Spanish Coastal Gems – Tarragona, Peniscola, Sitges

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018

Tarragona, Peniscola, and Sitges.  Three cities that we stopped by on our driving route from Barcelona to Valencia and back.  Three cities within maximum 2.5 hours of each other, yet each of these cities carry unique characteristics about them.

Normally, I would suggest people to take the train from Barcelona directly to Valencia, that is, if you’re going only to Valencia.  Instead, what we did was we rented a car.  The cost is slightly higher for renting a car, but factoring in gas, insurance, and toll fees, and the costs make it less attractive considering the sights you see on a train are supposedly similar to the ones you see while driving.  That said, we ended up renting a car because we wanted to stop by other coastal cities as well.

Leon CarLeon.  Funny story – while reaching Valencia, for the longest time I was figuring out how to open the trunk.  I hated this car so much!  Apparently, you needed to lift up the car brand logo for the trunk to open.  Are all European cars designed this way, cause it’s really unexpected cause usually there’s a handle or something for you to do that.

Driving in BarcelonaDriving from Barcelona

 

Tarragona

After having Brunch & Cake in Barcelona, our first stop was to arrive at Tarragona.  We had an appointment with Arcs Restaurant at 1pm, but we were so full that we decided to stop by and let them know we had a reservation, and then come back at around 2:30pm after visiting all the other sights first.

Tarragona was about an hour away drive from Barcelona, and it still gives that medieval, old town feel with Roman characteristics still intact.  There was some sort of market or mini festival going on.

Tarragona

TarragonaNot sure the meaning of this, but I guess at Tarragona poop is gold.

Tarragona

TarragonaA very old, rustic town

TarragonaSome colored buildings give it some vibrancy.

Tarragona

TarragonaInside a shop

TarragonaThey were having some stalls lined up along the streets.

Tarragona

Tarragona

TarragonaSelling wicked pastries

Tarragona

TarragonaFor some reason, there were stall keepers that were dressed as witches that day

TarragonaHuge octopus legs.  It’s probably cursed.

TarragonaOranges with a magical, medieval twist in it

Tarragona

TarragonaWhere wizards purchase their wands

TarragonaI did say it was a medieval city!

TarragonaAbout to be electrocuted

Tarragona

TarragonaSo much magic

National Archaeological Museum TarragonaNational Archaeological Museum Tarragona

Tarragona

National Archaeological Museum TarragonaThe Capitoline Wolf who fed Romulus and Remus, from the legend of founding of Rome.

Tarragona AmphitheatreOne of the famous landmarks there, Tarragona Amphitheatre

Tarragona

Tarragona

Tarragona PikachuAngry PIKAAAA CHUUUU (Crosses arms)

Arcs RestaurantArcs Restaurant (website), opens at 1pm.  As of writing, it’s the #1 restaurant on Tripadvisor in Tarragona.

Arcs Restaurant

Arcs Restaurant

Arcs Restaurant

Arcs Restaurant

Arcs RestaurantA truly amazing tomato soup!  From this dish I thought this was gonna be the best restaurant for this trip.

Arcs RestaurantBecause this was also soooo good!

Arcs RestaurantThen came this dish.  Curry rice with goat cheese and fish, supposedly the fisherman’s catch.  Now I was never a fan of goat or sheep or cow cheese, so maybe I could just be bias, but I’m trying to be as neutral as possible, but it wasn’t outstanding.  Creative?  Sure.  But too salty.  Didn’t even finish it.

Arcs RestaurantThis fish was OK…  In the end, Arcs Restaurant had an incredibly strong start, but couldn’t pull through the finish line.  The last two food items weren’t bad, but my expectations after the first two dishes became very high.

Les Ferreres AqueductAnd this is the Les Ferreres Aqueduct, part of the Roman aqueduct built to supply water to Tarragona, and now is a UNESCO World Heritage.  Skip if you’re running out of time.

 

Peniscola

Peniscola is a city that is located beautifully near the sea.  It reminds me of Santorini that it’s a relaxing, quiet, city where people are there to just “chill”.  Lots of beaches and seagulls as well.  Unfortunately, the sun was setting by the time we got there and it was really cold.

Peniscola

PeniscolaLots of seagulls

Peniscola

PeniscolaVery peaceful.  Not the best of weather as it was rainy and sunny throughout the day.

Peniscola

PeniscolaPeniscola

Peniscola

Castillo de PeñíscolaCastillo de Peñíscola

Castillo de Peñíscola

Peniscola

Peniscola

PeniscolaSun is setting

 

Sitges

While Tarragona and Peniscola was driving on the way to Valencia, Sitges was on our way back to Barcelona to catch our afternoon flight.  Sitges was very close to the Barcelona airport, no more than 30 minutes away, so we thought it would be safer if we went to Sitges when returning as we can leave anytime.

Anyway, Sitges reminds me a lot of Santa Monica, with transparent windowed restaurants lining up side by side, with the same restaurant just across each other’s paths.

Sitges

SitgesMany beautiful houses

Sitges

SitgesDriving to here was a hassle.  There was a Sitges Vintage Car Rally going on that exact same day, so some roads were blocked off, so we had to park our car nearby and walk further than we normally would have had to.

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018People dressed up like the Great Gatsby’s for the Vintage Car Rally

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018You would think you were in a movie set with all these different characters!

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018The Vintage Cars

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018Boot Boot!

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018

Sitges Vintage Car Rally 2018

Can LauryWe visited the #1 Tripadvisor restaurant, can laury (website)

Can LaurySeafood Paella

Can Laury

SitgesAnother restaurant nearby

Sitges

SitgesPerfect sky blue sky

So!  From the pictures above, which one of the three cities would you prefer?  Personally, I probably wouldn’t go back to Tarragona as it’s a bit old and a bit empty, even though it does have character, but Peniscola and especially Sitges are probably more likely; Sitges especially as it’s so close to Barcelona.

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