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Reus is a vibrant, buzzing city akin, albeit smaller, to Barcelona in the Catalonia Community of Spain. Reus’ history, architecture, development on an industrial background, pride of food produce and location makes the Capital of the Baix Camp in the Tarragona Province of Catalonia a real treasure. During your travels of Spain it would be worth planning sometime in Reus and the surrounding area.
Guide of Reus
Reus, a town in the Tarragona Province, in the community of Catalonia is in the north eastern region of Spain. Reus is situated on a coastal plain north west of Tarragon city or approximately 110 kilometres south west from Barcelona. Whilst Reus’ history is documented in the 13th century, it is not until the 1750s that English settlement was established, and commercial life was significant. The local climate permits diversified agriculture. Improved farming methods and dietary lifestyle factors have promoted a notable increase in the production of livestock, poultry with dairy, alongside the staples of citrus fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, olive oil, wine, nuts and seeds. The environment also positively contributes to a lucrative textile industry, that increased the population and stimulated the economy, leading to a flourishing arts and cultured society.
Climate in Reus
Reus as a Mediterranean city has hot sunny humid summers with milder windy winters. Although Reus is partially protected by hills to the north west, strong winds can still invade the city which is a blessing in summer and a reason to layer up during winter. The summer months, June to August, have long hours of daylight with the sun rising around 5:30 am and setting in the vicinity of 9:30 pm. The daily temperature range averages from 19°C to 30°C, however temperatures in the range of 30°C to 40°C have been recorded. The winter months, December to February, the temperature averages from 7°C to 17°C. Precipitation, whilst rare, is more likely to occur during the autumn months, September to November. Reus is a 19 minute drive away from a local favourite beach, Salou. The sea temperature ranges between 13°C in the winter months and a comfortable 26°C over the summer spring period.
Reus has a past from the 13th century, the Gothic priory church of San Pedro is testament of the times and the municipal museum, Prim-Rull Museum, displays artefacts of the era. Reus’ main cultural event and status was gained in the 1840s with the wealth procured due to the agriculture and textile industry established in the area. Culturally Modernisme or Modernista architecture was a Catalan nouveau movement that commenced in Barcelona between 1890 to 1910 but soon penetrated the society’s desires in Reus. Be inspired in Reus by Modernisme that embraced ornamentation with curving forms inspired by nature, bright colours, flowery leaf motifs incorporated in the detail with ceramics and/or mosaics to a highly decorative detail. Modernisme was not only confined to the field of architecture but infiltrated the movements of painting, illustration, sculpture, craftsmanship, music, poetry, literature and theatre. Antoni Gaudi the famous Modernisme architect spent his childhood and youth in Reus, leaving with his family at the age of 16 years, hence no buildings in Reus bear his signature design. Prominent Reus Modernisme architect of note was Domenech I Muntaner, a poet was Gabriel Ferrater and a theatre director was Lluis Pasquale. Vermouth was introduced into Spain in the 19th century and in particular the Catalan area. Reus with its productive wine growing economy became an epicentre of world class distilleries for this fortified wine. Using traditional methods of infusing the macerated liquids from the botanicals of roots, aromatic plants that can only be found in the Reus area with a selection of wines results in the Reus signature varieties of vermouth. Reus inhabitants, along with visitors, respect the Reus’ history, but eagerly support the cultural activities provided throughout the year and enjoy the labours of what the environment has produced for them seasonally to nourish the body.
Things To Do in Reus
Reus and the Tarragona Province is a wealth of cultural heritage mixed with a commercial shopping vibe, replenished with a long distinguished wine, aperitif production heritage and a love of showcasing the seasonal local environmental produce to perfection. Dedicating time in the Reus area is a life enhancing experience.
To orientate oneself with Reus’ city centre a self guided tour of the Modernisme architecture, Ruta del Modernisme, or a booked guided tour which enables you to enter in some of the historic Modernisme buildings would be ideal. The Ruta del Modernisme is a well marked out walk with all relevant buildings having a plaque. The tour office on Place Mercadal provides the self guided maps or can be used to book the guided tour, as well as a booking for Casa Navas, a prime example of a spectacular Modernisme house. Casa Navas designed by Domenechi I Montaner was to reflect the status and wealth of the businessman Joaquim Navas. Even the interior used a Modernisme designer, Gasper Homer, to complement the exterior with ceramics, glass, sgraffito and mosaic. The Gaudi Centre, although not a Modernisme building, in the Plaça del Mercadal is dedicated to the life and work of the famous architect. Through a range of exhibits and displays one can gain an appreciation of Gaudi’s unique style and creative process. At the Reus Museum, Reus’ historical legacy is unveiled in three main areas, ethnology, history and the arts. Time now for some wandering in Reus’ main squares, Plaça Prim and Plaça del Mercadal. At Plaça Prim are beautiful arcades, commercial enterprises, thriving cafes or restaurants and the glamorous Theatre Fortuny which still provides a yearly full calendar of concerts or operas that are a fantastic opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture as well as view the ornate interior. With Reus’ commercial record it is renowned for being the ‘city for shopping’. In the historic area, pedestrian friendly, there are over 600 shops for you to discover and understand why the town became famous for diversity in merchandise. Reus’ past and present of a buoyant environmental economy still thrives and the seasonal produce is proudly displayed and sold in the local markets which are a spectacular array of colour and aromas. The famous vermouths, which are best paired with cured meats or olives, can be enjoyed before noon or at sunset. Bodegas de Muller winery and Vermuts Rofes are just two iconic locations where you can indulge and relax whilst you have your aperitif. Leisure time can be continued which would thrill all ages. Salou, just south of Reus city centre, in the Tarragona province has many vineyards to explore as you head to Porta Aventura World, a waterpark, for a fun filled day, or unwind on one of the local beaches. If you can plan your Reus sojourn then coinciding with their patron saint festival Saint Pere, held in late June, is one way to experience live street music, performances, concerts, fairgrounds, firework displays, traditional events and the culmination of the festival with a Castell, human built tower.
Eating Out in Reus
If Spanish or Catalan is not in your repertoire, as most menus in Reus are in these languages, then be prepared to become friendly with hopefully a wait staff member who can translate or guide you to a dish of your preference. Typical Catalan, hence Reus, food enjoy combining the seasonal produce of the sea with the land. Although there are options of other food cuisines, immerse yourself in the Catalan cuisine, particularly in the Reus and Tarragona Province where the experience is wonderful. Exploring the Catalan cuisine is to try their seemingly simple dish of bread rubbed with tomato and then drizzled with olive oil called Pa Amb Tomaquet. Tapas or side servings for meats or fish often have escalivada vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers or aubergine that have been cooked over an open flame until they are so soft, chewing is not required, but the flavour has been enhanced. In January to March the specialty Calcots, a long thin winter onion, is cooked in hot ash and served with a spicy red salsa romesco sauce. Botifarra is a Catalan pork sausage that is either grilled or boiled and accompanied with white beans. Again a simple dish but worth the effort to seek. Vitric Taverna Gastronomica in Reus demonstrates the partnership of land and sea in their tapas to share menu, which features ham croquettes, seasonal peas with sea urchins and marinated lamb, grilled artichokes with tuna sashimi, grilled spring onions with guanciale cured meat and carbonara sauce, twice cooked eggs with foie gras and green bean cream paired with lobster tartare. Enjoy your tapas with a beverage from their extensive wine, beer, spirits and of course vermouth selection.
Josep Tarradellas Barcelona- El Prat Airport, located 15 kilometres south west of Barcelona, is the main international airport of Catalonia. From Barcelona City Centre there are three options of travelling to Reus. Renfe Viajeros operates a train service hourly and the journey takes approximately 1 hour 40 minutes. Two bus companies with varied schedules, Hispanso Igualadina or Empresa Plana, have journeys either on a daily or weekly basis respectively with a journey time of around 1 hour 25 minutes. Reus has an airport, REU, located 5 kilometres or approximately 20 minutes from the town centre however there are no direct flights from Barcelona. The Reus small short haul international airport currently services flights from destinations such as Ireland, United Kingdom and Europe. Within Reus town centre, Reus Transport operate the yellow public bus service and there is the option of a taxi. The town centre is designed to encourage a pedestrian friendly strolling culture. To explore the wonders of Reus and the Tarragona Province to the full advantage the convenience and flexibility of hiring a car would be ideal.