Picasso’s Cave

Trips with children around Tarragona,
the Costa Dorada and the River Ebro Region.

e-zine nº 22

May 5th to 13th, 2009

Giants everywhere!

Picasso’s Cave
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The trip: Picasso’s Cave



Horta de Sant Joan, Terra Alta

Suitable age:

From 3 onwards

On foot

About the place:

What do you think of combining the best of the Ports, with the excuse of looking for Picasso’s Cave? When he was 16 years old,  Pablo Picasso spent eight months at home of his friend Pallarès because the air of Horta de Sant Joan helped to cure the scarlet fever. In summer, the two friends wanted an adventure, so they camped for a month in the cave of Ullals Morang, a small cave located near the river Estrets.

An itinerary that takes you first through the oak forest and then reaches the river Estrets with its characteristic clusters. Along the river you will discover that some of those huge rocks contain marble inside. In the old marble quarry you’ll find a detailed explanation and if you are lucky you will see one of the typical wild goat that run around the Ports.
A simple route to enjoy of a fantastic landscape with the whole family.

Direction tips:

Leaving Horta de Sant Joan in direction to Arnes direction by the T330, you must follow the sign to "Els Ports". Then you must take the paved trail that leads to the recreation area "The Franqueta”. It are 12.7 km. Park the car at the picnic area. The route starts at the track that raises next to the barbecue. You will find a sign that indicates the direction and distance to the Picasso Cave (1.7 km). After 520 meters you will find on the left side some stairs which will take you into the forest. A few minutes later you'll find an old lime kiln. You must follow the marked trail through the forest. Gradually you’ll start to hear the noise of the river.

And suddenly, once you passed a big rock and having spent half an hour from the point you left the Franqueta, you will see the River. From this point you will walk next to the river  between conglomerates and the forest. Ten minutes later you'll find some stairs to the right next to a sign that indicates the Cave of Picasso. At this point we are half way, so you can make a brief stop. After seeing the cave you should take the path again in direction Mas Quiquet. You will reach a wooden bridge. At the bridge you will have a fantastic view over the river and Els Ports. Once you passed the bridge you have to follow the path to your left side. 400 meters to the right you will find the old marble quarry. It’s worth making a stop because of the views and the information about the rocks and the environment. Did you know that the rocks you will see were made of organic chemicals that were deposited in horizontal layers in the bottom of an ocean? After seeing the marble quarry, you must return to the path in direction of Mas Quiquet. Five minutes later you'll find on the right side some stairs that will take you to an other main path. You have to cross the track and follow the wooded trail that takes you to the house. From here you have fantastic views of Els Ports and you will find explanatory panels on the landscape, as well as a coal. Leave the coal on your right and take the path in direction of La Franqueta (300 m). You will pass along some fields and some houses in ruins. Follow the path until you arrive to La Franqueta. You’ll have to cross the river trough a bridge and you’ll be back at the start point.

The best season:

winter, autumn, spring

Lunch tips:

After a good walk, you can recuperate at the Franqueta picnic area. You will find an area with playground equipment, barbecues, tables and services. But if you prefer somebody cooks for you, we recommend the restaurant and rural hotel Mas del Cigarrer, about 15 km from Horta de Sant Joan to Bot.

More info:

Difficulty: low
Type: circular route
Duration: approx. 2 hours (no stops)
Distance: approx. 3.1 km
Accessibility is a route with little slope with the exception of the first tranche of increases in the forest (height of 170 m).
Recommendations: This is an area where there is wind, so to protect children. You have to bring enough water and appropriate footwear.

If you want to spend the night nearby, you have the free camping area "Els Ateus" with barbecues and WC (French style) about 2 km from La Franqueta in direction of Horta de Sant Joan. Price: 0.6 € per person per night, 2.5 € / van or caravan per night, 1.2 € / car per night, 1.8 € / small tent per night; 3.61 € / big tent per night.

Photo: © ExploraTgn.cat

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