By Nancy Todd Comments: Negu, The Blogdog
I love Barcelona. But, I long to breathe air that doesn’t sting my nose and yearn to see something Green. Anything Green. More Color. Stare at bees with their jodhpurs of pollen and watch animals with flapping wings. Toss down a few copas de vino, watch the red poppies sashaying, and it is a perfect day. The rolling wine region of Penedès is on my list for Green and here are 7 reasons why.
1. Penedès is the beautiful, hilly wine country near Barcelona and only 20 miles away. Speckled with traditional farm houses, villages, castles, and wineries, it is a great day trip.
2. There are over 270 wineries in Penedès. Many are open on Saturday and Sundays for tours and tastings.
3. Take your pick of the big guys, like Torres or Codorníu, or the small bodegas that are less commercialized. Taste your way down country lanes. Cava, which is what the Spanish call champagne, is also made in Penedès.
4. Learn more about wine making at Vinseum, The Museum of Wine Cultures of Catalonia. Housed in an a palace in Villafranca del Penedés, you can conclude the trip with wine and tapas in a local restaurant.
5. Stroll the historic center of Vilafranca with its Gothic Basilica of Santa Maria and two palaces. Art nouveau buildings steal the show for me. Always have, always will.
6. Fireworks, human towers, and lots of food are part of La Festa Major, aka The Big Festival. Parades consist of noisy medieval bands, the giant people and huge puppet dragons. Held in late August in the plazas of Villafranca del Penedés.
7. Cycle between bodegas on a wine tasting tour. El Moli Tours leads tasting tours in English.
Bike, hike, or by car, Green calls in Penedès.