Visit the Priorat
The Priorat offers a variety of lodging, dining and touring options to suit all types of travel. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you can expect, warm welcoming experiences. They are a part of the beauty of this region. Activities include winery visits (of course), olive oil tastings, hiking, cycling, mountain climbing, nature walks, kayaking on the Ebro River, historical tours, delicious meals, rustic adventures and so much more.
El Brogit Guiatges is a good tour company that organizes activities such as ecotourism, sunset hikes for photo enthusiasts, cycling trips and winery visits. elBrogit.com
The tourism office for the region is located in Falset. It has a wealth of information about activities and current events. turismePriorat.org/en
Many wineries are small and do not have dedicated staff for visits, but most will try to accommodate you. A very thorough winery guide that includes information on who offers visits and what languages are spoken is Vinologue Priorat, available online at vinologue.net.
Be aware that some places are more simpatico with American standards than others. But all of them offer plenty of charm and most have excellent views. Travel time between villages is about 10 to 20 minutes. Strolling at night is limited by the size of the village. They are all fairly well lit, but not so much that you cannot enjoy a universe of stars. Wandering beyond the village is impossible without daylight.
Second only to the wines is the Priorat’s regional cuisine. Some restaurants are completely traditional. Others are creative adaptations inspired by the wines and the world. Like the wines, the cuisine is handmade, generally with ingredients that would please any zero-kilometer slow-food aficionado. As always, the wine suits the food of the region and no meal would be complete without it.
Dining hours are traditional: Breakfast is generally light, perhaps a coffee and an entrepà (a simple but delicious sandwich), and is normally found in bars. Some restaurants are open for a more substantial morning meal. Lunch is generally served between 1 and 4 pm. Everything else is closed during lunch hours, which ensures a leisurely dining experience. “Early” dinner generally means 9 pm. You will not find restaurants open before 8 pm.
It is difficult to find a restaurant open during off hours. Some villages have small markets, but if you are out in the middle of the landscape the options are limited. If you have hypoglycemic issues and cannot adapt to the time change, bring nutrition bars or stock up on local nuts and fruit to tide you over.
The nearest international airport is Barcelona-El Prat (BCN). The town of Reus, birthplace of Gaudí and home to many beautiful buildings, is 30 minutes from the Priorat and has an airport for smaller European carriers like Ryanair and Vueling Airlines.
The nearest train station is Falset-Marçà, which is 5 minutes from Falset and 20 minutes from the heart of the Priorat, but the train times are limited. The Reus train station has more frequent stops.
It is best to arrange rental cars from the US with familiar agencies. Be sure to take out full insurance so you can turn the car in without issue. The roads in the Priorat can be treacherous. Also note that police patrol the Priorat, particularly at night, and drunk driving is not tolerated.
Taxis are available by arrangement. Most can accommodate approximately eight passengers. If you plan to tour in a taxi, you should also hire a guide who speaks English and knows the tourism side of the region well.
If you are prone to car sickness, bring the appropriate remedies. The roads are windy and narrow, with steep drops, and are sometimes in less-than-perfect condition.
Some of the villages have steep streets made of stones that can be very slippery. Whatever the season, make sure your shoes have some tread (smooth leather soles will slide). Cushioning, to create a barrier from the uneven roads, will ensure greater comfort throughout the day.
If you are visiting wineries, be sure to bring a light sweater or wrap, even in the heat of summer. The cellars are kept cool and the change in temperature from outside to inside can result in an unexpected chill.
There are only two gas stations, at opposite ends of the region, so you have to plan accordingly. Always keep spare tissue on hand in case of emergency bathroom breaks.