The Beating Heart of Wine
This route is sponsored by the winery Clos Figueras in Gratallops.
(You can book your tour in advance at: http://www.closfigueras.com)
From Falset to Gratallops, on to Bellmunt and then returning to Falset
Suggestions: This circular route is an interesting proposal for experienced walkers, although, we also recommend you do it over two days. For those who are looking for a shorter route, the Falset to Gratallops path is a good alternative which takes around 3 hours. You must, however plan to return by car and leave a vehicle beforehand in Gratallops or call a taxi in advance (tel. (+34) 977 830 213). Be careful, the route crosses Siurana River on two occasions. At times, when there is a lot of water in the river, we recommend you do not take this route.
In the Priorat, wine is made by using your hands, but also by listening to your heart. For many grape-growers and farmers it is not just a way of earning a living, it is a vital part of one's existence. It is an essential, courageous and risky way of understanding life – one's own and that of one's kin. The proposed route takes us to areas of the Priorat where its heart beats most strongly. We are talking about the place where the wine revolution of the Nineties was conceived; the revolution which managed to quickly turn the Priorat into one of the most reputable wine-making regions in the world.
The route starts at Portal dels Ferrers which was once part of the town walls of Falset (1). From here we walk down the road until we reach a small lane on our left which takes us to the village cemetery and is painted with the red and white trail markers of the GR 174 (European Hiking Network Long Trail). Once we reach the cemetery (2) we turn right following the old path (nowadays a metalled road). We come to a fork in the road (3) and we take the right fork until we reach another one (4) where we leave the GR and continue straight on, climbing up the slope of the mountain. We are following the old pack-horse trail to Gratallops which is indicated with painted yellow way markers of the Priorat Hiking Paths Network.
We reach the top of Obagues mountain range (5). The path drops down the north face of the mountain through a thick holm-oak wood and eventually comes to Mas Martinet at the bottom of the valley (6). We cross a small brook and continue upstream between the river and the vineyard terraces for a while, walking through reed-beds, poplar trees and brambles until we reach the spot where we can cross Siurana River. It is often necessary to take our boots and socks off to cross the river at times when the water is high (7). On the other side of the river, the path starts to climb steeply. This path carries on and becomes a wider one as it reaches some fields (8) and a little while later it comes to the top of the hill. We continue along this farm track, passing by Molí d'en Borràs track to our left and shortly afterwards the path which goes to Bellmunt (9). We reach Gratallops by staying on the high ground. Just before we begin our descent, we leave the well-worn track (10) and keep straight on until we find part of the old pack-horse trail which drops down to the village.
To continue to Bellmunt, we re-trace our steps as far as the crossroads (9). The path takes off to the right on the flat and after having passed by a small farmhouse it leaves the main path and keeps straight dropping down towards a newly planted vineyard (which has erased the original path). We head towards the lower limits of the vineyard and on our left we return to the original path which widens and heads downhill. A little further on, the path descends to the right (11) and twists and turns until it reaches the river (12). We cross the river on some stepping stones and we head up the hill along a farm track. We soon come to the old pack-horse trail (13) and we climb upwards to the village which we enter via Carrer Del Riu (Del Riu Street).
We leave Bellmunt along the main road to Falset (14) following the red and white painted way markers of the GR 174. After a while, we come to a dirt track on our left (15) which gently drops downwards towards an area of woodland. We reach a crossroads (16) and continue straight on following the track in the direction of Mas del Mariano. Further on, we leave the track which leads up to the farmhouse and we keep straight on (17) towards El Coll del Molí (18). We continue along the main track, known as Camí dels Carners until we come to the old path to Gratallops (4) which takes us back to Falset.