With 19,090 inhabitants (2016) and an area of 800 km², Les Garrigues has borders with El Segrià, El Pla d’Urgell and L’Urgell to the north, El Priorat to the south and La Conca de Barberà to the east, while the Tarragona region of the Ribera d’Ebre borders the lands to the west. The landscape is filled with olive and almond trees on both sides of the region, characterised by a dry terrain, except in very specific areas. The olive tree is the most widespread crop in the region, the typical olive variety being the arbequina. Its small, round and taut fruit produces an oil without great acidity, considered the best by connoisseurs. Arbeca, Les Borges Blanques, Juneda, Puiggròs and part of Castelldans comprise a space that, thanks to the waters of the Urgell canal, also makes it possible to cultivate alfalfa, corn and, above all, fruit trees.
But the extensive cultivation of olive trees has made the region extremely attractive for a type of tourism dedicated to oil production and the local landscape. Visitors will discover the unique product of extra virgin olive oil, which is recognised worldwide, from a completely different perspective, through visits to mills and workshops, guided tastings, including among the olive groves themselves, pairings with other local products, practical workshops, training and tours of the best oil landscapes in the region, as well as some of the best craft products when it comes to wine and honey.
Les Garrigues and El Segrià Sec boast a unique landscape, where plains, mountains and forests predominate, together with fields of olive trees, almond trees and vineyards intertwined with magnificent dry stone constructions.
In order to make the most of this local wealth, Les Garrigues tourism office has recently launched a package of 24 oil tourism experiences for families or groups. From tasting oils on the estate – an experience that plays with the senses – and enjoying a pairing of oils with different local products from the land in the village of Albagés in the middle of the Comacauva valley, to a guided tour of the Roca dels Moros del Cogul rock site, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by an oil cooking workshop held in English in La Granadella aimed at the younger members of the family, the package offers the most outstanding ideas for all tasteds.
There is also a guided tour of the Borges Blanques oil mill, the experience of harvesting olives in the municipality of Bovera and La Granadella, mountain biking routes among the olive groves or an original guided tour and honey and infusion of olive leaves tasting in Juncosa. The details of all of these experiences and the contact telephone numbers to book visits can be found at www.turismegarrigues.com.
Wine secrets among vineyards and olive groves
In addition to oil, they make high-quality wine in Les Garrigues. The wineries are concentrated in the municipalities of Albagés, Arbeca, Fulleda, La Pobla de Cérvoles and El Vilosell. In Arbeca, the Vinya els Vilars winery offers an experience among vineyards and olive groves that includes wine and oil tasting, the land’s two quintessential products. Near the winery visitors will discover the Vilars fortress, a unique vestige of the exciting and at the same time quite unknown Iberian culture in Catalonia.