Tours and activities to enjoy in and from Ribea del Duero
Best things to do and see in RIBERA DEL DUERO:
Ribera is featured so heavily on because it is one of Spain’s top wine regions It is considered second only to Rioja, and an amazing slice of Spain, not everyone is familiar with. It is a region primarily known for its Red wines traditionally made to accompany large luscious meals of roasted meats, for which the area is also famous for.
The name of the wine region, “Ribera del Duero”, means Duero’s riverside as the vineyards follow the course of this river. The Duero River is a very important landmark in the Iberian Peninsula. It has always been an important commercial route and it served as a natural border between Spain and Portugal (this is why its coast is lined with castles and monasteries). It is also the life source of many different wine regions, 3 of which in particular enjoy worldwide fame: as we have mentioned, Ribera de Duero, Porto in Portugal, famous for its sweet port wine and Rueda, renowned for its white wine production. The region is located some 2 hours from Madrid and daily tours operate to connect Spain´s capital with Ribera wine country. You can get a glimpse of one of our tour´s itienraries here.
The Phoenicians introduced wine to the region over 1000 years ago. From there, the roman empire recognized the prime conditions of the region for winemaking and established vineyards there to provide wine for their troops, and there is evidence of their influence across the region. After the romans, the catholic church took over the winemaking in Ribera. This explains why several important wineries in Ribera are housed in monasteries and churches.
Even though the region has been producing wine for thousands of years, only recently was it recognized with its own appellation. After several wineries of the region shocked the industry with some excellent wines, in 1975, the region was given the appellation of Ribera del Duero and the brand started to garner international recognition.
Many people travel to the region thanks to the allure of the wonderful wines that are made here but the region has a lot more than just wine that is worth enjoying. In this segment, we are going to go over the best things to see and do while you are in Ribera del Duero while touring the region. It mentions very little specifically about the wines and food of the region, so, for now, you will have to imagine this yourself until we have had time to write another article covering the wine and food of Ribera, which easily deserves its own post.
Wine tourism in Peñafiel
First off is Peñafiel, however, if you have the luxury of time a wonderful extra stop to make is further down the A1 highway at Gumiel de Izán and the surrounding villages. It is a very culturally relevant area especially as it relates to wine production. This area is filled with wineries and it is the portion of Ribera that has the highest density of vineyard in all of the appellation.
Once you reach Peñafiel, the first stop has to be at the Castle of Peñafiel, now converted into a wine museum. One iteration or another of the castle has stood in the same spot since the 10th century. It is perched high up on a very narrow hill, which gives the castle the appearance of a ship. Peñafiel is one of the most important villages as it relates to wine production in the region. It famously has several underground wine cellars that are hundreds of years old and its home Protos which is one of the top wineries in all of Ribera.
La Plaza del Coso is another must in Peñafiel. The square is lined with beautiful antique homes and is still used as a bullfighting ring when in season.
The Torre del Reloj in peñafiel is over 10 centuries old and the clock housed inside it is over 100 years old. In front of the tower, you will see a few of the ever-present Zarceras (cellar chimneys), letting you know you are standing above century-old caves and tunnels.
Wine tourism in Valladolid
Valladolid is the capital of Castilla León and its largest city and it’s a town filled with history and culture. Using Valladolid as a hub to go on wine tours is an excellent option. From Valladolid, you can easily visit several amazing wineries nearby.
Historically in Valladolid, the main winemaker was the catholic church. There are several religious monuments that have a close relationship to winemaking that is worth visiting. Winemakers in the “Herederos del vino” guild also have their cellars in Valladolid and make excellent wines as well.
There are tons of cool things to do in Valladolid but you can’t miss out on visiting the gardens that line the riverbanks of the Pisuerga that cuts through the center of the city. You also don’t want to forget to eat at a traditional meson and enjoy some amazing Ribera wine as it is meant to be enjoyed: accompanying a wonderful meal and in Good company.
Valladolid probably deserves its own article, but this will suffice for our purposes.
Valbuena del Duero
A few kilometres outside of Peñafiel we find Valbuena del Duero which is home to the monastery of “Nuestra Señora de Valbuena”. The monastery is from the 12th century and it is currently been repurposed as a hotel and museum. It sit on the bank of the river and is a great place to enjoy the sunset.
Pesquera del Duero
Pesquera is not exactly a tourist destination, the village does not offer much in terms of historical landmarks of picture-worthy views. It is, however, an important site as it relates to wine production. Underfoot are hundreds of meters of tunnels that are filled to the brim with aging wine. The ancient ventilation systems may be confused with protruding boulders but at second glance, we can see that they are actually rock chimneys that allow the release of toxic CO2 from the chambers bellow. This is an ideal system to maintain a constant cool temperature, oxygen flow and humid conditions in the cellar.
Curiel del Duero
This village is also near Peñafiel. The surrounding landscape is nothing but vineyards and wineries. Its an ideal place to take a rest and truly feel like you are in wine country. Curiel also features a castle at the highest point of the town which is now a boutique hotel.
Roa is home to the governing body of the appellation of Ribera del Duero. Much like curiel its filled to the brim with vineyards and wineries and it is easy to understand why roa was chosen to be the proverbial capital of the Ribera del Duero appellation. The most important monument in Roa is their small church Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
The abandoned village of Haza
If you drive to Fuentecen and look up to the nearby hill you can barely see a small village at the top. Once you make your way up the hill you arrive at the abandoned medieval town of Haza. Because of its strategic vantage point, Haza was once an important garrison in the region, and now lays abandoned. It is worth the trek, if nothing else for the views.
We hope you decide to take a tour to Ribera del Duero and enjoy the region whilst being driven. If you plan to stay overnight you may be interested in finding out how to get to Ribera del Duero from Madrid. You can also find ideas on this to do and see in Ribera del Duero in this other post.
BEST PRICE GUARANTEED – This is a unique tour to Ribera del Duero and its vineyards. This tour is ideal for those who wish to spoil themselves and relax in the most luxurious of surroundings the region has to offer. 4x4 drive near the Duero river among fantastic vineyards, a wine and food pairing meal at a fantastic setting and 2 wine tasting sessions of some of the most exclusive wines in Ribera del Duero
This is not just another tour to Segovia, this is a special cultural and wine tour from Madrid for very small groups which can also be booked as a private tour, with an expert guide.You will visit things that are not included in any other tour to Segovia, such as a short stop at the amazing El Escorial Monastery and La Granja de San Ildefonso (a beautiful Royal Palace surrounded by gardens and fountains -Spain´s Versailles). Enjoy a fantastic visit to a local family owned wine cellar with wine tastings of top, high quality wines. This is a unique tour. Maximum 7. Private tour option
Includes: Accommodation, buffet breakfast, and gastronomic lunch or dinner. Segovia was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, a grand recognition for its important historical and architectural buildings. With this getaway, you will be able to enjoy all of the wonders this city has to offer and to discover its magnificent gastronomy. For additional beds and groups, please contact us
BEST PRICE GUARANTEED - This is a luxury wine and cultural private tour from Madrid. You will discover the amazing city of Segovia and the Ribera del Duero wine region. Relax and enjoy the company of one of our friendly guides while you discover the best Roman aqueduct in the world, enjoy a meal next to wine barrels, and explore a centuries old wine cellar. This is a unique tour that you will not find on any other site and it is only available as a private tour
Includes: Accommodation at a hotel a few minutes’ walk from the spectacular River Duraton, surrounded on both sides by beautifully dramatic rock faces, local flora and fauna, animals and birds. With walking, cycling and kayaking routes, it is the perfect place to disconnect half an hour from Madrid. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves local gastronomy