Spring and summer getaway to Mont-roig del Camp - Miami Platja
The light that enchanted Joan Miró
Like many other towns on the Costa Daurada, Mont-Roig del Camp - Miami Platja is made up of an important, historical town located a few kilometers inland and a seaside town given over to summer tourism. This getaway will allow us explore both the Mont-Roig that captivated the painter Joan Miró and the beaches that are home to thousands of visitors every year who come in pursuit of the town's sea and sand.
Morning day 1: A walk around Mont-roig
© Joan Capdevila
We have just arrived in Mont-roig del Camp, in the heart of the Costa Daurada, and after our journey we feel like stretching our legs. So let's take a stroll through the streets that were once walked by a renowned pedestrian called Joan Miró. We can set out on our tour around town at the fountain that lies on the corner of Carrer Ponent and Carrer d'Agustí Sardà. Notice how the houses seem to pile up on top of each other. Take Carrer de Ponent and turn right into Carrer del Calvari. Take note of the plaques with the street names; each one is illustrated with an image that refers to its name. In this case, Carrer del Calvari, Calvary Street, is represented by a hill with three crosses. At the end of the street, turn left into Carrer de la Mare de Déu de la Roca, where you will almost immediately see the first important building on our route, the old school building that is nowadays known as Casa de Cultura d'Agustí Sardà. Ochre in colour and neoclassical in design, with its perfect renaissance symmetry, it has decorative elements on its doors and windows and is topped by a double crown and flanked by two arches that mark its division into a school for boys and a school for girls. The ground floor currently houses a public library that bears the name of Joan Miró.
We will continue to walk along this quiet, gently sloping street. At this point, we should explain that for the last few years Mont-roig has been carrying out a thorough renovation of the streets in the historical centre and you'll find some that are impeccable while others may still have excavators working in them. Let's carry on walking until we make a 180º turn into Carrer de Sant Antoni, where we will be struck by the sight of a chapel that has been turned into housing. We will soon reach Plaça de Mossèn Gaietà Ivern, with the new and uncompleted church of Sant Miquel Arcàngel, known, thanks to its size, as "the Cathedral of the Baix Camp". The façade is striking with its protruding stones. An inscription informs us that the foundations of the temple were laid on October 25th 1801.
Where there's a new church there's bound to be an old one and it's right there, though today, rather than serving religious functions, it's home to the Centre Miró, which we obviously invite you to go inside to visit. While staying in Mont-roig Miró discovered the world of the countryside, the vines, nature and the region's special light. He even stated that the totality of his work has been conceived of in Mont-roig. He spent long periods of time here after discovering the town when he was 18 years old. The Miró Centre is an interpretative space dedicated to him, with a number of reproductions of his work and documentaries as well as an explanation of his relationship with the town.
Leaving the Miró Centre we have almost closed the circle described by our route. But don't overlook the plaque that lies right next to the old church marking the birthplace of Anton Benaiges. While obviously not as well known as Miró, we should tell you that he was a pioneer in new educational methods during the second Spanish republic. When he was teaching in Burgos he was murdered by fascists just after the beginning of the civil war at the age of 33.
Passing under an arch that joins the church and a house we enter Plaça de Joan Miró, from which we have an attractive view of the bell tower of the old church and a neoclassical fountain adjoining the church wall. Take Carrer de Francesc Riba i Mestre, turn right into Carrer d'Agustí Sardà and you'll find yourself in the same place from which we set off on our walk.
Afternoon day 1: Two chapels with views
Where does the name Mont-roig (meaning red rock) come from? We'll find out this afternoon. To the west of the town there is a hill shaped like an enormous red-coloured rock that stands out on the surrounding plain. There is a car park at the foot of the rocky hilltop, so you'll only have to walk up the last stretch. From the top a whole world is revealed! There are also two chapels, Ermita de la Mare de Déu de la Roca, which inspires strong devotion in Mont-roig, and Ermita de Sant Ramon de Penyafort. The first, as indicated on the building itself, dates from 1230, while the second was built in 1586. The complex is, in any case, built on an earlier castle. The place affords splendid views and they only get better if we take the Areny footpath to the viewpoint. From there we will see curious rock formations, sculpted by the wind. The complex made up of the two chapels seems to balance suspended on the hilltop. The chapel of Sant Ramon is the higher one, rectangular in shape and white in colour, while the chapel of Mare de Déu de la Roca, is slightly lower, composed of various buildings with fragments of red and white walls. Inside is an image of the Mother of God sculpted by local artist Francesc Javaloy in 1980.
So, it's a place well worth exploring and, given its singular nature, it's no surprise that it has given rise to many legends, like the story of a sliding Moorish king, which you can read about if you go there.
Morning day 2: Kilometres and kilometres of beaches
It's probably time to start exploring the seaside part of town. And it's certainly a challenge to choose which particular beach to visit, since the town has more than 12 kilometres of coastline, including seductive coves with enchanting names like the Lonely One's Cove (Cala del Solitari), Mystery Cove (Cala Misteri), the Cove of the Sirens (Cala de les Sirenes), and the Cove of the Angels (Cala dels Àngels). Many of these coves are located in Miami Platja, the most densly populated area on the town's coastline, but many urban developments belonging to the town are located next to the sea. If you prefer a larger beach, you also have plenty to choose from including Platja Cristall, Platja Llarga, Platja de la Pitxerota and Platja de la Porquerola.
If the weather is bad or if you don't feel like a swim, you have plenty of sporting activities to choose from. Without leaving the municipal area you can play golf, take a bicycle and do one of the signposted routes or take to the water to enjoy one of the many nautical activities on offer in Mont-roig del Camp - Miami Platja.
Afternoon day 2: Dry stone huts
We'll finish our getaway with a quiet walk on which we'll explore a type of building that's especially common in the area of Mont-roig and which offers a contrast to the grand castles, monasteries, mansions and churches that are usually recommended. These particular building are much more humble and, probably for that very reason, have their own special charm. We're talking about the dry stone huts that farm workers built by laying one stone on top of the other without any cement and with the stones sloping slightly outwards to stop the rain from coming in. The roofs are covered with a layer of earth and small stones and planted with irises whose roots help to bind the roof and make it more impermeable. The doors of the huts face south to take advantage of the sun and to avoid the east wind. They were used to store food and drink for both human and animal consumption.
In the region there are 107 catalogued huts in good conditions but we are not going to visit all of them. Our route begins 700 metres beyond the 18 kilometre mark on highway T-310. It isn't easy to explain how to reach each hut so we strongly recommend that you take the leaflet published by the Miró Centre or that you download it here that you follow the instructions that will take you to a dozen huts before the sun starts to set and it's time to go home.
WITH THE SUPPORT OF AJUNTAMENT TO MONT-ROIG DEL CAMP
Where to stay and where to eat
A tribute to an illustrious visitor to the village, this interpretation centre focussing on Joan Miró and his work, occupies an original setting in the old church in Mont-Roig del Camp. We’ll find everything from facsimile reproductions of paintings related to the village to videos on his work and his relationship to Mont-Roig.
- C/ Major, 2, 43300