The city of Reus in Spain is a real treasure! A hundred kilometers from Barcelona, you’ll find a place with a lot of history, great architecture and brilliant spots for foodies. In any case, I was immediately hooked by the lovely town of Reus and would recommend it any time as a city trip in Spain!
What to see in Reus
The city center of Reus is dominated by Modernist buildings and the flair of a once very rich commercial city. In addition, Reus is still the absolute shopping destination for the south of Catalonia. If you love cozy alleys, old building architecture and small boutiques, this is the place for you. And although Reus, with its 100,000 inhabitants, seems like a village next to a city like Barcelona, there are many interesting sights here.
Looking for more inspiration for your trip?
Here you can find all my tips for Catalonia
At Plaça Prim you can see what an important role Reus once played as a commercial center in Catalonia. The pompous arcades along one side give the square its flair! The square is named after General Joan Prim i Prats, who was born in Reus and fell victim to an assassination attempt in 1870 while later serving as Spanish Prime Minister.
Especially worthwhile here is a visit to the Teatre Fortuny, which should look just as glamorous from the inside, as I was told. Guided tours are not available, but maybe you’re in the mood for a concert or an operetta?
Unfortunately, not all the buildings from the heyday of Reus at the beginning of the last century are preserved in Plaça Prim. Where once the higher society met at the Gran Hotel de Londres, today an unadorned building from the 1970s has taken its place. That’s a shame, but you should still take in the elegant atmosphere of the square.
If you want to get a feel for what Reus used to look like here, it’s worth visiting Foto Niepce. In this photo store on Plaça Prim, founded in 1926, you’ll find a small photography museum with pieces from the history of this traditional family business.
Plaça del Mercadal
The Plaça del Mercadal is another central point in the center of Reus. Here you will find the City Hall, the Gaudí Centre and the opulent Casa Navàs.
If you want to take a little break, here’s the perfect opportunity! My café tips:
Roslena Modern café with self-service and affordable snacks, but at the same time a well-stocked magazine store! Located next to the Gaudí Museum.
Café de Reus Located a bit off Plaça del Mercadal, but you can hardly miss it with its red facade. Great location for drinks & tapas, in the evening there’s also sometimes live music.
Modernism in Reus
Worth seeing buildings from the Modernist period in Reus are the Casa Navàs, the Pere Mata Institute, the Casa Rull or the Casa Gasull. Most of the buildings were designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, another famous representative of Modernism along with Gaudí.
If you are as interested in architecture as I am, you can book a special architectural tour through the tourist information office in Reus, which will take you to and inside many buildings that you definitely wouldn’t have thought of otherwise!
Or you can follow the “Ruta del Modernisme” on your own: 29 of the nearly 80 Modernisme buildings have been combined into a tour. You can get the map at the tourist information office in Plaça del Mercadal.
What is Modernisme?
The architectural style of Modernisme emerged in Catalonia between 1885 and 1920. Similar to Art Nouveau, which emerged in parallel in Germany, Modernisme is characterized by novel curved lines and organic forms. Modernisme, however, was not only a style of architecture, but also a social movement that spanned all areas of life such as art, culture, and politics. One of the most famous architects of this era is Antonio Gaudí.
Built between 1901-1907, Casa Navàs is one of the best examples of the Modernist architectural style. The merchant Joaquim Navàs lived here with his wife on the upper floors, and on the first floor was the family department store until 2018, which now serves as an event location after a change of ownership. The upper floors are still equipped with original furniture. You can visit Casa Navàs on a guided tour.
Personally, I love the playful style of Modernism, but at the same time the vibe of an era in which so much has changed in the whole world in terms of culture and society. In Barcelona, I was always quite taken by the rich detail of houses like Casa Milà, for example, and I don’t know anyone who isn’t fascinated by the architecture there. At Casa Navàs, however, my jaw dropped by excitement. The dedication with which the whole house was designed can simply be felt in every room.
Just for the Casa Navás a trip to Reus is worth it! In the stairwell already, you will realize that you are entering a very special house. My tip: Ask for a tour with Ben – his love for the house is absolutely contagious and he’s a natural as a museum guide! Once I got my dropped jaw back in check, I couldn’t get out of laughing because the tour with him was so entertaining.
The city’s most famous son, Antonio Gaudí, has an entire museum dedicated to him in Plaça del Mercadal. Although Gaudí was born in Reus and spent his entire childhood and youth here before moving to Barcelona, there is not a single building of his in the city of his birth. This is in stark contrast to Barcelona, where he played a major role in shaping the city’s appearance with buildings such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, Casa Batlló and Parc Güell.
Reus & the wormwood
If you’re in Reus, you should definitely try a vermouth. The white wine mixed with herbs and sugar is the traditional drink of the city. In the 19th century, vermouth and the trade with it brought wealth to the city. Around Reus today there are still eight different vermouth producers.
Eating & Drinking in Reus
Even if you haven’t become a fan of vermouth (with its herbal taste, it’s not for everyone), I recommend Vermuts Rofes in Reus. Once vermouth was produced here, now the former manufactory has become an atmospheric restaurant.
Tip: Walk through to the inner courtyard! Here you can try typical Catalan dishes at large, rustic industrial-style tables. And if you wish, treat yourself to a glass of the company’s own vermouth, because Vermuts Rofes is still being produced, just in a different, modern location.
Shopping in Reus
Reus is still the first port of call for the surrounding region when it comes to shopping. In the narrow pedestrian streets of the city center you will not only find the usual suspects like Mango and Zara, but also a surprising number of small boutiques and family-owned stores.
At Colmado Baró you can stock up not only on vermouth, but also on many other typical goodies. Still family-run, this delicatessen has a very special charm. The perfect opportunity for culinary souvenir shopping!
The stylized O behind the name El Barato is still reminiscent of the time of the military dictatorship under General Franco: at that time, the traditional fabric store had to discard its Catalan name “Barat” and change its name to the Spanish variant “El Barato”. Then as now, amateur tailors, designers, artists, folklore groups, and carnival clubs stock up on the wildest fabrics here – and probably spend entire days among the overflowing shelves rummaging through the bales of fabric.
Do you want to spend a few days in Reus?
Here you will find great apartments and small boutique hotels*.
Map with all tips & locations
Here you can find a map with all the spots from the article. So you always have all locations at hand!
How to get to Reus
What is the best way to get to Reus?
Perhaps Reus will sound familiar to you: Reus has an airport that is mostly served by low-cost carriers. This is often advertised as Barcelona-Reus, although Barcelona’s actual airport El Prat is almost a hundred kilometers away. However, most airlines fly to Reus only from spring to fall.
Therefore, the most practical option is to fly to Barcelona. So you can connect both cities!
How to get from Barcelona to Reus
From Barcelona, the best way to get to Reus is by regional train or by bus if you are traveling without your own car or rental car. The route can also be easily driven there and back in one day. Reus is therefore also perfect for a day trip from Barcelona!
➜ For more flexibility: Book a rental car from Barcelona*
What else can you see in Catalonia?
If you are traveling with your own car or rental car, I can highly recommend a tour through the less touristy regions of Catalonia. If you like to be out in nature or go hiking, you’ll find great opportunities here. It is also not far to the Pyrenees, where you can also ski in winter.
Otherwise, Catalonia still has popular resorts on the coast. The Costa Brava and Costa Dorada are dotted with beautiful beaches! Or you can just drive further south along the Spanish coast. In the north of Catalonia, France is already close by, and it is only 170 kilometers from Barcelona to beautiful Perpignan.
The entire coastal region is also easy to travel by train. If you have more time and don’t want to drive yourself, you can plan a great trip through Spain and France this way.
➜ Check train connections of Renfe here (Spanish railroad company)
Many thanks to Catalonia Tourism for the invitation!