Priorat is a wine region located in the pre-coastal mountain range of Catalonia. Between the Campo de Tarragona and the Tierras del Ebro. It is a little wine land with 23 villages and 2 hamlets. The capital of the region is Falset. Priorat is characterized for being a very abrupt terrain, without any plain and with the presence of the mountain of Montsant, a symbol of the region, which occupies the northern part of the region, while to the south is the Sierra de Llaberia and for the east the Prades mountains. The predominant labour activity and the base of its economy is agriculture. 20% of the population is dedicated to this sector. Most of these crops are almonds, hazelnuts, olives and vineyards.
Talking about the vineyards, the wines are of a high quality which is geographically identified by two denominations of origin: the Qualified Denomination of Origin Priorat (central part of the region) and the Denomination of Origin of the Montsant. Priorat is one of the of two regions from Spain that has been awarded the highest wine qualification, DOQ. The DOQ comprises the valleys of the rivers Siurana and Montsant.
What to see in Priorat
- Siurana. It is a small fairytale village which was the last Moorish stronghold in Catalonia reconquered in the XII century.
- The Montsant National Park. It is not one of the highest mountains. Its geography is unquestionable.
- The Carthusian Priory of Escaladei. The first Carthusian Priory in the Iberian Peninsula founded in the XII century.
- Bellmunt Mining Museum. The Eugènia mine was the largest and most important of the mines in the Priorat region. There is 14 km of underground galleries and it goes down to 620 m.
- A wine region with two hearts – 167 wineries in total (101 DOQ Priorat and 61 DO Montsant).
- Olive oil routes. You can learn about the process of elaboration and the characteristics of the various mills. The Priorat Olive Growers Association is currently made up of eight member cooperatives with a total of 1,290 growers
Even if the region is small, it has a wide range of places of interest. Below is a list of some of the most recommended places to discover while in Priorat:
Festivals in Priorat
Plenty of festivals take place in the Priorat region, however, four most important dates in the Priorat festival calendar are:
- Weekend closest to Sant Anthony’s day, 17th January: L’Encamisada de Falset
- Second Sunday in March. Festa de la Truita amb Suc d’Ulldemolins (Festival of the Omelette in its own sauce)
- The first weekend of May: Fira del Vi de Falset (Falset Wine Fair)
- Second Saturday of September. Festa de la Verema a l’Antiga de Poboleda (Old style Wine Harvest Festival)
How to get to Priorat
One of the biggest weaknesses for the region is the accessibility. Priorat has a very limited infrastructure that makes the region to be reached quite difficult. The nearest airport is Reus, which is situated at around 30 minutes from Falset. To reach the region from Barcelona airport it takes around 2:30 hours. Another option to get to Priorat is some limited bus lines from Tarragona, Barcelona or Reus. However, in order to be able to move around the area, the only option is a private car.
If you are going to discover the region, feel free to ask me the tips. But if you are going to discover French Riviera vineyards – find the available tours here.