Vilafranca de Penedès wine region
In an effort to suck as much life as possible into my veines before the anticipated second lockdown in Barcelona, I spent my last few weekends out of town. One of the places I visited was Penedès, the wine region of Spain that is closest to Barcelona. If you’ve had local wine in Barcelona, chances are, it was from Penedès.
Things to do in Vilafranca de Penedès
Sant Sadourni d’Anoia and Vilafranca de Penedès are very easily accessible by train from Tarragona and Barcelona. If you care to learn about the cava capitol, check out my post about a day in Sant Sadourni. Vilafranca is a place that invites you to get outside. The Vinseum, a local museum on Penedes wine and the gothic church are worth a visit.
Explore the wine region of Penedès
But what makes Vilafranca special are the vineyards and fields around town. There are biking and hiking trails through the Penedès wine region starting from the edge of town. To give you some idea of scale: The edge of town is about 10 minutes walk from the center of town.
Highlights in the hills of Penedès
You can go from one winery to another or take in the panoramic view from the viewpoint Miravinya Sant Pau, about 30min walk north of Vilafranca. From the Sant Pau trail you will also see a strange looking building amidst the vines: Cava & Hotel Mastinell can give you the full experience. A five star hotel with rooms shaped like gigantic wine barrels and its own bodega, where guests can enjoy private wine tours and tastings.
Slow Travel in the Penedès wine region
Apart from drinking wine and checking off the things to do in the Penedès wine region, take a moment to enjoy the tranquility. From butterflies circling around you on the trail to the smell of roses planted by the vines.
Fun fact: The reason winemakers in Penedès plant roses too is that they get affected by the same damaging fungi as vines but show symptoms of the infections sooner. This way, they act as a warning sign and give the winemakers time to treat the vines and save the harvest.
As winemaking is the backbone of the local economy, this beautiful trick secures the community’s income. And it looks and smells so wonderful!
What you need to know before you go to Vilafranca de Penedès
Just get your map situation sorted out before you go. They have maps at the trailhead and by the train station but not along the trails and there are many forks and different trails crossing. Either get one at the local tourist information center or use your GPS / map on your phone. Signs along the way teach you about grape varieties in the Penedès wine region – but only if you understand Catalan or translate as you go.
Spanish poetry to inspire the wanderer
I want to leave you with a spark of art. Following the trail down from the Sant Pau lookout, I saw this poem mounted onto a rock. It’s in Spanish but I shall attempt to translate it for you, because I thought it was beautiful and uplifting. And we can all use a bit more of that these days. Here it goes:
What is life? Beauty! Admire it.
Life is luck. Accept it.
Life is happiness. Savor it.
Life is a challenge. Face it.
Life is a duty. Well, do it.
Life is a treasure. Take care of it.
If life is wealth. Save it.
That life is love? Enjoy it.
Life is a mistery. Admit it.
Life is a commitment. Fulfill it.
If it’s sadness, living. Overcome it.
Life is a fight. Win it.
Life? A tragedy! Hug it.
Life? An adventure! Try it.
Life is life … a good …
A greeting from God. Deserve it.
Life is life. Defend it.
I won’t be underground
I am the wind of freedom.
– Homage to Pau Peres Villán.