Once a year on June 29 there is a wine festival in Haro (Spain). Thousands of people gather on a field hidden somewhere between the mountains and the vineyards! They are ready with liters of red wine to throw this on each other. Buckets, water guns and traditional bags are the weapons used in this wine fight. I participated in this festival and it was fantastic. During this party you walk through the streets steeped in wine and celebrate a unique party. Spain is of course the land of the fiestas and the festivals! Every village has its own unique festivities and this wine festival in Haro is definitely recommended!
Read all about this great wine festival in Haro!
The city of Haro
Haro is a small town located in the north of Spain and in the northwest of the Rioja wine region. About 10,000 people live in Haro. And who loves wine, certainly loves Haro! Haro was in the past (and still) very important for the transport of the wines, because from Haro the train left for Bilbao. And this ensured the success and international sales of the famous and delicious Rioja wines.
In this Rioja capital, everything revolves around wine. You enjoy delicious wine in the many cafés, restaurants, wine bars and on the terraces in the old town center. Haro is a cozy city and Plaza de la Paz is the beating heart of the city. This central square is full of authentic cafes where the inhabitants of the city come together in a pleasant atmosphere. Around Haro there are several renowned bodegas and it is impossible to visit them all. There are so many!
The surroundings of Haro consist of rolling hills, vast vineyards and small villages.
The Haro wine festival
In Valencia they throw tomatoes during La Tomatina and in Haro they throw with red wine during “La Batalla Del Vino”. This party takes place once a year in the hills near the town of Haro in the famous La Rioja wine region.
Every year the festival is on June 29, the day of the patron saint San Pedro. But on the 28th of June in the evening thousands of people gather in the city. The city is almost bursting at the seams! On the street young and old come together for the most important party in the region of the year. Narrow streets are filled with people who all sit outside, there is cheerful music and everyone drinks wine.
The atmosphere is lively and cheerful and you feel that everything is a special evening!
The start of the wine festival in Haro
Early in the morning on June 29, the procession of people under the leadership of the mayor of Haro goes to the cliffs of Bilibio. There is the Mass in the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio. After this mass the festival officially starts. Thus this is how it officially begins. But in practice it has changed in the course of the years.
A large part of the youth feast all night in the city and goes straight to the hills early in the morning. Without sleep and pretty drunk they wander through the landscape towards the wine fight. There is not even an official start time of the festival. It just starts at the moment when the first people arrive and decide that it has started. And this is usually around 7 o’clock in the morning.
From the city free buses go to the grounds of the festival, which is about 7 km away. From 7 o’clock in the morning, thousands of people go to the mountains in white clothing and with red scarves.
Young and old, local people and tourists walk to the site and everyone has jugs, bottles, water guns and buckets filled with red wine.
The wine festival in Haro
We bought the right clothes and accessories the day before in a shop in Haro and we get into the bus at 8 o’clock in the morning full of enthusiasm. We have slept a few hours and left the cozy party of the night before around 1 o’clock. On the way we see that there are even people on the way back from the festival and these are clearly the people who have gone through the night.
The wine fight begins!
The van stops in a parking lot and we get excited. We are still completely clean and white and so we walk onto the terrain. But as you can see in the photo above, I immediately get a bucket of red wine thrown over me. That is a bit of a shock, because the wine hurts my eyes and for a moment I see nothing at all. That is not a nice feeling!
Luckily this feeling disappears and the exuberant atmosphere, the smiling people and the cozy music makes me feel the vibe quickly and happily join in. Wine shooting at people is very cool! Just like dancing and stomping in the wine and singing Spanish songs that you do not understand. Thousands of people are present at the wine fight and everyone is enthusiastic and everyone is completely soaked.
Everyone laughs and is happy! It is an exuberant party! Wine flies around and everything turns deep red.
The party continues in the city
Around an hour or half 11 in the morning the party is ready in hills and everyone returns to the city. Either on foot or they step into one of the many free vans that are ready. Most people take a quick shower to get clean and fresh again in the festivities in the city. At 12 o’clock a procession starts at the Plaza de la Paz and from there you walk in a procession to the arena of the city. Here “bullfighting” takes place for the children. The bulls are heifers and they are not killed.
Tips wine festival in Haro
● You can buy the white clothing and all the necessities for little money in Haro. In various stores they sell white T-shirts, short and long trousers, the red scarves, the shoes. Everyone is walking in this outfit so it’s nice to wear this too.
● Make sure you have sunglasses or diving glasses. It is really not a pleasant feeling if the wine comes into your eyes, then you are really blind for a few seconds.
● The wine that is mainly thrown and sprayed is not drinkable and spit it out quickly if you get it in your mouth.
Hotel tip Haro
In Haro I slept in hotel Los Agustinos and this hotel is great. The ambiance and interior are fantastic and the breakfast is great. This building is beautiful! The central square is a one minute walk.
- Not what you are looking for? Find here more great places to stay in Haro!
Festivals in Spain
Citytrips in Spain
- 7x the best things to do in Bilbao
- My three favorite cities in Spain
- 13x what to do in Madrid
- The 8 must do’s in Granada
- Flying in a hot air balloon above Granada
- Everything you need to know about visiting The Alhambra
- The 10 best sights in Seville
- Real Alcázar, a must-see in Seville
- Cádiz, a day trip from Seville to the beach
- The 3 nicest hotels with swimming pool in Seville
- 6 must see attractions in Valencia
- Cycling in Valencia bike tours
- The 3 nicest hotels with pool in Valencia
- Catalonia, discover the authentic Spain
- 13 reasons to visit Tenerife
- 3x great hiking trails on Tenerife
- Visiting Teide National Park: information and tips
- Highlights of Tarifa, the souternmost town of Spain
- A day in Morocco from Spain
- The Costa Blanca, 5x what you can not miss
- 27 fun facts about Spain