Monforte de Lemos is a city of nearly 20,000 inhabitants and during the fiesta of its patron saint this number almost doubles. The fiesta in honour of the Virgin of Montserrat takes place from the 11th to the 16th of August. During these days Monforte is full of musical performances and entertainment that take place all over the city, in Plaza de España, Río Cabe, Parque de los Condes, Cardenal and the esplanade de la Compañía, where the night time music concerts take place that attract a huge number of visitors.
With the festival “A rúa é vosa” magic, music, comedy and acrobatics fill the streets of the city with something for everyone from the youngest to the oldest. The 15th of August is the Día de La Patrona (the Day of the Patron Saint), the Virgin of Montserrat. On this day the town officials and locals meet at the Casa Consistorial to walk up to the church of San Vicente to take part in a mass and a floral offering to the Patron of the City. This official occasion is accompanied by a Gaita Band (traditional bagpipes) and a traditional dance group. The mass is sung by the Coral Polifónica del Ayuntamiento de Monforte ( Monforte’s choir). On the Patron Saint Day, the Day of the Gaiteiros (bagpipe players) also takes place in order to celebrate and show off the richness of Galician culture in its many guises. Therefore, throughout the morning and the afternoon groups of gaiteiros parade through different areas of Monforte performing. The day ends with a street party, consisting of a free concert by a famous artist or group in the Compañía and a fireworks display from San Vicente. At midnight the sky over Monforte is filled with colour for nearly half an hour. With the silhouette of the Castle of San Vicente as a back drop, the firework display attracts more visitors every year.
The 16th of August signals the end of the Patron Saint fiesta in Monforte and this is celebrated with another street party and big concert. Once again at midnight, the jetty and the riverside is filled with people as they celebrate the firework display over the water. This time the fireworks light up the Medieval Bridge, and as they explode in the sky, the colours are reflected in the waters of the Cabe with all of Monforte watching, almost as a way to say farewell to the fiesta.
Monforte also celebrates another festival dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat, the Martes de Pascua (Easter Tuesday, a local fiesta). On this day the Eucharist is celebrated in San Vicente del Pino, followed by a procession to the Campo de la Virgen, where the mayor carries out the tradition of renewing the pledge of devotion, promising in the name of the town hall and the town of Monforte that they will continue to celebrate the fiestas of Martes de Pascua and the 15th of August in honour of the Virgen de Montserrat. Together with the renewal of the pledge, on this day they bless the land, and afterwards, weather permitting, the procession continues along the streets inside the fortified walls and on to San Vicente.
The fiestas of the different neighbourhoods also create a great atmosphere in the city. The fiesta of San Antonio, of San Juan in los Chaos, of the neighbourhood of Carude and the Estación are some of the important dates throughout the year. As well as these local fiestas, the city holds other celebrations of interest during the year such as San Blas and the Feria Medieval. The first is primarily a religious festival which takes place in San Vicente and has a long tradition in the city. On the other hand, the Feria Medieval has been taking place for 15 years, organised by the local council. Each year it attracts more visitors who come to relive Medieval life in Monforte
La Feria Medieval llegó en 2017 a su XV edición, se celebra el fin de semana de Semana Santa y es un verdadero reclamo turístico. Durante dos días monfortin@s y visitantes pasean las calles y plazas de la zona vieja vestid@s de época y participan de las diferentes actividades. Los puestos de artesanía y gastronomía decoran las calles y se suceden los espectáculos de cetrería, malabares con fuego, tiro con arco, actuaciones musicales…
In the area of plaza de España is the Campamento Medieval, one of the main focal points, other activities take place in front of A Régoa, and in the field next to Escolapios you can watch the Medieval Jousting where the town comes to see the knights fighting. The restaurants offer tapas and Medieval menus and the streets are decorated for the occasion, turning Monforte into a Medieval city to visit and enjoy.
Another important date in Monforte is San Mateo, a popular romería ( outdoor religious festival) which takes place in the fields of A Parte, a beautiful area where the river Mao and Cabe meet. The romería of San Mateo takes place on the 21st of September and is one of the biggest in the south of the province, with dozens of groups of friends and families preparing elaborate shelters to eat their meals in. Throughout the day music can be heard.
In 2017 the Festival do Viño (Wine Festival) was celebrated for the first time, three days of different activities on the river jetty from sampling the wines of the D.O. Ribeira Sacra and different foods as well as children’s activities. In its first year the Festival ended with a music concert of various artists and groups which took place in San Vicente, the luxurious setting making the event even more delightful for the people who came to enjoy the music.
In order to enjoy everything that Monforte offers, we recommend that you get to know the local commercial area, situated in the Centro Comercial Urbano and sit down at one of the terrace bars in Cardenal, la Compañía or along the river and taste the wines of the Ribeira Sacra. At night the ambience continues. The main street for nightlife is Duquesa de Alba with its arcades packed with pubs. Over the years other nightlife venues have opened in other parts of the city that offer a different ambience which has further increased the options available.