Tourist’s guide to Tortosa – an ancient city of Spain with a rich history

Tortosa, Spain – a place with a rich and interesting history, standing on the Ebro River. It differs from other Spanish cities in the absence of crowds of tourists and the presence of three cultures at once – Muslim, Jewish and Christian, traces of which can be seen in architecture.

Tortosa view

General information

Tortosa is a city in eastern Spain, Catalonia. It covers an area of ​​218.45 km². The population is about 40,000 people. 25% of the total population of the city are emigrants who arrived in Spain from 100 countries of the world.

The first mentions of Tortos date back to the 2nd century. BC, when the territory was conquered by the Romans. In 506, she moved to the Visigoths, and in the 9th century, the Saracen fortress appeared here. In 1413, one of the famous Christian-Jewish disputes took place in Tortos, which made the city famous throughout Europe.

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Evening Tortosa

Thanks to such a rich history and diversity of cultures, in Tortos you can find both buildings of the Islamic period, as well as Jewish, Christian. This is not difficult to do – go to the Old Town.


Tortosa is an ancient city, so the local attractions are very different from those that can be seen in most other Spanish cities. Almost all of the buildings in the city are built of yellow sandstone, and if you don’t know that you are in Catalonia, you might think that you were in Italy or Croatia.

The local nature is also pleasing – a large number of green parks, boulevards and squares makes the city a popular holiday destination.

However, it is important to note that not all tourists speak with enthusiasm about the Old Town of Tortosa: many say that the buildings are in poor condition, and gradually turn into a pile of garbage. Travelers also note that the city has many dirty and unpleasant places where tourists should not go.

Tortosa Cathedral

The Cathedral is Tortosa’s most famous landmark, which is located in the city center. The cathedral was built on the site of the former Roman forum. Interestingly, the cathedral was previously considered a temple, and in 1931 it was given the status of a basilica.

Tortosa Cathedral

The exterior decoration of the attraction is very unusual for religious buildings: the building is completely lined with sandstone slabs, and when viewed from a height, it has an oval shape. It is also unusual that on the upper floors of the temple there are terraces (tourists are not allowed there).

It is important to know that the Cathedral is not a simple basilica, but a whole temple complex, which consists of:

  1. Museum Here are collected as exhibits relating to the temple, as well as interesting things related to the history of Tortosa. Among the most interesting objects, tourists note old books, music notebooks and an Arab casket made in the 12-13th century.
  2. The main hall. This is a beautiful room with a high ceiling and candelabra. Of most interest is a wooden altar with scenes from the Bible.
  3. Cloatra. This is a covered walk-in gallery that runs along the patio.
  4. Dungeons It is not very large and it cannot be said that this is a very spectacular place. Nevertheless, it perfectly demonstrates the history of the cathedral. Also in this part of the temple you can see several exhibits found during archaeological excavations.
  5. Patio. In this part of the complex there are several small fountains and flowers are planted.

Also on site you can find a souvenir shop, the prices of which are quite reasonable.

Tortosa Cathedral inside
Useful Tips
  1. Pay attention to the tombstones with inscriptions dedicated to the deceased on the walls of the Cathedral.
  2. Keep in mind that photographing in the cathedral is prohibited.
  3. Tourists recommend not to visit the Tortosa Cathedral during the day, because at this time it is very hot, and it is almost impossible on the roof of the cathedral.

Practical information:

  • Location: Lloc Portal de Remolins 5, 43500 Tortosa, Spain.
  • Opening hours: 09.00-13.00, 16.30-19.00.
  • Cost: 3 euros.

Castle of the Court (Suda de Tortosa)

Suda de Tortosa is a medieval hill castle in the center of Tortosa. This is one of the oldest surviving structures of the city. The first walls were built under the Romans. However, the castle reached its greatest dawn under Muslims.

Castle of the Court

In 1294, the fortress became the official residence of King Jaime the Conqueror, so it was equipped with the latest technology (added additional defensive structures) and added new premises.

What can be seen on the territory of the castle of the Court:

  1. The main tower. This is the highest point of Tortosa, and it offers the best view of the city.
  2. The remains of Roman columns are located at the entrance to the complex. About 9-10 exhibits have been preserved.
  3. The cistern is a small basement where reserves were previously stored.
  4. 4 gates: Entrance, Upper, Internal and Middle.
  5. A gun installed on one of the sites.
  6. The arsenal in which military weapons were previously stored. Now – only a small part.
  7. Muslim cemetery. It dates from 900-1100, and is one of the oldest in the country. Most of the graves are destroyed, but some are in good condition.

Tourists note that there are not many visitors to Tortos Castle in Tortos, so you can safely go around all the rooms.

Cannon near the castle of the Court
Some tips
  1. The climb is quite steep, and for inexperienced drivers it is better not to go here by car.
  2. At the top of the hill is a hotel and restaurant.
  3. Sud Castle is an ideal place for beautiful photos, because there are several viewing platforms at once.

Location: Tortosa Hill, Tortosa, Spain.

Gardens of the Prince (Jardins Del Princep)

Gardens of the Prince – a green corner on the map of Tortosa. However, this is not a simple park – a real open-air museum, where there are more than 15 sculptures dedicated to human relationships.

Prince's Gardens

At the entrance to the park there is a small tourist office where you can get a garden map with the Tortosa attractions in Spain marked on it for free. There is also a restaurant and a small shop with handmade crafts on site.

Interestingly, the modern park is located on the site of the former balneological resort. The healing waters of Tortosa were known far beyond Spain, and were even awarded with several international awards.

There are always many tourists in the garden, and the most attention is attracted by 24 sculptural compositions dedicated to the problems of mankind. So, one of the monuments tells about the tragedy of Hiroshima, the other – about the conquest of space by man. One of the most interesting sculptural compositions is “7 stages”, where you can trace the seven stages of the relationship between a girl and a young man.

The central sculpture in the park is called “The Struggle of Humanity”, and is a woven human body. On the sides there are 4 more sculptural compositions with symbolic names: “Beginning of Life”, “Society”, “Loneliness”, “Sunset of Life”.

Prince's Gardens in Tortosa

In addition to unusual sculptures, a large number of rare species of plants and flowers grows in the park, a large collection of cacti from around the world is collected.

  • Location: Castell de la Suda, 1, 43500 Tortosa, Spain.
  • Opening hours: 10.00-13.00, 16.30-19.30 (summer), 10.00-13.00, 15.30-17.30 (winter), Monday is a day off.
  • Cost: 3 euros.

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Market (Municipal Market)

Tortosa Market is one of the largest indoor markets in Catalonia. It is located in a building built at the end of the 19th century, which in appearance resembles a large stone barn. It covers an area of ​​2650 square meters. km

Tortos Market

This is one of the most popular places in the city where both locals and tourists come to buy. On the shelves you can find fresh vegetables, fruits, meat delicacies and sweets.

The fish department is located in a neighboring building (it is new) – there you will find more than 20 species of fish, shrimp, crabs and other inhabitants of the ocean. Be sure to buy local lobsters.

How to get from Barcelona

198 km are shared between Barcelona and Tortosa, which can be overcome on:

  1. The bus. Every 2-3 hours, the bus of HIFE SA leaves from the main bus station in Barcelona. The fare is 15-20 euros (depending on the time of the trip and the day). Travel time is 2 hours 20 minutes.
  2. By train. You need to catch the Re train at Barcelona-Paseo De Gracia station and get to the Tortosa train station. The cost is 14-18 euros. Travel time is 2 hours 30 minutes. Trains run in this direction 5-6 times a day.
French station in Barcelona

You can look at the schedule and buy tickets that are best purchased in advance on the official websites of carriers:

  • – HIFE SA
  • – Renfe Viajeros.

Here you can find information about promotions and discounts.

Prices on the page are for November 2019.

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Useful Tips

  1. Be sure to climb the hill near the Cathedral – it offers a beautiful view of most of the city.
  2. Come to the market in the morning when there are no crowds of tourists there yet.
  3. If you want to save money, you should consider purchasing a Tortosa Card. The cost is 5 euros. It gives you the opportunity to visit the main attractions for free and get a discount at some museums and cafes.

Tortosa, Spain is one of the few Catalan cities where there are interesting sights and no crowds of tourists.

The main attractions of the city from a bird’s flight:

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