The Wine Routes: a different journey through Spain
Discover Spain along its Wine Routes and venture into some of the country's most important wine-growing areas. Along the way you will have the chance to learn how wines are made and to sample some world-renowned vintages. But that is not all. You can also enjoy the cultural, natural and culinary heritage of some uniquely different regions, all of them with one thing in common: fine wine.
The Wine Routes offer leisure alternatives designed to suit every taste - taking a trip along them is an unforgettable experience. Simply choose your destination, and discover wine and Spain in a very special way. You can start your journey in the north, in Galicia, where you will find the Route of the Rias Baixas, the home of Albariño wine. There's a surprise in store for you when you sample this fresh, young wine, ideally suited to delicious Galician cuisine such as fish and shellfish dishes. Make of the most of your trip by visiting the coast, with its spectacular beaches, the ideal location for trying your hand at water sports or just admiring the beauty of the local landscapes, with the Islas Atlánticas National Park providing one of the highlights. Round off your stay in style at La Toja, where you can pamper yourself with beauty treatments at the local spas and thermal centres.
Staying in the north of Spain, we move to the Basque Country, where we find the Rioja Alavesa Route. Did you know that some of Spain's most internationally famous wines are produced here? The region is home to some of the new cathedrals of wine: avant-garde buildings and wineries designed by the world's leading contemporary architects, such as Santiago Calatrava, the man behind the new Bodegas Ysios winery, or Frank O. Gehry, who designed the "Ciudad del Vino" wine centre in Elciego. Why not try some vinotherapy and invigorate your body and mind? And, of course, there's also the world-famous Basque cuisine to savour.
A mere 100 kilometres away lies the start of the Navarre wine route. The journey takes in villages such as Olite and Tafalla. They both serve as reminders of the region's importance throughout the history of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, which has the UNESCO World Heritage designation. Don't forget to try the local wines, with rosés leading the way.
Our journey continues in Aragón, along the Somontano Wine Route. The region lies in the foothills of the Pyrenees and is home to some superb wines. But wine is just one of the many welcome surprises in this part of Huesca province, where, in addition to vineyards and the monuments of towns and villages such as Barbastro and Alquézar, you will also find the Sierra y los Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve: a unique landscape in Europe, dotted with canyons and gorges, making it a paradise for lovers of adventure sports.
Less than 200 kilometres away lies Catalonia and the Penedès Wine and Cava Routes. The region is home to the world-famous sparkling wine known as cava. Sample this unmistakable wine and discover the amazing cultural heritage of the local area, with its many examples of Romanesque and modernist art and guided tours of castles and wineries. Similar experiences are in store on the Jumilla Wine Route, in Murcia. In addition to the local wines, many of them the recipients of awards in recent years, other delights include the city's old town and the surrounding countryside, one of the highlights of which is the Sierra del Carche Regional Nature Reserve, where you can enjoy a host of sports including hiking, cycle touring, paragliding and hang gliding.
Heading south into Andalusia, we come to the Montilla-Moriles Wine Route which runs through the province of Cordoba. The superb local wines are the ideal accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes including tapas, a deep-rooted culinary tradition in the local region. Don't forget to pay a visit to Cordoba either, whose monumental architecture and Great Mosque, both declared UNESCO World Heritage sites, are not to be missed.
La La Mancha Wine Route provides our last stop on this fascinating journey. Did you know that in terms of hectares of vineyards, Castile-La Mancha is the most extensive wine-growing region in the world? Immortalised by Miguel de Cervantes in the novel Don Quixote, La Mancha boasts unique landscapes featuring its distinctive windmills, endless plains covered by vineyards and well known places of historical interest. The region is also home to Europe's longest eco-tourism route: the Don Quixote Route. Be sure to stop off and sample La Mancha cuisine, with its unique cheese, or take in stunning areas such as the Tablas de Daimiel National Park and the Ruidera Lakes.
That's what the Wine Routes have to offer: an original, unique way of discovering Spain's exceptional culture while also sampling its most prestigious wines. A fascinating experience in which aromas, flavours, history and art blend together seamlessly. Shall we get going?