DAYS TWO TO SEVEN: In resort with three included Trails & Rails walks. Please note: we will pre-purchase train tickets, but occasionally trains can be quite busy for the first 2 or 3 stops.
Walk 1: The Montsant Wine Area. You catch the 0948 train to the little village station of Marça-Falset (journey just over an hour). The line is spectacular, especially after it emerges from the Argentera tunnel. You walk through Marça village, where the International Brigades massed in preparation for the disastrous Battle of Ebro in 1938, and head into a landscape of vineyards and olive groves, with a spectacular craggy backdrop. After a break in the wine village of Capçanes, you enter a very different landscape, going through a wood and climbing a rocky gully part of the way before descending back to Marça village. 8 miles,160m of ascent/ descent. You return to the coast by coach (one hour).
Walk 2: Medieval Montblanc and the Hermitages. Coach transfer to l’Espluga de Francoli (45 minutes). After walking through this old wine village you walk gradually uphill towards the sanctuary of the Trinity. You continue through a forested area, on a broad path, before reaching St John’s Hermitage and then descending steeply towards the town of Montblanc. 6 miles, 330m of ascent/ descent.
Montblanc is a little jewel: a completely unspoilt medieval town with fine ramparts, shady streets and impressive churches and squares. This is the town where St George supposedly fought against the dragon, to save the princess! From Montblanc you catch the train back to the coast, changing trains en route at the unusual triangular platform of the halt at La Plana-Picamoixons, set high above the River Francoli.
Walk 3: The Mediterranean Coastal Path from Altafulla to Roman Tarragona. 12-minute train journey to Altafulla-Tamarit. From the pretty seaside cottages of ‘Las Botigas del Mar’, there is a short beach walk to the mouth of the Gaia River (once the Moorish frontier) and an impressive castle on the headland, followed by another stretch of beach. The walk then continues through the shady Marquess’ wood, and along the ‘Long Beach’ towards Tarragona, arriving into the centre of the Roman capital of Northern Spain along the Imperial ‘Via Augusta’. You have time to see something of the monuments of this attractive city before taking the train (25 minutes) back to the hotel. The walk is 9 miles, with ascent/descent of 170m.
DAY EIGHT: Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Nubahotel ****, Coma-Ruga
The hotel stands close to the broad sandy beach. This unspoilt resort is quiet out of season, rather busier at weekends from June to September when there is an entertainment programme in the hotel, with music on Saturday evenings. A reasonable selection of shops, bars and restaurants is about 10 minutes walk (700m) away, and the railway station with half-hourly departures to Barcelona is about 15 minutes walk. There is also a local bus service to the nearby county town of El Vendrell, birthplace of Pablo Casals: his villa, now an interesting museum, is within walking distance of the hotel. The hotel has a spa centre (a reasonable extra charge applies), restaurant, bar, lounge, and outdoor pool. Rooms, which all have balcony, also have 2 queen size beds, bathroom with hairdryer, phone, air-conditioning/heating, satellite LCD tv, and safety deposit box (charge applies). Free wifi in public areas. (www.nubahotelcomarruga.com)