Parrisal de Beceite: The Spanish Mini-Plitvice
Set at the border between Catalunya and Aragon, on a winding route lined by olive trees and towering cliffs, this Spanish Hidden Gem was stuck on my retina for almost one month, while I’ve struggled to find time to write about it.
So on the day of Merce, while Giants occupy the roads of Barcelona and castellers compete for the highest human tower, I’m stuck at home with a case of serious allergy and finally have the change to tell you all about the fairy-tale Beceite. I’ll call it: The Spanish Mini-Plitvice.
Otherwise known as Parrisal de Beceite, at the head of the Matarraña River, here is a typical limestone gorge in the most scenic of Mediterranean environments: impressive cliffs, transparent green blue hue waters, and beautiful lush forests.
The walls of the canyon gain more and more height, sometimes forming spectacular needles. They are the famous Gubies.
It’s an easy walk, suitable for the whole family, in the upper part of the Matarraña River. Equipped with walkways and treks through the forest, Beceite in summer is a perfect place to cool off and shake off the stink of the city.
Beceite is relatively well known among locals, who often choose to spend the day or the weekend out with the family.
However, most tourists coming to Spain will overlook the splendor offered by the Matarrana, because of other highly advertised locations such as Barcelona or Costa Brava.
Well, I’m here to tell you: if you can, and you love nature walks, go here instead!
The route we did was easy and stretched lazily for about 4-5 km, but if you go further away, you can extend it to 12 Km, with a 700 total incline.
So there’s something for everyone.
Hiking the Parrisal de Beceite
We started off at around 4 in the afternoon, after a rather copious lunch in Tarragona, and the wooded route was fairly unoccupied, despite the great August weekend weather.
It may have been the luck of the day, but I recommend going after 4PM if you’re going for the short hike: the cliffs provide sufficient shade from the sun, and most locals are enjoying their siestas, leaving the gorgeous Beceite all to your greedy selves.
I’ll leave some tips below, to make sure you’re all set for an off the beaten microadventure, some 200km away from Barcelona.
Tips for Your Hike
1. Once in Beceite, the most comfortable thing is to travel the first 5 kilometers of the road by car, until you reach a large parking lot. You don’t want to get too tired before the awesomeness starts.
2. Bring comfortable and sturdy footwear, preferably hiking boots. NO flip-flops, people – if you enjoy living.
3. This is important: You’re not allowed to swim! Contrary to what you might see on the internet (ah, the internet!), trust when I say that bathing is prohibited and you’ll get a 60 euro fine if you do.
4. There is a natural swimming pool just outside the Beceite village, where you can enjoy the waters. Google Maps location here.
5. And of course: bring sunscreen, a hat, drinks, and food.
Tips for Your Roadtrip
1. Stop over in Tarragona for a good lunch and a quick visit to the Roman amphitheater.
2.While you’re there, I recommend you get lunch at Restaurante Les Voltes. Great food, big portions, good value.
3. Stop along the winding road to the villages of Miravet or Valderrobres, and admire the impressive view of the towering Roques de Benet. It’s a sight to remember!
I’ll leave you with this panoramic view of the Mediterranean, seen from atop Tarragona’s Roman amphitheater.
Don’t be afraid to Travel. Differently.