Doing a wine tour from San Sebastián
For those who aren’t yet familiar with this city, San Sebastián is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. The city stretches out between the hills that face the Cantabrian Sea along the two bays of La Concha and Zurriola, both separated by the mouth of the Urumea river.
The bay of La Concha is “u”-shaped and is circled by villas and palaces that look towards the island of Santa Clara, which is located in the opening of the “u” and, apart from its beautiful location, is famous for the sculptures of Chillida. On the easternmost end of the bay is Monte Urgull, which is closer to the center of the city; on the west is the proud Monte Igeldo. The Zurriola bay is more open but less in longitude. In front of its beach is the famous Kursaal, the convention center that holds the prestigious San Sebastian Film Festival (Donostia Zinemaldia).
The unique setting of this city and its culinary reputation are attracting more and more tourists for cultural and gastronomic reasons. San Sebastián is the city with the most Michelin stars per capita in the world. Its historic quarter revolves around its claim to gastronomy: the “pintxo” – a kind of gourmet tapa that is usually served on a toothpick and a slice of bread.
The majority of tourists who visit San Sebastián also have the desire to get to know its surroundings and if many of them happen to be food lovers, at least a good percentage of them must also be wine lovers, right? This brings us to the question, “What if we do a wine tour near San Sebastian?”
It is an excellent idea and there are numerous options, which we will divide into 5 groups:
This strange name (pronounced Cha-koh-‘leeh) is given to the type of wine (usually white, although it can also be rosé or red) that is traditionally produced in the northwest of Basque Country and its surroundings. It is a young wine (current year) that is very fresh due to its high acidity and low alcohol content. The wineries that produce this type of wine are typically very small and family-owned. There are three txakoli-producing areas within Basque Country that are interesting options for a wine tour from San Sebastian: Getaria, Bizkaia, and Araba.
Getaria is a beautiful fishing village at just a 30-minute drive from San Sebastián making a trip worthwhile not just for the wine. There are other towns close to Getaria that also produce Txakoli de Getaria. Leaving San Sebastián and following the coast to the west are Orio, Zumaia, and Deba; all of which are nestled in beautiful natural landscapes of sea and mountain.
If we continue 15 minutes in the same direction from Getaria towards Bilbao, we enter the province of Vizcaya and we would be able to visit a winery of the Txakoli de Bizkaia DO. A good wine tour from San Sebastián in this area would also include the opportunity to visit San Juan de Gaztelugatxe or a stop in Bilbao to visit the old historic quarter and the spectacular riverside next to the Guggenheim Museum.
The Txakoli de Araba region is the furthest away from San Sebastián at approximately 1.5 hours by car. Wine is produced more inland than the other txakoli regions on the opposite side of the Basque Country to the west. The towns of Aiara, Amurrio, Artziniega, Laudio, and Okondo are where it is mainly produced.
D.O. Rioja is the most well-known of Spain’s wine regions. It has the largest number of wineries and is one of the oldest wine-producing regions of Spain. Its close proximity to Basque Country makes a wine tour from San Sebastian to Rioja very possible. Not only is La Rioja neighbor to the Basques, but part of DO Rioja is actually located inside the perimeters of the Basque Country. San Sebastián is just 1.5 hours by car from Haro, the capital of Rioja wine.
The Rioja Denominación de Origen was created in 1926 and produces still wines of high quality (red, white, and rosé) and even some cava. The main grape varieties used are tempranillo (the queen of grapes in Spain), garnacha, mazuelo (cariñena), and graciano. For white wines, viura (macabeo), malvasía, and garnacha blanca are used.
Among the cultural highlights of Rioja is its capital, Logroño, a beautiful and tranquil city on the Camino de Santiago and excellent for enjoying tapas (check out Calle Laurel). Between Logroño and Haro, the landscapes are beautiful, as are many of the medieval towns: Laguardia, Elciego, Sajazarra, Labastida, Villabuena de Álava, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, and Briones. The latter has one of the best wine museums in the world.
The competition between wineries has surpassed the wine and extended into new areas like architecture, marketing, hospitality, etc. For this reason, there is currently a strong focus on wine tourism in Rioja.
At little more than an hour southeast of San Sebastian is Pamplona, capital of the former Kingdom of Navarre and home of the world famous San Fermín festival. To the south of Pamplona is the wine-producing region D.O. Navarra, another good excuse to do a wine tour from San Sebastián. We are talking about a wine region of considerable size (some 28,500 acres) divided into 5 areas of production: Baja Montaña, Valdizarbe, Tierra Estella, Ribera Alta, and Ribera Baja. The main red grape varieties are tempranillo, garnacha, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. Viura and chardonnay are the white grapes that are used. If you are interested in the Middle Ages, Navarre has some of its most impressive castles in the wine-producing area like those of Olite and Javier and the Monasterio de Leyre.
4.- Vins du Sud-Ouest
The proximity of San Sebastián to France offers another option for a wine tour from San Sebastian: a wine tour in French! We have the opportunity to get close to the wine regions located on the northern side of the Pyrenees: Pays Basque (Irouléguy at 1.5 hrs), Béarn (also 1.5 hrs), and a bit more north is the wine region of Chalosse. In addition, the famous wines of Bordeaux are just 2.5 hours away.
“Sagardo” means cider in the Basque language. The areas surrounding San Sebastián are one of the largest natural cider-producing areas in Spain. Although not technically wine (cider is produced from apples that are pressed and its juice then fermented), we chose to include this option because of the possibility to visit a cider house (there are over 50 in the area). The cider of Basque Country, just as that of Asturias, has many more similarities with white wine than with beer. Cider goes well with cheeses, seafood, fish, and even meat. The cider-producing region is located just minutes away from the city center in Astigarraga, Hernani, Urnieta, and Usúrbil.
We hope we have inspired you to do some wine tourism from San Sebastián, whether you decide to go with one of the options we mention or all five!
Travelling by plane is good but enjoying wine country on your way to Madrid from North of Spain is simply amazing! With this 2 day tours you will enjoy 2 fantastic private wine tours, one in Rioja and a second one in Ribera del Duero. We use luxury vehicles and you will enjoy the company of expert bilingual local guides. Beautiful scenery, top rated wineries and vineyards, excellent food and a great hotel for your night in Rioja…
Enjoy northern Spain with accommodation in a selection of fantastic hotels and with the best local cuisine. This road trip in Spain offers a great way to discover the north of Spain by visiting elegant cities such as San Sebastian, Santander and Oviedo and small fishing villages, all with their traditional architecture. This road trip has been selected as one of Spain’s best holidays by The Times
We can’t think of a better way to travel from Madrid to San Sebastian! With this tour, we have combined 2 private day tours to 2 of Spain’s most famous wine regions: Rioja and Ribera del Duero. You will enjoy fantastic landscapes, wineries, gastronomy and historical sites. Be transported to the north of Spain in total comfort while enjoying and getting to know the essence of Spanish wine country
Enjoy an incredible road trip through southern Spain, and discover the real Spain. Andalusia has a fascinating history and diverse culture second to none. This 9-day trip joins together culture and tradition with gastronomy and fine wines. All of this against a backdrop of magnificent scenery and visits to the most important sights in the cities on the route
Michelin star restaurants, fantastic beaches, luxurious hotels, exquisites wines and amazing wineries, the most romantic cities in Spain and even a short getaway to the south of France. This honeymoon trip has some of the best and most romantic experiences Spain has to offer. This trip will take you from Barcelona to the Rioja wine country, through Pamplona up to Saint Jean de Luz in the South of France. Form there it continues to San Sebastián then south through the Ribera del Duero wine country to Madrid
Get to know the wine regions of Ribera del Duero and Rioja with guided visits to some of the most interesting wineries of each region. You will enjoy Spain´s superb gastronomy in San Sebastian and will experience it in a variety of ways, from dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant to a fun and authentic walking tapas tour. The tour begins and ends in Spain´s largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, 2 cities that are not to be missed and with plenty to see. Our vacations are customizable, so feel free to contact us if you are interested in something a bit different. Our experts are here to help!
Staying in San Sebastian and would like to get to know the world-famous Rioja wine region? Perfect day tour to discover this fantastic wine country with a friendly and knowledgeable local guide. With pickup and drop-off from your hotel in San Sebastian, you will visit different excellent wineries in Rioja and enjoy a delicious traditional meal. Before returning to San Sebastian, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the charming medieval village of Laguardia, the perfect way to end your day in Rioja
The perfect getaway in Rioja from Barcelona before reaching San Sebastian. You will reach Rioja by train and private transfer to your castle hotel in the charming town of Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa. Relax, explore, and discover this amazing wine region with your private wine tour with local expert guide. The ideal option for discovering Rioja and ending with dropoff in beautiful San Sebastian
Don’t miss this opportunity to discover a small Basque village just a 30-minute car ride from San Sebastian. With pickup from your hotel in San Sebastian, the scenic route will take you to the charming fishing village of Hondarribia (Fuenterrabía in Spanish) where you will enjoy some of the best gastronomy in Spain. Your English-speaking guide will show you around the most important parts of the village and take you to 5 of the best bars for pintxos (including one with a Michelin star!)
Includes: Lodging and buffet breakfast in the 4-star Mercure Monte Igueldo Hotel in San Sebastian and a visit to a nearby and typical sidrería, a cider house. Enjoy the Cider House Menu where you discover cider and Basque cuisine. On this trip you can also visit San Sebastian, one of the most beautiful cities in the Basque Country which is famous for its beaches and its gastronomy