Els Bessons

A protected natural area of 425 hectares in the centre of Les Garrigues region, with well-conserved landscapes, typically of kermes oak.

Els Bessons is the first transitional mountain range between the Catalan part of the Ebro depression and the first foothills of the Catalan Pre-coastal mountain range (the Llena Mountain Range and Montsant). For this reason, the relief is quite rugged with many hills, plateaus and valleys (called corners), where the natural vegetation of the steep slopes alternates with the dryland fields of the flatter areas.



    The most emblematic part of the space is Els Bessons hill, formed by two points aligned north-south and of the same altitude (594 m), surpassed by the rest of the hills of the massif: Marquesos (655.9 m), which forms the roof of the space, the summit of Pouet (654.5 m) and Xiveta hill (632.8 m).

    Note the large amount of natural vegetation on the slopes of the hills and mountain ranges, mostly scrub and bushes, as well as fragments of holm oak forest and Aleppo pine forests. The preservation of these continuous mantles of natural vegetation gives it a uniqueness and highlights the contrast with the flatter areas, mainly cultivated with dryland crops: vines, olives, almond trees and barley.

    Throughout the entire space dry stone buildings in their different forms (dry stone walls, cabins, tile cabins, tanks and cisterns, etc.) can be seen, which, during the nineteenth century and until the middle of the twentieth century helped farmers to turn the land into arable land and make their lives easier.


    Biogeographically, the Bessons mountain range is located in a confluence zone of the continental subregion with the southern Mediterranean subregion. For this reason, the vegetation species present are holm oak, kermes oak and gutwort, among others.

    There are also species of more restricted distribution typical of the southern Mediterranean subregion, with a more restricted distribution, such as Spanish broom or Ononis tridentata.

    In addition, there are also species from the Eurosiberian region, in particular sub-Mediterranean. It corresponds to the vegetation typical of dry oak groves, to which species such as Valencian oak and bladder-senna belong.

    As mentioned in previous sections, calcicolous scrubs occupy a good part of the territory and are dominated by rosemary scrub and slim-leaved flax with sage-leaved cistus. Along with the scrub, the garrigue dominated by kermes oak characterizes the plant covering of this natural area. The small fragments of meadows present in the areas of poorer soils are classified as habitats of community interest, since they contain a rich and varied flora of annual herbaceous species (ramose false brome, lampwick plant, ruta, etc.).


    The mammals are made up of insectivores: the North African hedgehog, the European hedgehog, the greater white-toothed shrew; rodents: the garden dormouse, wood mouse, the brown rat, the Algerian mouse, the Mediterranean pine vole and the red squirrel.

    The types of Mustelidae that are resident in the area include: the weasel, the beech marten and the ferret. The fox and wild boar are abundant, and the presence of roe deer has lately been detected. Currently, the rabbit has become quite abundant again.

    Finally, the presence of the common bat has been noticed, as well as a colony of lesser horseshoe bats, which is a protected species classified as almost under threat.

    In terms of reptiles, the ocellated lizard is very common.


    This agroforestry vegetation landscape, which is very open, with low and bush vegetation interspersed with dryland crops, favours the abundance of partridges and, above all, rabbits, both preys of diurnal predatory birds such as the buzzard and nocturnal birds of prey such as the Eurasian eagle-owl, the barn owl, the little owl, the tawny owl and the long-eared owl.

    Moreover, it is a scattering area for young Bonelli's eagle and golden eagle individuals (species under threat), from the Catalan pre-coastal and coastal mountain ranges as well as from other areas of the Mediterranean and Iberian peninsula, and southern France, where it nests in scarps and cliffs.

    Although this is not strictly a steppe area, various steppe birds do nest here, such as the stone-curlew, the European roller, the stock dove, the greater spotted cuckoo, the black-eared wheatear, the red-legged partridge and less commonly the black wheatear.


    From the towns of Les Borges Blanques, Cervià de les Garrigues and Juneda, several signposted routes follow various country roads up to the plateau of Els Bessons.

    From the Aranyó farmhouse, located at km 59.5 of the C-233 road, you can access the space following a country road, suitable for all kinds of vehicles, which passes through the foothills of the Rispa mountain range, where there is a widening where a few vehicles can park. From here, you have to walk up a path, with a slope that is fairly steep but has some steps, which rises to the top of this mountain range, from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the beautiful Aranyó valley.

    From the top of the Bessons, Marquesos and Sant Blai hills, visitors can enjoy an excellent panoramic view of the Lleida plain, much of the Catalan Pre-coastal mountain range, the pre-Pyrenean mountain ranges and the main Pyrenean peaks, most of all in winter, when the snow cover favours visibility.


    Les Borges Blanques- Els Bessons natural area-Sant Salvador

    Els Bessons 'From Cervià to the tip of Marquesos' signposted

    Els Bessons 'From Juneda to Els Bessons' signposted


    You can visit the Les Garrigues tourism website and consult more routes in the Les Garrigues region.


    Benet Hostel
    Pl. de la Constitució, 21-23 - Les Borges Blanques
    Tel. (+34) 973 142 318

    Restaurant L'Isard
    C. d'Ignasi Gavín, 28 - Juneda
    Tel. (+34) 973 150 396

    Lo Molí Farmhouse
    Partida de la Quadra, 304 - Juneda
    Tel. (+34) 973 150 022 

    Les Obagues Ecocentre
    Partida del Secanet, s/n - Juneda
    Tel. (+34) 973 195 663

    Mas de Miravall
    Partida de Miravall, s/n - Juneda
    Tel. (+34) 973 150 650

    L'Hort (independent rural accommodation)
    Partida de Rubinats, Camí de la Font Vella - Les Borges Blanques
    Tel. (+34) 973 143 489 / (+34) 618 877 907

    Restaurant Els Fogons de la Carme
    C. del Portalet, 10
    25460 Cervià de les Garrigues
    Tel. (+34) 686 410 468

    Restaurant Erigard
    Raval de Lleida, 64 - Les Borges Blanques
    Tel. (+34) 973 140 082

    Restaurant Masia les Garrigues
    Ctra. de Tarragona, km 67 - Les Borges Blanques
    Tel. (+34) 973 141 033

    Restaurant Memphis
    C. de la Indústria, 11 - Les Borges Blanques
    Tel. (+34) 973 989 716

    Restaurant Mesón del Norte
    Pl. del Terrall, 1 Les Borges Blanques
    Tel. (+34) 973 142 651

    Restaurant del Polígon
    Pol. Industrial les Verdunes - Les Borges Blanques
    Tel. (+34) 973 140 490

    Slàvia Coffee Bar
    Pl. del Terrall, 14 -Les Borges Blanques
    Tel. (+34) 973 140 972