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This is the ultimate tour to experience the best Spanish wine and food. A lifetime trip for bon vivants, foodies, and wine aficionados, but also for people eager to discover the history and culture of Spain through its food, wine, and people. It includes visits to wineries in the most prestigious regions of Spanish wines and an extensive introduction to the excellent Spanish gastronomy, both traditional and creative, and of course tapas.
Throughout the holiday, you will stay in 5-star hotels across the country.
This hotel was opened in 1912 and represents the history and elegance of San Sebastian. Recently renovated, the hotel has been the favorite place for all the visitors looking for exclusive comfort and a luxury stay. It is in the center of San Sebastian by the river, and within walking distance from the old part and the la Concha Beach. Experience gracious hospitality on a grand scale in the hotel’s rooms and suites. Decorated in a sophisticated palette of grey and white, the rooms are a quiet haven of luxury, style, technology, and a dazzling range of services which, combined, make for an unforgettable stay.
It is the hotel designed by Frank Ghery in the winery of Marques de Riscal. Frank Ghery has also design the Guggeheim Museum in Bilbao. The hotel’s luxurious interior bears the unmistakable stamp of Gehry’s design. Tilted walls, zigzag windows, cathedral-height ceilings, and a host of bespoke details create the impression of accommodation as a work of art in its 43 rooms and suites. Additionally, the hotel has a wine spa by Caudalie. It also has two restaurants, one with a Michelin star and the second one, the bistro, with traditional Rioja food. Located in Elciego, in a centenary winery, this is the perfect expression of Rioja today, tradition with the highest level modern architecture.
This Hotel and spa is the newest 5-star hotel in Ribera del Duero. It is located in the Golden mile, in the heart of Ribera del Duero and is one the best preserved Cistercian monasteries of the 12th century in Europe. The rooms respect the old cells of the monks. It has a large thermal pool, contrast water circuit, an outside pool, and offers complete spa services. The spa area exceeds the 2,000 square meters, with 16 treatment rooms, several thermal pools, water contrast circuit, and a children pool. The hotel completes its facilities with a wide catering offer. It has cafeteria with terrace, halls intended to events with a capacity up to 200 people, children area, organic vegetable garden, herb garden, and its own vineyards. The hotel-spa rooms conclude with a gym, children area, organic vegetable garden, herb garden, and a winery more than 140 square meters, apart from 4.5 hectares of own vineyards.
Today, you will start your wine holiday in northern Spain. There will be a pick up in Madrid at 10:00, and you will have a 2-hour drive to Ribera del Duero. You will start your vacation with a family winery and visit of the vineyard, as well as tapas-style lunch with wine tasting in an underground cellar in Aranda de Duero. Visit a family-owned winery that has cellars from the 16th century. Taste the different wines produced enjoying the company of one of the owners. Then, hotel check in and welcome dinner.
Meal plan: Lunch, dinner.
Today, you will visit three wineries in Ribera del Duero. The first one is a modern winery, which makes high quality wines, followed by a more traditional place, where you will have lunch. You will be served with the typical meal from Ribera, roasted lamb in a wood fired oven, paired with Ribera del Duero wines. Visit a third winery with a totally different philosophy, after lunch. Then, visit the castle of Peñafiel. Arrive at the hotel with enough leisure time to enjoy the spa.
Meal plan: Lunch.
Drive to Burgos where you will visit a famous cathedral, World Heritage monument by UNESCO. The Lady of Burgos Cathedral sums up Gothic architecture in all its beauty. There will be a tapas lunch, paired with wine, around Burgos' famous Plaza Mayor. Next, drive to Rioja to visit the Culture of Wine Museum, Dinastía Vivanco in Briones, located in a unique and historic location in the Rioja Alta and considered one of the best wine museums in the world.
Visit the medieval walled village of Laguardia (13th century). Under the stone paved streets and homes of Laguardia, it is full of old subterranean bodegas, and over them there are many historic monuments and sites, like the Gothic facade of Santa Maria de los Reyes church from the 14th century. You will then check in to a hotel and will have dinner on your own.
Meal plan: Breakfast, tapas lunch.
Today, you will take part in a Rioja wine tour with two winery visits. You will have a visit to one of the traditional centenary wineries, a walk in the winery quarter in Haro, and a visit to a boutique, family-owned winery. The tradition of Rioja is very well represented by these centenary wineries, which keep in their libraries bottles from the time of their founders. A traditional Riojan lunch in the winery will give you more opportunities to taste the wonderful Riojan wines. Visit a third winery with a fabulous art collection. You may have an optional tapas dinner in Logroño.
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch.
Alter breakfast, drive to Bilbao, which takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, to visit the famous Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry, on your own. This unique museum is probably one of the best modern buildings in Spain, and represents architecture at its best. Then, visit a Txacoli winery in Getaria, a very interesting white wine produced only in the Basque Country. After that, have some fresh catch fish coal grilled lunch in Getaria and continue to San Sebastian. For dinner, you have the option to dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch.
Your holiday ends today in San Sebastian. After breakfast, you will have free morning to explore the city. Later, you will have tapas or pintxos, as they are called in San Sebastian, for lunch in the old part of town.
Meal plan: Breakfast, tapas lunch.
Cristina was born in Burgos and now she lives between Madrid and Miranda de Ebro, ten minutes from Haro, the wine capital of Rioja. Her grandfather and uncle were wine traders in Ribera del Duero and in her family they always buy the wine directly from the winery, so wine and wine regions is something she knows very well. She spend seven years in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, and she loves to travel. After coming back to Spain she decided to create Vintage Spain - Rutas de Vino.
Basque Country is part of the green Spain, extremely pretty, with green rolling hills, beautiful beaches, fisherman towns, and extraordinary food. San Sebastian and Bilbao with the Guggenheim Museum are probably the best known cities in Basque Country. San Sebastian is famous for its gastronomy, from tapas bars to Michelin-starred restaurants. This is one of the towns in the world with more Michelin stars, home of the new creative Spanish cuisine, without forgetting the traditional food based mainly in seasonal product. Pintxos are the combination of both in miniature cooking and Bilbao has one of the most impressive modern buildings in Spain. The Guggenheim Museum build by Frank Ghery, right by the river has made Bilbao an architecture lover destination.
Fisherman towns are a pleasure to visit and walk around, like Getaria, the birth place of Juan Sebastian Elcano, and the fashion designer Balenciaga, that now hosts his museum, or Hondarribia with an impressive fortress that has beautiful views of both Spanish and French coast. It is also close to the French coast, Biarritz and San Juan de Luz, that can give you a peek of good French living. While there is only Txacoli wine in this region, a white wine with fresh high acidity, it is very close to Rioja, the most well known wine region in Spain, and you can always do a wine tour from there.
The young region of Ribera del Duero is a reference for exceptional red wines. The wines produced in this region are among the finest in Spain. Already in the 12th century, the monks of Cluny were growing grapes along the river bank of Duero to produce wine. Ribera del Duero, in the heart of Castilla-León, is the old land of castillos or castles. The vineyards are mostly concentrated in the north part of the Duero. Although the nowadays famous Ribera wine is red, from the native variety tinta fina or tinto del país, there are three other well-known wine varieties in the region, which are the white in Rueda, red in Toro, and claret and red in Cigales.
Wine is enjoyed in beautiful old towns like Burgos, Segovia, Peñaranda, Peñafiel or Pedraza, that will bring you back in time. Burgos, the old head of Castilla, has one of the most impressive Gothic cathedrals of Spain, and it is also a lively town, where shopping for local products and handcrafted items is as exciting as looking for the most fashionable stuff. Segovia, with the cathedral, the Aqueduct and the Alcazar will show you the history of this country. In the monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos, you can listen to the Gregorian chant of the monks. In a perfect combination of the old and the new, the famous castle (castillo) of Peñafiel is now the home of a newly opened wine museum.
There are so many bodegas in this area that deserve a visit and you will have a good selection. You can visit the famous underground bodegas in Aranda and the well-known modern wineries of Ribera. Aranda, like lots of towns in the region, is practically hollow underneath, since the bodegas were tunneled deep into the earth to help the temperature control and stability needed for wine storage. Although many fell into disuse, some have been recovered for visiting or for wine production. Visiting an old wine cellar that have remained working since centuries ago and drinking a glass of wine with one of the owners is an unforgettable experience. The visit to Ribera del Duero won't be complete without the tasting of the famous roasted lamb. You can also go out an evening for the traditional Spanish tapas and wine.
La Rioja is one of the most prestigious and well-known of all the Spanish wine regions. The most traditional and modern wineries can be found here. La Rioja is divided in three sub-zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. The most famous wineries or bodegas are located in the first two. There is a good selection from the wineries of Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta. If time permits, you could also visit at least one winery from the nearby Navarra region.
You will find very different bodegas in Rioja. Discover a bodega built in a farm that was part of a medieval monastery and still makes its wine in the most traditional way, then another one that employs state of the art wine technology, and also visit one of the oldest in Rioja among others. Enjoy a typical Spanish lunch in a bodega where sarmientos (dry grape vine branches) are used to roast the meat, giving it a unique and delicious flavor. Open your senses and prepare to learn in the new interactive thematic center dedicated to wine in Laguardia, Villa Lucia, or the New Museum of Wine Culture Dinastia Vivanco.
Art and history are well represented in the Human Heritage monastery complex of Suso and Yuso in San Millán de la Cogolla (10th century village), where the Spanish language (castellano) was born, and in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a small medieval town very important for the pilgrims in their way to Santiago. A stroll through arcade streets will allow you to admire the noble stone mansions with their coats of arms. The cathedral is famous because of its beauty and its legend of the cock and hen. Enjoy a walk in the walled village of Laguardia (13th century walls), capital of Rioja Alavesa.
Underneath the stone paved streets and homes of Laguardia, there is a maze of underground cellars and over them, there are many historic monuments and sites, like the Gothic facade of Santa Maria de los Reyes church from the 14th century. Logroño, the capital of Rioja is a modern and historic town with a great architectural and artistic heritage, where one can also find multiple shopping opportunities. Since Bilbao is very close to Rioja, it is easy to visit the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao designed by architect Frank Gehry. One day can be dedicated to the Spanish tradition of wine and tapas. Tapas are small dishes that you have in bars or casual restaurants instead of a formal meal. The old part of Haro or Logroño are great for this!
During the holiday, you will taste tapas-style lunches as well as a typical meal from Ribera, roasted lamb in a wood fired oven, paired with Ribera del Duero wines. You will also have a traditional Riojan lunch paired with Riojan wine, and have some fresh catch fish coal grilled lunch for another session. Txacoli wine will also be a part of your culinary experience in Spain.
You will have plenty of opportunities to explore the area. Take tapas tour in Madrid for 70 EUR. For tour extension, please inquire for details.
Please book your flight to arrive at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD). Transfer from Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) and to San Sebastián Airport (EAS) is available upon request. The cost is 50 EUR for each transfer.
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