Grand Tour de Catalunya - Section 1. Vineyards with taste in the sea: from Barcelona to Tarragona
The Grand Tour de Catalunya is a journey full of travels. This circular route, inspired by the great journeys that the young people of the 17th century bourgeoisie made through Europe, proposes the rediscovery of the territory beyond the main icons of our land, so that you can enjoy its purest essence through the unique landscapes that it gives us, a unique identity and cultural heritage and a gastronomy that will make your taste buds vibrate.
The Grand Tour of Catalonia, which covers more than two thousand kilometers, is not designed to be done in a single run, unless it is one of the lucky few who in our current busy world, and has almost more than a month to be able to do it. For this reason, this route offers you 5 different sections divided into several stages, where each stage is equivalent to one day. In this way, each traveler can organize the route to their liking, travel it at their own pace and at any time of the year.
The first section of the Grand Tour of Catalonia consists of 462 kilometers, designed to be covered in 6 stages.
The starting point of this first stage of the Grand Tour of Catalonia is the city of Barcelona, from where you will start the tour until you reach the end point of the section, in Roman Tarragona or Tarraco. Along the way, you will come across the beauty and majesty of Montserrat, you will taste some of the wines born from vineyards planted in front of the sea that are confused with botanical gardens, you will dance and meet some endearing giants and you will visit a valuable agricultural heritage among many other things, But yes, this time your playlist for the car must include Pau Casals' cello, since we will also stop at his birthplace.
You can not lose:
- The Penedès
- Coast Barcelona and Sitges
- Cistercian Route (Monastery of Santes Creus)
Do you want to know more details about the route? Here we explain all the stages!
STAGE 1: BARCELONA, THE CITY OF ART
Barcelona, the great city of the Mediterranean, restless and thirsty for culture. Source of inspiration and home to countless artists, cosmopolitan and open. This first stage focuses on the most intimate and artistic Barcelona, where the artistic imprint of Antoni Gaudí's modernism is omnipresent, with his most famous monument worldwide, the Sagrada Família, but also others such as the Sant Pau modernist site, considered the whole The most important modernist in Europe, the work of the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Thus, the first proposal is a bike ride at your own pace through Barcelona, undoubtedly the best way to enjoy the city in the open air.
After your route, which will surely have taken you through some of the city's main icons and some of the most emblematic urban art murals, the Grand Tour invites you to discover the legacy of another genius: Picasso. Nothing better than a walk through the city center to follow in the footsteps of the young artist when he lived there. A return to Barcelona at the end of the s. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, in the atmospheric venues on Avinyó street that inspired him and the Els Quatre Gats cabaret-brewery, where he met Rusiñol, Casas and Gaudí, to end up at the Picasso Museum and discover his work. located in the Born neighborhood, where after the visit you can enjoy a gastronomic route through the taverns in the area.
To end the day, a night walk through Ciutat Vella and the Gòtic neighborhood will captivate you and show you the most authentic and historical Barcelona, with such emblematic places as the Plaza de Felip Neri, witness to tragic chapters and scenes of the Civil War in the city. or the union streets of medieval Barcelona.
STAGE 2: THE BEAUTY OF MODERNISM
The 20th century was a time of profound transformation, evolution and advancement for Catalonia in all areas: economic, literary, intellectual and social. And if there is something that allows us to understand so well the society of that time, it is the architectural jewels of Modernism.
To discover and delve into modernist architecture, the Grand Tour of Catalonia at this stage proposes visiting some of the most impressive buildings of this style and ending up in Montserrat, the most emblematic mountain in Catalonia.
The first proposal for this stage is a discovery of the Eixample neighborhood, the quintessential modernist neighborhood that stretches from Plaza de España to almost the Besòs river, when Catalonia at the time wanted to convey an image of modernity in Europe and quickly refined the taste and the gaze of the Catalan bourgeoisie, who competed with each other with the beauty of the architecture of their properties and buildings. Thus, in the Eixample you will find some of the most emblematic modernist monuments: La Casa de las Punxes, La Pedrera, Casa Amatller or Casa Batlló, among others, the work of the great architects of the time, located in streets as recognized as the Paseo de Gracia or the Rambla de Catalunya. However, it must be recognized that without the extraordinary and internationally recognized legacy of Antoni Gaudí and other renowned architects of the time, Catalan modernism would not be what it is.
Beyond private family houses, modernism spread throughout Catalonia and in all kinds of buildings: from the summer houses on the Catalan coast, the textile industrial colonies, such as the crypt of Colonia Güell, the second stop of this stage, to the industrial heritage of Terrassa.
Leaving Barcelona behind, you will plant yourself in Colonia Güell, a jewel of industrial heritage on the outskirts of Barcelona, where you can visit the crypt. Despite the fact that the Colonia Güell crypt was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is probably the least known of Gaudí's works. This work, which was never actually completed, was what catapulted the genius popularity, since it was in this emblematic building where he began to experiment and use innovative techniques that would elevate him to stardom: trencadís (brittle), colored materials, textures that imitate the earth and shapes that simulate and copy nature, and that later, would be used and applied for the construction of the Sagrada Família.
The last point of this stage will take you to Montserrat to enjoy the landscape of the most iconic mountain in Catalonia. Before, you can make a stop in Terrassa, where you will continue exploring not only the industrial modernist heritage, but you will also have the opportunity to delve into centuries of art history through its Visigothic churches, the Masía Freixa and the beautiful gardens of the city.
We recommend that you finish this stage of the route by spending the night in the cells of the monastery in Monistrol de Montserrat after having paid a visit to La Moreneta and the entire heritage site of the sanctuary.
STAGE 3: WAKE UP IN MONTSERRAT
In this third stage, the Grand Tour of Catalonia will take you, along 79 kilometers, from one of the most beautiful scenic spectacles, with the sunrise from the Sanctuary of Montserrat to El Bages, with the unique dry stone constructions. Are you ready for this stage? Let's go!
First thing in the morning, the Grand Tour invites you to do some of the simple routes around the Montserrat Mountain Natural Park, a place that invites you to take a calm and conscious walk and meditation while the first rays of sun go painting in red and orange the tips of the most emblematic rocks, such as the Cavall Bernat. After the route, with luck, you will be able to coincide with the performance of one of the oldest music schools in Europe, the Escolanía de Montserrat, singing the iconic Virolai, a song dedicated to the Moreneta, so if you have the occasion, do not let it lose!
After the visit to Montserrat, you will head towards Bages passing through the Sant Llorenç del Munt and Obac Natural Park. If you are one of those who love adrenaline, you can take a detour to Sant Fruitós de Bages to take a tandem jump. Are you up for it? One minute of free fall from 4,000 meters high!
Once in Bages, the route will take you to discover the Montcau Valley vats, some huge and curious dry stone constructions where wine was made at the foot of the vineyard; the town of Mura, with its spectacular and well-preserved medieval nucleus and its mill with more than a thousand years of history, and the monastery of Sant Benet de Bages, where you can immerse yourself in monastic life between the walls of the church, the cloister and the cells.
The end point of the stage is Vall de Lord, in the Solsonès region, where you can spend the night.
STAGE 4: TOWARDS THE PENEDÉS
A mystical landscape with the mist coming from the Llosa del Cavall swamp as the protagonist is what will welcome you to Lord's Valley. The play of light at dawn in the mist will leave incredible prints on your retinas and cameras! This wonderful natural environment is fantastic for lovers of adventure sports such as climbing, canyoning, kitchenware or mountain biking routes. Thus, the first proposal of this stage will consist of a kayak trip through the swamp and enjoy the intense turquoise waters.
The next stop on this stage is Solsona. A guided tour of this city will amaze you with its baroque heritage and will discover figures and characters as curious as the immense figures of the Room of the Giants and all the bestiary that parades during the festivities of the town. After your visit to the city, we recommend you take a detour just over ten kilometers until you reach the Miracle sanctuary. We promise that the visit will be worth it!
With the Solsonès already at your back, you will head back towards the regions of Barcelona, until you reach the Penedès, land of the sea, vineyards and mountains. Along the way, you can make a stop at such spectacular points as Cardona and its salt mines and the castle; the Old Town of Súria, on the left bank of the Cardener and Manresa rivers, with more modernist heritage waiting to be discovered. Once you reach the heart of your destination, a vineyard wedged between Montserrat and the Mediterranean will captivate you.
The first stopping point in the Penedès is Sant Sadurní d'Osormort where, with the extensive vineyard that extends throughout the territory and that is confused with a botanical garden, you will learn everything there is to know related to cava.
In the afternoon, enjoy a wine tasting in some of the legendary wineries in the area to learn to differentiate the subtle notes of the uniqueness of their wines that pair with such a magnificent landscape.
STAGE 5: THE SEA OF PAZ CASALS
The song of the birds, who has not been moved by this song? In this new stage of the section, the penultimate, we will move from the world of oenology to that of musicology, visiting and getting to know the landscapes and places that marked the life and inspired the famous Catalan musician, Pau Casals.
Thus, the first part of stage 5 proposes you to continue between vineyards, yes, if the previous stage was dedicated to cava, this time it is the wine's turn. Head to Vilafranca del Penedès, where you will have the opportunity to visit the Vinseum, a museum and you can imagine who the protagonist is. After the visit, we anticipate that you will have many doubts when choosing your next stop, since the following proposal is a gastronomic experience in some of the wineries in the area, but which one should you choose if each one of them has something to do with you? makes it unique? We leave this to each individual's discretion, but we have already warned that it is a capital sin not to do a wine tasting in the Penedès! And before heading towards the next stop of the stage, don't forget to buy a couple of boxes of catáneas to kill the bug while you make your way to the bohemian Sitges, where during the journey you can stop to make a stop at the castle from Olèrdola, with excellent panoramic views of the Garraf and the Penedès.
Already in position, you will discover why Sitges is one of the most charming fishing villages on the Catalan coast. Get lost in its historic center, visit the churches of San Bartolomé and Santa Tecla and go along the promenade. Ah! And don't forget to try one of the most curious wines currently produced in Catalonia, a sweet wine made with malvasia! It is sure to surprise you! To reach the end of the day, the Grand Tour will take you through El Vendrell, where in the maritime district of Sant Salvador you will find the summer home of our famous cellist Pau Casals, where through his personal belongings you will move into his musical universe.
STAGE 6: SILENCE, PEACE AND THE ESSENCE OF THE MOST MEDITERRANEAN LANDSCAPE
Can you tell us which are the three great Cisterean monasteries of Catalonia? In the last stage of the first section of the Grand Tour of Catalonia, you will arrive at one of the main monasteries on the Cistercian Route, which, unlike the other two, Vallbona de les Monges and Poblet, was completely depopulated. The uniqueness and relevance of Santes Creus (located in the municipality of Aiguamúrcia ) lies in the fact that it was the resting place of two Catalan kings, so inside you will find monumental royal tombs and a collection of stained glass windows that will leave you speechless.
Continue enjoying the morning in Cabra del Camp, where one of the proposals is a Nordic walking activity between vineyards and cereal fields, an experience that beyond the contemplation of a contrasting landscape that invites you to not only connect with the territory, but also to find a moment to connect with your self. After the activity, you will be able to do a tasting of olive oil with Protected Denomination of Origin Siurana, one of the references in Catalonia.
To finish the last stage of this first section, you will leave the mountain behind and head back towards the sea, to the city of Tarragona, a city that lives and breathes history through all its monuments. The circus and the Roman amphitheater, the medieval essence of the old town, the modernist heritage,… A city that has witnessed the passing of time and guardian of secrets and anecdotes worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Are you ready to go through this stage? Encourage us to do the Grand Tour of Catalonia and enjoy the essence of our land in all its splendor like never before. For more information visit https://grandtour.catalunya.com/ca/
Text and images Grand Tour de Catalunya.