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Catalonia – El Priorat

  • 7 Night Route

    Price From: £755
  • 6 Night Route

    Price From: £690
  • 5 Night Route

    Price From: £630

Along monastery trails to the holy mountain

Back to Routes
Poblet

Poblet

Siurana

Siurana

Bathing pools

Bathing pools

The cliff path at Siurana

The cliff path at Siurana

That cliff path again (alternative path available too!)

That cliff path again (alternative path available too!)

Porrera

Porrera

Poblet

Poblet

Monastery at Poblet

Monastery at Poblet

Escaladei

Escaladei

Cave drawing

Cave drawing

Standing on the cliff edge is optional!

Standing on the cliff edge is optional!

Price: £755
Nights: 7
Grade:
Walk: 5-7½ hr/day
Max. party size: 10

Travellers Reviews

The holiday was extremely well organized.

I especially appreciated the quality of the walking notes and maps as well as level of responsive service from your staff. I also liked the walking sections described in time rather than distance. The few times I was confused about the direction I strictly timed myself according to the notes and was able to discover the correct path.

Peter Hartman, San Francisco, June 2016

This was definitely our best holiday with On Foot!

And possibly with any other walking company!! There was really nothing to fault. everything worked like clockwork and the scenery and views were breathtaking.For me probably the highlight was the wild flowers. After a late spring they were at their best. We also enjoyed interesting food and great wine throughout and enjoyed the two nights at Mas L'Arlequi.

Lindsay Driscoll, Bradford on Avon, June 2016

Route was delightful!

Enjoyed birdsong, flowers and herbs under foot, great views of mountains and wooded valleys and then on to terraces of vines. Lovely!

Stephanie Rae, Edinburgh, May 2016

More independent feedback
About the Route

At a glance

7 nights (6 walking days) - the full route. We recommend a day in Barcelona, an extra night (in Poblet) and wine-tasting at the end of the walk.

How much walking?

Full days: 12-22 km per day, 5-7½ hrs walking.
Using shortening options: None

Max. Grade:

Two monasteries and fine wine

This walk, only an hour from Barcelona, is a must for the cultured hedonist. Despite the relatively rain-free climate the streams flow all year, and coming across a remote bathing pool on a warm spring day, perhaps diverting to some obscure neolithic rock art, are delights truly to be savoured. The route crosses the hills between two fine abbeys – Poblet and Escaladei – the former thriving and active, the latter now being restored as an archaeological site of major significance. This is the abbey that put the “prior” in “Priorat” – as the abbey owned most of the land you walk through, including the fine-wine-growing land of the same name.

The footpaths through these glorious hills are well signed, and take you from Poblet abbey, via the medieval town of Prades, to the “Holy Mountain” – Montsant – from which you descend to Escaladei in its valley fastness, and are thus able to appreciate from above its extent and former majesty. The walk is not yet over though – the final day is really one for wine-buffs, through the major vineyards of the Priorat (Robert Parker made one vintage his wine of the century with 100/100 on his famous scale), to a final night either by the old bridge in the beautifully positioned village of Porrera with its wine-tasting opportunities. (Please note that owing to illness, our accommodation in La Vilella Baixa is unavailable until further notice.)

Walked by On Foot staff: Simon, Debbie

REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit Aito.com.

Route Highlights

  • Medieval Montblanc
  • The spectacle of ‘light and stone’ that is Poblet Monastery
  • Two nights in a stylish “Mas”
  • Ancient mills and secluded bathing pools
  • The walk to the citadel of Siurana
  • Climbing the holy mountain – Montsant
  • A birdseye view of the Monastery of Escaladei
  • Priorat wineland and wine-tasting

We Recommend

A stay in Barcelona at the end (or start!) at one of our hand-picked hotels or B&Bs. A stay at Masia del Cadet (Poblet) after your first night in Montblanc. Wine tasting at the end of the walk in Porrera

Eating and Drinking

Dani at Mas de l’Arlequi (nights 2 and 3) recommends stuffed aubergine with a Castell de la Comanda (Reserva 2006) D.O. Conca de Barberà.  Wine tasting is possible in Poboleda as Mas Doix (requires an extra night there) or (and?!) Porrera at Celler Cal Pla (usually requires an extra night), so do ask us if you are interested.

How much Walking?

Full days: 12-22 km per day, 5-7½ hrs walking.
Using shortening options: None

Hills and valleys rather than real mountains, and on tracks or footpaths. Some steepish and hilly sections. Highest point on route: 1,200m.

Medium: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 632m per day (350m-810m).

GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for complete route.

Important note: Times given for each day are  walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops.  “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb.  See “Walk Grading” for more information.

When to go?

The best months to walk: April, May, June, September, October

Other possible months: July, August, November

Best walked in spring and autumn, summer walking is also possible in view of the cover, at least for the first part of the walk, and because the natural pools should be full of cooling water for a dip en route.  The final two days’ walking are very exposed, and only those who are completely happy in the heat should try the final day in July or August – though a lift is always possible on the day.

Use the calendar below to see in more detail the best times to walk.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for Prades

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Arrive in Montblanc

Arrive at Carles and Carme's pretty pension in the historic centre of Montblanc, freshen up, wander around the little town, consider your dinner options (you may like to eat at your pension, and enjoy a demonstration of how to assemble tosta catalana which will stand you in good stead for the rest of your holiday) and relax while you plan your first walking day.

Option

While our standard holiday includes a transfer the next day to Poblet Monastery to start your first walk, by adding an extra night you can spend the following morning having a look around Montblanc before setting off on foot to Poblet.  It would be a short but lung-expanding start, with a couple of hills and two "Ermitas" to explore along the way.  The stay that night would be at Poblet's best known Hotel Masia del Cadet. (3½ hrs, 9 km, CUSs 500m).

Day 2 - Poblet to Rojals

Your holiday starts properly, after a short transfer (if staying the previous night in Montblanc rather than Poblet – see above) to Poblet Monastery, a working and thriving Cistercian community founded in 1151. A visit to the lovely church and old refectory is a must, and you can even have an early lunch here before your exertions. The afternoon’s walk is a good leg stretcher, up into the hills of the Muntanyes de Prades, inspecting an ice house and winding your way past the pretty village of Rojals to a stylish and beautifully situated ‘Mas’ (with occasional views to the Balearics), where you will stay for two nights.  (Medium-hard: 5 hrs, 12 km, CUSs 780m)

Day 3 - The Farena Circuit

A descent down to explore the rock pools (yes – take your swimmers) and then along past the old mills (paper and grain) of the Brugent river, to a stop for a simple lunch (if your picnic is insufficient) at El Brugent in Farena. Perhaps take a moment to interpret some rock art on your return. A tough day – but worth it.  (Medium-hard: 6 hrs, 14 km, CUSs 800m)

Day 4 - Rojals to Prades

A longish but easier walk along the ridge top – the highest point of your route at 1203m – with spectacular views east to the Mediterranean and north to the Pyrenées, passing more ice houses and with the opportunity for small detours to the Coves del Pere and the Roca del Gringol. Arrive in the little town of Prades, the villa vermella and centre for the region.  (Medium: 5 hrs, 14km, CUSs 500m)

Day 5 - Prades to Cornudella de Montsant

This is a lovely day along the valley of the Siurana river, complete with swimmable rock pools, followed by a climb up to the winding streets of the hilltop citadel of Siurana. Descend after a glass of beer or two to the wine town of Cornudella – you have arrived in Priorat wine country. We will have booked you into El Bassot restaurant for a Catalan food-and-wine experience.  (Medium: 5½ hrs, 16km, CUSs 350m, or save one hour with taxi start (pay locally))

Day 6 - Cornudella to Poboleda

An ancient monastery path takes you up the holy mountain of Montsant, with views for miles. After the wild and desolate top, descend to the pretty village of Morera for (we suggest) lunch in a traditional village cafe, before a gentler afternoon’s walk to the former Carthusian monastery of Escaladei, nestling in its wooded valley. After a visit, your evening walk is back into the Siurana valley and the striking village of Poboleda, where you stay at a noted restaurant. (Hard: 7½ hrs, 21 km, CUSs 810m) OR try our valley walk to avoid Montsant (a 500m ascent) completely – medium: 6½ hrs, 18km, CUSs 350m)

Day 7 - Poboleda to La Vilella Baixa OR Porrera (depending on your chosen itinerary)

If you can avoid a vineyard visit in the morning (plus wine tasting), your final day’s walk is in the heart of Priorat, through vineyards made known to the world by Robert Parker’s first 100/100 score. But first, over the col to the old wine town of Torroja and maybe an early lunch. Afterwards wind through vines to Porrera, a steeply-positioned, lively village with additional wine-tasting opportunities.  (Medium: 5 hrs, 13km, CUSs 550m)

Option

If staying at Porrera and you arrive early (by mid afternoon) or are spending two nights there you can tour wineries and vineyards of the famed Priorat wine area.  Contact On Foot Holidays for further details.

Departure day

A night or two more to relax, wander, and read seems a must, but you might just have to return home (taxi to Reus airport or railway station included in the price). Or why not extend your stay with a few days in Barcelona?

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY AIR

The best airport is Reus though intercontinental flights use Barcelona.

Land by: Reus 17:00; Barcelona 17:00 for train connections to Montblanc (1½ / 3 hrs)

Return flight earliest: Reus no limit (taxi to Reus airport or train/bus station included in holiday price); Barcelona 14:00 for bus connection from Reus.

Land by/earliest return flight times not applicable if using pre-booked taxi directly from or back to either airport.

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.

For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.

See “getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information.

ARRIVING BY TRAIN

Nearest railway station:

Start: Montblanc

Finish:  Reus (taxi to station included in holiday price)

Typical rail journey from UK via Paris:

London:  London to Paris by Eurostar leaving London St Pancras at 09:17 on Monday-Fridays, 09:22 on Saturdays & Sundays, arriving Paris Nord at 12:47.  Cross Paris by metro or taxi to the Gare de Lyon, just 2 stops on RER line D.  Paris to Barcelona by double-deck high-speed TGV Duplex leaving Paris Gare de Lyon at 14:07 daily and arriving Barcelona Sants at 20:40.   Then (if not spending night in Barcelona) AVE to Camp de Tarragona (then 30 min taxi – not pre-bookable)  arriving Montblanc around 23.30 (~13 hrs),  Look at www.seat61.com/Spain.htm , and follow the London to Girona link for details, tips and other options and www.bahn.de for full timetables.

Reus:  As above in reverse (though substitute Reus for Montblanc).

 

Getting to the start of the walk

Transfer times and methods are suggested for Reus and Barcelona airports below. For train arrival transfers also see below.

REUS AIRPORT:

Outward: bus to Reus station hourly, ~25 mins, then 3 afternoon trains a day to Montblanc, ~35 mins OR pre-booked taxi from airport to hotel in Montblanc ~45 mins

Return: Taxi from final hotel to Reus airport included in holiday price ~45 mins

BARCELONA AIRPORT:

Outward: Train every half-hour to Barcelona Sants ~22 mins, then 4 afternoon regional trains direct to Montblanc ~2 hrs+ (~4-5 hrs total including waiting) OR pre-booked taxi from airport direct to Montblanc hotel  ~1½ hrs Return: Taxi to Reus station ~40 mins included in holiday price, then train to airport via Sants ~hourly ~1½ hrs, then train every 30 mins to airport ~22 mins OR pre booked taxi direct from final hotel to Barcelona airport ~2 hrs.

Coming by train and transfers to/from stations:

Outward: Montblanc – hotel within walking distance of station. Camp Tarragona (AVE) – pre-booked taxi necessary ~45 mins.

Return: Taxi to Reus station ~45mins included in holiday price.  Camp de Tarragona for AVE fast trains to Barcelona Madrid and the rest of Spain – supplement for extended taxi ride ~1 hr total.

For pre-bookable taxi costs, see “Prices”
Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.

Where You'll Stay

From Carles and Carmen’s beautifully run hotel in Montblanc, to Pilar’s gracious Art Deco home or the wine village of Porrera, each accommodation on this route offers a personal and individual experience with an opportunity to try out your Catalan (or Spanish) – although some English is spoken along the way – and to get closer to Catalan culture.

Montblanc – Fonda Cal Blasi (B&B)

Night 1

Montblanc – Fonda Cal Blasi (B&B)

Excellent B&B with good restaurant and enthusiastic owner.

Poblet – Masia del Cadet

Night 1 (Upgrade)

Poblet – Masia del Cadet

Historic and comfortable family-run hotel ten minutes walk from Poblet Monastery

Rojals – Mas de l’Arlequi (Dinner, B&B)

Night 2 & 3

Rojals – Mas de l’Arlequi (Dinner, B&B)

Recently restored 'Mas' in the hills, ecologically run, and with fine cooking.

Prades – Cal Crispi (B&B)

Night 4

Prades – Cal Crispi (B&B)

Village house dating from around 1900, but beautifully restored ten years ago.

Cornudella – Fonda El Reco (B&B)

Night 5

Cornudella – Fonda El Reco (B&B)

Well-run accommodation either overlooking the square or in modern apartment at edge of village.

Poboleda – Hostal Populetus (Dinner, B&B)

Night 6

Poboleda – Hostal Populetus (Dinner, B&B)

Village hostal well run by young couple, whose mother, Laura, is a talented chef.

Porrera – Els Pampols (B&B)

Night 7

Porrera – Els Pampols (B&B)

Quiet, well restored B&B near top of the village. Two-night stay Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun. No twin beds.

Barcelona accommodation:

In Barcelona the choice of hotel is endless and you can always book your own, but we have found a nice little B&B near the Placa Catalunya which we can book for you – the 5 Rooms

Prices

Price: £755 for 7 nights

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated (e.g. for taxis), and may vary with exchange rate fluctuations and individual hotel pricing policies – check with On Foot for your guaranteed price.

Total 7 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, luggage transfers, 2 lunches and 3 evening meals. Lift to start of walk on Day 2, and from the square in Porrera to Reus train station or airport. Locally levied tourist taxes are not included. All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated (e.g. for taxis).

nb: two-night stay stipulation (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun) in Porrera

Single Room Supplement from £165 *

Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS) from £140

Larger party saving (on identical itinerary) – £85 off per person (except first two)

*additional Friday/Saturday supplement (in double rooms for single use) at Mas de l’Arlequi of (from) £30 per person per night

 

Add Ons

Taxi to Montblanc from Barcelona airport, Reus airport or Reus train station: Call us for details.

Extra night in Montblanc: From £42 per person (£30 single supplement.)

Upgrade on first night to Masia del Cadet, Poblet:  From £50 pp including dinner and packed lunch

Extra night at Masia del Cadet:  From £80 pp including dinner and packed lunch

Taxi from Poboleda or Porrera to Camp de Tarragona (for fast – AVE – train to Madrid/Barcelona and rest of Spain): From £30 supplement (1-8 pers.) or to Barcelona/Barcelona airport direct: From £143 (1-8 pers.)

Guiding by Joanna Thomas: Price on application

Wine tasting and vineyard/winery tours in Poboleda or Porrera: Contact On Foot Holidays – from €20 pp pay locally.

Travellers Reviews

The holiday was extremely well organized.

I especially appreciated the quality of the walking notes and maps as well as level of responsive service from your staff. I also liked the walking sections described in time rather than distance. The few times I was confused about the direction I strictly timed myself according to the notes and was able to discover the correct path.

Peter Hartman, San Francisco, June 2016

This was definitely our best holiday with On Foot!

And possibly with any other walking company!! There was really nothing to fault. everything worked like clockwork and the scenery and views were breathtaking.For me probably the highlight was the wild flowers. After a late spring they were at their best. We also enjoyed interesting food and great wine throughout and enjoyed the two nights at Mas L'Arlequi.

Lindsay Driscoll, Bradford on Avon, June 2016

Route was delightful!

Enjoyed birdsong, flowers and herbs under foot, great views of mountains and wooded valleys and then on to terraces of vines. Lovely!

Stephanie Rae, Edinburgh, May 2016

More independent feedback
Reserve your dates Add to shortlist
Joanna Thomas

Route designed by:

Joanna Thomas

Joanna Thomas has lived and worked in Catalonia for many years, as architect, guide, multilinguist and mother of two. A keen walker, she lives in a converted tower in the village of La Febro.

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