Spread out over two weeks the town of Montblanc hosts a medieval festival each year dedicated to the legend of Sant Jordi. Expect plenty of medieval costumes, barbecues, wine, and what Catalan festival would be complete without fire and a correfoc? Especially when a dragon is involved!
The Legend of Sant Jordi
So why Montblanc? According to the Catalan writer Joan Amades, this Catalan town is precisely where Sant Jordi (Saint George) defeated the evil dragon to free the princess and then presented her with a beautiful red rose. Today, Sant Jordi is celebrated on the 23rd April with roses and books, as it coincides with World Book Day. (You can read more about Sant Jordi Day here). This year the festival takes place from 21st April to 1st May.
The town itself has some of the most well preserved fortified stone walls in Catalonia, along with four main gates. When visiting Montblanc check out Pla de Santa Barbara: the site of a castle behind the Gothic Church of Santa María la Mayor. There is a great view of the town and surrounding area from here.
There is a lot going on throughout the festival. You can wander through the many markets and stumble upon all sorts of events and demonstrations. Signs for “Tavernas” are everywhere, as pretty much every restaurant in town offers a barbecue set menu where you can sit outside and enjoy a hearty meal.
There is also a good old correfoc (fire run), where the dragon of the Sant Jordi legend comes to life in an impressive display with 80 actors transporting you to a world of witches and evil spirits.
On the 21st April, one of the main events of the festival is a performance showing the legend of Sant Jordi and the dragon and the struggle between good and evil. Expect music and, of course, more fire.
On the 29th April, there is a Medieval Tournament in the evening, where three noble houses battle it out on horseback to be reigning champions. Tickets need to be bought in advance for the show (around €15 each), which you can get from the information point at Pl. de St. Miquel.
You can see more information on Montblanc and the festival here. There is also the official medieval festival website here where you can get a map of the town (I’d recommend downloading the map just for the fact that it shows where all the public toilets are – VERY useful) and a programme of events: note that the website is only available in Spanish and Catalan.
How to get TO MONTBLANC
Montblanc is about 37km north from Tarragona. From Barcelona by car it takes about 1 hour 30 mins, and from Girona add on an extra half an hour.
If you’re coming by public transport from Barcelona, there is a direct train to Montblanc which takes just over 2 hours. The trains aren’t very frequent, one every two hours, so check the times before you travel.
From Girona, there is no direct train so you have to change at Barcelona Sants. The journey takes 3.5 hours altogether.
Are you thinking about going to the Montblanc medieval festival? Got any questions or want to find out more? Let me know and comment below!