Cornudella and Siurana

Cornudella can be reached either via Scala Dei and Poboleda or via Porrera (which is faster route). This little township is nothing special, but provides good opportunity for shopping; and then it’s high time to leave the village for Prades, to make sure that you’ll spend as much time as possible in Siurana. About 2 kilometres after Cornudella you’ll take a right and head onto a tiny road which, blessedly, is finally blacktopped. But be sure to watch out, because the first turn will take you to the ”Panta“, the reservoir, where you’ll be able to swim and rent kayaks, but which will not take you to Siurana (I almost daren’t say it, but I will anyway: right across from the kayak rental point there is a really great restaurant; be sure to reserve your paella or barbecued meat even before you rent your kayak or you’ll go away with an empty stomach).

The real “country road” to Siurana in the truest sense of the word continually rises over a distance of 6 kilometres all the way to the “eagle’s nest” itself, the tiny hamlet of Siurana. We promise you will be thrilled, even to the point of forgetting the Provence! Even while ascending the road to Siurana you will come across the unique and distinctive rock formations (some of which have been approved for the most courageous of free climbers coming from all over the world to climb in Siurana and on Montsant).

After arriving on top of the “eagle’s nest”, simply park your car in the parking lot and start exploring the area on foot. Siurana was the last Moorish enclave in Catalonia (a German authoress wrote a book entitled Scala Dei in which Siurana’s history is recounted in the form of a novel; to my shame I have to admit that I have never read it! But the book is in my waiting loop). The location is simply one of a kind, whether above the reservoir or along the climbing rocks, or all the way down towards the Siurana river (remote, clean, a guaranteed picnic success).

The hamlet has been renovated to perfection and boasts an ancient Romanesque church (closed every time we were there), and – naturally –, two or three perennially open restaurants. You can spend hours up there without getting bored. As I always say: if this hamlet were located in the Provence, a parking lot for a 100 buses would have been built a long time ago. But in the Priorate, the parking lot accommodates maybe 20 cars, half of which are Volkswagen vans serving as inexpensive lodgings for the climbers who enjoy hanging from the steep rock walls day in day out, and whom I simply can’t admire enough.

From Siurana it is also possible to hike (or drive, if you’ve got the guts) along the high plateau to Prades. We rode this trail on horseback and I’ll never forget it as long as I live.