If you enjoy tasting wine and you love nothing more than curling up with a good book, then this is the place for you! Since in Penedès area there are lots of ecologic wineries by now, it is a great cottage to visit organic vineyards near Barcelona. Situated in a medieval village next to a reservoir, this property is ideal for winding down and taking life at a different pace.
When we first drove along the road to Castellet, it was like entering a scene from Alice in Wonderland; twisting through vineyards, the long curves in the road offered up one perspective after another, the old fortress en route beckoning us to continue on our journey. The sign for “Castellet” appeared on the right, followed by a steep slope.
Suddenly, a castle appeared in the distance, next to a vast reservoir. The photographer within me demanded I stop immediately to take a snap of this incredible view.
But the road was so narrow that I had no other choice than to stop at a small lay-by. Unbeknownst to me, I was already in the heart of a little medieval village.
The location offers spectacular views e.g. over the Pantano de Foix, which holds water from the river of the same name, and of the Parc del Foix nature reserve further beyond.
Furthermore, I could just make out the silhouette of the neighbouring village of l’Arboç with its curious copy of the Giralda tower in Seville. Legend has it that it was built by a businessman at the beginning of the nineteenth century on a scale of 1:50, as a display of love for his wife. It seems that she missed her lands in Andalusia.
The whole area is immersed in history and legend; the perfect place, then, to let yourself fall into a world of fiction and fantasy.
The name of the house EL BOSQUE LACTEO is also a literary reference: Milk Wood, in honour of the radio drama Under Milk Wood by Welsh writer Dylan Thomas. The owners tell me that it seemed an apt name due to the house is the perfect place for listening to dreams and inner thoughts.
So, let’s take a closer look at this literary tribute 😉
The house has a main entrance, but there is a more convenient access through the large patio area, a space large enough for outdoor dining for up to 8 people.
There is also a chill-out area for relaxing with a tea or coffee on the loungers while the children enjoy the built-in swing.
As you enter, you go towards a large table with a view
The patio is surrounded by an open, concrete space with panoramic views over the vineyards of the Penedès, the perfect setting for an evening meal.
Cooking, eating and being comfortable
As soon as you enter the in the country cottage, you will find yourself in a large, open plan kitchen-dining-living area. Julia explains that she has always disliked the idea of cooking for people in a closed-off kitchen. This space is quite the opposite; the kitchen workspace moves diagonally towards the dining area. It is a modern layout, one that makes sense and feels natural. It is also a practical set-up for families with young children, since it allows you to keep an eye on the little ones while you cook.
The passion for literature is also apparent in owner’s artwork.
A collage of books by a variety of famous authors (Graham Greene, Mario Vargas Llosa, or the provocative Berthold Brecht…) hang creatively arranged in a frame. I love the idea and I’m reluctant to steal a quick snapshot for my own place at home. 😉
On the first floor, also 70 m2, I’m surprised by the mix of materials. The floor of the landing is made of matte, opaque glass. They explain that it is to allow the light from the floor below to shine through. What a great idea!
Overall the house is bright in daylight. Some of the walls have built-in shelves made of simple brown wood, which adds to the house’s inviting ambiance.
Another huge window set in a concrete wall looks over the second patio area.
The plum tree, in full bloom in the month of May, looks as if it is reaching into the house!
TA-DAH! Just outside there is a small terrace- more like a passageway- with incredible views over the vineyards. You can choose between admiring the views from a chair, from the wall, or from the tiny 2 x 2 x 0.5 m swimming pool designed especially for this purpose.
Despite its bright and modern architecture, the house itself is not entirely ecological. The focus here is on the uniqueness of the place and its successful integration within the village.
Local produce is readily available. There is a traditional market in l’Arboç (every Tuesday) and in Vilafranca del Penedès and Vilanova i la Geltrú (Saturdays). There are a variety of stores and associations that sell produce from local agriculture and Julia also offers wine and cava tasting from some of the neighbouring vineyards.
The castle of Castellet, built in the twelfth century and recently restored. There is also the shrine of Sant Pere.
Proximity to Barcelona (70 km on the AP-7 or by train from the neighbouring town of l’Arboç, just 1.5 km away), to Tarragona (with Roman ruins that have been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO) and Port Aventura (45 km on the AP-7).
Close to a route of monasteries (20 km on the AP-7) including the Romanesque/gothic monasteries of Poblet (UNESCO World Heritage site), Santes Creus and Vallbona de les Monges.
The beaches of the Costa Daurada: Sitges (15 km), Vilanova i la Geltrú (10 km) and El Vendrell, Calafell, Cubelles and Cunit (8 km).
Monastery of Montserrat (40 km).
Vilafranca del Penedès and Sant Sadurní d’Anoia (15 km).
Villa Pau Casal, Place of birth auditori Casal Sant Pau Salvador / El Vendrell
There are two mountain bikes available for guests. Bicycle outings or burricletas (electric bike) with GPS leaded routes. There are several signposted routes in the surrounding area anyway.
Visit local vineyards for wine and cava tasting. Almost all the cava in Spain comes from the Penedès region. There are way over 100 wine cellers, here we provide you with the complete list and map of wine producers in the DO Penedès. We have contacts at eco-vineyards such as the pioneer in organic winemaking Albet I Noya in Sant Pau d’Ordal and Pares Baltà in Vilafranca del Penedès. Read about our tasting of organic wines at Mas Comtal.
More Slow Travel activities:
To reach the house from Barcelona:
• You take the train R4 destination: San Vincenç de Calders leaving every half hour from Barcelona. You get out of the train in L’Arboç station.
• From that train station, take a taxi. You’ll arrive at the house in about 10 minutes.
To go shopping and getting around is advisable to rent a car.
The official Tourism Licence No of the Generalitat de Catalunya is: PB-000620
|PRICE PER SEASON for 8 persons||per night / week||per night / weekend||per week|
Minimum Stay: 2 nights
Minimum Stay: 4 nights
– the week before Easter (Semana Santa)
– other Spanish and Catalan holiday weekends
Minimum Stay: 4 nights
– from 23/06 to 1st sunday in September
|cleaning cost to add 1 x per stay: 100€|
– towels and bed sheets
– internet WiFi
– heating and fire wood
– cleaning costs 100 € extra per stay
– 20€/ night per extra person for 9th person
– animals 15 €