Haro Wine Festival – Spain’s La Rioja Full-Flavored Vino Tinto Addictive Festival!
With three straight days of endless wine and the beautiful Spanish countryside, Haro is certainly a festival for the books!
Haro Wine Festival is held each year towards the end of may. For three days, guests and attendees enjoy Spain’s finest celebrations of summer. Every year, around thousands of people pile into the La Rioja region for one of the wildest wine parties that can’t be matched by no other festivals around the world.
Haro is held each year as a “summer welcome” of sorts. Though Haro Wine Festival is first and foremost a celebration of great music and artists, insiders know that at this Haro festival, you will find everything you ever wanted to experience about Spain From the beautiful Spanish wines, to Spain’s iconic food and incredibly beautiful weather, Haro is really one of those festivals that you will want to write home about.
Some of the most iconic aspects of Haro are the wine wars. Bring out your big guns, Haro attendees, these splash parties are no joke! Each year, festival fanatics come prepared with Bota bags that are perfect for holding wine, then squeezing it out in jet streams across the valley!
Around 50,000 liters of pure wine are strewn about until all partiers are soaked from head to toe in purple wine. Don’t come unprepared- bring a bota bag of your own or you’ll be an easy target! Bota bags are made from leather and covered on the inside with a goat’s bladder. This bag is the easiest form of wine weaponry that you’ll have, so make sure you’re armed and ready.
Starting in the 13th century, there was an issue of territorial borders between Haro and the people of Miranda de Ebro. The king ordered for the people of Haro to wave crimson banners on the first Sunday of September and every Saint Peter’s Day. 400 years later during a Saint Peter’s Day celebration, thousands turned the party into a wine fight! Years later, the festivities kept recurring and began to be known in 1965 as the Battle of Wine.
Now in modern times, Spain’s finest wine festival has developed as a course of nature. With Haro’s amazing wine drawing people from all over the world in, Spain’s La Rioja valley quickly became the hot place to be for all the best restaurants and culinary artists around.
After years of great wine and good food, the arts of Spain began to mature as well. With galleries, street art, museum, and art studios popping up all over the city, it was only a matter of time before La Rioja had a festival to call its own. In a valley with so many wineries, amazing dining options, and so many culturally enriching events, Haro remains one of the most popular destination events the world over.
This wine party basically begins at the crack of dawn. With a 7am wake up call, Haro starts with a procession through the valley and into the Bilibio cliffs Visitors and attendees must wear all white as well as a red scarf. A mass is held at the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio and then the party can begin! The wine war happens after mass, and you’ll see everything from military grade wine filled water guns, to wine-water balloons. This fight is turning water into wine, and there’s no way you’ll want to miss all this intoxicating fun!
In addition to the wine fights, you are going to see some local bull fighting! The bullfight of La Rioja is a little different from what you’ll expect, as the bulls are actually heifers. These smaller bullfights aren’t as much about winning as they are about pure entertainment. All the local youth are slated to fight these baby bulls and watching them try to hold their own while inebriated is always a laugh!
Along with your vino artillery and white attire, you should also bring a healthy appetite and open schedule for food and wine. With three days of drinking, you really need to be eating a lot of carbs as well. Just as you should carefully plan your strategy for our wine battle, it is important to get a good look at the list of vendors, breweries, and wineries. Staying hydrated with food in your stomach will keep you paced and ready so you don’t burn out on Day 1 from too much fun (or wine!).
Do bring typical festival gear like sunscreen, bandanas, empty water bottles or camel packs, over the counter medicine, and non professional cameras.
What to Wear to Haro
Haro is held just at the start of summer. Given the summer weather in Spain, wearing comfortable, summery clothing shouldn’t be a problem in the day, but remember- you must wear white! Try maxi dresses, skirts, shorts, or whatever you feel most comfortable in! While some people try their best to be really fashionable, many people opt for comfort and go the route of jeans and a t-shirt. Either way is up to you.
Keep in mind that Haro is held in a Spanish valley, so evening weather will be a little chillier. Take extra layers with you just in case. Don’t let the sunny days fool you into being underprepared for your entire stay.
Throughout the day and night you, you will undoubtedly end up walking A LOT. Choose to wear the most comfortable shoes possible. After standing all day, it is a definite bummer to end up walking 2 miles, especially if it’s in the wrong shoes. Many people even take an extra pair of shoes with them in case of emergency.
Getting to Haro
While flying into the valley itself may be the easiest part of your trip, keep in mind that parking is often a ways away from the actual expo center. Try your best to uber or taxi your way to Haro. Many people that have attended in the past years have had a problem with incredibly long entrance lines and having to wait hours for festival shuttles.
In recent times, Haro has moved parking closer, yet charges $40 at the gate for cars to park for one day. If you still end up driving, try parking close to the VINE routes, the city bus of La Rioja Valley, and flash your festival ticket to fide free all weekend. For the more ergonomically minded, Haro also offers bike valet. Be aware of the entrance and closing times so you don’t end up having to walk miles back to your car or hotel accommodations.
Keep in mind that for drivers, parking around the surrounding village may be difficult.In addition to cabs and public transportation, Haro recently added the option of a round-trip bus. No matter which form of transportation you end up with, you will need to allot a lot of time for getting to and from Haro. Traffic happens whether you are on public transportation or on a bike. Stay patient and you’ll get there eventually!
Pricing and Tickets
For those that are flying in, try coming into to Bilbao Airport. Once you get there, arriving to Haro itself shouldn’t be much of a hassle. Choose your pick from coach bus, shuttle, taxi, or train, and you should be there in no time.
Tickets for Haro aren’t too expensive but you’re going to want to get professional help when planning your trip. Most of your spending at Haro will be spent trying to get there, if you’re not from the area. Try to get in touch with a travel agent that knows the ins and outs of Haro so you can get the most for your money. It also pays to have a tour guide when you get to La Rioja so you can find out everything about its rich history.
A lot of inside information can be learned from a quick search of festival reviews by former attendees. These Haro insider tips may just make your festival experience the best one yet! While you’re purchasing your passes online to the festival, don’t forget to take a look at all the tickets for the other events as well.
Do yourself a favor and download the festival app before you arrive. You will get important updates and special information that you may never know otherwise. Do go to all the events if you can.
When it comes to the wine and brews, try your best to drink sparingly throughout the day. Countless festival veterans have proven that night time is the best time to consumer liberal amounts of alcohol. Whichever you choose, be safe as the sun and alcohol will dehydrate you in no time!
So whether you have been to La Rioja Valley or this is your first time, Haro is sure to be a festival for the books!
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