Discover the Med Pearls destinations: Les Garrigues, the land of olive oil
Les Garrigues, in Catalonia, Spain, is a destination with distinct features and an ideal region to practice slow tourism. With an area of 799.7 km2 and located in the inland of Catalonia close to the city of Lleida, the county has an interesting mix of rural areas and small towns, combined with natural landscapes that preserve their own character. The region is known for its wide fields and plains, and for being one of the largest olive oil producers in Catalonia.
Les Garrigues landscape is outlined by olive and almond trees, and distinguished by dry and arid soil. In fact, 57% of the region is covered by crops, and due to the conditions of the terrain it has been specialized in growing crops typical of dry regions: cereals, vines, almond trees and, above all, olive trees.
Indeed, olives are the most characteristic crop of the region, and their growing process and harvest have become a tourist attraction by itself. The typical variety of olive tree is the arbequina, and visiting any mill or country cooperatives and producer villages becomes a remarkable experience. While buying some litres of this valuable liquid, travellers exploring the region and its villages will witness an old-fashioned, serene and peaceful way of life worth discovering. Furthermore, thanks to the waters of the Urgell canal and the river Set, other interesting fruit trees grow in the region. Allowing for example the cultivation of grapes that produce the quintessential Catalan cava (sparkling white wine) that travellers will enjoy to discover.
Nature lovers will also enjoy the natural protected areas with interesting opportunities for birdwatching, as well as history and culture lovers who will find a lot of sites to explore. For example, the UNESCO site Cova dels Moros del Cogul and the Iberian fortress of the Vilars and Roman Villa among other sites. In the first one, travellers will discover the prehistoric cave paintings of El Cogul, which is one of the most important collections of cave paintings in the Mediterranean region. Other places of interest include the ethnological museums, of Juneda and Castelldans and the Archaeological Museum of Les Borges Blanques.
Last, but not least, the region also offers events and activities throughout all the year that are respectful in representing the culture of the territory, as well as tourism activity providers that fit the slow tourism interests. Therefore, if you are looking for a destination that preserves a strong culinary culture and rural identy, and that combines it with an interesting cultural and nature offer, Les Garrigues might just be the place for you. Welcome to Les Garrigues!
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