Ribera Del Duero may not sound as familiar to you as the Costa del Sol, the Costa Brava or other popular attractions in Spain. But if you are planning a trip to Spain soon, this place should definitely not be missing from your itinerary. The rural Ribera Del Duero region, located north of Madrid, is one of Spain’s best wine regions. Are you a lover of Spanish cuisine and is delicious wine part of that? Then this is really the place to be.
I traveled to Ribera del Duero at the end of September to get to know the region a bit better and of course to taste the famous local wines. Here, I’d like to share all my tips and experiences for an unforgettable wine trip in Ribera del Duero in Spain.
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Ribera del Duero
Ribera del Duero is a wine region in Spain, located in Castilla y León in the northwest of the country. This wine region stretches along the Duero river across 4 different provinces: Burgos, Segovia, Soria and Valladolid.
The Ribera del Duero region is surrounded by other Spanish wine regions, Toro and Rueda in the west and Cigales in the northwest. However, Ribera del Duero stands out because of its altitude. The vineyards are located between 720 and 1100 meters high. The altitude together with the extreme climate, creates exceptional conditions that are extremely suitable for viticulture.
Ribera del Duero has been producing wine for centuries. In the past this mainly happened on a small scale for friends and family. It wasn’t until 1982 that the Denominacion de Origen was founded on the initiative of 9 producers. And today there are already more than 300 members. The wine production experienced significant growth, especially in the 1990s. Ribera del Duero has definitely gained more fame in recent years.
This wine region is best known for its distinctive red wines. More than 95% of the production is red and is made from the dominant Tempranillo grape. But more and more bodegas now also produce refreshing rosé and white wines.
How to travel to Ribera del Duero?
If you would like to explore Ribera del Duero, it is best to do this by car. You can choose to follow the Ribera del Duero wine route or plan your own road trip in the region.
Are you traveling by plane from Belgium? Then it is best to fly to Madrid airport. The bustling capital of Spain is just a 2-hour drive from Ribera del Duero. That’s why Ribera del Duero is the perfect destination to retreat to the unspoilt Spanish wine landscape after a city trip in Madrid.
You can rent a car for a few days, but you can also use public transport. From Madrid airport you can travel by train to various stations in Ribera del Duero. From there you continue your journey with the local buses.
However you travel to Ribera del Duero, this beautiful wine region will definitely enchant you!
When is the best time to travel to Ribera del Duero?
Ribera del Duero has a continental and temperate Mediterranean climate with cold winters and warm summers. You can visit the Ribera del Duero region during all seasons. If you want the best chance of sun, it’s best to travel to Ribera del Duero between April and October. Keep in mind that it can cool down considerably at night due to the altitude. Even if you travel to Ribera del Duero during the summer months, be sure to bring a warm sweater.
In the spring you can enjoy the blooming wine landscape, but the my favorite time to travel to Ribera del Duero is definitely from mid-September to mid-October when the harvest takes place. During harvesting you can see how the harvest is processed in different bodegas.
And that’s not all because the last weekend of September the annual harvest festival takes place. Then a large stage is erected on the market square of Aranda de Duero, surrounded by numerous wine stalls where various bodegas from Ribera del Duero offer their tastiest wines. Here you can taste delicious, local wines for almost nothing, while enjoying musical performances together with the locals.
Where to stay in the Ribera del Duero region?
If you would like to stay in a vibrant area, choose for an accommodation around Aranda de Duero, the wine capital of Ribera del Duero. Stay on the beautiful domain of Hotel Torremilanos or in one of the spa hotels: Rural y Spa Kinedomus Bienestar or Spa Tudanca Aranda.
Furthermore, the dazzling region around Peñafiel is the perfect base to explore more of Ribera del Duero. There you will find some unique gems to stay in, such as Fuente Aceña Hotel Boutiq a 300-year-old restored flour factory.
Do you want to immerse yourself in luxury? Then Hotel Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine is the place to be. This stunning hotel is located in a former monastery in the middle of the vineyards. But also in Castilla Termal Monasterio de Valbuena, a beautiful spa hotel, you won’t miss out.
Of course there are many more nice hotels in Ribera del Duero. Are you planning to do a road trip along the wine route? Then this map widget from booking can help you find the perfect hotel in the right place.
Enjoying the wines in Ribera del Duero!
When you visit the beautiful Ribera del Duero region, I assume that as an avid wine lover you also want to taste some wines. This is possible in the different bodegas. Ribera del Duero now has over 300 bodegas! Don’t worry, there’s no need for FOMO (fear of missing out)! I made a little overview of my favorite bodegas that I visited during my trip to Ribera del Duero.
Bodegas Ismael Arroyo – Valsotillo
Do you like wine and history? Then be sure to visit one of the oldest bodegas in Bourgos, Bodegas Ismael Arroyo – Valsotillo. On this wine estate he art of winemaking has been passed down from generation to generation since the 16th century.
In 1972 Bodegas Ismael Arroyo – Valsotillo started bottling the wine with two brands: Mesoneros de Castilla and ValSotillo. It will therefore come as no surprise that Ismael Arroyo is a pioneer winemaker in the wine region of Ribera del Duero. He is also one of the founders of DO Ribera del Duero in 1982.
The highlight of this wine estate is definitely the maze of impressive 16th century underground passages that serve as wine cellars. To this day, the wine is still kept there. You can visit the ancient cellar with a guided tour. And as icing on the cake you can taste some of their most delicious wines. Remember: don’t forget to book your tour in advance.
Finca Villacreces is a beautiful, vast wine estate in a unique setting amidst its vineyards, the Duero River and a two-hundred-year-old pine forest. The earliest traces of habitation go back to 1350. We can still catch a glimpse of history in the beautifully preserved, historic chapel on the domain.
It was not until 2007 that Finca Villacreces as we know it today, opened its doors to visitors. In addition to wine production, Finca Villacreces also focuses on wine tourism. You can enjoy the delicious wines in combination with tapas in the bar. But you can also opt for one of the various tours, such as a visit to a wine estate, or an e-bike tour with a picnic between the vineyards. Definitely an activity not to miss when visiting Ribera del Duero!
Unlike the previous bodegas, Cepa 21 is a slightly more recent wine estate. You can clearly see this in the modern, minimalist design of the building. Amazing is that from every corner in the building, you have a great view of the surrounding vineyards.
In this bodega, the focus is on the experience. You can of course taste wine from the wine estate, but they also offer some experiences to make your visit unforgettable. Instead of a classic tasting you can opt for a bike ride on domain with, as icing on the cake, a picnic in the vineyard.
During the harvest season you can also attend a harvest workshop where you pick your grapes yourself and crush them in the traditional way, with your feet. A must do!
If you want to taste the delicious wines of Cepa 21, you should absolutely have lunch or dinner in the Cepa 21 restaurant. Chef Alberto Soto’s tasting menu is even recommended by the Michelin guide. You can expect the traditional flavors of the Castilian cuisine from a unique and innovative perspective, of course in combination with the delicious wines.
The Ribera del Duero wine route
Unfortunately my trip was a bit too short to visit all 300 bodegas. A nice alternative to visit as many bodegas as possible and really get to know the region is to follow the Ribera del Duero wine route along the banks of the Duero. This route runs between Soria and Valladolid. During this road trip you will be treated to fantastic views over the extensive wine slopes, some picturesque medieval mountain villages and even some impressive castles.
You will also be surprised by the modern design of some bodegas. Besides innovation for wine production, many winemakers also invested in the image of their brand. This resulted in some architectural Avant-garde gems such as bodegas Portia and Bodegas Protos.
The most renowned bodegas can be found on the golden mile of Ribera. This is the stretch of the wine route from Peñafiel to Tudela del Duero and is where some of the most expensive red wines come from. You can find Bodega Vega Sicilia, one of the most famous wineries in Spain, among others. Also domains Finca Villacreces and Cepa 21 are located on the golden mile of Ribera del Duero.
Other fun things to do Ribera del Duero?
Besides frequent wine tasting in the many bodegas, there are many other activities to do in the Ribero del Duero region.
Do you like culture and history? Then be sure to visit Aranda de Duero, the wine capital of Ribera del Duero. This charming medieval city full of beautiful Gothic churches and cathedrals such as Santa María la Real and San Juan will enchant you right away.
Visit the impressive underground wine cellars or try to escape from one! At Escape room B27 you make your visit to the wine cellar a little more exciting and interactive. Here you and your team are locked in a wine cellar and you have to try to escape within the time while solving all kinds of riddles. This was so fun to do!
Just half an hour’s drive from Aranda del Duero you can admire the impressive castle of Peñafiel. The castle dates from the 10th century and has the curious shape of a ship. You can only visit the castle with a guided tour.
Nature lovers will certainly find something to their liking in Ribera del Duero. In the province of Segovia, near to Burgos, the Hoces del Río Riaza Natural Park is located. The Riaza river runs through the natural gorge of this park, making for an impressive landscape with gigantic cliffs. Here you can definitely enjoy some spectacular views.
Near the natural park you can also visit several small, authentic villages such as Montejo de la Vega de la Serrezuela. There the museum of the Hoces del Río Riaza Natural Park is situated and you can find all the information you need to visit the nature park.
Are you an avid hiker or cyclist? Then it’s great to know that there are 5 stages of GR 14 with a total of 134 km along Ribera del Duero. You can explore the region on foot or by bike and occasionally pause with a delicious, local wine from Ribera del Duero.
I had a fantastic and unique experience getting to know the Ribera del Duero region in Spain. This is definitely the destination of choice to experience the deep-rooted Castilian culture where wine plays a central role. Besides visiting local bodegas and tasting delicious wines, there is much more to experience in Ribera del Duero. I hope that my tips for Ribera del Duero have convinced you to add this authentic destination in Spain to your bucket list.
Would you like to go on a wine trip in the Ribera del Duero region in Spain? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.
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