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Wine tour Northern Spain and Portugal

7 days
Vinho VerdeSpainPortugalGaliciaDouro Valley
  • Visit 5 exclusive top wine estates in Galica, Vinho Verde, and the Douro Valley
  • Enjoy tasting great wines in evocative places, as guest of these wine estates
  • Discover the joys of fine Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, modern as well as traditional
  • Enjoy the magnificent countryside of Galicia, Vinho Verde, and Douro Valley, some of Europe’s most spectacular wine regions
  • Explore the wonderful cityscape of the historic towns Santiago de Compostela and Porto
  • Sojourn at exclusive hotels – on wine estates, and in historic city centres
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Introduction – about Galicia, Vinho Verde, Douro Valley and Porto

About Galicia

At the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula lies the Spanish region of Galicia. The land offers the visitor beautiful, intensely green landscapes, high forested hills, mountains, and vineyards. A shoreline similar to fjords whereby the estuaries are known locally as Rías Altas and Rías Baixas provides dramatic coastal scenery.

Galicia has some unique wine regions, like Ribeira Sacra, Valdeorras and Rías Baixas. The vineyards built on steep mountains in Ribeira Sacra, generate some wonderful red wines made from indigenous grapes like Mencia and Brancellao. Valdeorras has become well known for its beautifully balanced white wines from the local Godello grape. The wines made in the lush and green coastal zone of Rías Baixas zone of Galicia are arguably Spain’s best white wines. The main grape here is the aromatic Albariño, other varieties include Treixadura and Loureiro. Albariño wines with their fresh, peachy fruit are often drunk young, but then wines made from old vines tend to have excellent capacity for aging. The vines are trained on pergolas, so that the grapes are shaded from the sun during the hottest part of the year, and are far enough off the ground to protect them from roaming wild animals.

Galicia is famous for its great food. The seafood and fish there is hard to match in terms of quality and diversity. Think vieiras (scallops) mexillónes (mussels) xoubas (sardines), centollas (spider crabs) and pulpo – Galicia’s most famous dish may be Pulpo a la Gallega (Octopus dressed in olive oil and paprika). There is also an abundance of local meat dishes, and a tradition of making tasty cured hams and sausages. Rich and buttery local cheeses like the Tetilla are a good match the local white wines made from the Albariño grape, thanks to its spritzy quality and peachy fruit.

Galicia has many beautiful historic sites, with the spectacular city of Santiago de Compostela very close to the Rías Baixas wine region a key attraction. This is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in all Spain. It is a famous ancient pilgrimage center and, thanks to a large and lively student population, remarkably unstuffy. There are many great place to eat and drink. Vistors to Santiago will find many excellent bistro-style eating house to savour Galego food and wine, stylish as well as traditional wine and tapas bars serving fine local white wines and fruit-driven reds are plentiful.

In a densely packed historic town, Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings that grew around the St James Cathedral make for a very atmospheric cityscape – UNESCO World Heritage listed. Yet, it does not mean that the city got stuck in time, it has an exciting modern side. Through careful architectural additions a modern Santiago has been created with eye-pleasing projects from acclaimed architects Álvaro Siza and Peter Eisenman – like the Galician Center for Contemporary Art and the City of Culture cultural center.

About Vinho Verde

About 60 km south of Santiago, when crossing the river Minho/Miño in southerly direction, one arrives in North Portugal, in the Vinho Verde region. This is a green mountainous area with wooded valleys, settled with stone-houses and grand granite-framed manor houses.

This is also the home of the Vinho Verde (green wine) vineyards. The most common grapes here are Alvarinho (known as Albariño in Spain), Loureiro, Trajadura and Vinhão. The quality of these wines has improved enormously in recent times; leading wine critics and wine lovers to seek out the best of the Vinho Verde wines. Their lightness, fruity aromas and freshness make good Vinho Verde wines a perfect companion for fine food or a delectable aperitif. You will also be pleasantly surprised by the unique red Vinho Verde made from the Espadeiro, Barraçal and Vinhão varieties. This wine is widely consumed by locals in traditional clay bowls.

This region offers tasty uncomplicated and honest food. The local corn bread is delicious, and so are the local cured and smoked hams. Dishes like suckling pig cooked in a wood-fired oven, served with a peppery sauce and green salad make a great match with delightful local wines.

About the Douro valley

South of Vinho Verde lies the Douro valley, where the unspoiled rural countryside becomes increasingly dramatic. The Douro valley in particular may be Europe’s most spectacular wine region, offering the visitor stunning scenery. The deep gorge that the Douro has carved through soft slatey soils allows for magnificent vistas. The steep hillsides are covered from top to bottom with terraced vineyards. They are so steep that to this day grapes can only be handpicked.

Whilst the Valley is historically famous as the producer of port wines, for the last 10 years some of Europe’s best unfortified table wines have also been made here. The best wine estates make both port and table wines and, in a few instances, the estate owners take their table wines more seriously than their port wines. The vineyards are mostly planted with the local varieties like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Amarella.

Reflecting the dramatic variations in both the orientation and altitude of the land, the characters of the wines produced in neighbouring vineyards can be quite different. The style of the wines also varies enormously depending on the provenance of the grapes and the intentions of the winemaker. There is a real air of excitement in the Douro valley about this extraordinary terrain’s ability to express itself in such a diverse range of wine. It is no wonder that the leading winemagazines like Decanter and Wine Spectator have given high marks to a number of Douro table wines. Even the Bordelaise have been moving in, buying vineyards or setting up joint ventures with some of the local estates.

About Porto

The city, adorned with some grandiose baroque monuments and outstanding art galleries like the Serralves museum, offers as well some striking modern architecture – world-famous architect Rem Koolhaas’ stunning concert hall Casa de Musica for example. For centuries, Porto has been the center of the port wine trade; historic port lodges abound in the Gaia district of the city. Some of these lodges have beautiful azulejo tiled tasting rooms, where one can enjoy various styles of port wines. The city’s wine bars and restaurants, where both the stunning Douro table wines as well as port wines are served, are also never far away. As in any good wine growing culture, excellent food is also prevalent, and Porto’s gastronomical resources are rapidly getting well deserved acclaim.

Classic seafood dishes such as polvo a lagareiro (octopus with baked potatoes), seabass with asparagus or meat dishes like succulent roast kid and slow cooked porco Bísaro (pork from pigs fed only on chestnuts) served with forest mushrooms, are being revisited with originality and finesse – it is a pleasure to dine in these restaurants even for the most experienced food lover.

What to expect from us?

With our ‘Wine tour Northern Spain & Portugal: Galicia, Vinho Verde and the Douro Valley’ you will discover some of Northern Iberia’s culinary and cultural delights; you will also taste some of the region’s best wines at spectacular wineries. This 7 days/ 6 nights experience is perfect for discerning travellers seeking fine wines, delectable cuisine and wonderful cultural heritage in an intimate and exclusive manner.

Galicia Santiago de Compostela
You will stay 2 nights in an elegant and charming 5-star hotel located in a former medieval convent. The building has been recently refurbished, in an elegant contemporary style. There is a pretty garden and a spacious outdoor terrace with fine views to the medieval city of Santiago.
The hotel is quietly located in the historic centre of Santiago. Rooms are large and very comfortable, the hotel has all the amenities one would expect of a very good place to stay. The old town of Santiago is just a short stroll away.

Vinho Verde – Ponte de Lima
You will be staying 1 night at a lovely grand 17th century manor house, in the same family for centuries. Public rooms are elegant and spacious, decorated with fine pieces of antique furniture and paintings. The guest rooms are comfortable, decorated in a calm traditional style. The feeling of tradition and heritage here is palpable.

The house is located on a large estate that provides the scenic environment typical to the north of Portugal, ideal for a relaxing stay. The stunning views over the luxurious green landscape, the charming gardens, the orangery, the outdoor swimming pool – bucolic tranquillity as far as the eye can see.

Douro valley
You will stay 2 nights at a working winery cum hotel in the heart of the Douro Valley. The 18th century Quinta (manor house), the centre of the winery, has been extensively restored and turned into an intimate and exclusive hotel, with 15 rooms. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, decorated with charming period details. The overall design feels light and uncluttered.

The property, situated within an estate of around 200 acres, has spacious gardens and terraces allowing for wonderful views over the Douro River, vineyards and mountains. Wines made at this property have been receiving critical acclaim regularly.

Porto
You will stay in a charming 4-star hotel located in the heart of the old town of Porto, within walking distance from some of Porto’s most notable monuments. The heart of the hotel is a row of historic buildings that have been renovated and converted into an elegant hotel.

Guestrooms are very comfortable, with original details like granite walls and hard wooden floors. Rooms have views to the Douro river, or to the old town of Porto. This hotel offers all the amenities one would expect from a very good hotel.

Dates 2017:

  • This gastronomic break is available throughout the year, with the exception of August.
  • Minimum number of guests is two.
  • To check availability for specific dates, please get in touch.

The price for a 7 days (6 nights) gastronomic break:

  • Euro 1235 per person
  • Euro 275 single room supplement


What is included?

  • 2 nights accommodation 5 star hotel Santiago de Compostela/Spain
  • 1 night accommodation exclusive hotel / manor house Vinho Verde/Portugal
  • 2 nights accommodation exclusive hotel / winery Douro Valley/Portugal
  • 1 night accommodation 4 star hotel Porto/Portugal
  • 6 breakfasts
  • A private guided tour of Santiago de Compostela’s historic centre.
  • 1 tour & tasting at winery Galicia/Spain – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 tour & tasting at winery Galicia/Spain, with lunch – including wines and soft drinks
  • 2 restaurant dinners Santiago de Compostela/Spain – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 dinner manor house Vinho Verde/Portugal
  • 1 tour & tasting at winery Vinho Verde/Portugal, with lunch – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 tour & tasting at winery Douro Valley/Portugal, with dinner – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 tour & tasting at winery Douro Valley/Portugal with lunch – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 restaurant dinner Douro Valley/Portugal – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 restaurant dinner Porto/Portugal – including wines and soft drinks
  • 1 tour & tasting at a port wine lodge Porto/Portugal

There are several ways to travel to Porto and Santiago de Compostela

It may be to easiest to fly into Santiago de Compostela’s airport, and depart via Porto
airport. Another option is to arrive and depart via Porto. Santiago de Compostela is connected by very good roads to Porto; the drive between the two cities takes about two and a half hours.

There are many direct flights into Porto and Santiago de Compostela airports from many cities in Europe. For trans-Atlantic flights, it may be easiest to connect in Lisbon, Porto, Madrid or Barcelona.

You may also fly into La Coruña and Vigo airport in Galicia in Spain, which offer several daily connections with main European cities. La Coruña is a 50 minute drive fromSantiago de Compostela, Vigo a little over 1 hour. Both cities have train connections with Santiago de Compostela.

Airlines flying into Porto and Galicia include TAP, Iberia, Vueling and Air France and British Airways. Booking early can be very advantageous.

Paladares Travel does not offer flights. We suggest you to book directly with one the many companies offering such services. However, if would like Paladares Travel to assist you inmaking arrangements, please let us know.

In order to get to the various wineries taking part in the tour, you may wish to rent a car or arrange for a private car service. Kindly note the pricing on our website does not include transportation, since it the cost is largely dependent on the number of people requiring such service. But of course we would be happy to organize a bespoke car service or rent a car on your behalf. If you would like Paladares Travel to assist you, please let us know.

Please find below an outline of the proposed wine tour.
Kindly note that this program is available all year round for a minimum of 2 people, with the exception of the month of August.

If you wish you can have the program fully escorted by an English, as well as Spanish and Portuguese speaking guide. We can also organize local transfers and transport.

Day 1
  • Arrival at Santiago de Compostela hotel.
  • The remainder of the day is at leisure to settle into your hotel, to explore on your own.
  • Dinner at a charming local Galician restaurant, a few minutes’ walk from your hotel. The restaurant is located next to the local farmers market, where the young, talented chef buys most of his produce. You will taste a selection of the chef’s signature dishes, in small/medium sized portions (tapas/raciones). All dishes will be paired with excellent local wines. Dishes may include artichokes with clams, roasted and stuffed peppers, lamb chops grilled over vine prunings, and Galician risotto with scallops and black mushrooms.
Day 2
  • Buffet breakfast.
  • After breakfast a tour with a local guide through the oldest and most remarkable areas of historic Santiago. Strolling through the small alleyways and majestic squares you will enjoy the sights and sounds of this enchanting city with so many hidden nooks and crannies.
  • The tour will be off the beaten track, and your guide will share with you those facts andstories about the area which are not usually mentioned in guide books.
  • After the tour, you will have some free time to explore the town and do some shopping. Of course we will give you tips as to where to find local delicacies and local tapas bars.
  • In the late afternoon a visit to a delightful historic fishing village in the Rías Baixas wine region close to Pontevedra. It is a short and beautiful drive away from Santiago. This village is the main production center for the wines of Rías Baixas. In the centre of the village, a couple of hundred metres back from the waterfront, you’re invited to visit an elegant a 16th century renaissance palace, home to one of the most emblematic wineries of Galicia. Here some of Spain’s top white wines are made. A tour of the splendid winery will be followed by a tasting of their renowned and delicious Albariño wines.
  • Return to Santiago. Dinner at a stylish modern restaurant in the city of Santiago, not far from your hotel. Here you will enjoy the signature dishes of a famous chef from Northern Spain. The traditional dishes from Galicia are being reinterpreted in a light, refined way; the wine list here is long and excellent. Dishes may include scallops with beetroot foam, marinated guinea fowl with peas, razor clams with chorizo, lamb shoulder with saffron potatoes, or fillet of seabass with asparagus and tomato & onion confit.
Day 3
  • Buffet breakfast.
  • Check out hotel, departure in the direction of Portugal .Just on the border with Portugal, one hour south of Santiago, one last stop in the Rías Baixas wine region for a visit to a top winery with a spectacular location.
  • A short drive through the beautiful albariño vineyards leads to the epicenter of the estate, a castle dating back to the 16th century, with great views overlooking the Miño River, bordering Spain and Portugal. The wines, with refreshing and intense palates, with subtle citrus notes as well as smoky notes, have been winning awards on a regular basis. There will a tour of the winery, followed by a light lunch paired with the excellent wines of the estate.
  • Depart for Portugal, drive across the Spanish border into the Vinho Verde region.
  • Check in at the enchanting manor house in Vinho Verde – Ponte de Lima.
    Afternoon free to discover the surrounding area, or just to relax and enjoy the splendid surroundings.
  • Dinner in the elegant dining room of the manor house. It will be a traditional, home-style dinner, sourced with quality ingredients from local farmers in the Vinho Verde region.
Day 4
  • Buffet breakfast, check out.
  • Depart for a journey to the heart of the Vinho Verde region, for a visit to a small family owned wine estate, set among vineyards and olive trees – bucolic tranquillity as far as the eye can see. Here tradition and modernity coexist to produce some remarkable wines. Whilst white wines are produced using state of the art technology, red Vinho Verde production mostly follows traditional processes and continues to be foot treaded.
    Whereas some grape varieties, like the Alvarinho or Loureiro, are common both to Rías Baixas and the Vinho Verde region, you will be surprised how the wines made with the same grapes can be rather different from the ones tasted in Galicia. This is also the land of the local red grape variety Vinhão – one of the rare red wine grape varieties that has red flesh and therefore red juice – which has intense damson-like fruit and good acidity.
  • Following a warm reception at the family’s traditional Minho house, the visit continues to the vineyards and winery, finishing with a light lunch of regional finger food paired by the delicious wines of the estate.
  • Depart for the Douro valley.
  • Check in at the charming winery cum Hotel in Douro valley.
  • At the end of the afternoon there will be a tour of the winery adjacent to your hotel followed by a comparative wine tasting. Tasting will be followed by dinner. Here you can enjoy tasty country dishes which may feature local produce like cold cured meats, game on the spit, chestnuts and wild mushrooms. The food will be paired with the wines from this excellent family owned estate table wines as well as port wines.
Day 5
  • Buffet breakfast.
  • Visit to one of the best wineries in the Douro sub region Baixa Corgo.
  • It is a lovely historic place with a beautiful manor house typical for the region. The early 18th century buildings, while preserving the original baroque features of its architecture, also contain an excellent modern wine making operation. Here some impressive but unshowy contemporary architecture combines skilfully with the baroque architecture and the sublime Douro vineyard landscape.
  • Wines are superb too, receiving frequently high accolades from domestic and international wine journalists, including those working for Wine Spectator. The tour of the Quinta will be followed by a wine tasting of their signature wines, accompanied by some local delicious food, serving as a light lunch.
  • Return to the hotel, with more time to explore the enchanting surroundings.
    Dinner will be at an eye-catching venue: an imposing early 20th century wooden warehouse, graciously renovated and converted into an elegant restaurant with a contemporary interior. Dinner will blend fine traditional cooking with a modern touch. Your meal will be paired with great Douro wines from their extensive wine list.
Day 6
  • Buffet breakfast
  • Check out at the Douro valley Hotel. Departure for Porto, a 2 hours’ drive.
  • Check in at Porto hotel. After check in, you will have some free time to explore Porto
  • In the late afternoon, visit to a top port Shipper, with an authentic & atmospheric portlodge. You will tour the lodge, then a tasting of some of their signature port wines – with chocolate. The tasting will include some excellent vintage port, the produce of the very best vineyards.
  • Dinner at a stylish Portuguese restaurant, acclaimed for its modern and innovative Portuguese cuisine as well as its excellent wine list. It is a great place to sample some of the region’s finest produce, in both food and drink. You will enjoy the signature dishes of a famous Portuguese chef, with matching wines as you will have come accustomed to. Dishes will be light and pure, with the freshness of the ingredients shining through. The restaurant is within easy walking distance from your hotel.
Day 7
  • After breakfast the program ends.
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