The best wine regions of Spain
In 12 days, you’ll have the pleasure of visiting the four main wine regions of Spain, La Rioja, Ribera de Duero, Rueda, and Toro. In addition, you’ll visit the gastronomic treasure of Spain, the Basque Country.
Culturally and gastronomically loaded, this 12 day tour by car will lead you to explore the dour of the prominent wine regions of the world, and the two largest in Spain, which have boldly earned their claim to fame. They are – la Rioja and the Ribera de Duero.
Likewise, in the second half of the tour, you’ll visit a gastronomic jewel in this next stunning and proud region. It is widely considered one of the finest places to eat in the world, and equally, as boastful in unmatched scenery and linguistic marvel – it is the Basque Country, a region that still maintains autonomy in northern Spain.
Walk through the dungeons of Peñafiel Castle as it protects 2 million barrels of wine
Visit San Sebastian and delight in Spain’s distinguished tradition of appetizers called “pintxos” & “tapas”.
Watch as the landscapes transform from vineyards into breath-taking vistas of mountains, lush hills, lakes and untouched nature.
Admire the fantastic number of Spanish wineries, nationally known as bodegas, in the infamous area of Barrio de la Estación in Haro, and touch the edge of the continent at Biarritz, France.
Day 1 | Arrival to Madrid | Orientation, Madrid
Welcome to Madrid! A private taxi awaits you at the airport and accompanies you to the hotel.
For those arriving early, you’ll have an option to kick start the tour by diving right in. Walk about the center and grab your first impressions of the grand streets and bright architecture. You’ll soon discover a wonderful assortment of elegant boulevards, illustrious museums, royal palaces, manicured parks, and trendy eateries.
Its center is a collection of diverse barrios which each boast a distinct charm, and lay claim to architectural wonders including the 17th century Plaza Mayor and vast Royal Palace.
We also recommend a visit to Gran Via, the city’s most famous shopping boulevard, and Puerta del Sol, the so-called ‘Heart of Spain’ and home to the famous Bear and Strawberry Tree statue, which has become a symbol of the city.
There’s something for everybody here!
Day 2 | Madrid | Experience Madrid and historic Toledo
On your second day in the Spanish capital, you´ll really begin to soak up the culture with many diverse neighborhoods to visit, sights to see, and local products to purchase. Have a picnic in the gardens of the huge central park – Retiro.
Art lovers will rejoice in the city’s ‘Golden Triangle of Art’ comprising the art museums: Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Museo Reina Sofía, which display works from many of the world’s artistic heavyweights.
Fashionistas looking for another retail hit should head to the barrio of Salamanca, home to glamorous avenues and the famed ‘Golden Mile’ of Calle Serrano with its upscale boutiques and stores of famous fashion houses.
Another option is to visit nearby Toledo. A fortified city once dominated yet blended peacefully by three cultures simultaneously: the Christians, the Arabs, and the Jewish, has infused it with a highly unique historical and architectural offering. Located atop a gorge above the Tagus river, this is a must for culture lovers who will revel in exploring the vaulted mosques, Sephardic synagogues, and Gothic cathedrals, as well as the artworks of El Greco with whom the city is synonymous.
Day 3 | Madrid - Peñafiel | From Madrid to the vineyards of Ribera de Duero
Today’s itinerary is your creation; starting with the 2-hour road trip from Madrid to Peñafiel.
This ancient route owns dozens of tucked-away places worth a visit, as it creeps along with sites of great historical significance from the 15th century. This era is a major highlight and strength in Spanish history. Then known as Las Castillas, this region was ruled by the Catholic Monarchs – King Fernand II of Aragon & Queen Isabella I.
We provide insider tips on where to stop and what to see during this exciting drive through this region
If 15th century history isn’t in your cards today then head straight to Peñafiel. Relax, meander, visit, or simply eat & drink as they do so naturally well here, no time limit today.
Day 4 | Ribera de Duero | Visit a few of the many bodegas
There are two bodega visits reserved for you this morning.
First, you’ll visit the futuristic Bodega Portia – designed by the famous British Architect Norman Foster; it impresses even more than imagined when seen with your own eyes and is a pleasant view of the ground’s transformation over the decades.
The next stop is Bodegas Protos; a former castle constructed in the 10th century. As you walk through the old dungeons of the castle, since transformed into wine cellars containing millions of barrels of wine, you can’t help but note the indescribable aroma of aging wine in the French oak barrels on top of one another. The tour of Protos is properly concluded with a tasting of two wines from this famous producer.
We encourage you to enjoy the afternoon and remainder of the day with our pro restaurant tips and advice on what to visit in the area; who knows which bodega is around the next corner.
Day 5 | Peñafiel – Rueda – Toro - Peñafiel | Visit of two distinct wine region´s Rueda and Toro
Day 6 | Peñafiel – San Sebastian | From the grapevines to Spain’s tapas capital of San Sebastian
This morning we’ll welcome the opportunity to visit the final bodega that appeals to you the most. Base your choice on alluring scenery, iconic architecture, or the reputation of the Bodega itself.
Shortly after, gasp at the views of the breath-taking and untouched nature we’ll pass along the 3.5 hour journey to San Sebastian. The town in the north in the Basque region is known for its pinxtos, snacks held together by a long toothpick, displayed on a bar. Tips are provided regarding the picturesque villages and where to pause to enjoy a coffee.
Day 7 | San Sebastian | Welcome to San Sebastian, the gastronomic capital of Spain
San Sebastian is pleasingly picturesque. Familiarize yourself with its old churches and gentle ancient walkways in the morning. For lunch, explore the center, devoted to the ever-important tapas bars, eagerly serving pintxos and tapas all day and night long to locals and tourists alike.
Wander towards the Bay of San Sebastian and stroll along the boardwalk, pausing a minute to observe the surfers and the crashing waves for which it’s famous.
Follow our advice and visit 4 bars enjoying one beverage and one pinxto at each. Take all evening as you are your own guide today!
Day 8 | San Sebastian | Modern city of Bilbao or the coast of Biscay
As San Sebastian as the starting point, allow time for leisurely steps today.
Catch up on yesterday’s site list, or meander around the town and peruse the French style inspired boutique shops. Cuisine in augmented variety awaits you at lunchtime and even still you’ll have no problem finding something new. Then head to the bayfront promenade, Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta beaches. There are several options today to visit.
Firstly, visit a winery of white wine in the Basque mountains.
As a true wine lover, you may choose to visit Txakoli Vineyards – home to two more bodegas. This quite undiscovered region presents a niche area of Spanish wine and here you’ll taste the white wines it boasts about.
The second option is a strong contender. Visit Idiazabal cheese region. See first hand how and why this cheese has won both the “Product of the European Gastronomic Heritage” and the “Best European Sheep Cheese” awards.
Step inside this unique process of cheese production, but not before an initial stop-in to an Interpretation center.
Enjoy the rare pleasure of the fresh mountain air and serenity of his peaceful surroundings, as a local shepherd demonstrates his craft of making Idiazabal cheese, on location at his pasture.
Your third option is a jaunt to an opposite style city from where you’ve come, the cosmopolitan city of Bilbao. In this modern city, the world renowned Guggenheim museum, the first one in the world, awaits your visit. The restaurant, Grace the Nerua Guggenheim Bilbao, welcomes your presence for an elegant lunch.
A fourth option is a calm and special one. Step offshore at the coast of Biscay, and head directly to the Gaztelugatxe Peninsula. This may be the best photo-opportunity for your Instagram travel pics and passionate photographers alike, as you capture the monastery and vast views from the edge of the continent.
Day 9 | San Sebastian - Haro | Next wine region … la Rioja!
Today is yours to enjoy, always accompanied by our superb advice on top bodegas, and places of local pride and interest to see.
Leaving the coast, direction southbound, in a blink you’ll have entered the rough, mountainous landscape which once again transforms itself, this time into 1000´s of acres of vineyards. Haro, the capital of the Rioja wine region, will be your host for the night.
If you’ve arrived early enough into Haro, one or two more bodegas are waiting for you. We also strongly recommend venturing into The “Barrio La Estación”, hosting dozens of more bodegas built together in a convenient row.
Day 10 | Haro | Morning and afternoon of bodega visits
Fully emerge and indulge yourselves today once again, in the wonderful and endless world of Spanish wine. You’ll receive a list of bodegas in the Rioja area – ones to visit and the ones to avoid. Combine this with the great dining that Rioja has to offer. Still uncertain of what to do?
We’ll set up an itinerary for you which will include your entrance tickets at special pricing.
Do you prefer that a local guide take you? Upon request, we have that guide!
Day 11 | Haro - Madrid | Back to the city with your newfound knowledge of Spanish gastronomy
In a little over three hours you’ll arrive back in Madrid; not having missed the view-worthy places to pull into en route. Let your newfound Spanish instincts lead the way back in this metropolis.
You’re free to stroll along Gran Vía street for your final shopping spree and check out the souvenirs. Make your final dinner of this trip a memorable one, beit at a trendy eatery, a Michelin star awarded restaurant, tapas along the Cava Baja, the markets, something regional and new, or a shot in the dark at one (or two) of the plethora of restaurants Madrid has to offer – you won’t be disappointed with the magic this evening dangles in before you.
Day 12 | Madrid – Home | Home or extension?
Fly from Madrid back home. A hotel pick-up for you by private taxi will have been arranged.
Haven’t had enough and wish to extend your trip or add a few extra stops? Let us know
and we’ll be delighted to tailor make the continuation of this trip according to your wishes.
Total price: € 995- / $ 1195,- per person
- 11 Nights in two or three star hotels including breakfast. Please note that there is the option to upgrade to four or five star hotels for just € 495,- per person for all 11 nights.
- 9 Days car hire including all-risk insurance
- Private pick-up and drop-off transfer to airport or train station upon arrival and departure.
- Access to insider tips about what to see and where to eat. Let us know if you have any special diets like vegetarian, vegan, halal, kosher, or any other and we´ll give you free advice.
- 24/7 helpline for the duration of your trip.
- Air tickets. Please note that we can arrange these should you wish.
- Travel insurance. Please note that we can arrange these should you wish.
- All other food and drinks not mentioned in the above description.
- City tourism taxes
- Personal expenses such as extra hotel services or gratuities
- Entrance fees unless otherwise stated.