Mataró: The Complete Guide

Port Esportiu De Mataró
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Jorge Franganillo

Mataró is the capital and largest town of the Maresme comarca in the province of Barcelona, within the Catalonia Autonomous Community, Spain. Situated on the Costa del Maresme, south of the Costa Brava, Mataró lies between Cabrera de Mar and Sant Andreu de Llavaneres, approximately 30 kilometers northeast of Barcelona. As of 2010, its population was around 122,932 inhabitants.

History of Mataró

Ancient Origins

Mataró has ancient roots, dating back to the Roman era. Originally known as Iluro, it was an important Roman settlement. Archaeological remains, such as the Roman villa of Can Llauder, highlight its historical significance during this period.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, Mataró evolved into a fortified town. The construction of defensive walls and towers was aimed at protecting the town from pirate raids and invasions. The town’s medieval structure can still be seen in some parts of the old town.

Early Modern Period

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Mataró experienced significant growth due to its strategic coastal location. It became a prominent trading and maritime center, fostering economic development. The town’s shipbuilding industry thrived during this period.

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution brought profound changes to Mataró in the 19th century. The town became a pioneer in the textile industry, with numerous factories and mills established. In 1848, Mataró became the site of Spain’s first railway line, connecting it to Barcelona, further boosting its industrial growth.

20th Century

Mataró continued to grow and modernize throughout the 20th century. The town expanded its infrastructure, improved urban planning, and developed new residential and industrial areas. Despite facing challenges during the Spanish Civil War and subsequent Francoist dictatorship, Mataró emerged as a resilient and dynamic town.

Contemporary Mataró

Today, Mataró is a vibrant and bustling town, known for its rich cultural heritage and modern amenities. It is the capital and largest town of the Maresme comarca, with a diverse economy that includes industry, services, and tourism. The town’s historical sites, beaches, and cultural events attract visitors from around the region and beyond.

Visiting Mataró for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Mataró on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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Best Time to Visit Mataró

Spring

Spring, from March to May, is an excellent time to visit Mataró. The weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 22°C (59°F to 72°F). This season is ideal for exploring the town’s outdoor attractions, enjoying the blossoming parks, and participating in local festivals.

Summer

Summer, from June to August, is the peak tourist season in Mataró. The weather is warm to hot, with temperatures often reaching 30°C (86°F) or higher. This is the best time to enjoy Mataró’s beaches, water activities, and vibrant nightlife. However, it can be crowded, so plan accordingly.

Autumn

Autumn, from September to November, offers cooler temperatures ranging from 14°C to 25°C (57°F to 77°F), making it another great time to visit Mataró. The crowds start to thin out after the summer peak, allowing for a more relaxed experience. The fall colors and local harvest festivals add to the charm of the season.

Winter

Winter, from December to February, is mild in Mataró compared to many other European destinations. Temperatures typically range from 7°C to 15°C (45°F to 59°F). While it is the off-peak season, this time of year is perfect for those who prefer fewer tourists and a quieter atmosphere. Indoor attractions, such as museums and historic sites, can be enjoyed without the summer heat.

Average Temperatures in Mataró

  • January 14°C 5
  • February 15°C 5
  • March 17°C 7
  • April 19°C 8
  • May 23°C 6
  • June 28°C 4
  • July 31°C 3
  • August 31°C 6
  • September 26°C 10
  • October 24°C 12
  • November 18°C 8
  • December 15°C 3

How to get to Mataró

Mataró, located on the Costa del Maresme in the province of Barcelona, Spain, is well-connected and accessible through various modes of transportation:

By Air:

The nearest major airport is Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN).

  • From the Airport:
    • Train: Take the R2 Nord line from the airport to Barcelona Sants or Passeig de Gràcia stations, and then transfer to the R1 train towards Mataró. The total journey takes around 1.5 hours.
    • Taxi: Taxis are available at the airport, and the drive to Mataró takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic.
    • Bus: There are shuttle buses from the airport to Barcelona city center, where you can transfer to a train or bus heading to Mataró.

By Train:

Mataró is well-served by the RENFE Cercanías (commuter) train network.

  • From Barcelona: The R1 line runs from Barcelona (stations like Plaça de Catalunya, Arc de Triomf, and Sants) to Mataró, with trains departing every 10-15 minutes. The journey takes about 40 minutes.

By Bus:

Several bus companies operate routes to Mataró from various cities in Catalonia.

  • From Barcelona: Direct buses from Barcelona to Mataró are available, departing from various points in the city, including the Estació del Nord bus station. The journey typically takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

By Car:

Driving to Mataró is a convenient option, especially for those exploring the surrounding areas.

  • From Barcelona: Take the C-32 highway northbound towards Mataró. The drive takes approximately 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic.

Local Transportation:

  • Walking and Biking: Mataró is a compact and walkable city, making it easy to explore on foot or by bike.
  • Public Buses: The local bus network operated by Mataró Bus provides convenient transportation within the city and surrounding areas.
  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available for getting around Mataró and its environs.

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