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FOLLOW THE VINES – A DIFFERENT WAY TO DISCOVER SPAIN

Spain, whilst having something (a lot, actually) to offer everyone, is a particularly wonderful place to visit for Wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs. Travelling some of the established wine routes will not only allow you to see some of the most important wine-growing areas, it´s also a fabulous way to see the natural beauty of the country and immerse yourself in its diverse cultural and culinary experiences – quite simply, it is a great way to discover parts of Spain.

Each of the varied regions of Spain has an unforgettable journey and experience to delight even the most seasoned of travellers, and the one thing they all have in common is great wine.

Here we highlight just a few of the many treasures that one can uncover throughout Spain on some of the known wine routes.

In the North West of Spain, we have the autonomous region of Galicia where you can find the Route of the Rias Baixas, and the home of Albariño (or Alvarinho) wines – the Albariño grape being synonymous with the region and regarded by many as producing the finest white wines in Spain. Galicia is renowned for, amongst other things, its Albariño wines which are especially enjoyed alongside typical Galician cuisine and exquisite fish and seafood. Whilst in Galicia, visitors should not miss out on a trip to the fabulous coast, to see some spectacular beaches OR possibly visit one of the most westerly points on the mainland and a pilgrimage destination (in addition to Santiago de Compostela), Finisterre. The Islas Atlánticas National Park is a further treat to be seen in Galicia.

In the Basque Country, part of which is on the northern coastline and meets with the southwestern French town of Biarritz, one can indulge in TxaKoli (Chacoli) wines, the traditional Basque wine before uncovering the more widely known wines from the Rioja Alavesa Route, along which one can visit some of the Bodegas (Wineries) of the most internationally known Spanish wines. This region not only is home to some of the finest wines, in particular red wines, it is also where one can see, or even stay at, some architectural masterpieces designed by acclaimed architects such as Santiago Calatrava, who designed the new Ysios winery, or Frank Gehry, who designed the Ciudad del Vino wine centre in Elciego and the Hotel that forms part of the famous Marqués de Riscal Bodega. One must, of course, no only try some of the world-famous Basque Country cuisine, one should also savour the regional Rioja specialties too.

Further to the east one can find the start of the Navarre wine route, which would take visitors to small towns such as Olite and Tafalla – historically significant towns on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James) pilgrimage route – and in a region famed for its rosé wines.

The Somontano wine route take us to Aragón, close to the Pyrenees and likewise home to some outstanding wines. Aside from wine, the province of Huesca has other delights to visit such as the town of Barbastro or the Sierra y los Cañones de Guara Nature Reserve, a remarkable landscape popular with adventure sports lovers.

Going further east one will arrive in Catalonia and could undertake the Penedés Wine and Cava routes. Cava is the internationally renowned sparkling wine originating from this region, whilst the area itself is of course rich in cultural heritage and famed for Romanesque and Modernist art and architecture.

In Andalucia one can follow the Montila-Moriles Wine Route, through the province of Cordoba – a place one should definitely look to visit if for no other reason than simply to admire its monumental architecture and the World Heritage Mezquita-Cathedral, a truly impressive site not to be missed given the chance. Further south in Andalusia, one can also visit Jerez – home to the world-famous Sherries, and the the most exported wine related beverage products in Spain.

The La Mancha Wine Route in the interior of Spain, is also of appeal, and indeed Castile-La Mancha is the most extensive wine-growing region in the world in terms of hectares. Not only that, it is famed also for its wonderful cheeses, distinctive windmills, flat plains and historical places, but it is also the Land of Don Quijote, the fictional character from Miguel de Cervantes acclaimed novel Don Quijote.

Choosing any one of these regions to discover will be a rewarding experience, during which you will taste culinary delights alongside trying great wines, see historical and monumental sites and unique beautiful landscapes that will long in your memory. Short on time? – choose one or two regions…Time on your hands? Take a month-long trip throughout Spain and treat yourself to the many delights you will find as you go….

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