Barcelona is a beautiful city, no question. The city has plenty to offer, from spectacular sights like the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell or simply the quarters El Born or Gracia are worth a visit. If this isn’t your first time you come to Barcelona, you might be looking for something new, that extra little experience that could make your trip to Barcelona or Catalunya even more exciting.
People who live in Barcelona actually really enjoy the surroundings of the city as much as the city itself. There’s plenty of activities to do that are not located within the city border but are absolutely recommended, especially if you are looking for an experience a bit off the beaten track.
There’s several areas surrounding the province Barcelona. In plenty of articles you can find information about the beaches in and around Barcelona, the Costa Brava and it’s beautiful villages like Sant Pol de Mar or Cadaqués but looking towards the interior and not the sea, you’ll find that Barcelona is actually pretty green, rocky with some small surrounding mountains that seem to protect the city a little.
What are the different areas around Barcelona called?
In Spain the provinces are split into areas called “comarcas”. The Province of Barcelona has 12 “comarcas”.
Today we want to focus on the Alto Penedes Area and area located around 40-50 km from Barcelona and easy accessible via train, car or bus. You can also request private transports to the area.
Why is the Penedès so interesting for wine lovers?
The Penedés is a location which has its own Designation of origin Wine called D.O. (“Denominación de origen”) which is particularly interesting if you are a wine lover and currently visiting Barcelona. The wines that are made here are not as famous as its “cava” or sparkling wine, which is actually one of the most sold in Europe. The small village of Sant Sadurní, for example, is famous for its long lasting culture of sparkling wine production and always worth a visit if you enjoy local culture and real catalan food, a bit “more local” a bit more authentic, i’d say.
There’s a wide range of wine cellars, called “Bodegas”, to visit during your stay. Many of them offer small tours through the winery. If you love sparkling wine, this is a must do tour. If you are into wine only, I’d recommend having a look through the selection of Bodegas the DO Origin Page Of the Penedes is showing on their official lists. You’ll see there’s a wide selection of different grapes they focus on: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Garnacha… I personally love the Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots a lot. Some of the “table wines” they serve during the menus are great and great price/quality.
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By the End of June the Local Authorities posted the following Instagram informing about the current state of the crops for this year.
All around the area you will find “Masias” which are small rural houses or old farmhouses, often refurbished to restaurants or small pensions. These Masias are great to get out of the city and enjoy the Mediterranean nature around the buzzing tourist attractions.
The Masias are unique in its own way. Some of them are specialist in Food and Restauration, you can enjoy a calçotada from November to April or just enjoy a local “Butifarra” (my favorite sausage) served with All i’Oli, a handmade creamy paste of garlic and olive oil only. The meat is traditionally grilled over wood (they call it “lenya”), so don’t be shy and order some meat, calçots combined with one of their local wines (which are amazingly good in my opinion).
Other Masias focus more on accommodation, which is actually a great way to combine the local trip with a small overnight experience. You can find all types of Masias with more or less comfort or different budgets.
The Montserrat Monastery
The Montserrat Monastery, Monks and wine, a combination that is absolutely magic, I promise.
For guests that are more interested in the culture, we’d recommend you to combine your visit to the Penedes area with a guided tour the Montserrat Monastir, an absolutely unique structure build high up on the Montserrat Mountain and accessible via a cable car.
Which wines should I try?
There’s a couple of great wines you shouldn’t miss when coming to the Penedes Area. Not sure if you’ll be able to try them all the same day but I am certain there will be something tasty for everyone’s taste.
The wine quality is great and should not be underestimated just because the Penedes is known for their sparkling wines.
Sure, it’s not easy to compete with World renown Provinces like “Rioja” but that’s exactly why this area is so interesting for wine lovers, right?
Try something new and maybe you discover your new favorite and can show-off during the next dinner with your mother and dad in law, telling a little story about how you discovered this wine in the rural areas of Catalunya, Spain. 😉