A day tour of the Priorat region
We start the day visiting the Priorat region in Falset, the county capital. This little town, the largest in the area, is where you can find a castle, the Castell dels Comtes de Prades as it is known in Catalan, which is located in the 12th century building which once belonged to the Counts of Prades. Nowadays it houses a museum of history of Falset and Priorat county. It is a new museum space that proposes the historical and cultural discovery of Priorat region in a pleasant, immersive and interactive way. From a careful selection of pieces, they show different aspects and moments of history covering a broad chronology: from the death in prehistory, going through the trade between Iberians and Romans, or the birth of Falset in the Middle Age until wars of modern time. The museum also has a space for temporary exhibitions to show other aspects of the history of the territory in a dynamic, specific and in-depth way.
Once we have visited the castle and starting out on foot from this point, we can take a scenic stroll around the old part of Falset (all the places of interest have their own information board in different languages): Plaça Vella (Old Square), Plaça de l’Església (Church Square), Palau del Comtes d’Azara (Counts of Azara Palace), Plaça de la Quartera (Quartera Square) and Palau dels Ducs de Medinaceli (Dukes of Medinaceli Palace). To finish off the tour, and time permitting, we can visit the cooperative winery, a Modernist (Art Nouveau) work, designed in 1919 by the architect, Cèsar Martinell, a disciple of Gaudí. After the tour, you will be able to taste the wines made here.
We can take advantage of the stroll to buy wine and olive oil in some of the specific establishments in the town. There are even little “Castellets de Falset” or Little Castles of Falset which are very typical of the town and are biscuits made with hazelnuts.
We continue our route by driving to Gratallops, in the centre of the region, 10 minutes from Falset or 16 minutes from Bellmunt. If we visit the centre of this village of around 250 inhabitants, we will find plenty of wineries open to visitors as well as a great selection of gastronomic experiences.
After lunch, we will head towards Escaladei, at the foot of the Montsant Mountain Range. We will need about 20 minutes to drive there and will pass the lovely villages of La Vilella Baixa and La Vilella Alta along the way.
When we get to Escaladei, those who wish to get to know the origins of the Priorat must certainly visit the ruins of the Cartoixa de Santa Maria (The Carthusian Monastery of Saint Mary).
This monastery was founded in 1194 by King Alphonse the Chaste and it was the first of all the other Carthusian Monasteries founded on the Iberian peninsula. The ruins of this impressive set of buildings can be found in the most captivating spot, at the very foot of the Montsant Mountain Range. It is an ideal place for the seclusion the monks sought, whilst being surrounded by nature. Depending on the day, you can take part in a guided tour. You will need around 40 minutes to visit the monument on your own, including the viewing of a short film to accompany the visit. You will need around one hour and fifteen minutes to tour the monastery ruins if you take the guided tour.
You cannot leave Escaladei without taking a turn around the little hamlet nearby known as the Conreria. It may be small but it is worth taking a look.
Taste delicious wines
You can find wineries open to visitors in all the villages along this route. You will be able to taste delicious wines from the two Designations of Origin of the region: Montsant and Priorat.
And don't forget our Extra Virgin Olive Oil with the designation of origin "Siurana". You could also visit an oil mill, taste the oil and get to know more about its qualities and the process of elaboration.
You will find more information through the links: