Hiking for me, at one point, became an almost weekly activity during my time in Catalonia, and it all started with me joining a gym in Reus. It was January 2015 when I decided to join a new gym and regain some of my fitness I had lost (cycling isn’t enough). Following a recommendation from a colleague, I joined Gimnàs Lindax, a small gym located opposite the bus station of Reus, and there, I was introduced to Lina, the owner. She’s almost the same age as my dad, and very passionate about her gym and makes you feel like family. I owe her so much for making my time in Catalonia so much more enjoyable and was like a foster mother (I gained quite a few over my time there). Immediately after a couple of training sessions, I was invited to go hiking with them one Sunday…
I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation, and we set off on the crack of dawn towards a village called Riudecanyes, some 30km or so from Tarragona, and 16km from Reus. It was sunny, but fairly cold, some 7 degrees or so when we arrived. freezing for a Catalan. The village has a dam and a lake right next to it, and it was from the man-made lake where we set off. I had no idea where we were going, I just sort of went with the flow and followed everyone else. The path is not taxing at all, and you get some lovely views of the lake for about 20 minutes or so, before reaching the next village, Desaigües.
The path connects directly to the main road, and you have the opportunity to have a look around the village, which has an impressive railway bridge overlooking it, and a few narrow streets meeting up with the church, but on this occasion, we didn’t stop there. We continued along the main road before taking a path directing us to the castle, from which we now had a view of. The path crosses a small stream and then leads to a junction, and we ended up going off it, which was tarmacked, and took a smaller dirt path along the river, which led us to the next village, L’Argentera.
It was this village, where it became a bit more challenging, and just like Desaigües, we barely brushed the village. After crossing the stream several times, we started making the ascent. I had kind of forgotten how much the calf muscles get put to work when climbing, but the path was well marked, and it took little more than 20 minutes to be way higher than the village. the Castle by this point had completely disappeared from view, and we had lost the sun, but the higher we got, the steeper it got. The hill was starting to expose us to more sights, and it didn’t take long before the villages at the bottom of the valley started to look quite far below us.
Reaching the castle was more than rewarding, and not only were there views all around, but the castle also accepted visitors. At the time, it was free entry depending on when you went, but it would be worth a couple of euros entry fee none the less. From there, you see the red sandstone walls typical of the region, and are blessed with a view of the coast, including the Delta of the river Ebro. It was a tough half an hour or so of climbing, but it felt great, and a couple of tangerines at the top felt like a great prize.
We must’ve spent half an hour or so, braving the breezy conditions, but nothing you can’t handle, we made the decent back towards Riudecanyes. The path that we turned off an hour ago near Desaigües, turned out to be the route back. Getting down was a lot quicker, and easier, and it took barely 15 minutes to get back to the village. There was nothing new on the way back, except a bar on the way back home which was also a part of these trips which anyone with a right mind would enjoy.
This hike got me back into something that I hadn’t done since I was a teenager. the route is about 11km long, and takes about 3 hours to do it at a reasonable pace. You can get to Riudecanyes by bus and by train, though they are infrequent, so it’s better to go by car. Since it’s just 20 minutes or so drive away from Tarragona, it would make a nice addition to any trip you make there, even if you want to just drive to the castle. The Hike itself is only a little challenging for about 30 minutes or so. We brought dogs up there with us too and they were ok. It’s worth it for the view of the mountains and coast alike. If you’re thinking about taking up hiking, it’s a nice challenge to start with.