On this tour you’ll discover the wonderful wine, scenery and cuisine of one of Spain’s up and coming wine tour destinations, situated on the final stretch of the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrim route to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela.
Our El Bierzo tours begin at mid-day on the first and third Tuesday of every month, from September through to June.
After picking you up at the railway station/airport in León, we’ll check into our hotel for the night and then explore the ancient capital of the Kingdom of León, famous for its stunning Gothic cathedral and medieval quarter with its splendid Plaza Mayor, restaurants and tapas bars.
In the evening we’ll have dinner at one of Leon’s finest eateries.
After breakfast we’ll head for El Bierzo and check into our hotel for the rest of our stay, an eighteenth century wine estate quite unlike any other you’ll have seen before.
After lunch there’ll be time for a siesta and /or wander around, then in the early evening we’ll visit the first of many wineries, having dinner around 9pm at one of the best restaurants on the Camino de Santiago.
After breakfast, at around 10.30, we’ll visit Las Médulas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Romans literally moved mountains here, channeling torrents of water through tunnels excavated by slaves, extracting tons of gold in the process. The landscape they left behind is truly remarkable.
Lunch will be at the hotel and early evening, around 7.30pm we’ll have a tapas based dinner at one of the most stylishly modern wineries in the region.
Our first stop after breakfast will be in Vega de Valcarce, a tiny hamlet on the Camino de Santiago.
The empanada de batallón here is known far and wide. Our hostess Blanca will show us how to make one from start to finish and then we’ll taste some, accompanied by a lively young Mencía.
After our empanada master-class we’ll visit the neighbouring village of Balboa, with its ancient pallozas, traditional round houses with thatched roofs, having lunch in one of them.
Then it’s back to the hotel for a rest and dinner early evening.
Mid-morning we’ll set off for Villafranca del Bierzo, where the Camino winds its way over the mountains into Galicia.
The little 11th century Romanesque church, with its Puerta del Perdón has been welcoming pilgrims here for nearly a thousand years. Those that walked through the Puerta were absolved of their sins before they continued on the next stage of the Camino, considered the most dangerous and the most arduous of all.
In this setting we’ll visit the vineyard of one of the most interesting winemakers in El Bierzo. His vinos de autor are sought after both in the UK and the USA and we’ll have the pleasure of tasting some of them in the barrel room followed by a lunch of Bierzo specialities in a traditional Bierzo bodega or tavern.
After that it’s back to the hotel to shop, snooze or do whatever takes your fancy, then meet up for dinner at around 8.00pm.
The day starts late morning with a visit to one of the most emblematic wineries in El Bierzo where we’ll taste at least four wines, including a rosé made from the Mencía grape and a rare Garnacha Tintorera.
After that we’ll have lunch at the beautiful finca or country residence of one of the most eminent winemaking families in El Bierzo.
In the evening we’ll head for Ponferrada for our farewell dinner at one the town’s premier restaurants where we’ll discover the innovative side of Bierzo cooking.
After breakfast we’ll take you to the railway station in León for your onward journey.
- Duration: 6 days
- Price: From 450€ per person per day
- Tour dates: All year round
- Minimum age is 18 years
- Min. group size is 8, max. group size is 16
- If your party is smaller, an alternative itinerary is available upon request.
“Adrian many thanks for a great tour. Your depth of knowledge of Spain, industry networks and language skills ensured that apart from visiting a range of interesting “bodegas” and other venues, we were able to both better relate to and understand the people we met and access places that had we been on our own we just would not have known about them, let alone have gained access to, it was all great!”
Hunter Valley, NSW Australia.
- 6 nights in a standard double room. Superior double rooms and single rooms are available on request.
- Return transfers from RENFE station in León to your hotel.
- All transport (19 seat Mercedes plus local driver).
- All lunches and dinners with host ordered drinks including wine.
- All guided winery visits plus tastings.
- All entry fees in museums, national parks and monuments.
The wine producing region of El Bierzo is in the western part of the historic province of León, once a kingdom in itself, occupying much of north-west Spain and northern Portugal. Wine has been made here since the Romans founded Bergidium Flavium, a fortified settlement strategically close to what was considered the most important gold mine in the Roman Empire, the remains of which can seen today at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Las Médulas.
With the discovery of the sarcophagus of the apostle St. James in Galicia in the ninth century, the area regained prominence, with the royal endowment of churches, convents, monasteries and pilgrim hostels on the Camino de Santiago.
On our tour of El Bierzo you’ll discover all the delights of this wonderful, almost hidden part of Spain.
The monastic orders in the area kept winemaking very much alive throughout the medieval period. They nurtured native varieties and introduced others from further afield.
The principal grape variety here is Mencía, which some are hailing as the new Pinot Noir, rich in brambly fruit, earthy, though not too overcrowded with tannin. Many of the vines in El Bierzo are well over a hundred years old and the slate and quartzite soils give the wine a unique minerality and complexity.
El Bierzo is also noted for its hearty, delicious northern cuisine which includes roasted red peppers, goat’s cheese, Empanada de Batallón, a kind of pie filled with pork, chard, onion and potato, the delicious Botillo, pig’s intestine stuffed with different cuts of pork, garlic and rich pimentón then smoked and semi-cured, and the spectacular Cecina or cured beef.