COVID-19 crisis has given to us the chance to go around our region, once finally it has been possible to move inside this territory. We live in Roda de Berà, a town in Camp de Tarragona region. There is a lot to do and visit here, fortunately, and since we were forced to stay inside our area we took the advantage of going to almost every small village nearby. Those places (to be honest) where we would never have time to go before. Here you have some of them, and they are very worth investing some time to discover.
1. Sant Vicenç de Calders
One of our first discoveries was Sant Vicenç de Calders. You might hear the name of this place before, thanks to its train station once coming from Barcelona to Costa Daurada. But in reality, the station is not even located in the real area of the village, funny enough it´s approx. 7 km from there. Sant Vicenç de Calders belongs officially to the town of El Vendrell, and one day when we were on our way to the town we randomly noticed that on top of a neighboring hill a little village is located. Due to its height, we thought it would be nice to check for potential nice panoramic shots. And once looking for it on the map we realized that actually, this is the village to which the train station belongs we started to laugh and decided to go there. The super tiny village was built upon a hill, on which even with a car could be challenging to go up. It´s worth to park in the first parking area at the entrance of the village and the rest to take by walking. Overall the authentic rural houses and the cute streets are very well maintained, and a nice romantic vibe dominating all around.
Aiguaviva is one of the eight villages in Montmell municipality, Baix Penedès. It’s a very small village but super beautiful. Surrounded by spectacular green vineyards, it’s an original medieval village, with cozy social spaces like a cute square, a cute terrace bar, and an old water collector converter into an artificial lake with ducks and a boat ready to make a round. Once you get into you start to enjoy with a big church as an appetizer and a nice street made out of traditional white houses that welcome the visitor in.
Montferri, located in Alt Camp region, is a nice authentic village with a huge bell towered church, a couple of characteristic streets with original ancient arches. But the main spot there is Mare de Déu de Montserrat de Montferri Sanctuary, an eclectic modernist church design by Jujol (a famous architect who worked with Gaudí in many of his most well-known projects). The sanctuary is near the village in a hill from where the views on the vineyards and the main village are great.
4. La Bisbal del Penedès
La Bisbal del Penedès is a real catalán village, with a long experience in traditional performances like Castells (Human towers). It seems smaller when you get in but inside you can see that it is almost a town even with different neighborhoods. The center is well maintained and it’s visible the new beautiful ground that the Town Hall provided and the effort of the neighbors to keep the narrow streets clean and the houses painted in bright white. The riverbank views are interesting and having a drink in La Societat could make you understand part of the local character.
5. La Nou de Gaià
La Nou de Gaià is a village that seemed to be in the very inner part of Catalonia and otherwise it’s very near to the coast, especially from Altafulla. Surrounded by hills the oldest part of this village it’s in the upper part and to take a stroll there is a gift for the sight since the visitor can admire old beautiful houses with particular entrance gates. From the very upper part, the views of the close fields and the village’s roofs are really. To have a drink Café del Casal Municipal is a lovely and authentic place.
6. La Morera de Montsant
La Morera de Montsant is one of the most beautiful villages in Priorat. It’s very famous among trekkers because from there they start many routes to Montsant Mountains. Besides trekking the village deserves a visit for its patrimonial heritage: houses made out medieval stones, amazing old roofs, the peaceful atmosphere of the mountain villages, an awesome viewpoint on the top, and friendly locals sat on the square or having a drink in a terrace.
7. Vilallonga del Camp
Villallonga del Camp has been much more important in the past. It has an extraordinary huge church visible from a square with a couple of terrace bars that you couldn’t miss because of the views. The village is calm with its long beautiful Major Street that finishes in one of the original ancient entrance gates of the village. There, it has been an effort to develop cultural interest and they have created a Cinema Museum.
8. La Joncosa de Montmell
La Joncosa de Montmell is one more authentic Catalan village in this area. It has a very nice church called Sant Miquel de la Joncosa a bit separated from the main village. The main street is narrow and traditionally painted in white. Take a look at the looking like modernist agriculture union building (Sindicat Agricola). To catch the local vibe I recommend to have a drink in Cal Santi terrace and spent some time observing the local lifestyle.
Prades is simply beautiful. It’s the heart of the Prades mountains, a nice area for trekking. That’s why it is very well-known into Catalan hikers. Since it’s also attractive for one day visitors from Barcelona and other big Catalan cities you can find there since restaurants and accommodation to spend a complete weekend. In Prades you can find some extremely nice streets and monumental buildings like Església de Santa Maria in Plaça Major, a wonderful square with arches to have some drinks (I recommend ordering there vermouth before lunch) and eat good local food.
Vilabella was originally a Roman Villa, developed after as a proper village like many of the Villages in Camp de Tarragona. It has had defensive walls from which nowadays only remains an arch. There is a nice neoclassic style church and to take a stroll is charm and interesting since it’s an authentic village where you won’t catch up with no other tourists on your visit, and locals are friendly and the oldest ones will all great you while passing by.
Rodonyà is the perfect place to admire a real medieval castle very well conserved in a non-spoiled location. The castle construction is from before 13th and it’s located in a strategic position for the tourist in the nicest part of the village surrounded by vineyard fields. Don’t miss to take a walk around and observe the traditional architecture of the houses.
Masllorenç is a must If you like castle views and no matter what time they were built. The views from the road to the upper part of the village with its castle are simply great. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to visit yet because it’s not finished and is private property. They started to build it in 1975 so it’s not a historic one even it seems so. Anyhow it’s very worth reaching it just to admire the village views (especially at sunset) from its upper part.
Of course, we didn’t stop after 12 villages. We are still on-the-go and keep going and discovering the territory until we are not allowed to go beyond, outside. But now, only for this article, let’s stay with 12 and the rest is yet to come!