Since 2005, our award-winning Catavino blog has kept Iberian wine lovers informed about everything connected with Spanish and Portuguese food and drink, penning regular updates from our base in Spain (update: we’ve moved to Portugal!). Now we’ve decided to use all the expertise we’ve gathered from seven years of researching, experiencing and writing about the rich world of Iberian flavours, to help our readers to enjoy these sensations for themselves: welcome to the “tours” section of our site.
In this section, we’ve hand-selected what we believe are the very best food and wine tasting experiences in both Spain and Portugal – from extensive week-long tours of wine-making regions such as Rioja and the Penedes, where you will travel in style through idyllic settings and sample mouthwatering delicacies at every step of your journey, down to day trips out of Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona, where you might spend a day in La Mancha region tasting wines with a trained sommelier, or learn how to bottle your own Cava with a Catalan wine-maker. We’ve subdivided this section, into first countries, then regions, then cities: there you’ll find links to the experiences available in each place, along with detailed itineraries/schedules, prices and advice on how to book. Click here to book your Customized Tour!
Here’s a look at the two countries that make up Iberia, and why we think you should visit.
Food & Wine Tours in Spain
For years, those considering a wine-tasting vacation in Europe would look no further than France or Italy. Thankfully, however, the world has woken up to the excellence of Spanish wines; whilst in turn, Spain itself has woken up to its long dormant potential for enotourism. Now it is more prevalent for wineries to allow travelers to visit their vineyards, tour their cellars, and of course, taste their produce, from the classic reds of La Rioja to the sparkling sensations of white and rose Cavas. Spanish cuisine has also undertaken a revolution. As well as the traditional dishes, the country is already famous for: paellas, pintxos, tapas and melt-in-the-mouth cured hams, Spain’s chefs have been tirelessly reworking recipes and cooking methods with spectacular results. The country now boasts of well over 100 Michelin-starred restaurants and an enviable reputation for gastronomic invention. When you consider that a wine tasting trip to Spain could take you to scenery as diverse as San Sebastian‘s lush shorelines, the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the rugged valleys of the Priorat appellation, not to mention the cultural hotspots of Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, then you shouldn’t need much persuading to venture on a epicurean adventure in Espana.
If you’re determined to head to the land less travelled on your gourmet adventure then Portugal is an excellent bet. The southernmost region of Algarve, with its 100+ beaches and beautiful blue waters (and yes, the odd golf course!), hardly needs an introduction, but then there’s also the unspoiled region of Alentejo just above it, a rural idyll of vineyards, cork forests, medieval hamlets and Moorish castles perfect for a wine tasting vacation. Meanwhile the Douro valley is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in Europe and is famous of course for the country’s legendary drink: port wine – which you can taste in situ or back in the traditional restaurants of the romantic city of Porto. But let’s not exclude the vast and vibrant dry wine culture that shows everything from fresh and vibrant white wines from Vinho Verde in the north to bold, yet balanced, red wines in the Bairrada. It’s a wine lovers dream, and one that very few people take the opportunity to discover. The country’s capital is the both modern and stunning city of Lisbon, where you can hear the soul-stirring refrains of Fado, perhaps after learning to cook traditional desserts like Barrigas de Freira or taking a day trip to the wineries of UNESCO-listed Evora. Portugal is a land filled with some of the kindest people we have come across, always welcome to open their doors to a stranger with a glass of traditional ginja, while serving its world famous Bacalhau, capable of being served 1,001 different ways.