The Riera Ribes, Sant Pere de Ribes, Catalunya

Weather worn rocks at Riera Ribes, Catalunya


To the west of Sant Pere de Ribes lies a wilderness which forms part of El Garraf and the gateway to that vast, hilly landscape is the Riera Ribes, another of the region’s dry river beds which swells and races come April.

What sets Riera Ribes apart from most is its unique red canyon which looks like something from a spaghetti western. Doorways are cut into the rock face and the land is split by a huge welt through which goatherds move their flocks and on top of which Cava grow their grapes.

People used to live in the little canyon and the tunnels they built formed a network of refuges used to good effect during Franco’s bloody reign. The remains of those homes are still there to be seen; old tables, clothes and random possessions laid out in the sun for all to see like the victims of the Caudillo’s Falangists.


One of the abandoned tunnels at Riera Ribes, Catalunya

These scattered possessions are a sad reminder of the lives that used to make a home of the tunnels at Riera Ribes, Catalunya.


Thankfully, most would say, the days of Franco are gone and Spain is a much better country for it. There is still something very sad about the ghosts of those days but there is also a tranquillity about the Riera Ribes; its weather worn walls and rain beaten spires conjure notions of bandit ambushes or desperadoes hiding from the law.

It’s a great place to let Sweep off the leash to capitalise on the abundance of sniffs in the locality and during our visit there yesterday we we treated to a tide of goats as they swept along the dry river bed, guided expertly by the goatherd and his three dogs.

Sadly the Riera Ribes has succumbed to littering and is not as beautiful as it should be. That said, it is an interesting place to explore for an hour and a good spot for some easy dog walking.

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