Tarragonès. Baix Gaià Castle Route


Trail photos

Photo ofTarragonès. Baix Gaià Castle Route Photo ofTarragonès. Baix Gaià Castle Route Photo ofTarragonès. Baix Gaià Castle Route


Trail stats

33.09 mi
Elevation gain
2,388 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
2,402 ft
Max elevation
755 ft
Min elevation
-3 ft
Trail type
March 25, 2018
March 2018
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near Creixell, Catalunya (España)

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Trail photos

Photo ofTarragonès. Baix Gaià Castle Route Photo ofTarragonès. Baix Gaià Castle Route Photo ofTarragonès. Baix Gaià Castle Route

Itinerary description

Table of Contents
0. Introduction
1. Creixell castle
2. Pobla de Montornès castle
3. Nou de Gaià castle
4. Vespella castle
5. Renau castle
6. Catllar castle
7. Riera de Gaià castle
8. Ferran castle
9. Tamarit castle
10. Altafulla castle
11. Torredembarra castle
12. Clarà castle

0. Introduction
The Baix Gaià Castle Route track passes twelve castles located in Baix Gaià with an slight difference from the official track between Vespella de Gaià and Renau that makes it a loop trail.
The track can be started or ended at any point and it is marked by approved vertical signals, which are located along the route. At the starting or ending point you will find the complete route map.

The Baix Gaià Castle Route page at the website of the Torredembarra tourist website:

Note: Unfortunately, the route dedicated website and flyer is not available any more on-line. These were the URLs just it case they become available again:

1. Creixell castle
The place name Creixell appeared in the year 1083 when Philippe, the king of France, named Artal Gilmundo the Castle Governor of Creixell.
The town charter was granted in 1190 by the Bishop of Barcelona Ramon de Castellvell. The oldest vestige which remains of this medieval fortress is its stone talus from the 11th and 12th centuries. The ancient prison from the 14th century and the cellar from the 16th century are also noteworthy.
It has been altered many times and has gained recognition as a site of National Cultural Heritage. The castle interior is currently equipped as a private dwelling.

2. Pobla de Montornès castle
In 1066 the Count of Barcelona granted Ramon de Transunyer lordship of Puigperdiguers (Montornès). The castle, however, was not completed until 1099. Later it became the property of the Monastery of Santes Creus and in the 18th century the lands were sold to the town landowners until the castle was expropriated by the Mendizabal Laws.
What remains of the castle today includes a west-facing tower and a large retaining wall around the circular market square in front of the Hermitage, which was built around 1785. The picture of Mare de Déu de Montornès is an alabaster carving from the 16th - 17th century.

3. Nou de Gaià castle
The castle began as an 11th century tower which no longer exists, and later extensions led to its transformation into a castle with a walled enclosure. It wasn’t until the 17th century that the extensive architectural alterations which can still be seen today took place. Nou de Gaià Castle, which looks more like a manor home than a medieval castle, has had a long architectural evolution from the 11th century until the present day. First reference is from the year 1011, and later, in the year 1023 Count Ramon Berenguer assigned it to the Claramut lineage.
In the 19th century it became the ancestral home of the Baron of Quatre Torres until the Civil War (1936-1939). Carles Morenes i Carvajal, Viscount of Alesson, was born in this castle. The last owner, the Captain General of the Balearic Islands, handed it over to the town council in 1982.

4. Vespella castle
Warning: This section of the trail does not follow the official route through El Catllar but a shorter one directly from Vespella to Renau:
On waypoint "03RiverCrossing" the Gaià river is crossed. On December 30th it was very easy to do so since it was maximum 20 cm deep and no more than 2 meters long to cross it (very clear water and stony floor). Take long pants near the river because there are some thorny brambles.

Situated on the top of a hill near the Church of Sant Miquel, the first evidence of the castle dates from the 12th century, but it is believed to have been built in the 11th century. The rectangular-based enclosure was defended in the far North by a circular tower and the walls are still traceable nowadays. The place name Vespella first appeared in 1167 with the repopulation of Ponç a Far. From the 13th century onwards it was owned by various lordships, such as the Montolius, the Queralts, the city of Barcelona and the Icarts of Torredembarra. During the Carlist Wars it served as a battleground between the troops of the Canaster command and the Miquelets of Altafulla and Torredembarra.

5. Renau castle
Renau was colonized in the mid-12th century and remained the property of the El Catllar lords until the 14th century when it passed into the hands of the Montoliu family who expanded its territory throughout the 15th century. In the year 1685, they sold the estate to Francesc Perelló. In the year 1727, the Barony of Renau was controlled by the Hospitaller Order up until the abolition of the lordships in the 19th century. The remains of the feudal castle of Renau were demolished in 1876 in order to build the church. In Renau the term “castell” is usually understood to be a “manor home” rather than a feudal castle.

6. Catllar castle
Catllar Castle was built on the remains of a fortified town dating from the Iron Age (7th century BC - 5th century AD) on a hill overlooking one of the river Gaià’s meanders. It dates from the beginning of the 11th century, a time when the river acted as a border between the Catalan counties and the kingdom of Al-Andalus. The current structure is the result of an expansion of the original wall and tower which saw buildings added mainly between the 13th and 16th centuries; the castle underwent its most notable expansion in the last of these centuries, which shaped it as a triangular-based premises with a moat, a walled perimeter with two towers on the main façade and the inner buildings organized around a courtyard.

7. Riera de Gaià castle
Montoliu Castle is known as the Castellot or Castle of Santa Margarida. Strategically positioned in Riera de Gaià, it first appeared in the year 1060 with the name Castle of Ullastrell. Its name was later changed to Castle of Montoliu and it was thus called until the 15th century when it become the property of Joan de Buixadors. Demolished during the Peninsular War, what can be identified from its structure includes the circular-based tower dating from the 11th and 12th centuries, a rectangular-based, two-storey castle building with pointed vault which was built on the walls between the 13th and 14th centuries and the wide moat, dug out of rock and which is now covered with vegetation.

8. Ferran castle
Reference to Ferran Castle is made in the year 1197 in the will of William of Granada. Mentioned in documents of King Jaume I (James I the Conqueror), it belonged to the archbishop of Tarragona in the 14th century and in the year 1340 riots were documented, the cause of which was the opposition of the people of Ferran to a war tax introduced by King Peter “the Ceremonious”.
The castle began as an 11th century tower which no longer exists, and later extensions led to its transformation into a castle with a walled enclosure.
It wasn’t until the 17th century that the extensive architectural alterations which can still be seen today took place.

9. Tamarit castle
Tamarit Castle is situated on a hill, lending it an imposing, defensive appearance. The original 11th century central building was damaged during the Catalan Revolt. Later, King Peter IV, known as King Peter “the Ceremonious”, ordered it to be enclosed and you can trace the walled enclosure which underwent changes in later centuries. Its most notable features include the square tower adjoined to the Romanesque church of Santa Maria with its belfry gable. In front of the walled enclosure is a watchtower which was built to defend against the frequent privateer attacks which affected the coast throughout the 16th century.

10. Altafulla castle
Altafulla Castle is first mentioned in 1059 and the parish is first referred to in the Papal bull of 1194. The current building, which dates from the 17th century and is adjoined to the walls of the Vila Closa, has an irregular shaped base.
The parapet of merlons and crenels gives it the appearance of a fortification. The dominant Renaissance style is evident in the doors and windows.
It served as a barracks for the militia of Altafulla in the first of the Carlist wars, and it was a shelter for troops and soldiers during the Civil War (1936-1939). Nowadays it is private property and is not open for public visits.

11. Torredembarra castle
From the 16th century onwards, the Castel Nou of Torredembarra was the property of the Icart family lineage, the most notable member of which was Lluís d’Icart, General Mayor of Catalonia and lord of the Castel Nuovo of Naples. It was this noble family which built the only nine-storey Renaissance castle which exists in Catalonia, serving as their main residence until the year 1663. In the 19th century Josep Safont bought the castle and it was used as a fortress during the Carlist Wars, with a battle between Carlists and Liberals taking place there on 15th April 1874. The town obtained ownership of it in the 1980s and it became the offices of the Town Council in the year 2000.

12. Clarà castle
The place name Clarà is first referred to in 1057 when Ramon Berenguer I donated a “quadra” to create a defense and cultivation unit.
In 1206 the territorial limits separating it from the township Torredembarra were confirmed.
Clarà Castle was built in the 15th and 16th centuries on top of the old medieval castle. The building played a significant role in the 15th century in the war between King John II and the Generalitat. It was restored in the mid-20th century. Clarà Castle is also known by the local place name Xeco.


PictographPhoto Altitude 638 ft
Photo of01VespellaCastle


30-DEC-14 11:24:49

PictographPhoto Altitude 712 ft
Photo of02QuarryAbandoned


30-DEC-14 11:45:33

PictographPhoto Altitude 318 ft
Photo of03RiverCrossing


30-DEC-14 12:28:12

PictographWaypoint Altitude 341 ft


30-DEC-14 12:47:59

PictographWaypoint Altitude 556 ft


11-JAN-15 12:43:50

PictographPhoto Altitude 605 ft
Photo of06Ruin


11-JAN-15 12:57:29

PictographWaypoint Altitude 696 ft


11-JAN-15 12:37:10

PictographWaypoint Altitude 563 ft


11-JAN-15 13:36:53

PictographWaypoint Altitude 578 ft


11-JAN-15 13:44:58

PictographPhoto Altitude 589 ft
Photo of10RenauCastle


11-JAN-15 11:28:02

PictographPhoto Altitude 406 ft
Photo of11GoLeft


21-JAN-18 11:53:43

PictographPhoto Altitude 225 ft
Photo of12CatlllarCastle


21-JAN-18 10:59:01

PictographPhoto Altitude 250 ft
Photo of13RieraCastle


28-JAN-18 11:18:38

PictographPhoto Altitude 4 ft
Photo of14FerranCastle


28-JAN-18 10:24:11

PictographPhoto Altitude 426 ft
Photo of15TamaritBeach


PictographPhoto Altitude 24 ft
Photo of16TamaritCastle


18-FEB-18 11:14:40

PictographPhoto Altitude 164 ft
Photo of17AltafullaCastle


18-FEB-18 11:48:47

PictographPhoto Altitude 79 ft
Photo of18TorredembarraCastle


PictographPhoto Altitude 42 ft
Photo of19ClaraCastle


09-MAR-18 17:23:09

PictographWaypoint Altitude 50 ft


10-MAR-18 12:14:33

PictographPhoto Altitude 175 ft
Photo of21CreixellCastle


10-MAR-18 12:41:22

PictographWaypoint Altitude 275 ft


11-MAR-18 17:38:29

PictographPhoto Altitude 289 ft
Photo of23PoblaCastle


PictographPhoto Altitude 261 ft
Photo of24NouCastle


18-MAR-18 10:44:07


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