The Romans ruled Hispania, which is what they called the Iberian Peninsula, for seven centuries, from 218 B.C. to the 5th century A.D. During this period, they conquered the entire Iberian Peninsula and along the way, left their mark by building colossal works of architecture that still remain standing today.
Route through the main Roman monuments in Spain
Today we bring you a route through the main Roman monuments in Spain so that you can immerse yourself in a trip to the empire’s past.
Aqueduct of Segovia
The Roman civilization left a great legacy for posterity including as law, water channeling, and numerous architectural works. The Aqueduct of Segovia is one of the best conserved Roman structures and, most of all, the most important work of civil engineering in Hispania.
It was built during the reign of Emperor Trajan (2nd century A.D.) at the time of the empire’s greatest splendor. At that time, nearly all of Europe was under its rule, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caspian Sea and from the north of Africa and to the borders of ancient Caledonia. Thanks to this aqueduct, all of Segovia’s inhabitants had water available, brought from the Guadarrama Mountain Range nearly 10 miles away.
To enjoy this architectural work, go to the Plaza del Azoguejo, walk among its 167 arches, and be awed by the nearly 100 feet tall structure. From here, you can visit the Segovia Fortress, the longtime seat of the Court of Castile and León and, along with the aqueduct, an essential monument.
Italica, in Seville
The city of Italica, located in the town of Santiponce on the outskirts of Seville, is a monument in and of itself. It was ordered built by General Scipio following his victory against the Carthaginians in the 3rd century B.C. In fact, it was the first major Roman city founded in Spain and the first outside of Italian territory.
Here you will find Roman baths, an aqueduct, ancient houses, and an amphitheater which had a capacity of 25,000 people. This shows the importance of this city where, in addition, the Hispanic Emperors Trajan and Hadrian. However, the most surprising thing is without a doubt its notable mosaics, which are very well preserved. They decorated the homes of the wealthiest families. Those found in the house of the planetarium are the most spectacular.
Likewise, from here you can set off on a route to see the most emblematic Muslim monuments in Andalusia, another of the most important civilizations that passed through Spain.
Theater of Mérida
In Extremadura, the ancient province of Lusitania, the Romans left one of the greatest concentrations of monuments in the peninsula. Today, Augusta Emerita (Mérida) still conserves is essence as a Roman city.
You must visit its theater, which has a capacity of more than 3,000 people. Also, if you go in summer, you can enjoy a concert in this extraordinary setting. The Temple of Diana is another essential stop in this city, which in ancient times was dedicated to the cult of the Roman goddess of hunting.
Other Roman monuments that are worth a visit include the Arch of Trajan, the amphitheater, and most of all, the mosaics that this civilization used to decorate the walls and floors of everyday places. With this route through the archaeological remains of Mérida, you’ll get an idea of how these ancient people lived.
Ruins of Baelo Claudia
In addition to being good engineers, the Romans had a great sense of esthetics. A simple glance at the ruins of Baelo Claudia is enough to see that. Those who came ashore at this place fell in love with the marvelous Bolonia beach, which is very close to Tarifa, and decided to found a city with views of the Atlantic.
In this idyllic place, the ancient basilica still stands, presided over by a statue of Emperor Trajan. Baelo Claudia was a strategic point for commerce with the north of Africa and an industrial area dedicated to the salting of fish and the production of “garum,” a very famous sauce in that era that was made of fermented fish intestines.
Make the most of your visit and go for a dip at one of the best beaches in Spain and while you’re at it, take a trip and get to know the capital of the province, Cádiz. Check out our guide on what to see in Cádiz.
Amphitheater of Tarragona
Tarraco, capital of the Roman province of Tarraconensis, was one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. Its amphitheater, which dates from the period of Augustus, is the most noteworthy building in this archaeological site, which was declared a World Heritage Site.
Like in Mérida, there are many vestiges of this civilization in Tarragona. The best plan is to get lost among its streets and run into the ruins of the circus, the forum, its walls, and its theater, among others. Furthermore, you cannot miss the famous Ferreres Aqueduct, nicknames the “Devil’s Bridge,” which is 15 miles from the city.
Roman Theater of Cartagena
Cartago Novo (Cartagena) was one of the cities on the famous Via Augusta, the main transportation and communications network in Hispania which ran along more than 930 miles from the Pyrenees to Cádiz. The Roman theater, which dates from this period, was discovered accidentally in 1988. In addition to Cartagena, don’t miss out on visiting Murcia, a hidden gem that has lots to offer tourists. Discover all there is to see on a two-day trip to Murcia.
Roman Theater of Málaga
Although it is not as impressive as the theaters in Mérida or Tarragona, Málaga has a Roman theater that dates from the 1st century B.C. and was discovered in 1951. It is in an unbeatable location, at the foot of the Fortress in the city center, very close to the Palacio de la Aduana, or the Customs Palace. Once you finish your visit, you can stop by the Nazrid palaces and the Museum of Málaga on these two complexes. Afterwards, continue your route by visiting the Cathedral.
Temple of Augustus in Barcelona
The Temple of Augustus is one of the least known Roman buildings, located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. It was built to honor Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor and the one who ushered in the imperial period. Although it was destroyed with the passing of time, three huge columns remain standing, which were found in the 19th century. So, if you visit the City of Counts, set aside some time to discover this Roman ruin.
House of the Columns (Soria)
The House of Columns is one of the Roman monuments in Spain that is worth a visit. It is easily accessible from Madrid.
Before it was conquered by the Romans, Numancia was a Celtiberian settlement. In fact, the Numantines put up great resistance and forced the empire to bring in its best consuls to fight them. In the end, the city ended up falling after a long siege by Scipio’s army. The House of Columns is the best example of a residence of that era. The remains of its porticoed patio still stand.
Acinipo in Ronda (Málaga)
If you are going to visit beautiful Ronda or its surrounding mountains, a must-see is Acinipo. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most notable Roman monuments in Andalusia. It’s no coincidence that they would choose this strategic location in the mountains surrounded by fertile land to build a new city. In this archaeological site, the theater is conserved in very good condition and you can still view the remains of the walls and baths.
If you are interested in taking this trip to the Roman Empire’s Hispania, don’t hesitate to stay at Senator Hotels & Resorts. The chain has establishments close to all the Roman monuments described in this guide. The hotels have all the amenities and services necessary for a fantastic historic and cultural getaway.