This relatively unknown hiking area is in Tarragona, the most southerly province of Catalunya. Most of the hiking routes are in the Els Ports natural park, the immense limestone crags overlook the broad orange and olive tree-clad plain of the River Ebro and, set apart, there are the satellite ranges of Montsia and Cardó.
The best time to visit
The area is ideal for walking from October to May. July and August are too hot for most, although local walkers are undaunted. They make use of the cooler early hours to get the ascents done and choose the shady, forested slopes to reach the rocky ridges. The mountain views in all seasons are breathtaking, the flora and fauna is very diverse and includes green monkeys, wild boar, deer, bison, andasi, the national bird of the region, the majestic eagle of the sky.
Mondays are not bad at all. From the rural countryside to the heat of the urban kitchen, Monday is probably the worst day to be active in Catalunya. Give Mondays the day they usually have the worst weather.
The main difficulty with this mountain range is then as well as the distance from where one can camp. Camping is allowed in designated areas only, there are no strangers along the paths, and care must be taken to follow the rules of the road in this area, which are very strict. For example, one must not only be able to carry his camping tent but also the contents of his backpack, in accordance with the limits stated in the itinerary.
There are specially reserved areas demarcated for camping lovers. These areas are among the best in terms of facilities and the natural beauty of the area. On the other hand, there are also areas, which are best suited for relaxing and stocking up on supplies.
Facilities in mountain ranges are breathtaking. There are fresh water points, washroom, and, in general, everything a tourist would want to have during his vacation. The tourist must be careful to carry sufficient water for his needs according to the water requirements of the area. To help tourists on this, the drinking water system provides water in standard quantities. Snow melt water in the mountains runs through the rivers and flows to the washrooms.
The best option to get warm washrooms is to stay at a golf villa, or a lodge which has its own washroom. However, even here, the worry is that during the night a tourist might have to go through akensandlingo, a narrow flight of stairs, to get to the washroom.
The only available option for washrooms in the higher elevations is to wait in the car-parked parking lot at the top of the mountains. From the lot a traveler needs to go up a flight of stairs and after a short downhill walk, he reaches the washroom.
washrooms and hot showers
On the two lower mountains (Elorietta and Escudilar) you can have a washroom and hot showers only after a strict waiting time. Here the tourist is required to jump into a cold shower, which is running through the night. If you decide to go down to the lower mountain, Elorietta, you will find the waiting room even colder and more locked with more and more tourists.
When you are already tired from the trip, and especially if you experienced something called ‘Mountain sickness‘ (being asleep in exposed areas), you can easily get a taxi or your own car to bring you back down to the parking lot. From there you can easily warm up in the washrooms, or get some food and water.
Pack light. Try to bring a book or a backpack with a few days of more limited but still useful experience. And don’t forget to bring your camera. Here you can see the best of nature and wildlife up close. And of course, when spending several days or weeks on the mountain, there is no harm in adding some entertainment to keep your spirits up. You can bring a portable radio.
Get yourself a good quality air mat for your sleeping or standing. You will really feel the difference. Some hikers don’t bother with the mat because they think it’s not “necessary”, but it surely is a very useful addition to your comfort.
Hot-air ballooning has been a popular tourist activity for decades and was even the inspiration for the ending of aluminium smelting which resulted in one of the most infamous chapters in the history of Aluminium. So sitting comfortably on an air mattress, or even on the hard floor of your tent, seems like such a pleasure.
Once you have had your fill of watching the flowers or watching the clouds you can sometimes walk off into the surrounding countryside, and have a picnic.