If you happen to be in Catalonia during this month, you’ll have a wide selection of events dedicated to some of the most traditional autumn products, from chestnuts to mushrooms to wine. October is the month to head to the woods and see the changing colours of the leaves.
But that’s only the beginning! It’s also grape and rice harvesting time, and many people eagerly await the Castanyada (which literally means chestnut party).
Are you visiting Catalonia on that month and looking for ideas? Here we tell you what to do in our country in October!
The weather in Catalonia in October
Although cold winter days are not here yet, the weather starts getting chilly, especially at the end of October. There’s a higher possibility of rain in most parts of the territory, and even snow in the mountains! In other words, summer is officially over!
The temperatures vary a lot depending on the area of Catalonia you’re visiting. On the mountains, crisp autumn days are the norm. The average highest are below 20 ºC, whereas the lowest don’t go below zero yet. On the coast, you can still enjoy pleasant temperatures. You can check the weather on your phone’s app (we usually use Google Weather) or Accuweather.
What about the snow? In the Pyrenees, the first snow of the season falls usually during October. In other areas, it’s very uncommon that it snows in October.
☀️ Hours of light
The days get shorter, so it’s good to take this into account when planning any activity. At the end of the month, the sun rises at 8:15 am and sets at 7 pm. Also, remember that you have to delay the clock one hour on the night of the 30th to the 31st of October.
What to pack for a trip to Catalonia in October
The clothes you need will also depend on the area you’re going to. You can safely leave your winter coat at home if you’re going to Barcelona. You’ll do with a jumper or a thin jacket. However, if you’re going to the Pyrenees, you’ll definitely need a coat. If your destination is the coast, you can still try to squeeze a swimsuit in your luggage. It’s probably not too late for a dip!
Regarding the shoes, they must be comfy. In this season, sneakers are the best option. If you’re going to the mountain or are planning to do a hike during your stay, remember to bring the appropriate footwear!
What’s on in Catalonia in October
What are the plans in Catalonia for October? The ideas we mention below are updated for this year. However, there can be some last-minute changes (especially since we live with Covid-19 pandemic). It’s good always to check the official websites that we link to find the latest info.
Enjoy autumn colours in the woods
Autumn is a synonym for slowing down and getting ready for winter. And some trees have a pretty way to do so! Head to one of Catalonia’s woods or natural spots to enjoy the vast array of tree leaves’ colours, ranging from yellow to red. Here we mention some of the places where you can enjoy this nature’s show:
Autum hikes in the Girona province
- La Fageda d’en Jordà: One of the most famous spots to visit in autumn. It’s a beech tree forest that has grown on a lava field in the Garrotxa Volcanic Zone Natural Park. Several sign-posted tracks allow you to explore this stunning forest.
- Fageda de la Grevolosa: Another beech tree forest, home to enormous beech trees more than 300 years old.
- Cerdanya: Located in the north of Catalonia, the mountain region of La Cerdanya is an ideal place for autumn lovers. Some great spots are the dòlmens d’Eina, the Ingla valley, the Sant Guillem de Llívia park or the Sallagosa park.
- Bosc de Merlí: A spectacular chestnut tree forest located in Viladrau.
Autumn hikes in the Lleida province
- Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park: The only national park in Catalonia. It’s a spot of great beauty with endless hiking opportunities. You can either choose to go for a one-day hike or do multi-day hike and sleep at one of the national park’s hut.
- Vall d’Aran: A beautiful mountain region located in the northwestern part of Catalonia. For autumn vibes, we recommend the bosc de Carlac. It’s a forest with millennial beeches that leave the tracks covered in golden leaves. You can get to this forest from the village of Bausen.
- Alt Pirineu Natural Park: The largest natural park in Catalonia, located in the Pyrenees. One of our favourite excursions is the bosc de Virós, a woodland landscape of outstanding natural beauty. The colours are diverse as the forest is composed of different tree species. To get there, park the car at the village of Araós and follow one of the three sign-posted tracks that start there.
Autumn hikes in the Barcelona province
- Montseny Natural Park: We recommend you park the car in the Passavets fountain and hike the Turó de l’Home, an iconic peak in the area. Other beautiful areas are the Fageda de Santa Fe, a beech tree forest, or the Castanyer Gros d’en Cuch, a huge chestnut tree with a perimeter of more than 12 m. It’s considered the largest tree in the country for the spectacular thickness of its trunk. If you visit it, don’t forget to get inside the tree!
Autumn hikes in the Tarragona province
- Reserva Natural Parcial de les Fagedes dels Ports: Located in the southerwest part of Catalonia, in the Els Ports natural park. There are several hiking and MTB routes in the area.
Join a rice harvest festivity (3rd and 17th of October)
The two most important rice regions of Catalonia celebrate the rice harvest in October. On the 3rd of October, the village of Sant Jaume d’Enveja and the city of Amposta, both in the Terres de l’Ebre (literally in English ‘The Ebre Lands’), celebrate a festival to honour the rice harvest. You can see how the rice was traditionally harvested years ago and taste dishes made with rice.
On the 17th of October, it’s time to move to the northern part of Catalonia, precisely to the charming village of Pals. Pals also has a longstanding rice tradition and top quality rice. If you go there on that day, you’ll enjoy traditional food and learn how farmers traditionally harvested rice.
Watch movies at the Sitges Film Festival (6th to 16th of October)
Fans of horror and fantasy movies, this is your place! The Sitges Film Festival is an annual 10-day cinema festival, and it’s one of the most renowned film festivals held not only in Europe but in the rest of the world. As its name suggests, it takes place in the coastal town of Sitges, located 40 km from Barcelona and easily accessible by train.
The festival’s highlight is the iconic Sitges Zombie Walk, a parade of zombies and monsters walking through the streets of Sitges. If you want to participate, you just need to dress up with a good zombie custom, and you’re good to join a multitude of terrifying creatures!
You’ll find more info, the line-up and the tickets on the festival’s website.
Forage mushrooms and go to a mushroom festival
Catalonia is a region with a strong mushroom picking tradition, and mushrooms play a huge role in Catalan gastronomy. If you hear someone talking about “bolets”, they’re referring to these earthy treats.
Several mountain regions and woodlands make our country an ideal place to forage ugly but delicious fungi. Typical areas that mushroom enthusiasts frequent are the Berguedà, the Solsonès and the Montseny natural park.
The most commonly found species in Catalonia are waxy cap (llanega), yellow-footed chanterelle (camagroc, please make an omelette with them!), bloody milk cap (rovelló, delicious when cooked in the oven), black chanterelle (trompeta de la mort), and grey knight (fredolic). You can find more info about them and see some pictures here.
Eager to spend a day filling your basket with mushrooms? Be aware that mushroom identification is no easy task, even for experts. We recommend you look at this list of Catalan toxic mushrooms and download an identification app such as Roger’s Mushrooms. Always eat only those mushrooms you know you can identify without a shadow of a doubt!
Also, remember to follow good practices when picking mushrooms to prevent damage to the forest and respect the environment. For example, gather the mushrooms in baskets, not in plastic bags. That way, the spores that give birth to new mushrooms fall in the forest, and we all can enjoy mushrooms next season!
Mushroom festivals in Catalonia
If you would rather be eating the mushrooms instead of picking them, you can join one of the mushroom festivals across the territory. This probably sounds like heaven to all foodies reading! You’ll love to taste the mushroom delicatessens and other typical Catalan food.
Some of the festivals are:
- The Bergabolet (date to be confirmed): One of the oldest wild mushroom festivals in Spain. It takes place in Berga, and the highlight of the festival is the wild mushroom picking contest.
- Festa del Bolet de Seva (9th of October): It takes place in the village of Seva, located one hour from Barcelona.
- Mercat del Bolet de Cal Rosal: A market in Olvan, in the region of El Berguedà. It’s open every day until the end of November.
- Fira del Bolet i el Boletaire del Solsonès (23rd and 24th of October): It takes place in Solsona and features mushroom tastings and handcrafted products of the region.
Eat chestnuts and sweet potatoes
Right around the beginning of October, you’ll start noticing the balmy scent of baked sweet potatoes and hot freshly-roasted chestnuts in the air. Around this time of the year, specialist vendors take to the streets to sell their autumn’s delicacies.
The figure of the person selling chestnuts on the street is traditionally known as “La Castanyera“. She’s usually portrayed as an older woman, dressed in tattered clothes, with a scarf over her head and a long skirt reaching her feet. She’s generally represented in front of a spit, roasting chestnuts on the street and wrapping them in a newspaper.
If you love chestnuts with all your heart and soul, you can’t miss the Fira de la Castanya. It’s a two-day festivity dedicated to this delicious food, with a market selling all-things chestnut, live music, tastings of chestnut dishes, and many more activities. The celebration takes place in the village of Viladrau on the 23rd and 24th of October.
Harvest olives to make olive oil
You probably know that this ingredient is a must in Mediterranean cuisine, and Catalonia is a producer of top-quality olive oil. October and November are the months to harvest the olives and get them ready to be turned into this gold liquid we very much love. If you want to know how the process works, taste some oil varieties and spend a day living the harvest first-hand, why not join a harvest tour?
Some olive oil farms located in the province of Tarragona, the land of olive oil, offer one-day or multi-day trips to join the harvest. We suggest Molí Cubells (one day tour) or Montbrió Belverde (5-day trip). Get hands-on experience on the craft of olive oil making by joining them!
Spend a terrific day in PortAventura
An amusement park is a plan we wouldn’t miss but if on top it’s transformed into a spooky and gloomy place, it’s a must! Port Aventura is the most visited theme park in Spain and the sixth most visited theme park in Europe. From mid-September to mid-November, the parked dresses up with Halloween-themed decorations, shows and attractions. Ready for a frightfully good time?
Visit Barcelona’s landmarks for free during the 48 h Open House Barcelona (23rd and 24th of October)
On the 23rd and 24th of October, over 200 buildings of every shape and size open their doors to the public comepltely free of charge. You’ll come across churches, schools, sports centers, apartment blocks, libraries and restaurants, both in the capital and the surrounding cities. Most of those are usually totally or partially inaccessible to the general public, so it can be your only chance to visit them!
48 h Open House Barcelona is the main architectural event in Barcelona, and it’s an initiative that started in 2010 to give the opportunity to understand and experience architecture in a unique way. The program isn’t available yet, but you’ll find it on their website from the 28th of September.
See (and hear) the red deers rut during La Brama
From mid-September to mid-October, a curious and magnificent show of nature takes place in the Pre-Pyrenean area. During this period, it’s when the deer are in the rutting season. Stags are flooded with testosterone and adrenaline and roar loudly (especially at dusk and dawn) to attract females. Hearing them and hiding in the woods to spot them is an incredible wildlife experience!
One of the best places to admire them is the Boumort Wildlife Reserve. It’s one of the most remote locations in Catalonia. You always need to go with an expert guide who holds a permit to enter the location and knows the best spots to see and hear the deer. You can find more info here.
Taste wine at a grape harvest festival
Besides harvesting rice and olives, October is also the time to harvest wine. Catalonia’s annual grape harvest season is known as the verema. Grape harvest festivals (festes de la verema) are celebrated across the country.
In central Catalonia, the harvest festival of the Bages region takes place on the 2nd and 3rd of October in the town of Artés. The wines of this region have the denomination of origin (D.O.) Pla de Bagès, and you have the chance to taste them at the festival. Other activities include concerts, exhibitions and vineyard visits, amongst others.
Closer to the sea, you can participate in the wine harvest festival of Sitges on the 9th and 10th of October. The celebration takes place at the same time as the Sitges Film Festival, mentioned earlier. So, Sitges deserves a detour during your October holidays! The wine festival features a popular wine show where you can sample the best wines from the top wineries of the Penedès region, a grape stomping contest and special menu degustations dedicated to grapes and wine at the different restaurants of the city.
If you’re here in mid-October, head to the municipality of Avinyonet del Penedès to take part in guided tours, old-fashioned grape treading, a pruning competition, and wine tasting. The festivity, called Festa del Most, happens on the 16th and 17th of October.
No worries if your visit to Catalonia is at the end of the month, there’s still wine festivals going on! From the 29th of October until the 1st of November, there’s a wine festival dedicated to
Celebrate La Castanyada (31st October)
In Catalonia, on the evening of the 31st of October, we celebrate La Castanyada (the chestnut party) instead of Halloween. People gather together and eat chestnuts, sweet potatoes, and panellets, the culinary stars of La Castanyada.
Other cool plans to do in Catalonia in October
In addition to the October celebrations, we have many more proposals to enjoy your autumn trip to Catalonia. Here are some ideas:
- Skydiving nearby Barcelona: Watch Montserrat, the sea and the Pyrenees from a different perspective, and get your endorphins pumping right after stepping on the plane.
- A coastal hike in the Costa Brava: October is an excellent month to enjoy the beach, as there are fewer people, but the weather is still good. Grab your boots and hike a part of the coastal path Camí de Ronda, for example, from Palamós to Calella or Tossa de Mar.
- Discover Barcelona alternatively: You don’t need to hop on the touristic bus to discover Barcelona. Grab a bike, inline skates or a paddleboard and discover the city from a new perspective.
Have you travelled to Catalonia in October? Do you think it was a good time to discover the region?