Hiking and cycling in the Priorat region

Escape to walk, ride a mountain bike and taste wine in Montsant natural park, Catalonia

Cliffs in Montsant natural park

The Miracle of the Priorat region

René Barbier

1990. René Barbier, a Catalan wine-maker who had studied and worked in France, arrives in Paris with three bottles of red wine he has just made in the Priorat region. He goes for lunch at the restaurant run by the best sommelier of the moment, Jean-Claude Jambon.

René asks Jean-Claude to taste the wine he has brought from Catalonia. Jean-Claude uncorks the bottle, smells the wine, tastes it and leaves. During the meal, Jean-Claude comes back several times to Rene’s table to taste the wine.

Eventually, Jean-Claude says to René: “I can’t guess the region where this wine was grown”. René does not give him any clues, but asks him: “Will you buy this wine for 1,500 pesetas?” (Ten times the normal price for a bottle of Priorat wine at that time). Jean-Claude answers: “To start with, give me three cases — that’s not expensive for this wine”.

This episode marks the turning point for the Priorat region, a poor and rundown wine area in Catalonia which ten years later had become one of the most prestigious wine regions of the world.

To learn more about the “miracle” of the Priorat, click here.

Hiking and cycling in the Montsant Natural Park
Top of Montsant mountain range

During our trip we pass beside the vineyards that have made this change possible on our way into the Montsant Natural Park. We would like to take you by the hand and introduce y ou to local winemakers through private winery tours, and to the restaurateurs and others who make the Priorat such a special place.

We use our knowledge of the people and the area to offer our customers a unique insider experience that only a Catalan resident can give.

September, October and November are special times for visits to the region, as you will experience the wine harvest. In December and January you will see the olive harvest.

The Priorat is not just a well-known wine region, but also a spectacular area for walking or hiking due to Montsant Natural Park. You will have the opportunity to discover the best spots in this mountain area thanks to Miguel, our mountain guide: Stunning views of vineyards and nearby mountains, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

This mountain range is compact, surrounded by sheer cliffs and rocky areas. The villages are nestled against its foothills. The central part is a wild mountainous area accessible only on foot. To reach it, you must choose a grau, one of the passes which allow you to scale the cliffs. Some are quite easy and broad, once used as pack-horse trails to get from one village to another. Others are just wide enough for a person to walk in single file.

Read through our articles Talking about Priorat is talking about wines and The Priorat wine region history. The origins of the DOQ Priorat if you have not read them yet.

This is a 5-day tour

Level: Moderate

Group: 4 to 8, plus guide

1st day - Arrive Priorat. Escaladei Carthusian monastery

In the morning, you will meet Miguel, our guide, in Barcelona or Barcelona airport.

Transfer to the pretty village of La Morera del Montsant, our base for the next four days. Then we’ll drive to La Vilella Baixa for lunch.

In the afternoon, after a guided visit of the Escaladei monastery (founded in the 12th century by the monks who introduced the growing of vines in the region), a gentle circular walk in the mountains near Escaladei will be our last activity today. Distance: 7 km – Elevation gain: 226 m.

We will finish the day at the hotel in la Morera del Montsant, enjoying dinner and local wine.

Hiking and cycling in the Priorat region
Escaladei and Montsant cliffs.

2nd day - Montsant Natural Park: steep cliffs and ravines

Today we explore the heart of the Montsant. Our hike is circular and starts and ends in La Morera del Montsant. The walk will take in two graus and the Toll de l’Ou gorges. We will have the chance to overlook the Mediterranean from the plateau which forms the top of the Montsant mountain range. Picnic lunch en route. Distance: 16 km – Elevation gain: 865 m.

After a break at the hotel, we’ll drive to La Vilella Baixa where we will enjoy the vineyards and hospitality of a local winery (wine tasting included).

Woods in the Priorat region
Priorat woods.
Cliffs in Montsant | Priorat region
Montsant cliffs

3rd day - Montsant Natural Park: Crags and hermits

Sant Bartomeu in Montsant Natural Park

Our third day in the Priorat region starts with a drive to Sant Antoni, a church near the tiny village of Ulldemolins in a corner of the Priorat re. We’ll have the chance to explore the ravine that the Montsant river has carved out over thousands of years.

In a hidden part of this ravine there is Sant Bartomeu church, home of hermits for centuries. The route then takes us to Els Ventadors, a crag with breath-taking scenery over the heart of the Montsant. Picnic lunch en route. Distance: 12 km – Elevation gain: 640 m.

After this challenging circular walk, we’ll drive to Cornudella del Montsant where we will visit a wine cellar (wine tasting included).

Hiking and cycling in the Priorat region | Montsant Natural park
Els Ventadors

4th day - Cycling among vines

Cycling in the Priorat region
Cycling in the Priorat. Montsant cliffs in the background

Today we’ll ride our mountain bikes through vines, up and down hills, and through unspoiled villages such as Poboleda, Torroja del Priorat and la Vilella Alta. The route is mostly composed of dirt tracks with no special difficulty.

We will taste the wines of a winery in Poboleda. Picnic lunch en route. Distance: 32 km – Elevation gain: 940 m.

Cateri cave | Hiking and cycling in the Priorat region
Cateri cave.

5th day - Siurana

Siurana

Our last day in the Priorat region begins with a drive to Siurana, classed as one of the most beautiful villages in Catalonia, perched on the top of vertical cliffs. We will learn something of the history of its 12th century Romanesque church, its former resident SS officer escapee and its castle, the last Moorish stronghold in Catalonia.

 

We’ll do a gentle circular walk to discover the cliffs which surround Siurana. Picnic lunch en route. Distance: 5 km – Elevation gain: 200 m.

Return to Barcelona.

Siurana
Siurana.

[Click on each image to see the photo in its original size]

Near Siurana | Hotel in La Morera del Montsant | Cycling in the Priorat region
Vines in the Priorat region | Montsant natural park
vineyards in the Priorat region
Cliffs near Siurana in the Priorat

Accommodation in the Priorat

Hotel in La Morera del Montsant | Hiking and cycling in the Priorat region
Hotel in La Morera del Montsant | Cycling in the Priorat region
Hotel in La Morera del Montsant | Cycling in the Priorat region

Four nights, full-board, in a pretty and charming hotel in La Morera del Montsant, a small village where quietness is guaranteed. The hotel is an excellent viewpoint to overlook the Priorat.

Single, double or twin-bedded rooms. Dinner and breakfast at the hotel. They also provide the packed lunch on the third day.

The foodies will enjoy the excellent dinners, always accompanied by red wine made in La Morera by one of the hotel owners.

Still available places for the Priorat tour:

– November 16  2022

– December 7  2022

– January 25  2023

– February 22  2023

Price from: contact us by completing
this form

What’s included:

– Four nights at a hotel in La Morera del Montsant. En-suite double room.

– Meals: four breakfasts, four picnic lunches and four dinners. Wine included.

– All road transfers.

– Rental of bikes/e-bikes (helmet included).

– All bodega visits.

– Guided visit to Escaladei Carthusian monastery.

– Accident insurance while in the wilderness.

– Qualified English-speaking local mountain/bike guide

Excluded:

– Flights.

– Personal equipment.

– Travel insurance.

– Lunch on day 1.

Essential info:

– The guide has the right to change the itinerary at any time if deemed necessary to guarantee the security of the group

– Walking gear & equipment – We send you a list when you book

Tailormade tour: let us know the dates that best suit you and/or the changes you would like to do on the trek by completing
this form

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