Throughout Spain there are thousands of towns whose origins date back many centuries, something that gives these towns a unique charm and environment. That is the case of Tortosa, a municipality located banks of the Ebro river in the province of Tarragona and which is, without a doubt, one of the greatest wonders that can be visited in Catalonia, which is why it is also a perfect destination to make an incredible getaway for a weekend.

This town is full of so much impressive buildings as well as natural spaces that will perplex anyone who enters them. There are multiple reasons why you should visit Tortosa, and in few places in Spain will you be able to find such an incredible mix of culture, architecture, nature, gastronomy and leisure like in this municipality located just two hours from Barcelona.

Castle of San Vicente de Argüeso.

The oldest castle in Cantabria: an old medieval fortress on a hill

The impressive and rich history of Tortosa (Tarragona)

Suda Castle.
Suda Castle.

Although its origin dates back to 6th century BC, and everything seems to indicate that it is the ancient settlement of Hiberia. Its location on the banks of the Ebro meant that both Greeks and Phoenicians like the Romans were interested in controlling it throughout time, although it was with the Roman Empire when the town began its first era of splendor. In fact, it was established as the capital of Bajo Ebro and marked the border between the imperial territories and Carthage.

Its next period of expansion came with the muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, something that can still be seen by walking through its streets and visiting its most emblematic buildings, such as the imposing Suda Castle, which is currently a beautiful Parador. Finally, it was reconquered by Christians in 1148 at the hands of Ramón Berenguer IV, and as if it were Toledo, the Catholics, Jews and Arabs.

The bell tower of Sant Romà de Sau exposed by the drought

The abandoned town of Barcelona that the drought has once again revealed

Another crucial time to understand the development of Tortosa was the 16th century. Tortosa is one of the capitals of the Renaissance, and during that time the town became a cultural center, especially thanks to the construction of several royal schools that turned the municipality into one of the most important places in Spain. In fact, the importance of that period is still remembered in the well-known Renaissance Festival, declared of International Tourist Interest.

A unique experience: sailing along the Ebro River

Llagut lo Sirgador in Tortosa
Lo Sirgador Lute in Tortosa

The longest river in Spain divides Tortosa in two, And the Ebro is the most important part of the entire town. Its waters have served as the scene of battles on numerous occasions, such as during the Civil War in which it was present. Ernest Hemingway, and now you can navigate through them.

At the pier located very close to the urban center you can take from just 12.70 euros for the Lo Sirgador lute, that will take you on a relaxing and spectacular walk along its riverbed with the most imposing buildings in the town as a backdrop. It is an ideal activity to do with the family, although there are also other, much more adrenaline-inducing options.

Conil de la Frontera (Cádiz).

The Spanish coastal town that ‘The Sun’ recommends visiting: “The Spaniards love it and the British don’t know it”

For adventure lovers, you can also explore the river in a canoe, passing through the Xiquina Island and Bull Island and even reaching the Ebro Delta itself. Although it is only an activity for the most daring, it is still an unforgettable way to get to know the spectacular surroundings where Tortosa is located.

The incredible buildings of Tortosa from different periods

Tortosa Cathedral
Tortosa Cathedral

The long and rich history of Tortosa means that it is here that numerous buildings that are imposing as well as spectacular. Its most impressive construction is the aforementioned Suda Castle, which dates back to the Muslim era, although in subsequent centuries such impressive architectural works were also carried out as the Cathedral of Santa María, the Episcopal Palace or the Convent of Santa Clara, all of them built following the Gothic style.

Access road to Trujillo.

Stately palaces and an Arab castle in one of the most beautiful towns in Extremadura and Spain

He Royal College of Saint James and Saint Matthias, the one of Saint George and Saint Dominic and the church that bears the name of the latter are the best examples of Renaissance architecture that can be found in Tortosa. On the other hand, modernism also gained great prominence in the town in the 19th century, as exemplified by the Matadero, the Market or the houses of Brunet, Bau, Grego or Matheu.

Tortosa, nestled between two natural parks

Ebro Delta Natural Park.
Ebro Delta Natural Park.

The buildings are not the only impressive thing to see in Tortosa, and the Tarragona town is located between two natural parks of great importance: the Ebro Delta and the Els Ports Natural Park, two impressive enclaves declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and where you can carry out a multitude of activities to know them in depth, how to complete in bike the Greenway or even ride a horse along incredible sandbanks at the edge of the sea.

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