Editorial Note: Thank you to Wine Tourism Spain for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions expressed on Soul Travel Blog are my own. All images are courtesy of Wine Tourism Spain.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself of how many wonderful travel opportunities there are on my doorstep.
Take continental Europe for example. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to live in different parts of Europe all of my life, but it wasn’t until I travelled from Amsterdam to Lisbon by train last summer that I realised how much of France, Spain and Portugal are so close that it’s possible to get there without so much as getting on a plane.
While daydreaming about Europe and looking for get aways, I came across Wine Tourism Spain and the Wine Road Trips that they offer.
Discovering the Best of Spain’s Wine Regions at your Own Pace.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit wineries on day trips, but always felt rushed and as though there was not enough time to enjoy the wines and experiences on offer. I’m also a fan of doing things at my own space! So when I discovered that Wine Tourism Spain offered the best of both worlds with their self-drive itineraries, I jumped at the idea.
What is a Wine Tourism Spain Roadtrip?
On a road trip package, Wine Tourism Spain takes care of all the planning and the hard work. Each trip includes a carefully thought-out route, four star hotels – which are often family owned – the best Spanish wine and gastronomy in the region, and tips for what to do in each city and stopping point.
All that’s left to do? Get your rental car and off you go!
The Different Wine Regions of Spain.
Despite enjoying a good glass of wine on many a weekend evening, I was unaware that Spain is actually the 3rd largest wine-producing country in the world. Somehow, Spain seems to fly under the radar compared to neighbouring France – and even Italy – when it comes to wine. And that means, that the wine is certainly better value, but just as good (if not better!)
There are 6 main wine regions in mainland Spain – from the Northwest “green” Spain of Galicia, to the Ebro River Valley (where Tempranillo rules), to the Duero River Valley which is famous for its Verdejo (yes please!). Not forgetting perhaps Spain’s best known wine region – La Rioja, from which of the wine of the same name comes.
Four different road trip itineraries are currently on offer with Wine Tourism Spain: Basque Country, Pamplona and Rioja Luxury Road trip; San Sebastian to Santiago Gastronomic Road trip; Madrid to Bilbao Road trip via Wine Country; and the Luxury Parador Trip: Madrid and the North of Spain. Personally, I love the sound of the Basque country one! It’s a place I’ve always wanted to go to and the countryside looks stunning.
Responsible & Local Travel.
One of the things that I liked most about Wine Tourism Spain is that they encourage visitors to get off the beaten path and away from the mass tourism spots such as Barcelona. They encourage people to explore at their own pace and see areas of the country that are little visited.
In addition to helping travellers get off the beaten path, the majority of hotels used on these and other wine tourism Spain trips are locally owned. The focus is also on local food, experiencing local culture, and – of course – local wine! This means that tourism has a directly positive impact on locals as opposed to going to large multi national companies or hotel chain head offices.
Tips for Travelling to Spain.
Spain is fortunate enough to benefit from a good climate year round, but temperatures and seasons vary drastically depending on which part of the country you visit. The south experiences mild sunny winters and hot summers, while the centre and the north of spain are much colder during winter months. May and September are often a great time to visit – avoiding any summer crowds but still getting plenty of sunshine hours.
Driving in Spain is generally straight forward (they drive on the right), and roads are good. Wine Tourism Spain provide advice on the best routes and resources available to ensure your road trip is stress free!
If driving isn’t your thing or you have limited time, Wine Tourism Spain also offers a number of day tours from cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and in Andalucia. Some of their tours (such as Madrid to Barcelona via wine country) use the train.
Also on offer are private tours of Rioja (from one day upwards), in the Ribera del Duero (just an hour away from Madrid), and a wide range of multi-day tours. If you love Spanish food and wine, there are so many options on offer for exploring beautiful parts of this country and the best wine it has to offer.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’m feeling thirsty!