Located inland, we find three Cistercian monasteries: Santes Creus, Poblet and Vallbona de les Monges.
The cistercian route proposes to visit the regions of Alt Camp, Conca de Barberà and Urgell taking the three monasteries as the plot line. It is one of the most spiritual tours that can be done in the interior of Catalonia. The tour is made up of culture, history, gastronomy and nature. A complete getaway.
The Cistercian (or Cistercian) order was created in 1098 in the region of French Burgundy. They decisively influenced Christianity, the economy and the culture of the Middle Ages. The Cistercian style is a transition between Romanesque and Gothic. An ideal excursion for those who appreciate medieval architecture. We especially recommend the monasteries of Poblet and Santes Creus.
It was founded by monks from the Fontfroide Abbey in the mid-12th century. The ensemble is made up of the Church, the cloister, the chapter room, the royal palace and other dependencies. It is defended by a wall dotted with polygonal towers, which in turn is protected by another wall almost 5 meters high.
The monks were engaged in growing grapes and making wine. The Abbot de Poblet was a true feudal lord. He dominated seven baronies, more than 100 towns and was a major almsman and chancellor of the kings.
Poblet's Royal Gate makes one think more of a castle than a monastery. It is of Gothic construction with a military character and impresses with its greatness.
In the church of the Poblet monastery are the tombs of the Catalan-Aragonese Kings.
Guided tours are carried out, respecting the monastic life that it still preserves.
The Monastery of Santes Creus was founded in the year 1,157 by the Cistercian monks, together with the town of Aiguamurcia, having abundant water in that enclave. This monastery is a transition between Romanesque and Gothic.
The cloister deserves a special visit for its colonnades, capitals and arches, as well as its Byzantine-style fountain. The Latin cross church consists of three very broad naves. As in the Poblet Monastery, you can admire the chapter hall, the refectory, the graves of different members of the Catalan-Aragonese dynasty.
L’Arbreda de Santes Creus is a very pleasant wooded space with a picnic area with barbecues and tables.
Espluga de Francolí is 3 km from Poblet. The name of this town derives from the Latin "spelunca" whose meaning is cave in reference to the numerous caves and cavities in the surroundings.
The Font Major cave where the Francolí river runs underground. This cave was discovered by chance in 1853, and is currently open to visitors. It is one of the seven longest karst caves in the world and one of the few that runs through the subsoil of the urban area. With more than 3,600 meters of galleries discovered, human activity has been very evident in it since prehistoric times.
It has a museum dedicated to wine located in the "Wine Cathedral". The building was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and is a magnificent example of modernist style. "The Wine Cathedral" consists of three naves with a beautiful exterior decoration. Its interior has been transformed into the Wine museum without losing any of the architectural elements. Few wineries in Catalonia are as beautiful and majestic as this one.
Population with special importance in the middle age. In the 14th century, the walls that are still preserved were built, giving it an authentic medieval character. The walls have a perimeter of 2 km and are a great angle for photography lovers. Montblanc has an interesting Gothic bridge over the Francolí river that gives entrance to the town. The church of Santa María has the air of a cathedral and is Gothic in style with a baroque façade.
At the exit of the town, there is the “Rifacli” cookie factory with a small store where you can taste and buy all the different varieties they produce. The area is known for its carquiñolis (a biscuit made from high quality almonds). It is 62 km from Calafell and 11 km from Poblet.