Wines of the Iberian Peninsula Tour: La Rioja, Douro Valley, Porto

A 9 day trip to Portugal & Spain 
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Whether a lover of the ruby hues of red wine or the gentle gold of cava, an enthusiast of Ports or a casual observer of Rioja’s earthy notes, your customizable tour of Spain and Portugal will make you feel like a true wine connoisseur. Family-owned cellars hide beneath the cobbled streets of medieval towns. Concealed restaurants provide traditional tapas with exceptional wines unknown to those outside of the country. From toasting oak barrels to discovering the perfect bottle, you will experience the culture of the vine emphasized by history during your wine tasting tour of the Iberian Peninsula.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Gratallops, Logrono, Sardoncillo, Douro Valley, Porto, Pinhão 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Gratallops – An Introductory Spanish Sample

The promise of fine wines and breathtaking scenery comforts you as the flight lands at Barcelona-El Prat Airport. Your private transfer greets you upon your arrival and escorts you away from the shimmering Mediterranean coastline and into the historic Penedès wine region. The Catalonia culture for which Barcelona is famous for continues into the pre-coastal mountain range. The vibrant landscape glistens with jade and emerald hues stretching across the vineyards and verdant hills. The region is known for producing cava, sparkling wine similar to champagne, along with a variety of light, white wines and a selection of fruity reds.

You stop at a celebrated winery owned by the same family since its beginnings in the late 18th century. The Spanish adobe structure of the main house glints with whitewashed walls above the vast vineyards. The winery continues in the tradition of Spanish wine while venturing into contemporary tastes and styles as well. The hills provide diverse microclimates for the vines, ranging from 500 – 2,500 feet above sea level.

Your guide leads you along the trails weaving between the vines. The harvesters pick the grapes by hand to ensure the perfect flavor is preserved in every grape, leading to the best taste in every bottle. The grapes have a waxy, plump texture beneath the dangling leaves of the vine. In the tasting room, your winery guide pours you a sample of the cava produced on the property, offering you a light, effervescent body containing hints of grapefruit amongst a toast to your welcome to Spain.

What’s Included: airport transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 2: Gratallops – A Day Amongst the Vines

In the morning, the aroma of handmade pastries dusted with sugar and filled with delicate cream drifts out of the local cafes. The town of Gratallops has 250 permanent residents overlooking the terraced vineyards along the valley and hills. The medieval architecture has preserved a relaxed pace and indelible charm. The co-op community winery opens its doors to the locals and visitors, offering samples and bottles of the barrels held within the shop. The town was founded during the Moorish occupation of Spain, changing its name to Gratallops in the mid-13th century. After breakfast, your guide greets you at the estate, ready to escort you to three celebrated wineries in the Priorat region.

Cyclists wind through the streets and peddle as if participating in the Tour de France. You arrive at the first vineyard, an estate first founded in the 12th century, making it one of the oldest wineries in the region. The winery maintains the tradition of Spanish viticulture established by the Carthusian monks who founded the estate. Remnants of the original monastery decorate the edges of the estate along the cypress trees and manor house, along with the original cellar. Black slate protrudes from the soil and neighboring mountains, providing an earthy flavor to the grapes harvested on the property. Your guide pours you a sample of the Grenache cultivated on the antique estate. You immediately notice the cherry hues of the red wine and the ripe berry aroma containing hints of licorice. The berry flavor lingers on your palate for a rounded, balanced finish.    

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Logrono – Seeing Red in La Rioja

In the morning light, you can’t help but think of the unique balanced flavors of the Macabeo and Garnatxa Blanca blend you tasted the previous day inside the walls of a winery edging Gratallops. The rich aromatics and medium body offered a combination in a white wine you have rarely encountered, helping to create the perfect first day in the wine regions of Spain. After breakfast, your private transfer leads you out of Catalonia and into the La Rioja wine region, known for gorgeous rolling hills, medieval hamlets, and wines that are quick to enchant the tasters. The scenic drive takes you along roads lined with cypress trees accompanied by panoramic views of lush hills and endless vineyards.

You stop in the town of Laguardia to absorb the medieval ambiance crowning the hilltop. Narrow cobblestone lanes lead to hidden wine shops. The palace grounds edge quiet cafes beneath the more than six-foot tall walls crowned with parapets. Cellars and caves burrowed nearly 20 feet beneath the streets have maintained wines for hundreds of years. You meet with a local store owner who continues to use a cellar dating back to the 15th century. The cellar is located beneath the palace and contains a cool temperature contrasting the warm sunlight spreading across the landscape. In the evening, you settle into the casual comforts of a traditional restaurant in the medieval town of Logrono. The aroma of seared lamb emanates from the kitchen, accompanied by the strong scent of garlic and bay leaf.  

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation  

Day 4: Logrono – Heart of Rioja

Today you enter into the heart of the wine tradition in the Rioja region. At breakfast, the scent of cherry trees and grapevines sweeps through the cobbled streets of the medieval town. Your private transfer greets you in the lobby of your hotel and escorts you through the center of the region, passing olive groves and rustling cherry trees. Local tavernas simmer piquillo peppers over roasting wood. White asparagus simmers on open flames until tender. Cafes set out tapas along the bar-tops. You make your way to Haro, a 13th-century village adorned with a baroque high altar inside the soaring basilica. A small shop inside the village opened in the late 19th century is dedicated to producing high-quality wines and crafting their own oak barrels.

The scent of wood shavings and oak trees fills the shop. The workers utilize traditional techniques on the barrel, from sawing, drying, curing, and even toasting the inside of the barrels to produce a particular flavor in the wood grain. After viewing the barrel-making process, you learn more about the vineyards connected to the shop, which encompass more than 420 acres. The limestone soil adds an earthy, mineral note to the wines, layered with the ruby fruits of red wines and the melon and citrus of the white wines. Pebbles pave the vineyard beneath the stretching vines, protecting the soil from an abundance of rain and sunshine. Bottles of the exceptional wines are on display in the family museum, highlighting the best years of the vineyard since the 1970s.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Sardoncillo – Jewel of the Duero River

The quiet ambiance of the morning in Logrono contains an enchanting ambiance. You can hear the individual footsteps of women walking along the cobblestones heading to the market. The bars and cafes begin to make the typical tapas of the region known as pinchos. The gatherers take to the vines to scour the vineyards for the perfect grapes ready for harvest. After breakfast, you make your way around the Sierra de Cebollera Mountains to reach the Ribera del Duero region. The Douro River runs beneath the ruined castles and antique towns, forming the dramatic canyon network of El Burgo de Osma and Lerma.

The area holds the title of Spain’s most respected wine-producing region due to the variety of quality vines spreading across the landscape. The sun washes over the mixture of verdant farmland and parched soil adorned with lush cypress and oak trees. You arrive at a 12th-century abbey that has been converted into a winery reaching the banks of the river. Your guide leads you on an in-depth tour of the grounds to view the limestone and pebbled slopes near the water, leading to the clay and sand. After harvest, the vines change from green to burnt sage, contrasting the vibrant jade blanketing the hillsides.

The slopes to the north of the river reach a height of nearly 2,800 feet above sea level, offering an array of complex characteristics to the soil, embodied in the wines. The tasting room offers a splendid view of the landscape, accentuated by the captivating aroma of your first sample, a white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo grapes. The straw color gives way to an intense aroma of pineapple, grapefruit, and buttered toast, with a delicate, fresh body perfect for sipping beneath the hot sun. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Douro Valley – A Special View of Portugal

The scent of freshly brewed coffee fills the dining room at breakfast. The herbaceous aroma of the vines drifts over the landscape on the back of the refreshing breeze. After the meal, your private transfer escorts you out of Spain and into the casual beauty of the Douro Valley in Portugal. Red-tiled roofs adorn whitewashed homes. Terraced vineyards descend along the hillsides leading to the banks of the Douro River. The mixture of cobalt colors from the water and jade hues from the vineyards create reflective ribbons contrasting the pale cobbled roads. The landscape provides a calm and calming ambiance around one of the most fascinating wine-growing regions in the world, which became the first demarcated wine region in the 1750s.

Stop at a vineyard to sample the remarkable flavors of the wine and immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of the vineyards wrapping around the hills. Rows of vines resemble textured walls. Your guide takes you beneath the hills and into the cool, earthy interior of the cellars, which once housed the barrels before sailors helped ferry the wine along the waters of the river. The aroma of oak blends with the earthen walls. Sit with a view of the marvelous terraces to sample the tawny port produced on the property. The water rushes below. The aroma of raisin, vanilla, and hazelnut drifts upwards from the glass. The bold, red fruits coat your palate.   

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Douro Valley – On the Douro River

In the quiet morning, you can hear the waters of the Douro River rushing against the lush banks. The scent of sweet pastries accompanies the decadent aroma of freshly brewed coffee. After breakfast, you take to the trails connecting your lavish estate to a nearby winery, enjoying the short stroll amongst the sensational view of rolling peaks and meandering vineyards. The vineyard has sections of running along the edges of the river and stretching into the hills at more than 1,300 feet above sea level. The vintners take pride in their traditions, harvesting and producing the port on the property, along with storing the barrels inside cellars located near the meandering river.

After lunch, you step aboard a small river cruiser gliding down the waters in view of the historic estates and terraced gardens. The boat replicates the historic vessels that once traversed the coastline carrying supplies and barrels of wine. The waterway once offered the fastest route to Porto until the railway was built in the early 20th century. Your perspective changes along the meandering banks of the river, allowing you a new panoramic view of the vineyards and hilltops, grape harvesters and whitewashed estates.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Porto – Panoramic Porto

The city of Porto maintains its historical connection to opulent lanes and a medieval center, charismatic cuisine, and divine wines. The sunlight spreads over the rushing waters of the Douro River, casting a gleam across the surface. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel, ready to escort you along the scenic road to Portugal’s second largest city. The city embodies the subtle charm of aged port with restaurants hidden in the hillsides offering snapshots of preserved life and culture in the wines they pour. Contemporary art decorates the brick walls of the architecture along the riverside.

The aroma of the Atlantic Ocean sweeps in with the gentle breeze. You arrive at a wine lodge with more than four centuries of history. The newly renovated interior contains a museum offering insight into the cultivation and production of Port wine through Portugal’s history, and the evolution of the lodge. The scent of fermenting grapes continues to fill the cellar, complemented the scent of charred oak. Your guide leads you into the historic heart of the cellar after a museum tour for a tasting of classic vintages and tawny Ports, along with a selection of dry whites. The tasting room overlooks the gardens, allowing the floral notes of the outdoors to accentuate the herbaceous and floral aromas drifting upwards from your glass. 

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Porto – The Porto Difference

In the morning, the sunlight washes over the sophisticated seaside district of Foz. Towering palm trees line the pedestrian boulevards in the Jardim do Passeio Alegre. The 19th-century obelisks imitate the heights of the palm trees, and charming homes overlook the rugged shoreline where the Atlantic waves splash against the rocks. The traditional Portuguese riverboats continue to cruise along the waters past the charming riverside district of Ribeira. Cafes set out tables along the cobblestones and locals enjoy the atmosphere of the bars in the evening. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast. You make your way to Porto Airport for your flight home, with the memories of the wines you sampled across the Iberian Peninsula swirling in your thoughts.

What’s Included: breakfast, airport transfer 

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.