A day trip to New York (of the Priorat – La Vilella Baixa, Catalonia)

Whaaat?! New York?! 😉

La Vilella Baixa lies in the east of the Priorat region, nestling beneath the Montsant massif, and two rivers meet right in the middle of the village: the Montsant and the Riuet d’Escaladei.

La Vilella Baixa

The Catalan writer Josep Maria Espinàs, in one of his first travel books, renamed the village of La Vilella Baixa to the Nova York del Priorat (New York of the Priorat), which has made his a fortune. He was amazed and surprised by the height of the local houses overlooking the coasts of the two rivers, hence the comparison. But apart from the high buildings, if you think about it, both La Vilella Baixa and also New York City are located in the confluence of two rivers. The Montsant and Escaladei for La Vilella Baixa, and the Hudson & East Rivers in New York. ☺️

La Vilella Baixa

Despite being compared to NYC, La Vilella Baixa is the second smallest village in the Priorat, just a short distance from the smallest of all: La Vilella Alta.

Let’s face it, besides the fancy name, this village is extremely small, with approx. 200 inhabitants and therefore the possibilities are also limited. Still thanks to the beautiful natural surroundings, the interesting architecture and the amazing Priorat wine it’s indeed a nice destination for a day trip!

Within the village there are some remarkable spots, that also worth to visit and since the entire village is possible to walk through within more or less one hour, you will definitely pass by.:

1. Pont de Pedra, the old stone bridge over the river Montsant.

Pont de Pedra

2. Carrer que no passa (the street that doesn’t pass), the oldest street in the village, with mediaeval remains, and where the original town center is located. As the name implies, it ends without a solution for continuity. This street was used as a defense in times of danger, and then the access door was closed.

Carrer que no passa

3. Plaça de l’Església, the square in front of the church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which dates from the second half of the 18th century.

Plaça de l’Església

4. Also of course worth a look are the houses towering over the Riuet d’Escaladei, a view that has led to the village being described as the “New York of the Priorat”.

5. Five marked tourist footpaths offer visitors the chance to enjoy some pleasant walks in the area around the village too, while appreciating its landscapes and its natural heritage.

6. Visit the wineries! And of course the most obvious choice and option is to visit the wineries in the village. Come on, we are in Priorat! 😋 We have visited Celler Sabaté (at number 6 on Nou Street) and it’s highly recommended! They are open also on Sundays, the owner is very friendly, and besides his DOQ Priorat wine, he is also selling outstanding quality olive oil from the region and artisan honey.

How to get there?

  • It can be reached by road from Falset on the T-710 (via Gratallops).
  • Also from Cabacés on the T-702; from Cornudella de Montsant on the C-242 (to La Venta d’en Pubill) and then the T-702 (via Poboleda, Scala Dei and La Vilella Alta).
  • From Reus on the N-420 (to Falset) and then the T-710 (via Gratallops).

Salut! 😉

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