Riudecanyes is a beautiful town in the interior of
Costa Daurada area, I know quite well the coast but I haven't visited before the interior. Being so many times in the coast makes me feel a bit guilty for not knowing this part of Catalonia but it was a good opportunity to explore it. There are things you can't leave without seeing in Riudecanyes that will make you want to come back.
Castle-Monastery San Miquel d'Escornalbou
In a priviled location the castle-monastery from XII century is the highest point in the area from where you can have incredible views and the perfect spot to enjoy sunset. The first thing that caught my eye was the name, as it is called castle but also monastery....
The castle was built in XII century and Alfonso I was the one who was behind the construction. The castle became the center of the area of la Barony d'Escornalbou, and St Miquel's church was habitated by agustinian monks, from 1580 to 1835 the religious community changes to franciscans until 1835. After that the community of monks left the monastery. In the 20th century the castle was bought by Eduardo Toda, who restored the building. The most important parts of the castle are the romanic church, the remaining of the town hall and the cloisters.Mr Toda's residence is a typical house from 1900, he gathered interesting collections of ceramics, and objects of his time as well as an interesting library.
There are different legends about the castle, we enjoyed a guided tour and the one I liked the most is that centuries ago, the town saw that there were lights in the castle late at night, bonfires and also metallic sounds that they believed were from chained ghosts that were damned to remain in the castle.
All neighbours used to gossip around on what was going on up in the castle, they first thought there were witches doing sourcery. In the end they decided to group and go up to the castle one night to see what happened in there. They were surprised to find no one in the castle but they discovered the reason of the metallic noises and the bonfires at night in the castle, they found machines to mint money. The metallic sound at night was the sound produced when minting the coins and of course they did it at night not to be discovered, the castle was the perfect place to be hidden.
Sant Mathew's church is one of the jewels in town, it is a renacentist building from the XVI century and one curious thing is that the priest gives the sermon in English every Sunday at 10am so it has become on of the fewest churchs in Catalonia to do so. The temple, in renaissance style, preserves precious redish sgrafittos on the vault.
One curious thing about Riudecanyes is that the streets are named after the days of the week, so you will be walking by Wednesday street, Monday, Friday etc... But not Thrusday, as the origin of the naming was the feast of Corpus in XV century celebrating the belief in the body and blood of Christ. It shows the joy for the Eucharist which was observed on Holy Thrusday, that is why Thrusday is the only day of the week not present in town.
The Riudecanyes reservoir
The construction started in XIX century to provide the city of Reus with water. Nowadays the water in the reservoir is used for irrigation and bring water to the neighbour towns. The Riudecanyes reservoir is an amazing place to go for a walk and observe the landscape.
I had the privilage to be able to visit the reservoir on the inside, this was my first time inside a reservoir or anything similar and it is incredible how deep it is, so you can imagine my face when I realized I was surrounded by litres and litres of water...
Activities in Riudecanyes reservoir
Riudecanyes, is a little village located in the inside of Costa Daurada, in Baix Camp area. It is only 10km far from the coast in Cambrils, 13 km to Reus and 25km to Tarragona, very near well known tourist attractions such as Port Aventura theme park, the Costa Daurada coast etc...
There are so many things to be done in the reservoir, you can swim, sunbath in the shore, work on your fishing skills and have fun in their public water activities in the same reservoir called Riudecanyes aventura where you will be able to do kayak, sailing etc...
Accommodation in Riudecanyes: La Casa Vella del Pantà
I stayed in La Casa Vella del Pantà, a rural house right next to the reservoir, isolated but very near the town, so it is easy to access by car. The house is a catalan masia that has been restored following sustainable principles, it is well designed and comfortable, with everything you need from a full equipped kitchen and living room, little yacuzzi on the outside. The room are spacious, minimalist and keeping the rural vibe, I was in love with my bathroom and bathtub and all rooms have an amazing view of the outside overlooking the Riudecanyes reservoir.
You can relax in the hammock outside or use the swing and also take advantage of the barbacue at your disposal or just lie down and enjoy the surroundings, right? If it sounds like a plan, I totally recommend it, note that for the time being they rent the full property, more information in their website, Casa vella del pantà.
Where to eat in Riudecanyes: my choice, El Corral restaurant
The Restaurant el Corral in Riudecanyes, was an absolute discovery, normally when going around Catalonia in tiny towns there is good food but you expect traditional cuisine with km0 products but more the kind of food you would have at home, great quality of ingredients but traditional presentation.
El corral not only offers great quality of product but designed dishes that are well taken care of not only on the presentation but also in the mix of flavours. I had an authentic gastronomic travel, I had rabbit salad with marinated veggies and iberian pork meat with mash, it was so tender that melted in the mouth.
And we tried when typical sweet treat from the town, Riudecanyes means literally river with tree branches, so they created sweet sugary bread that its shape is a tree branch and voilà we got a typical sweet!
Disclaimer: this trip to la Baronia d'Escornalbou has been sponsored by Muntanyum to discover Costa Daurada mountains. As always, the opinion is my own.