DAY : PALACES AND TOWN SQUARES IN CASTILE. THE WINE OF KINGS AND OF COMMONERS
On the first day we will get to know 2 delightful towns near Madrid, just half an hour away from the capital city: Aranjuez and Chinchón. Aranjuez has a stunning palace which is where the Spanish Royal Household used to spend its summer holidays. Aranjuez is famous for its Versailles-like parks, its fountains and its riverside pathways. Here we will visit 2 wineries. The first, which was the winery of the King and Queen, is housed in a building of enormous historical value and shows us what a real Royal winery was like. The second, where we will have lunch, is a modern, “garage” style winery which makes top notch, modern wines. We will have a chance to chat to the owner and wine-maker while we taste his wines.
After that we will visit Chinchón, which has, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful squares in Spain, a remarkable castle and a collection of buildings that show us what Spain was like 3 centuries ago. Strolling through the streets of Chinchón gives us an insight into the past of Castile.
We will visit a “village” winery which still has vestiges of how wine was made in the olden days, plus a cellar that was dug out with a pick-axe and shovel 4 centuries ago – a prime example of traditional wine-related architecture. We will also taste the wines it has to offer.
Back in Madrid there will be time for a leisurely walk and a “tapas” supper as we stroll around areas where the locals go to have tapas. We will spend the night in a designer hotel in the centre of Madrid.
DAY : LA RIBERA DEL DUERO (THE BANKS OF THE RIVER DUERO). CASTLES, SPA AND WINE…
We will set off early for Segovia to visit its famous aqueduct and castle – a little known gem of a place.
After lunch we will we will tour around the Golden Mile of the Ribera del Duero in a 4 x 4 vehicle and visit one of the most prestigious wineries and vineyards in the area.
In the afternoon we will check in to our hotel near Peñafiel. The hotel is an old castle with fantastic views; a stunning monument which is lit up at night and has been the scene of numerous battles. In the afternoon we will visit one of the flagship wineries in Spain, together with its labyrinth of underground tunnels.
Dinner will be at the watermill where we will taste food that is typical of the region, but before that, an impressive underground cellar will be visited.
DAY : VINEYARDS IN LA RIBERA AND ARRIVAL AT THE WALLED TOWN OF LAGUARDIA IN RIOJA
After breakfast we will visit 2 wineries, in one of them we will be given a short cookery lesson and learn how to make some of the typical regional dishes. We will have lunch in a room with a magnificent view of 2 castles that stand opposite each other.
Then we will head towards Rioja, but before that we will stop in Burgos to visit its amazing Cathedral. After that we will reach our destination, Laguardia, which is a medieval walled town with stunning views of the Cantabria mountain range and the Rioja vineyards.
We will spend the night in a beautiful hotel that houses an old wine cellar. We will visit one of the most traditional wineries in Laguardia to see artisan wine-making methods for ourselves. We will also taste its magnificent wine in a cellar that is over 400 years old, which is the same age as the cellar where we will be having dinner in the evening.
DAY 4 – CENTURIES OLD WINERIES AND SPECTACULAR WINE MUSEUM
In the morning we will pay a visit to Haro, which is a town in Rioja that is steeped in wine history, and will visit 2 of its most emblematic wineries. We will then have lunch in a winery overlooking a magnificent vineyard and in the evening we will visit what is undoubtedly the best wine museum in the world.
In the evening, on returning to Laguardia, we can stroll in the vineyards and admire the spectacular architecture of the Yslos winery designed by Calatrava. Free evening. If you want to relax you can visit the hotel spa
DAY 5 CONTRASTING WINERIES AND BILBAO (OR SAN SEBASTIAN)
For this morning we have scheduled a visit to contrasting wineries which will show us very different ways of understanding wine. In the last one we will stroll in an impressive vineyard and have lunch before setting off for Bilbao.
The afternoon is free for you to visit the Guggenheim museum (which costs 10 euros and is not included in the price of the Tour) and the city of Bilbao which has re-invented itself and is full of surprises for visitors. We will have tapas for supper and a farewell toast.
DAY 6 RETURN
We will visit a modern winery, designed by Norman Foster. We will taste wines from the winery and will have lunch overlooking the picturesque Barricas park. After lunch, we will take a short walk around Aranda de Duero where we will discover the fascinating network of underground cellars that criss-cross the city.
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Minimum: 10 participants