Beyond Barcelona - Spirit of Catalunya 

Take the road less-travelled as we unravel the autonomous region of Catalunya beyond Barcelona showcasing its medieval magic, savoring its underrated but spectacular wines, unique Catalan cuisine and witness some of the most mesmerizing landscapes presenting Catalunya in a new vision. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Experience Medieval villages and towns of Catalunya

Savour exquisite wine and gastronomy

Experience the charm and allure of the countryside

Stay in charming and intimate boutique hotels

ITINERARY

DAY 1: BARCELONA / SITGES / VILAFRANCA DEL PENEDES

Arrive at Barcelona El Prat Intl Airport where you will be met as we then begin our journey of Catalunya with an easy drive along the coast to the seaside town of Sitges with its Mediterranean charm, beautiful beaches and a bohemian atmosphere becoming one of the most popular beach destination for locals as well as Europeans. Stretch our legs with a walk through the old town centre, dominated by charming buildings and white-washed houses. Worth a visit is the Museu de Maricel with its beautiful facade and housing more than 3,000 exhibits of exceptional Romanesque, Renaissance murals as well as revered arts. Consider taking a walk in the narrow streets of Sitges which offers a charming escape such as the Carrer d'en Bosc and the Carrer de la Davallada. From Sitges, we travel inland to the Penedes wine region making a visit to the exceptional Bodegas Torres, a great family winery that has captivated wine connoisseurs for 5 generations since 1870 with its amazing award-winning wines. Enjoy a visit with an insightful understanding of the wine-making process where we then enjoy a Tapas lunch experience paired with its wines in a rustic Catalan farmhouse. Thereafter, a short drive arrives us at the wine capital of Penedes, Vilafranca where we check in at the Cava & Hotel Mastinell with its striking architecture emulating the sinuous form of cava bottles on a riddling wine rack where we will be spending the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Cava & Hotel Mastinell, Vilafranca del Penedes

Meals: Tapas Lunch & Wine Pairing

DAY 2: VILAFRANCA DEL PENEDES (WINE STORIES & HUMAN TOWERS)

A day of "winepic" proportions as we enjoy a day savoring some of the finest wines of the Penedes region, described as the equivalent if not, superior wine-producing destination than even La Rioja in Basque Country of Spain. We go in search and learn about some of the most incredible "Cava" wine estates that specializes in sparkling white and rose where almost 95% of all cava are only produced in Penedes, Catalunya. Visits that we will be making today include the exceptional and historic Cavas Freixenet in the town of Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, established in 1861 where we enjoy an informative tour of its winery and cellars. On the agenda today as well is the Can Rafols dels Caus Winery, located in an impressive and stunning setting of the Garraf Massif mountain range established by Carlos Esteva since the 1970s producing an exciting range of modern wines that elevates the traditional cavas scene. 

Returning back to Vilafranca del Penedes, we visit the impeccable VINSEUM, a museum dedicated to the heritage and culture of wine-making in this incredible region. We cap the day with a refreshing visit to a rehearsal of the Castellers de Vilafranca, celebrated by UNESCO as a tradition of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Watch in amazement at the formation of the human towers and an opportunity to join in the rehearsal to learn about the stunning feats of the castellers. 

Overnight: Cava & Hotel Mastinell, Vilafranca del Penedes

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 3: VILAFRANCA DEL PENEDES / TARRAGONA / THE PRIORAT

Leaving the Cava & Hotel Mastinell today, we return back to the coast of the Balearic Sea to the ancient Roman town of Tarragona where en route, we come face to face with the ancient Les Ferreres Aqueduct, also known as the Pont del Diable, previously used to supply water from the Francoli River to Tarragona. Thereafter, a short drive arrives us into Tarragona where we enjoy an orientation of its ancient Roman heritage visiting its charming squares and monuments of the Archaeological Promenade with the remains of a Roman wall that runs 1,100m bordering the old quarters of Tarragona. Make a visit as well to the Roman Amphitheatre that used to stage gladiator fights next to the shimmering coastline. 

From here, we continue to the spectacular Priorat wine region, adorned with stunning vineyards, olive groves and dotted with picturesque villages and towns where our first stop will be the beautiful fairytale village of Siurana perched high overlooking the stunning Siurana Reservoir built as a defensive Moorish fortress against the Christians but eventually fell in 1153 after continuous sieges. Spend some time admiring the spectacular Montsant mountain range and learn about the story of Queen Mora before we continue next to the village of Poboleda, where the monks resided while the Escaladei Monastery was being constructed. We begin our agenda with a sumptuous lunch at the renowned Michelin star Restaurant El Brots for some of the most incredible Catalan village cuisine combined with a modern twist. Thereafter, a visit to the Mas Doix Winery, a revered family winery that has crafted award-winning wines since 1878. Finally, a short drive away arrives us in the nearby village o fEscaladei where we will stay at the impressive Terra Dominicata for the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Terra Dominicata, Escaladei

Meals: Breakfast & Michelin Lunch

DAY 4: THE PRIORAT

Today, we discover the magical landscapes and stories of the Priorat, renowned not just for its incredible wines internationally but also its Carthusian heritage where the monks of the order of St Bruno settled in Escaladei since the 12th Century, was so important that they came to name the entire county: El Priorat. Of the ancient splendor only the ruins of the Carthusian Monastery Santa Maria of Escaladei, are preserved, the first of those that were later built throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Visit the monastery that was founded in 1163 by request of King Alfonso I the chaste, with the intention to colonizing and Christening the New Catalonia of the Muslims. We will also visit the Scala Dei, the oldest winery in the Priorat established by the monks that still conserves the same hand-crafted, traditional spirit of its origin. Later, our next visit will be the pretty and nostalgic hill-perched village of Torroja, with remarkable views of the mountain range and adorned with picture-perfect winding streets and alleys. Enjoy a walk of the village as we soak in the timeless atmosphere before settling down for an amazing lunch at Cal Compte, a local guesthouse, winery and restaurant featuring authentic local cuisines inspired by the Priorat landscape. We then return to Hotel Terra Escaladei to enjoy a relaxing time. 

Overnight: Terra Dominicata, Escaladei

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 5: THE PRIORAT / LLEIDA / MONTSONIS / SIERRA DEL MONTSEC

We leave the Priorat today as we continue north into the Province of Lleida and specifically to the city of Lleida, set in the foothills of the mighty Pyrenees Mountains and a city with multi identities. Part Catalan, part Spanish, part French, part multi-cultural Europe, Lleida’s centre is a veritable hubbub of languages and nationalities that manifests in different styles of architecture, heritage and lifestyle. Enjoy a guided tour starting from the great towers of the La Seu Vella Cathedral and all their exquisite gothic medievalism stand watch next to the La Suda, forming a charming kernel of historic architecture along with the edifices of the La Paeria Council house. At the Cathedral Square, the baroque faces of the Seu Nova and its pretty surrounding plazas await, Thereafter, we continue further north to the charming hilltop village of Montsonis with its medieval atmosphere, beautiful cobbled streets and the majestic Montsonis Castle that takes you back in time. Enjoy a visit to the castle, built in 1024 by order of the Count of Urgell, Ermengol II during the Reconquest Period as a indomitable fortress against invasions of the Moorish. From here, we then enter into one of Spain's most incredible natural landscapes, the Sierra del Montsec mountain range to arrive at the quaint setting of the Hotel Terradets where we will spend the next 3 nights. 

Blossoms in Spring (late March - early April):

A chance to walk through endless fields of peach blossoms in a secret location we intend to keep tightly to our chest and where you have the opportunity to interact and learn about the cultivation and food produce with farmers and locals. 

Overnight: Hotel Terradets, Sierra del Montsec

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 6: SIERRA DEL MONTSEC (INTO THE HEART OF THE CONGOST DE MONT REBEI)

A day of reckoning as we reach the penultimate highlight of the journey - the Congost de Mont Rebei. Over the years, the river Noguera Ribagorcana has eroded the Montsec mountains into two parts: Montsec d’Ares (Catalonia) and Montsec de l’Estall (Aragon), creating impressive walls reaching more than 500m high in free fall and with a minimum width of only 20m in some places. Mont Rebei the only great gorge of Catalunya  that had not been effected by modern infrastructure, it still has no roads or electricity lines crossing it. The day begins with a drive to the Chapel of La Pertusa sitting above the village of Corca and overlooking the splendid scenery of the mountains and the Canelles Reservoir and the Noguera Ribagorcana River, this is one of the most spectacular scenes of remote Catalunya. From here, we embark on a 6km long, 3-4hrs walk along the gorge's pathway to enjoy a surreal experience of some of the most remarkable gorges anywhere in the world. On our return, we will make a stop at the Montsec Astronomical Park, a UNESCO Starlight Reserve and a base for astronomical research. 

Overnight: Hotel Terradets, Sierra del Montsec

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 7: SIERRA DEL MONTSEC (THE VALL DE BOI ROMANESQUE ROUTE OPTION) 

We make an excursion north towards the Vall de Boi in the heart of the Spanish Pyrenees to uncover the UNESCO-listed Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí, a concentration of churches in the same architectural style in a compact area extremely well-preserved over the passage of time built from the 11th - 12th Centuries as a movement to strengthen the notion of a uniquely Catalan identity. Due to the remote locations and inaccessibility of the treacherous region, there were no raids by the Moorish. Enjoy an insightful tour of the 9 Romanesque churches that include the Sant Climent and Santa Maria in Taull, Sant Joan in Boi, Santa Eulalia in Erill la Vall, Sant Feliu in Barruera, the Navitat in Durro, Santa Maria in Cardet, the Assumpcio in Coll and the Sant Quirc hermitage in Durro. 

Overnight: Hotel Terradets, Sierra del Montsec

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 8: SIERRA DEL MONTSEC / MONTSERRAT / BARCELONA

After 3 sensational days in the Sierra del Montsec, we will leave today to return to Barcelona. En route, we make an unmistakable visit to Montserrat, the "Serrated Mountain". This unique rock formation, sawed and sculpted by thousands of years of wind and rain, is home to a Benedictine monastery, an important Catholic pilgrimage spot thanks to its 12th Century wooden statue of La Moreneta (The Black Madonna), Catalunya's patron saint. Thereafter, continue into Barcelona where you may spend leisure time or a transfer to El Prat Intl Airport for your onward journey home. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Cava & Hotel Mastinell is a five-star hotel located in Vilafranca del Penedès with 13 exclusive rooms, 6 fully adaptable rooms with space for up to 260 guests, gastronomic space, cellar, terrace, gardens and pool. Its unique architecture emulates the sinuous form of cava bottles on a riddling rack and its roof features a mosaic that pays tribute to Antoni Gaudí. 

Cava & Hotel Mastinell, Vilafranca del Penedes

Terra Dominicata, Escaladei (The Priorat)

Still very much a secret, the Terra Dominicata offers 26 exquisitely-designed rooms in a restored estate, nestled in the middle of the Montsant Natural Park in the Priorat region where one can enjoy an incredible stay understanding the terroir, tasting the exceptional wines of the Priorat and an abode to savor quality gastronomic offerings of this produce-rich region. 

The Hotel Terradets is located in the middle of the natural landscape of the Pallars Jussà region, the Montsec, in the romantic municipality and next to Pantano de Terradats in an enviable surroundings offering 59 rooms all exterior with excellent views toward the swamp or the Montsec. The rooms are characterized by its warm and pleasant atmosphere you can perceive from the first moment inside. 

Hotel Terradets, Sierra del Montsec

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