The land and legend of the arbequina olive
Les Garrigues is the epicentre of olive oil in Catalonia. The land from which the arbequina olive originated has won over gourmets from all over the world, thanks to its exceptional organoleptic and culinary properties. It was also the force behind the creation of Spain’s first denomination of origin olive oil: DOP Les Garrigues. This denomination was created to guarantee consumers the point of origin and quality of extra virgin arbequina olive oil. They are pioneers.
Visiting Les Garrigues is equivalent to completely submerging yourself in the culture of olive oil. Fields of hundred-year-old olive trees, dry-stone walls and vaulted shelters, olive oil mills and Art Nouveau-style cooperatives speak to us of a historical bond between man, cultivating the olive tree, making olive oil, and eating well.
Visitors can put themselves in the shoes of local smallholder farmers, visit fields, pick olives and enjoy a good lunch, with olive oil as the main protagonist. Alternatively, they can act as gourmets and enjoy a tasting of olive oils and wines or participate in cookery workshops. Visitors have the possibility of combining discovering olive oil and the heritage of Les Garrigues with cycling across its landscapes, or being left fascinated by the Iber fortress of Els Vilars, or the famous cave paintings of the Roca dels Moros at Cogul, which is an icon of Mediterranean cave art and has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, since 1998.
The Centre for Olive Oil Culture and the Olive Oil Museum of Catalonia of La Granadella, Cal Gineret, and the Espai Macià, at Les Borges Blanques, the Argilés Mill, at Arbeca, and the Ecomuseum of Olive Oil at La Pobla de Cérvoles, are all good places from which to start to discover the olive oil tourism of the comarca.