In Itinerary 6 what we propose starts in the Region of the Vallès Oriental that is one of the most densely populated of Catalonia (almost 1,400 hab / km2). The capital status is shared between Terrassa and Sabadell. You will start with a visit to Terrassa, the ancient Roman city of Egara.
Terrassa. This city, like Sabadell, was one of the epicentres of the industrial Revolution of the 19th Century in the sector of the textile production mainly of the wool. To interpret this reality, the first thing we suggest is visiting the MNACTEC (Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia) located in the heart of the city and within a factory building or “vapor” considered one of the best examples of Catalan industrial modernism, built in 1907 by the architect Lluís Muncunill. There wool fabrics were made throughout its entire process. There we can see first-hand what was industrial “vapor”: coal store, boiler, chimney, steam engine and the old production facilities of 11,000m2. It is awesome.
After seeing an industry, it will be good for you to compare it with some examples of private residences of the upper bourgeoisie of the time. We suggest two: The first one is La Casa Alegre de Sagrera, reformed in 1911 and converted into a model of bourgeois urban housing of eclectic style but within the modernist current. It is perfectly furnished and contains valuable collections of oriental art, paintings, drawings and legacies of writers. It is a luxuriant example of sumptuous wealth. The second is the Masia Freixa (1905-1910), surrounded by an extensive garden that is now a pleasant Park of the city. The building is rectangular in shape and is covered by a structure of arches and Gaudi-inspired vaults. Designed by the architect Lluís Muncunill as the family residence of an industrialist of Terrassa and built on top of the factory structure of the same entrepreneur. Its parabolic forms, its white colour and its surroundings are a lovely sight to see.
In Plaça Vella is the Arciprestal Basilica of the city of pompous bourgeois style. Part of the medieval heritage is the Torre del Palau, one of the few preserved elements of the old Castle Palace of Terrassa (12th Century) symbol of the city.
Finally, we propose a wonderful journey back in time. It is a question of walking to the pleasant Park of Vallparadís, crossing the ravine and entering an exceptional site: The seat of the old Bishopric of Ègara dating back to the Visigothic period, the churches of Sant Pere and Sta. Maria (Romanesque) and the temple of St. Miquel. You can also see Castle Carthusian of Vallparadís (12th Century) and later became Carthusian (14th -15th Centuries). Visit the Town Hall website: www.terrassa.cat
You should not leave Terrassa without embarking on an excursion to la Mola which is one of the best watchtowers in the Vallés Oriental. It’s close, it’s easy and the view is superb, so you have no real excuse not to do it. For this you go to Matadepera (5 km of Terrassa) along the BV 1221 and once there you will park at the beginning of the Monks’ Road and start the climb to the top of La Mola following the PR-C31 path marked perfectly with yellow and white stripes. On a route of about 3 km of ascension and you will pass from 655 m to 1,098 m of height. On La Mola you will find the ancient monastery of Sant Llorenç del Munt (11th Century), restored. The gift is the panoramic view of the 360 degree summit over Catalunya. From the Pyrenees (Canigó included) to the Montseny, all the Vallés Occidental, Baix Llobregat, the back of Barcelona (Natural Park of Serra de Collserola), the sea, Montserrat, and of course a beautiful and close view of the Natural Park itself where you are (Sant Llorenç del Munt and l’Obac). There are those who assure that on clear days you can see the Island of Majorca! La Mola is a very picturesque place, with as much vegetation as bare rock.
1900 B&B (Terrassa)
Double Tree by Hilton Hotel and Conference Center La Mola (Terrassa) ****
At the second stage of your Itinerary, we suggest going to the village of Sta. Coloma de Cervelló to visit the Colonia Güell and the Church-Crypt of Antoni Gaudí. In Terrassa you will take the C 243c to Martorell and there you will enter the A2 Motorway until Molins de Rey and then you will take the BV 2002 to Sta. Coloma de Cervelló. There you will find the Colonia Güell, destination of this stage.
The colonia Güell is a historical Set declared as Cultural Interest in 1990. It is an industrial textile factory-village created at the end of the 19th Century by the entrepreneur Eusebi Güell. The Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century filled our country with industrial factories-villages, especially textiles, along the course of rivers capable of providing hydraulic energy (El Ter and Llobregat). The factory premises or colony was like an urban nucleus artificially created around the factory of production that used to employ hundreds of entire families and guarded its social and economic life. This integration and guardianship also allowed to keep away from the existing social conflicts in the big cities.
Unlike the vast majority of previous industrial colonies in Catalonia, entrepreneur Eusebi Güell sought to design his colony with important social improvements for workers and their families. For this purpose, he provided the Colonia Güell with cultural, educational and religious facilities and gave the modernist style in the new buildings. He commissioned projects to various architects, and to Antoni Gaudí, in particular, the construction of the church. This colony ran until 1973 when it finally closed down. Later, the restoration of the some buildings started including the factory, the church, the old consumer cooperative and the Joan Güell square, as well as the improvement of the pine forests of the surroundings and the way of Gaudí. It is now an open-air social-historical museum within the reach of anyone interested in understanding the Industrial Revolution of this country and its social repercussions.
The Gaudí crypt. The church designed by Antoni Gaudí, should have been a “monumental model of the Sagrada Familia of Barcelona“. Only the crypt could be completed. It is an indescribable architectural gem. You have to see it. The genius of the architect is found in every detail, from catenary arch structures, parabolic and hyperbolic walls, to the aesthetic design of the furniture, the chosen colours, and the materials, the applied arts to the symbolic and ornamental elements. It is a most humane space that raises the spirit. A space for contemplation, reflection and rest for our busy time. It is a wonder to see and experience. Visit the Town Hall website: www.santacolomadecervello.cat
Leaving the Colonia Güell along the BV 2002 you will pass by St. Boi de Llobregat where you will take the C 245 (passing through Viladecans and Castelldefels) until joining the C 31 which, following the Garraf coast, will take you to Sitges, Next stage of your itinerary. We advise taking the C-31 to enjoy the view by the sea. You will have entered the Garraf region. The mountains of the Garraf are a range of limestone picturesque, solitary, arid and scarce of water and vegetation and a rusticity that surprises almost anyone. It is not very high (664 m the peak de Montau) but being so close to the sea, produces some impressive cliffs. The interior of the range is full of ravines, caves, “hollows and potholes”. It is a Natural Park of over 12,000 ha that is very popular with hikers, cyclists and hikers on foot or motorized by its proximity to very densely populated nuclei (Baix Llobregat, Garraf, Alt Penedès).
Sitges (23,000 inhabitants) deserves a slow visit. The profile of the town of Sitges is unmistakable, almost legendary, mixture of sea and blue sky. The Baluart or tip of Sitges, old castle and now old town, with the parochial church of Sant Bartomeu and Sta. Tecla, solid, walled, elegant (17th Century) with wide stairs down to a huge beach (golden beach) and the seaside promenade, very long, well proportioned, landscaped, and inviting to take a pleasant walk. The old town is a monumental complex which is a gem. Worth visiting is the Cau Ferrat, a museum-house created by the painter and writer Santiago Rusiñol who fell in love with Sitges and made it fashionable at the end of the 19th Century as a summer destination among his many friends and acquaintances, among whom were the well-known painters Ramon Casas and Miquel Utrillo. Next to there is the Palau Maricel, built on the old Hospital of St. Joan by commission and will of the wealthy businessman and art collector Mr. Richard Deering, of American nationality, who had also fallen in love with the light and the modernist bohemian style celebrations of Sitges. He commissioned the work to the engineer and painter Miquel Utrillo and brought together an important collection of art, especially Hispanic. However, in 1921 Mr. R. Deering took the entire art collection back to America. Only the Palau Maricel was left which is nevertheless a work of art in itself. Racó de la Calma and the Romantic Museum of Can Llopis also deserve an informative visit. Visit the Town Hall website: www.sitges.cat
Estela Barcelona (Sitges) ****
Caliopolis Sitges (Sitges) ****
Avenida Sofia Hotel & Spa (Sitges) ****
Medium Sitges Park (Sitges) ***
You will leave Sitges taking the C 32 until the intersection with the C 15 and you will go to Vilafranca del Penedès, capital of the Alt Penedès region.
Vilafranca del Penedès (35,000 inhabitants) is the wine Capital. You leave behind the Garraf mountain range and enter easily in the region of the Penedès. At bird’s eye, it looks like a plain more or less sloping and rugged with all the slopes covered with vineyards. Massive extensions are dedicated to this crop which has made the region famous for its prized wines with their own O.D. (Penedès). This friendly Mediterranean landscape is very pleasing to the eye. The vineyards offer a different show every season of the year producing a truly fascinating colour palette. Even in winter when the strains are bare, their linearity gives an impression of a well-kept and rich country, with many solid houses and well-built cellars scattered throughout the territory. In the middle is the capital: Vilafranca del Penedès, noble royal city with an important historical heritage especially medieval, very well restored. It is necessary to see the old quarter or gothic quarter where the Basilica of St. Mary, next to the Palau Baltà and opposite the palace called of the counts kings where the King Pere III died. Now this Palace is turned into a Museum of the culture of Wine of Catalonia (VINSEUM). It also has important buildings of modernist style of late 19th Century, especially the house Jané i Alegret. Vilafranca is also known for being one of the cities dedicated both in body and soul to the typically Catalan and world-renowned activity of none other than the building human castles. It is very natural that there is a stone monument dedicated to the Castellers. We recommend a guided visit to one of the many important cellars or wineries in Vilafranca to understand the wine culture that permeates all the manifestations of this city and region. Visit the Town Hall website: www.vilafranca.cat
15 km from Vilafranca, following the C 243a in the north direction you can approach Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, which is the capital of the Catalan cava (Méthode champaignoise) with more than 80 cava producing cellars, some of very important and worldwide volume. Cava production began in the second half of the 19th Century by initiative, perseverance and effort of some Catalan families to obtain a product to the height of the prestige of the French Champagne. A visit to the cavas Raventós-Codorniu or Freixenet is very informative to get to know the exciting world of cava production from the varieties of the vines, the process, fermentations, maturation etc. to become the golden liquid that we always associate with moments of joy with both family and collective celebrations. The Raventós-Codorniu cava cellar is a representative example of Catalan modernism and is listed as a National Historical-Artistic Monument.
Then, following your planned itinerary, you will go down the N 340 to Arboç where you will turn left towards Castellet and the Dam of Foix. Castellet is a village of the Baix Penedès located on a hill that is reflected in the waters of the dam of Foix and offers a magnificent view of the South Penedès. The profile of its medieval castle-fortress (documented in the 10th Century), perfectly restored, captivates the look. It is a set of round and square towers bordering the high walls of defence. The tower of the homage is more than 15 m high. It was declared Cultural Heritage of National Interest.
Hotel Restaurant Sol i Vi (Lavern) **
Cal Pere Pau (Vilafranca del Penedès)
Cal Tòfol (Vilafranca del Penedès)
The next stage will be the town of Altafulla in the Tarragonès region. We will follow the N 340 that crosses the region of Baix Penedès before entering the Tarragonès region.
Altafulla. The castle-fortress of Altafulla, beautifully restored, is wonderful. Remains of walls, portals, towers, battlements, the castle-palace of the Marquis of Tamarit, the church of St. Martí, the streets, squares, and corners make a harmonious and captivating medieval set. Going down to the beach, it is worth visiting the Sea shops Promenade or Passeig de les Botigues de Mar, which come from the fishermen stores in the 18th Century.
If you have time and interest in the Roman history of this land, you will want to pay a visit to the Roman Villa of Els Munts, a remarkable site of Catalonia declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Visit the Town Hall website: www.altafulla.cat
Hotel Gran Claustre (Altafulla) ****
Hotel Oreneta (Altafulla) **
You will follow the N 340 bordering the sea and you will enter the Tarragonès region and following what was the Roman Imperial Augusta Way you will enter its capital Tarragona.
Tarragona (120,000 inhabitants) is an important milestone in your itinerary. It has more than two thousand years of history written in golden stones by the passage and weight of the time. It is necessary to take a parsimonious walk for the two large nuclei that Tarragona presents to the visitor. Visit the Town Hall website: www.tarragona.cat
The upper part, ancient, protected by the cyclopean Roman wall (1stCentury) (archaeological walk). The best view of the whole sea city is achieved by going up in a lift to the Praetorium, well carved stone tower that was palace of the Counts of Barcelona in the Middle Ages. The labyrinth of streets and squares of the Jewish quarter. The immense 12th Century Romanesque-Gothic cathedral with its spacious cloister. And the view, by the seafront, of the great Roman amphitheatre. The Roman archaeological complex of Tarraco is recognized as one of the wonders of Catalonia, declared Exceptional Universal Value in 2015 in addition to World Heritage by UNESCO in 2000.
The modern part of the new Rambla very long, wide, straight, lordly, well-wooded, which inevitably pushes us to behold the blue infinity of the sea in the prodigious Balcony of the Mediterranean. At one end of the new Rambla there is a colossal monument to the Castellers made of bronze. A mild climate, golden sandy beaches and delicious cuisine complete the most varied offer of this captivating city.
Hotel SB Ciutat de Tarragona (Tarragona) ****
SB Express Tarragona (Tarragona) ***
Plaça de la Font (Tarragona) *
When you decide to leave the capital, you will take the T 11 to go to the last stage of your Itinerary: Reus, capital of the region of Baix Camp.
The city of Reus has almost 100,000 inhabitants, halfway between the sea and the mountains of Prades and Montsec, is a city with great industrial, commercial and agricultural weight past and present. Its past push has left evidence worthy of being discovered up close. We propose the following schedule of visits:
Let’s recall that Reus is the birthplace of Antoni Gaudí, the great modernist architect. In this centre, you will experience all the unfathomable facets of this great genius of architecture and applied Arts. Despite having no building by Gaudí’s signature, you can follow the interesting Route of Modernism with some thirty houses of the industrial and commercial high bourgeoisie designed by well-known modernist architects, especially Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Top of this recommended list is the Casa Navàs, magnificent, imposing, exuberant, compendium of all the modernist dreams (by Lluís Domènech i Montaner).
Is a slender Gothic nave, with its gigantic 63 m high bell tower, visible from all over the city.
Finally we propose ending your itinerary taking a well-deserved seat in the square of the General Prim and near its monument with this general on horseback and permanently brandishing his sword… take a vermouth, specialty of Reus remembering the old times when Reus was a first centre for the exportation of alcohol, along with Paris and London !! Visit the Town Hall website: www.reus.cat
Once you have tried their irresistible appetizer and you still feel up for one last visit, we propose a visit to Castle-Monastery of Escornalbou, a few kilometres from Reus, taking the T 310 to Montbrió del Camp and until you reach the T 321 to Vilanova d’Escornalbou. In this little village, you will take the road TP 3211 that will take you to the Castle-Monastery of Escornalbou. Documented in the 12th Century, are of special interest the Romanesque church of St. Miquel, remains of chapter room and the cloister, very well restored. From the arches of the cloister and above all from the hermitage of Sta. Bàrbara, located at the top of the complex, you can see one of the best panoramic views of the region of the Camp de Tarragona.
Hotel Centre Reus (Reus) ***
NH Ciutat de Reus (Reus) ****
Brea’s Hotel (Reus) ****
Hotel Termes de Montbrió-Resort Spa & Park (Montbrió del Camp)****