Madrid to Tarragona

The high-speed AVE service connects Madrid to Tarragona from Madrid Atocha Station. However, there are actually two train stations for the Catalonian city and the direct service only stops at Camp Tarragona, which is about 12kms north of the city centre. The other train station is simply referred to as Tarragona and is located in the city centre. The high-speed service to Camp Tarragona is still the quickest way to get to the city. There are around 10 direct AVE trains linking the capital to Camp Tarragona. And it takes an average journey time of just 2 hours 30 minutes! From there, you can take a taxi or public bus from the train station to the city centre.

For more information on taking the high-speed AVE service from Madrid, see our guide to departing on the AVE from Madrid Atocha Station. But if you’d rather drive from Madrid to Tarragona with the convenience of your own car, see our Madrid Atocha car rental guides. Many car hire suppliers also offer one-way rentals within Spain, which is worth considering if you’d rather start and finish your trip in a different location.

Best in Tarragona Travel

Roman Amphitheatre and Beach | Madrid to Tarragona | Tarragona Travel Guide |

Roman Amphitheatre and Beach, Tarragona © Juan Antonio Segal/Flickr

Tarragona is the capital of the Tarragona province in Catalonia, northeast Spain. It’s an interesting port city boasting Roman ruins and a beach. Indeed, the city’s Roman amphitheatre has a fab location overlooking the beach. The amphitheatre is one of the best attractions in the city. Originally built in the 2nd century, the amphitheatre is believed to have been able to hold more than 12,000 spectators. And around the old town, you can find the remains of the Roman wall that enclosed it. Some sections of the wall remain intact. Three towers: Cabiscol, Minerva and Arzobispo have also been well-preserved.

Les Ferreres Aqueduct is another important historical monument from Roman times. Also known as the Pont del Diable (Devil’s Bridge), the aqueduct is a few kilometres north of the city. Together with the amphitheatre and walls, they have been given UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Best beyond Tarragona

Cala Calafato, Ametlla de Mar | Madrid to Tarragona | Tarragona Travel Guide |

Cala Calafato beach in L’Ametlla de Mar

Tarragona is one of the main gateways to the Costa Dorada (also known as Costa Daurada). This stretch of coast is around 216kms long and is known for having long stretches of golden sandy beaches. L’Ametlla de Mar, Cambrils, and Salou are popular beach towns to the west of Tarragona. And to its east, you’ll find more fab beach towns including Torredembarra and Calafell.

For beautiful mountainscapes, head inland to towns including Prades, Siurana and Tivissa. Located on the coast 90kms west of Tarragona, the Ebro Delta Nature Reserve offers more picturesque natural landscapes including a labyrinth of lakes and untouched beaches. Close to the Reserve, Sant Carlos de la Rapita is an attractive fishing village and known as the capital of gastronomy in the Costa Dorada. Specialties include oysters, prawns and eels.

Reus Airport and Barcelona Airport are the nearest airports to Tarragona. Both are good options if you’re ending your trip here and need to return a car hire.