priorat region what to do and what to see

What to see and what to do in Priorat

The Priorat region has a lot to offer, from its gastronomy and excellent wines, to incredible landscapes and a history closely linked to the religious convents of the place. And it is because, in the Priorat region there is a magic surrounding everything.

In this post we will talk about all of this. But first we will give a short introduction to its history and geography. If you are looking for something specific, we leave you a script so you can get to the point.

  1. Location of the Priorat region
  2. Origins of Priorat
  3. Planning the trip
  4. What to see in the Priorat region
  5. What to do in Priorat
  6. Where to eat in Priorat
  7. Best tours
  8. More information

Enjoy the Priorat region in a tour that will take you to the best places in the region.

* Written for you, in order to help you organize your next trip to Catalonia. Without missing details of the best places in the region.

Location of the Priorat region

priorat map
Image from Wikimedia

The Priorat region is located in the northeast of Spain, about 150 kilometers south of Barcelona and 50 kilometers west of Tarragona. The region is surrounded by the Sierra del Montsant, a natural park that offers spectacular views of the interior of Catalonia and its coastline.

We can say that there are two Priorats. And two different DOs: DO Montsant and DOQ Priorat.

The DOQ of Priorat, it is a rugged territory. Made up of numerous hills, with winding roads and almost vertical vineyards. In this DO, located in the heart of the region, the soil is basically made up of “ Licorella“. A slate that gives the characteristic mineral taste to the Priorat wine.

DO Montsant, even having many things in common, it is a flatter territory. Without the steep slopes or the winding roads. Meaning soils rhe soils are easier for cultivation of vines. Here we find the capital of Priorat, the town of Falset.

doq priorat, do montsant
doq priorat in the middle of the Priorat – Image from Wikimedia

 

Origins of Priorat

The Priorat became important in the history of Spain from the 11th century. Moment in which the territory was divided between the Muslims of the South and the Christians of the North. Over time the Christian kingdoms became stronger and little by little they were expanding their borders towards the south.

One of the most important places for the region is the town of Siurana. Formerly a medieval fortress, a Muslim castle that became the last place conquered by the Christians in Catalonia. 

The same century of the conquest of Siurana, the first Charterhouse of Spain was founded here. The Escaladei Charterhouse. And became important thanks to the cultivation of wine. Giving its name to the lands within its domain.  We find here the first documents talking about thePriorat. The region belonging to the Esceladei’s prior. 

charterhouse of escaladei
The Charterhouse of Escaladei – Image courtesy of the Perinet winery

Planning the trip

How to get to Priorat.

The Priorat is an area located in the south of Catalonia with a rugged terrain, making its access somewhat complicated. For this reason, we recommend you go by car. This way you can move freely within the region.

If you do not have a car, you can rent one. In Kayak they compare the prices of the different car rental companies, always finding the best offer. 

An alternative to the car is the train. You can get to the Falset-Marça train station and visit the places recommended in this post on foot, by bicycle or with a private tour.

how to get to the priorat
Renfe Falset-Marçà- Image of hiking by train

What to wear

We always recommend wearing comfortable clothes, as it is very likely that you have to walk to get to the places on the blog.

Keep in mind that in summer temperatures can reach 40 degrees celsius during the day. So carrying a bottle of water is always a good idea. As well as a cap and sunscreen for the trip.

Other recommendations

It is important to avoid the hot summer hours when visiting outdoors. That is, plan the route so you are not under the sun from 12 to 17. As you will see, ther are many indoor activities to do at that time. My favourites are, the wine cellar tours 😀

Now, let’s see what to do…

What to see in the Priorat region

Escaladei, the first Spanisj Charterhouse

what to see in priorat
Picture of Marc Pascual

The Charterhouse of Scala Dei it is one of the mos important stops in the Priorat region. It is a monastery built by Carthusian monks, who arrived from France in the 12th century.

And introduced the cultivation of vineyards already in the 12th century. Making the Priorat a dynamic region with time. The name of the Priorat owes its origin to this Charterhouse. Hence, the Priorat was spoken of as those lands belonging to the Prior of Scala Dei.

The architecture of the place has much of the Renaissance, despite having been founded in the 12th century. That’s because Escaladei’s peak was in the 16th century. Moment in which the role of the Priorat begins to be important as a wine maker.

escaladei cloister
The cloister of Escala Dei – Image by Vinarós Digital

We highlight the cloister. Which, despite having been built in the 16th century, its in Romanesque style. Aswell a rebuilt cell, helping the visitor having a better understanding of the monastic life in Scala Dei. A life of confinement and absolute silence.

But without a doubt, what we most admire about the place is its geographical location. As it is in the skirts of the Montsant, a holly place where you can feel a deep connection to inner peace and tranquility. Perhaps it turns out that the Escaladei legend has some truth. Let me explain the legend to you.

The legend of Escaladei:

Legend has it that, in the 12th century, two Carthusian monks came from France in search of a holy place. God put a goat herder in their path, who turned out to be decisive in the research.

Who explained them he had seen a heavenly ladder leading up to heaven. In it, two angels came down singing the good news of the Lord. The return of the Christians to the Holy Land of Montsant.

Scale Image Dei
The ladder of God “Scala Dei” – Image of Wikimedia

Of course, it is one of the many legends told at that time of wars and strife. A legend that gives its name to the Charterhouse of Scala Dei. In Latin God’s Staircase, “Scala Dei”.

In this blog you can read the full story of Scala Dei. As well as other anecdotes of the monastic life:

Charterhouse of Scala Dei, Priorat’s gem

The town of Siurana

Siurana town
Picture of Daniel dalmau

The town of Siurana stands on a cliff facing the imposing mountains of the Montsant. A beautiful place with some of the best views of Priorat.

The town is reached through a winding road. Therefore, we ask that you exercise extreme caution when driving.

To park, there is a private parking lot. Costs € 3 per day (2019 prices).

And to eat, there are three restaurants and a bar with nice views of the Siurana cliffs.

The town of Siurana also has two viewpoints. Those are excellent spots where to watch the sunset. Taking some of the best photos in the Priorat.

The monastery of Siurana
The spectacular views of Siurana – Image by Daniel dalmau

The best known viewpoint is the viewpoint of the Moorish Queen. Where you can find the footprint left by her horse before jumping down the cliff. Here I summarize the legend of the “Salto de la Reina Mora”:

Legend has it that in the 12th century, just before the Christian troops arrived at the Siurana castle, the last Moorish queen of Catalonia set off at a gallop towards the Siurana cliffs. She launched herself with her majestic white stallion, leaving behind an equine footprint that today can be seen at the edge of the viewpoint.

Other charming towns

  • The village of Falset it is the most important of all. In it you will find the castle of Falset, the Town Hall square and the Modernist Cooperative mentioned further below. It is very pleasant to walk through the old town and taste the gourmet products of the different local shops. There are also many places to eat or have a delicious wine tasting.
  • The town of Porrera it is known in Priorat for its sundials, located in the houses facades built during the 19th century. They represent an entertaining circuit to get to know the charming town. There are up to 14 watches. So, good luck with your search.
  • The village of Gratallops it is located at the top of a hill, from where there are some of the best views of Priorat. From there there are numerous trails where you can walk through vineyards at sunset. You may eat aswell in two of the best Priorat restaurant, mentioned further below.
gratallops village
The village of Gratallops – image courtesy of Devinssi winery

What to do in the Priorat region

Another question people ask is: what to do in the Priorat region.

That is why here I present you different offers. From the famous visits to wineries that can be done all year round. To more specific activities such as the Falset Wine Fair.

Winery tours

In the Priorat region there are numerous wineries to visit.

One of the most recognized is the Scaladei winery. 1km from the Cahrterhouse, this winery used to be the monastery cellar already in the 15th century. Beggining its history before any other winery, and being the most important one for many centuries. Even today, they are making world award winning wines, such as rosé “pla del Àngels” and “Sant Antoni’s” red wine.

escaladei winery
The Scaladei wineries – Image courtesy of cellers de Escaladei

Another very important winery is the Falset Marçà Cooperative. It is one of the cathedrals of wine of Catalonia. Designed by Gaudí’s disciple, the architect César Martinell. The winery is in a modernist-influenced building with a rational style, which is known as noucentism .

To learn more about these two wineries and other wine tours, look at this blog:

4 Priorat wineries to visit

Wine Tasting

Although there are many wineries in Priorat offering wine tastes, I recommend going to a wine bar. This way we can have more variety in our tastes.

In the Priorat capital main road we find a couple of them.

falset wine tasting
Wine Bar at Falset 2 Orígens

My recommendation is to go to 2 Orígens. Where you can taste the best Priorat and Montsant wines. Here is the link to more information .

And if you still do not know what wines to try, you can read an article I wrote talking about 5 great Priorat wines:

5 great Priorat wines

Events and festivities

priorat festivals and events
La Encamisada Popular Festival – Image  Reus Digital
  • Weekend closest to January 17: Falset popular festival called the Encamissada, in which there is a street parade with animals and floats.
  • First weekend of May: Falset wine fair. For 3 days, the streets of Priorat capital are filled with exhibitors from the different wineries in Priorat. These are fantastic days to do wine tastings and participate in the different workshops organized by the wineries in the area.
  • Second Easter: Gastronomic day and Cornudella de Montsant Craft Market. During which two of the typical dishes of the municipality are tasted: rice with rabbit and sweet snails. In addition to having a craft market together with a sample of wines and local cuisine.
  • September: Harvest festival in Poboleda. More information: 977 831 023

Where to eat in the Priorat region

As for food, there are many restaurants that serve very good menus in Priorat. Some are more traditional, while others have a more avant-garde cuisine. It all depends on what you are looking for.

To make it easy for you, I have indicated each restaurant by municipality: Falset, Gratallops, Escaladei, Poboleda and Cornudella del Montsant. 

  1. Falset

Falset is the capital of the region and as such, it has many places to eat. From the less expensives to the most sophisticated ones.

      • Kabbhala: One of the less expensive restaurants. Although its menu is very good. It has a very good reputation in the village and a good rating on Trip Advisor. Closed on Mondays.
      • Hostal Sports: Increasing the level we find the Sports Hotel. A place oriented to traditional cuisine and the flavors of Priorat. Good value for money. Menu € 25
      • Brichs :  an excellent restaurant, with avant-garde food always using local products. Average price per person € 35. It is very worth it!
  1. Gratallops

      • Clos Figueres: Coming from the winery with the same name, it has a pleasant place to eat. Very elaborate Mediterranean food for an average price of € 35
      • Buil & Giné: In the same style as Clos Figueres, Buil and Giné offers a very well-prepared cuisine, with regional flavors. They also have unbeatable views. Average price of € 35 per person 
  2. Escaladei

      • Bar Llesquería: It is a restaurant where you eat very well. Traditional food at a good price. € 18 daily menu.
      • The Rebost: follows the same line as Bar Llesequería. Good Catalan cuisine at an afordable price. € 18 daily menu.
  3. Poboleda

      • Brots: Probably the best restaurant in Priorat, if not one of the best. 5 consecutive times in the Michelin guide, including 2020. It has a menu for € 28, the wine is appart. Highly recommended! Of course, it is better to make the reservation in advance. +34 977 82 73 28
      • Porta del Priorat : More traditional menu than Brots, it is located in a farmhouse on the outskirts of town. A quiet place in nature, with good food. Menu price € 18
  4. Cornudella del Montsant

      • Íntim: Another very good restaurant. Hailing from the Cingle Blaus winery, they serve avant-garde cuisine with traditional roots. I recommend it as the food is very good. Average price of € 22 In low season they open from Thursday to Sunday.

Best Tours to do in Priorat

cata de vinos al atardecer

Make the most of your getaway in Priorat. On our website you will find the best places to visit: winery tours, charming hotels…

We have a selection of wineries and hotels in Priorat. Where can you book your next wine tour, and plan your getaway with recommendations directly to your phone. 

Take a look at our tours!

Wine tourism Priorat

More information

Still haven’t made up your mind?

We have a page specialized in wine tourism in Catalonia. In it we present a selection of the best wineries to visit in the Priorat and Penedés.

You can see our products in our homepage .

Or know our services from the page About us.

Thank you very much for reading this blog 😉

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