Montsant Natural Park
Montsant Natural Park
The Montsant Mountain Range symbolises the Priorat and the Tarragona region. It is not one of the highest mountains, neither is it the one that stretches the furthest, and yet, the strength of its geography is unquestionable. This mountain range is compact, encircled in a great part by sheer cliffs and rocky areas formed during the Oligocene epoch.
The villages are to be found nestled against its foothills. The central part is a mountainous kingdom. To reach it, you must choose a “grau” that’s to say one of the passes which allow you to scale the cliffs. Some of them are quite easy and broad as they were once used as pack-horse trails to get from one village to another whereas others are just wide enough for a person to pass in single file. They are heart-stoppingly narrow, just about managing to cling on to the hillside.
The spiritual relationship which Man has maintained over the centuries with the Montsant mountain range has afforded it a very special status. The founding of the first Carthusian Priory or monastery of the Iberian peninsular – Scala Dei - and the intense tradition of hermits have lasted to this day. They are proof of the profound symbolic value the mountain holds. The Montsant Natural Park was declared in 2002 by the Catalan government.
European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (CETS)
The Montsant Natural Park obtained in 2016 the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (CETS), granted by the EUROPARC Federation, which certifies that the development of tourism in this territory is carried out in a sustainable, in accordance with the objectives of the Charter.
Certification of light and sound quality
The Montsant nature park was the first area in Catalonia to gain dual certification of light (night sky) and sound (peace and quiet) quality, in 2019, from the Catalan government. In 2021 the listing as a point of reference and classification as a maximum protection zone for light pollution was expanded to cover all the towns and villages in the Priorat area.
Hiking on the Montsant Mountain Range
The originality of the Montsant mountain range is based on its unusual relief: a solid block of cliff which is seemingly inaccessible. Most of the ways up onto the mountain range are known locally as "Graus" or access paths. The name comes from the difficult passes where one has to overcome a big step of rock or "esglaó" = "Grau".
Walks to discover the Montsant Mountain Range
Once on the Serra Major, or ondulating plain above the impressive cliffs, one can visit beautiful natural sites, walk the dry river beds and enjoy the flora, fauna and geological formations which are characteristic of the Montsant.