GR 175 : Cistercian Route
The Cistercian Route links the three most emblematic monasteries of this Order in Catalonia: Santa Creus, Poblet and Vallbona de les Monges, located respectively in the districts of l’Alt Camp and La Conca de Barberà in the province of Tarragona and in l’Urgell, in the province of Lleida.
The GR 175 does not aim merely to be a path between monasteries, but offers the opportunity to visit places of cultural, historic and countryside interest to provide and extensive and rich vision of this corner of Catalonia.
The route runs through the plains, mountains and valleys of the districts indicated.It climbs to the sierras of Miramar, Muntanyes de Prades, Comaverd-Cogulló, El Tallat and Forés, which all belong to the Catalan pre-coastal mountain range.It follows part of the course of the rivers Gaià and Francolí, which begin in these sierras and flow into the Mediterranean near Tarragona. The geomorphological characteristics of the region provides the unison of the blue reflection of the sea that spreads out almost at your feet and, in the distance, the immense snowy wall of the Pyrenees.
Although perhaps the most notable characteristic is the concentration of a large number and quality of medieval history and architecture in such a small area: the three impressive monasteries, the Romanesque church of Sant Ramón del Pla de Santa María, the walled town of Montblanc and the village of Forés, located on top of a promontory at the top of the sierra as a true guardian of the region.
Religious life is still present in two of the monasteries. It is a very gratifying experience for tired hikers to arrive at dusk and be able to take part in the songs and prayers of the monks of Poblet and compare them the following day with those of the monks of Vallbona.
The Cistercian Route GR 175 is structured in three sector with a start and end at each monastery. It is, therefore, a circular route of 104 km. Five variants have been established with a total of 26.5 km to allow the route to be covered by bicycle or on horseback.
1st sector: Santes Creus - Poblet. 35.5 km. 7 h 50’.
2nd sector: Poblet - Vallbona de les Monges. 23.55 km. 5 h. 10’.
3rd sector: Vallbona de les Monges - Santes Creus. 43.3 km. 9 h 50’.
The route is suitable for all hikers with no difficulty due to the rocky characteristics of the land and the large accumulated slope. It is wise to use the corresponding topological guide to get the most out of the route.
Departure point: Santes Creus (Tarragona)
Arrival point: Santes Creus (Tarragona)
Distance (km): 104
No. of stages: 6
Santes Creus (Tarragona) - Pla de Santa Maria - Figuerola del Camp – Prenafeta - Montblanc - Poblet - l’Espluga de Francolí - Montblanquet – Vallbona de les Monges - Belltall - Forés - Rocafort de Queralt - Montbrió de la Marca - El Pont d’Armentera - Santes Creus (Tarragona).