Tarragona is a city that can please all manner of people; from history buffs wanting to see some of the best Roman remains outside of Rome to adrenalin-junkies who want to ride the biggest roller coaster in Europe.
The Romans first came to Tarragona in 218 BC, and quickly established the city as the capital of Roman Iberia. Appropriately enough, they built some amazing civic structures that survive to this day, notably the Roman Circus where chariot races were held and the amphitheatre which is extremely well preserved and enjoys an amazing Mediterranean Sea backdrop.
At a more practical level the Romans built the city walls which you can still follow today (start just near the main street La Rambla Nova) and the famous aqueduct. Just gazing up at those huge stone arches, one wonders how many modern structures will endure 2000 years in such excellent condition.
It's not all history though. La Rambla Nova is a lovely wide boulevard lined with shops and cafes that come to abrupt stop at the cliff overlooking the main beach, Platja de Miracle. Parallel to Rambla Nova is Rambla Vella which is the main street of the old town. Wander here to see the 12th century cathedral and the various museums with exhibits of the long period of history that encompasses Tarragona. Alternatively, drift off up or down the coast to one of the many other great beaches such as Platja Larga or Playa El Torn.
For a more exciting day out, Port Aventura is one of the top theme parks in Europe with a good mixture of big white-knuckle attractions like the the Dragon Khan and other gentler rides. To keep cool on a sunny summer day, you might choose the nearby water park instead.
The main fiesta of Tarragona is Sant Magi, in August. Watch the revellers build huge human pyramids, or if you miss it, see the life-size statue in La Rambla Nova instead.