Let’s discover Penedès and Catalonia taking as reference the calendar of its customs and traditions, which will let you live a unique and unforgettable experience. You can do it with a local guide or by yourself by following our recommendations. For a full experience, we offer you the most charming accommodation, either at a hotel or a rural house. Choose the best option for you.
The vineyards wake up in the whiteness of frost.
JANUARY: THE THREE KINGS AND ‘CALÇOTADES
The vines rest. It’s time to fertilize the land and prune the vine shoots. On January 5, the whole of Catalonia celebrates the traditional Three Kings’ Night. All the towns and villages hold their own parade to welcome Their Majesties. The parade in Igualada is one of the most popular and attractive ones in Catalonia. Around 3,000 pages take part in it, and they bring magic to the city streets.
FEBRUARY: CARNIVAL AND ‘XATÓ’ ROUTE
The day is still cold but longer, and the vines value the hours of sun. It’s Carnival time, one of the most significant celebrations in Penedès, especially in Vilanova i la Geltrú and Sitges. In Vilanova, we will discover the most popular Carnival, which ends on a Sunday with the traditional caramel war at the Plaça de la Vila (Town’s Square) with the ‘comparses’ –dressed with a belt, red hat and waistcoat– and the ‘comparseries’ –with ruffle skirts, a shawl and a dianthus on their hair– who march through the city streets during the whole morning.
MARCH: PALM SUNDAY AND EASTER ‘MONA’
The cold weather persists until Saint Joseph’s day, when spring comes. Easter comes between March and April, a time of holidays. Apart from religious festivities in towns and villages, like the processions and Stations of the Cross, Catalonia celebrates Palm Sunday and Easter Monday.
APRIL: BOOK DAY AND SAINT GEORGE’S LEGEND
The days start to get warmer, while the nights are still chilly. It’s time for the vines to wake up. The first vines sprout leaves and the landscape is dyed green. April 23 is Saint George’s Day in Catalonia. It is Catalonia’s national day, which is also the book and rose day.
MAY: CORPUS CHRISTI AND MEALS BY THE SEA
It’s the month of flowers. The landscape is painted with colours. Vines show one thousand tones of green and it is one of the best times to travel through the vineyards, either by foot or by bicycle. Penedès has an electric bicycle rental service that makes your trip very convenient.
JUNE: SAINT JOHN’S EVE AND ORDAL PEACH MARKET
Heat takes the main picture. Summer comes: vines show their splendour and the trees start giving their fruits. In Subirats and Avinyonet del Penedès, one of the highest areas of the region, it’s the time to pick Ordal cherries and peaches, a variety that has gained a quality distinction for its exquisite taste.
JULY: OUTDOOR MUSIC FESTIVALS AND VENDRELL ‘FESTA MAJOR’
This is the month of summer music festivals. Penedès offers two renown music events this month: Vijazz of Vilafranca del Penedès, where visitors can taste wines and cavas from the whole region while listening to the leading international jazz figures (concerts are free and outdoors in various locations of the city); and Festival Vida (former Faraday), the most well-known independent music festival, in Vilanova i la Geltrú.
AUGUST: VILAFRANCA AND VILANOVA ‘FESTA MAJOR’ AND SAINT FELIX DAY
The high temperatures of this month put the cap on grape ripening, as some varieties even start to be picked during the second half of August. Two things make this month special: beaches and local festivities (‘festes majors’).
SEPTEMBER: GRAPE HARVEST AND SANT SADURNÍ FAIRS AND FESTIVITIES
Penedès’ paths and white roads are full of tractors this month. It’s grape harvesting’s highest moment and the movement of tractors from the vineyards to the cellars and cooperatives is constant. The smell of grapes is everywhere in the region. Grape harvesting attracts hundreds of workers from all around Penedès.
OCTOBER: PENEDÈS MUST FESTIVITIES AND CAVATAST IN SANT SADURNÍ
Wine rests in the vats and is moved to the barrels to age. The first nouveau wine bottles are released. Wine cellars organise tastings of the first nouveau wine. Many towns in Penedès organise the traditional must or nouveau wine festivities which often include fairs of local gastronomy.
NOVEMBER: ALL SAINTS, ‘PANELLETS’ AND MUST FESTIVAL
For those who love human castles, the first of November is a must. Castellers de Vilafranca, popularly known as ‘the Greens’ because of the colour of their shirt, celebrate All Saints with a performance that gathers several human castle groups at the City’s Square, where high-level human castles are made. In Catalonia, All Saints marks the tradition of eating toasted chestnuts and ‘panellets’, some delicious Catalan little sweets based on almond paste.
DECEMBER: COCK FAIR IN VILAFRANCA AND CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS
Vines are bare and prepare to survive the winter. Wine makers in Penedès spend this month and January pruning the vine shoots (branches from where the flower and grape berries are born). This allows the vine to bloom stronger in the spring. Those visitors interested in going to Penedès in December should not miss the Cock Fair of Vilafranca, a sample of the local fowl (black cock and Muscovy duck of Penedès).