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Walking in Catalonia: The Priorat Wine Region 52

Walking in Catalonia: The Priorat Wine Region

Overview

The Priorat wine region with its softly sloping vine-wrapped hills needs to be explored at a slow pace in order to experience the authenticity and beauty of a place that has been able to maintain its natural and cultural heritage. Far away from the crowds, enjoy the fascinating scenery, from the Carthusian monastery of Scala Dei to the scenic cliffs of the Montsant Natural Park, and stunning medieval villages like Siurana.

Catalonia’s Priorat region famously produces some of Spain’s most prestigious wines under the Priorat Denominació d’Origen Qualificada (DOQ). It’s one of just two Spanish winemaking areas awarded this coveted categorisation. Taste the Priorat wine and visit the traditional wineries. Make the most of the trip by enjoying the local gastronomy, savouring local specialities like coques d’ou i de farina (cakes made with egg and flour), castellets de falset (almond biscuits), salted sardines on toast, roasted onions and fig cakes – the list is endless!

Highlights:

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Falset

Arrive at your accommodation in Falset, the capital of the Priorat. Welcome meeting with our local representative. If you have time, visit the palaces near the square Plaça de la Quartera and the church of Santa Maria.

Day 2: Falset – Gratallops

Start today’s hike after breakfast, walking along the ancient bridle path that connected Falset with Gratallops. Enjoy the amazing architecture of the path as you stroll towards your destination. At your arrival at Gratallops, home to several of Priorat’s most high-profile wineries, you will be accompanied by our local guide for a wine tasting.

Day 3: Vilella Alta – La Morera de Montsant

Short transfer will take you to the village of La Vilella Alta. Walk to the village of Scaladei for a guided visit to a traditional cellar where wines are still being produced following the Carthusian monks traditional ways in a hundred-year-old building. Follow the monks’ path to the Carthusian monastery and then to the village of Morera de Montsant, the highest in Priorat and with great views over the region.

Day 4:  Morera de Montsant Circular Walk

Walk up the Montsant mountain range. Enjoy the bareness of its highest parts, and down to a verdant spot of great beauty, called Clot del Cirer. Soak up the views over the region while walking the challenging path with little pebbles rolling under our feet.

Day 5:  La Morera de Montsant – Siurana

Follow the old Carthusian path that joins the monastery with the coast or inland territories, surrounding the Montsant Natural Park to the village of Cornudella. Take part in a wine tasting and a guided visit to a winery of the appellation of origin Montsant. Continue walking to Siurana, the Pearl of the Priorat, following an ancient drystone path.

Day 6: Siurana Circular Walk

Today you walk around the village of Siurana and into the river valley. Discover the prettiest spots of the mythical Kingdom of Siurana. The tiny village was the last Saracen Muslim stronghold of the New Catalonia and the last bastion of the Christian reconquest. In 1153, when the rest of the villages and towns in the area had already been reconquered by the Christians, Siurana maintained its independence, and contained the Muslim border thanks to its strategic location at the top of the hill, in an inaccessible escarpment.

Day 7: Departure or Onward Travel

End of your journey or you can extend your stay to explore the region further or relax at the beaches of Tarragona.

Hotels

On this walking holiday, you will be staying in four and three star hotels, as well at a charming rural hotel in en-suite rooms. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels*: 4**** Hotel-Hostal Sport, 3*** Boutique Hotel Cal Llop, 3*** Hotel El Balcó del Priorat, Rural Hotel La Siuranella

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included, as well as two dinners. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.

Travel

Our recommended arrival and departure airports for this holiday are Barcelona and Reus.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

There is a wide choice of airlines flying into Barcelona including Ryanair and Easyjet. With its airport and train station, Barcelona is the easiest way to travel to Catalonia. From Barcelona and Tarragona you have a direct train service to the village of Falset.

There are regular flights from many European cities to Reus airport, most of which are operated by Ryanair. Take the bus from Reus airport to Reus (20 min journey) and then the train to Falset (runs every 4 hours; 30 min journey). For more information about the train schedule, please visit Renfe.

Private transfers from/to Barcelona available upon request.

Rail

The train journey from London to Barcelona takes about 10 hours (see more details).

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person).

Travel Insurance

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A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with World Nomads to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.

Buy travel insurance online

Country Info

  • Up-to-date travel advice on Spain is available here.

Trip Info

Difficulty Grade: Easy

The route winds through the mountains and vineyards of the Priorat region, along paths without technical difficulties. A good condition is required, however, this route is suitable for anyone who simply enjoys walking (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available all year round, the recommended best travel time is from April to November. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date within the season.

Weather

Catalonia may be a fairly small region of Spain, but the climate varies greatly from north to south. In the coastal provinces of Tarragona you will find a sunny, balmy, breezy climate – typical of the Mediterranean. There is a similar climate across many of the inland towns and villages, too, but in the more mountainous areas of Catalonia, the weather is vastly different. The inland towns and villages of Catalonia typically experience hot and dry summers; often a little hotter than the coastal regions because of the lack of sea breeze. Summers in inland Catalonia can regularly see temperatures between 35 and 40 degrees Celsius. However, temperatures drop significantly overnight, and it can be a much cooler 15 degrees after dark. 

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included

  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information: road book, map of Priorat and Montsant and the daily walks, GPS tracks
  • Welcome meeting with our local representative
  • 6 nights in cosy rural hotels with breakfast included
  • 2 evening meals in La Morera de Montsant
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • Guided visits and wine tasting in the wineries in Gratallops, Scaladei, and Cornudella de Montsant
  • Transfers from the departure or arrival points, as detailed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local representative

Supplements

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable.
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as ‘included’
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions

  • Optional extra nights

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