For those of you who enjoy going a little off the beaten track and absorbing typical Catalan villages, then a trip to La Galera might be for you. The pace of life here is slow, with simple duties done at a gradual pace, because of the intense summer heat, but I would hazard a guess that it isn’t too much different during the cooler months. It’s like stepping back a few decades in time, in this village which may have had Roman origins.
On one of the main streets the post mistress carries out her duties at a leisurely pace, stopping to talk to the locals from time to time. Down one of the side streets, an elderly lady is bent over her flower pots, carrying out her morning ritual, before the more intensive heat kicks in.
La Galera is located in the province of Tarragona, with the nearest relatively big town being 13 km away, which is Ulldecona. To head down to the seaside, you have a choice of four beaches within around a 25 km to 35 km distance. Also the magical landscape of the Delta de l’Ebro Natural Park can be found around 30 km away. During July and August, there’s a municipal pool that is open to use, plus the village has two restaurants and bars.
One of the things I love about lots of these villages and smaller towns are the flowers in window boxes, or just spread on the window sills. It is quite a feature in some places.
La Galera has a population of between 800-900 inhabitants, and there are historians who give it credit for having Roman origins. However there’s no documented proof of this, although there is a Roman bridge. The village first pops up in documents in 1320, at which time it was called Pobla de la Galera.
As you drive through the surrounding countryside, the amount of olive groves will leave you in no doubt about the importance of olives to this area. Other agriculture includes almonds, peaches and citrus fruits. Vines and carobs used to be important but have almost died out now.
The water from the Xerta canal serves the area, and many families use this to irrigate farmland where they grow vegetables for the own consumption. The main livestock farming is pigs and poultry, as well as rabbit breeding, and there’s also a good number of hives.
The village is known for its pottery, because during the 17th century there was an influx of potters who moved to live there. These days it is a local artisan tradition, that is currently being carried on by one particular family mainly. The tradition and pottery is celebrated with a Festival of Pottery in May each year. Additionally there’s a museum you can visit to understand the process.
Check out the average weather in La Galera (it says Tortosa, but this is very close by).
Things To Do
Town Council – Edificio del Ayuntamiento
The town council building was constructed in 1906 and I think it’s rather impressive given the size of the village! In there is where you will find the tourist information and the Pottery Museum.
Also what caught my eye was a modernist building or two, which also came as a bit of a surprise, because of the size and location of La Galera.
Whether you decide to stay in the La Galera area, or just visit it, you’re never too far away from the sea anyhow. Here are the closest four beach towns:
25 km to Sant Carles de la Rapita
30 km to Vinaros
33 km to Les Cases d’Alcanar
33 km to L’Ampolla
The Tower of La Galera will strike you as you enter the village, and it watches over everything today, just as it has done for centuries since it was built from around 1340 to 1342, with work continuing on it for most of the 14th century. It was the residents who built it, initiated by the municipality of Tortosa, during the town’s conflict with the Hospitallers. The roof collapsed in 1397, but wasn’t rebuilt as by that stage Tortosa had lost interest in it.
Three centuries later it was decided to convert the interior into a parish church, dedicated to St Lawrence, who is the patron saint of the village. These reforms got put on hold, while the interior was used instead as a military storehouse, at the time of the War of Spanish Succession. It wasn’t until 15 August 1711 that the new church was consecrated.
La Galera Pottery Musuem
Baixos de l’Ajuntament de la Galera. Casa de la Vila. C/Sant Llorenç 36, La Galera 43515 Phone: 977 718 339
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Friday – 09.30 – 13.30 Saturday/Sunday/Fiestas – 12.00 – 14.00
You’ll find the Pottery Museum on the ground floor of the Town Hall. This is the place to go to interpret and understand the manufacturing process of clay vessels. You can see exhibitions there also.
Amposta- 14 km
Market day in Amposta is Tuesday, and it is a pretty decent market there. Apart from this it’s a nice town on the banks of the River Ebro – discover more in our Amposta Travel Guide
Tortosa – 20 km
Only 20 km away lies the interesting city of Tortosa, on the banks of the River Ebro – learn more in our Tortosa Travel Guide
Delta de l’Ebro Natural Park – 30 km
If you enjoy nature and unspoilt beaches, that can be reached by roads surrounded by Paddy fields, with an immensely interesting bird life, then don’t miss out on the Delta de l’Ebro Natural Park
Peñiscola – 54 km
Known as the City of the Sea, Peñiscola is a bit further away, but well worth the trip, in my humble opinion. Check out the Peniscola Travel Guide
Where to Sleep
Casa Blanca – Phone: 977 718 571 – Mobile: 648 652 925
See photos here – http://www.galera.cat/media/upload/imatges/CASA%20BIANCA1.pdf
Casa Pau – http://www.casapau-holiday-rental.com/
Where to Eat
The cuisine of La Galera is typical of the interior of this part of Catalonia. Of course you’ll find lots of local ingredients are used, including the almonds and locally produced honey. Starters and main courses are generally heartier types of food than you might find down in the coastal villages, and rabbit features quite frequently on the menus. Of course olive oil always plays a starring role!
Restaurant Can Joan, Carrer Sant Josep 9 – Phone: 977 718 571 – Specialities: Rice dishes, meat baked in the oven or barbecued
Restaurant El Pla de la Galera, Ctra. Sta Barbara – La Senia – KM 6 – Phone: 977 718 777 Specialities: Rice from the mountain, snails, duck with pears, pork
Pottery Festival – Fira de la Terrissa – early May
The pottery Festival is held in early May, and attracts visitors from different parts of Catalonia, as well as from other areas of Spain.
Main Festival – Saint Laurence – 10th August
The main festival of the village is held on 10 August, and you can expect a combination of bulls, dancing, festivities and some religious ceremonies.
The weekly market takes place on a Saturday morning, but is a very small affair normally with around five stalls. You can find it at the Plaça del Mercat (the Market Square).
La Galera Hiking/Cycling
There is a huge amount of cyclists to be seen in the roads around this area, and by the looks of them of all ages, sizes and nationalities. Whether you’re somebody prefers to explore nature on foot, the terrain is perfect with this also. I’ve linked to some suggested itineraries, which are supplied by the town council. Currently they are only in Catalan, however with the help of a translate tool I’m sure you get the gist of them. Check out these La Galera itineraries