Vilanova i la Geltrú and its surroundings are perfect for outdoor activities, in full contact with nature. In addition to its wonderful beaches, the coastal path and the walks through its rich urban heritage, the town is surrounded by three natural parks: Garraf, Foix and Olèrdola. Its “inland” nature hides little-known surprises that we suggest you discover on foot, by bicycle, on horseback or by practising other active tourism activities.
Horse riding in the natural park
Vilanova i la Geltrú is an ideal setting for horse riding.The Rosper Riding Club offers beginners’ classes for children and adults. But the most attractive way to get into riding are the routes around the Garraf Natural Park, through vineyards and forests and enjoying the views of the Mediterranean Sea.
They have options of one or two hours and of different difficulties, with an introductory class to learn the basics or routes with a little more slope if you already have some experience.
Caving for everyone
Through the year, the Garraf Natural Park organises an introductory caving activity in the Esquelets cave. The level of difficulty is low and it is suitable for the general public from the age of seven. A great opportunity to discover the underground world by descending with ropes through this 18-metre chasm. In addition to the sporting activity itself, you can enjoy the silence of this natural space, the calcite formations and perhaps the sighting of a bat.
Another option is the excursion to the Black Cave, in the municipality of Sant Pere de Ribes. After the 25-metre entrance and after crawling through a narrow passage of about five metres, you will be amazed by the beauty of the limestone formations in the main room. Don’t forget your torch!
Discover medicinal plants
On the outskirts of Vilanova i la Geltrú we find the traditional Catalan farmhouse Mas d’en sa Font, which, through the Garraf Natural Park, organises guided walks in the surrounding area to learn about the traditional and ancestral uses of medicinal and edible plants. A relaxed activity to learn to relate to the environment in a different way.
Walks through the wineyards
The Sports Station offers hiking routes for all levels in the surroundings of Vilanova i la Geltrú. If you are looking for a pleasant walk along comfortable paths and without technical areas, we suggest the walk through the vineyards, a circular route of 15 kilometres.
And if you are wine fans, in Sant Pere de Ribes there are several wineries with interesting wine tourism proposals.
Torre del Veguer offers different packs that include visits to the winery, which is listed as a historic-artistic monument by the Generalitat de Catalunya, walks through the vineyards observing the vegetative phase of the vines depending on the time of year, a wine tasting…
The Vega de Ribes winery also offers visits to the vineyards and the winery, wine tastings and even pairings with cheese or Iberian products.
On foot from Mas de l'Artís to Pla de Querol
If you fancy a long walk, we suggest a 25.71-kilometre route of moderate difficulty that crosses the Garraf Natural Park from Mas de l’Artís in Vilanova i la Geltrú to Pla de Querol in the municipality of Sitges. Following the Mediterranean Path, the GR-92.4, this excursion passes through beautiful geological landscapes and heritage elements.
The terrain of the Garraf marvels visitors with its unique landscape, rich in limestone karst forms and chasms, dolines and lapiaces.
The hand of man over the centuries can be seen along the route, especially in the form of vineyards of native varieties of the D.O. Penedès such as xarel-lo, malvasia and sumoll. There are also small buildings such as the circular vineyard huts, which were once used to shelter from the rain and keep food fresh while working in the fields.
Other large buildings along the route, such as the Torre del Veguer and the Valgrassa farmhouse, are also related to wine production. The Torre del Veguer is a fortified farmhouse dating from 1359, while the farmhouse of Vallgrassa, which gives its name to the whole valley in which it is located, currently houses an experimental arts centre where artistic and cultural activities are carried out.
The Castell de Ribes, in the municipality of Sant Pere de Ribes, has been documented since the 10th century and is classified as a Cultural Asset of National Interest. It can be visited at weekends.
Feel like a Vuelta cyclist
If road cycling is your thing, from Vilanova i la Geltrú you have access to a wide variety of routes with different levels of difficulty and duration. One option for those of you who are fitter is the Rat Penat (the bat) route. This is a short but quite demanding route, which passes through a first category pass that was one of the highlights of the 2010 Tour of Spain.
The route leaves Vilanova in the direction of Sitges along the C-31, better known as the Les Costes road. This stretch, twisty and with constant changes of gradient, will allow you to enjoy magnificent views of the literal Garraf.
At the first roundabout we turn off towards the Vallbona housing estate to begin the ascent to Rat Penat: 4.4 kilometres of ascent, with a gradient of 455 metres and an average gradient of 10.3%.
We then cross the Garraf Natural Park for a few kilometres and finish with a steep ascent to Les Piques, up to the Can Grau farm school. From here the descent begins, passing through Sant Pere de Ribes to return to the starting point.
Portal del Roc is one of the most attractive Pitch & Putt courses in Catalonia, and it is also the first to be awarded the Biosphere certification for its strong commitment to the environment and sustainability. It is a beautiful 18-hole course with prices starting at 14 euros for non-members. They also offer lessons for adults and children. If you already have some experience and fancy a bit of competition, there are tournaments every Friday in the summer, and they have a continuous calendar throughout the year.
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