BC Julio Caesar made it into a colony. Most of the monuments which form the city's cultural heritage were built during this Roman occupation: the ampitheatre, the aquaduct, the city wall and for example El Mèdol.

    I was quite triggered to get there, but my patience was tested on trying to find it! I went by car and saw a clear sign coming from the A-7 motorway, but once I took the exit, there were no signs anymore. I drove around in the area for over 15 minutes, just trying to find a sign or any other clue where to go. Trying to figure out what to do, I stopped next to a service area close to the exit of the motorway. All of a sudden I saw a sign of El Mèdol. Quite bizarre to find my way this way. But anyway ... I parked the car and started to hike towards the sign. Time for some real action.

    Directions:
    Coming from the A-7 motorway, stop at the service area. Follow the sign for over 1 kilometer and stay at the historical Via Augusta.

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    El Mèdol - Its size and state are spectacular.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The 'pin' in the middle of the Roman quarry.
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    I did walk via a small road with beautiful trees on both sides of it, of which I later learned that this road was the old an historical Roman road 'Via Augusta', which used to link Rome with Tarragona. I hiked for over one kilometer and again, I did not see anymore signs to lead the way. But just when I lost hope I entered a small square and next to it I saw the pink entrance facade with the name 'Mèdol' on it. I was there ... finally!

    It was quite weird to witness, but I was really the only one around. Was I the only one interested in this beautiful site? I could not imagine that. Just after the entrance facade an UNESCO sign said that in ancient times, stone was one of the main materials used in building. Each city had its own local quarries, although it was quite common to import types of stone not found in the area, usually by sea. The most common imported material was marble. Mainly calcareaous stone was quarried in the area around Tarragona. There are about a dozen of quarries, but the most spectacular of which, both for its size and its state of preservation, is El Mèdol.

    Directions:
    Coming from the A-7 motorway, stop at the service area. Follow the sign for over 1 kilometer and stay at the historical Via Augusta.

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  • Jerelis's Profile Photo

    El Mèdol - It's like a huge crater.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Golden-yellow coloured Miocene lumaquela.
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    I did hike around for quite some time and I just tried to imagine how many people must have worked here (at the same time) and how they must have chopped the stone out and transported it to the city. The first thing I noticed was the huge monolithic block in the centre, indicating the original height of the rock. Amazing! El Mèdol is like a huge crater, some 200 metres long and between 10 and 40 metres, excavated over a long period of quarrying during Roman times. Like I already said before, at its centre is a needle of rock which has been left unecavated. I stood right next to it and it gave a true feeling of the enormous work that has been in progress here a long time ago.

    The stone from El Mèdol is a golden-yellow coloured Miocen 'lumaquela'. It's very easy to work and was used on a large number of Tarraco's most important buildings. It is also thought that the quarry was already used in medieval times. The stone blocks were transported to the city along Via Herculea, later known as Via Augusta. The last incredible fact I learned was that approximately 50,000 cubic metres of rock were cut from the quarry.

    Directions:
    Coming from the A-7 motorway, stop at the service area. Follow the sign for over 1 kilometer and stay at the historical Via Augusta.

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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Barcelona - vivid capital of Catalonia

    by Raimix Updated Feb 8, 2011

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    Barcelona is one of the main towns in Spain, one of the most important ports in Mediterranean sea region and Europe’s one of most touristy places.

    Barcelona is probably the most known by modernistic Gaudi architecture, including main sight – Church of Holy Family (Sagrada Familia). Barcelona has nice old part with medieval Cathedral, active Rambla street, nice seaside port, Montjuic hill with parks and historical monuments.

    Tarragona is about 85 kilometres from Barcelona.

    For further information watch my Barcelona VirtualTourist page.

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    Montserrat - mountains and monastery

    by Raimix Updated Feb 8, 2011

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    Montserrat is an escape to quite unusual Spanish mountains and monastery. Montserrat means “Teeth Mountains”, actually mountains look like teeth. The research showed that such form mountains were formed due to the sea water polishing in prehistoric times.

    Monastery is known from medieval times, but got new look in 19th century and it stands in 800 meters high mountains. What is more, it is possible to walk or take funicular to 1236 meters high place. Place is famous for keeping statue of St. Mary.

    Taragona is about 100 kilometers from Serra de Montserrat.

    For further information watch my Serra de Montserrat VirtualTourist page.

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    Mausoleo de Centcelles

    by DSwede Updated Nov 20, 2010

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    Arches outside of Mausoleum

    Built on the site of an ancient Roman Village, it was then turned into a mausoleum in the 5th century.

    It is an off-the-beaten-path tip for Tarragona, because it is actually 6km to the north in the small town of Constanti.
    To get there from Tarragona -- take N-241 north and follow the signs to Constanti (do not get on the Autovia or Autopista). Once you enter Constanti from the south, follow the signs to Centcelles. Constanti is north of Autopista AP-7 and west of N-240.

    Opening Hours:
    Junio a Septiembre, de 10:00 h. a 13:30 h., y de 15.00 h. a 18:30 h.
    Octubre a Mayo, de 10:00 h. a 13:30 h., y de 15:00 h. a 17:30 h.
    Festivos, de 10:00 h. a 13:30 h.
    Lunes cerrado (Closed on Mondays)

    After you have made your short tour of the Mausoleum, if you continue on the small road for another ~300m, you will cross a small creek, then on your left hand side will be a still-functioning Roman aqueduct. It only takes a few minutes to park and walk around, but is an impressive sight to see.

    From unknown author:
    "In the I century there was an important Roman village in that place which was abandoned and it was in the V c. that it was reformed, later on, the mausoleum was built. This big mausoleum has a unique sepulchral chamber for must one person; this fact shows us that it was the tomb of an important Roman patriarch whose identity is unknown. The German archaeologist Schlunk thought that it was the tomb of the Emperor Constant I, Constanti's son, who died in the year 350 in Elna, near the Pyrenees... The imperial character of the mausoleum explains the beauty, magnitude and high quality of the mosaics (partially preserved). These mosaics, covering the dome of a Christian building, are the most ancient in the whole old Roman Empire."

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    Monestir de Montserrat - Self supporting tour!

    by Jerelis Updated Sep 10, 2010

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    Rlinde and Iris lightning a candle in Santa Cova.
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    To be completely honest we don't like the guided tours that much. We definately prefer to have a look around ourselves and explore the historical grounds by just watching and learning. The guided tours are so well attended that you're unable to hear the guide anyway and we therefore we think that you will miss out on the beuatiful details and it's also one type of tourism we don't like ... the massive groups of people wandering around (and getting in your way!).

    We took our self-guided tour with some help of a map and booklet. This itinerary lead us to the most significant monuments and areas of the Sanctuary, such as the Basilica and the throne of Our Lady of Montserrat. We learned the amazing Montserrat's history through some of its architectonic and sculptoric remains and the story which was told to us by some people we spoke to. Finally we visited Montserrat's Museum which owns an important collection of modern painting, with works by Dalí, Casas, Picasso, Rusiñol, Monet, et cetera. We also saw archeology of the Biblical East and painting from 13th to 18th century, with an exceptional work by Caravaggio. So at the end of the day we could say that we had a great time at this historical place, a real pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain!

    Address:
    08100 Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain.

    Directions:
    56 kilometers north western of Barcelona.

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    Swimming in the mountains

    by DSwede Updated Jul 3, 2009

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    Mountain swimming hole

    On the road from Tarragona/Reus to Prades, you will climb up the mountains on a series of beautiful winding roads.

    Check out your road map and make your path take you anywhere near the two large lakes. The lake is a result of damn, but as you can see, has a nice backdrop.

    Many locals will come up here, rest in the sun, swim in the water and spend a leisurely afternoon.

    The water level varies depending on rainfall and other conditions, therefore the shoreline can vary. But since it is a mountain/dam, there really is no beach, but instead a steep gravel shore line. Bring sandals or shoes that can go in the water.

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