Enjoy a sojourn in the heart of the wine growing region of Rioja in Spain! Conveniently located a mere hour and half south of the coastal city of Bilbao, the Rioja region offers a treasure trove of goodies for those interested in small, quaint villages, premium wines and vineyards in rustic settings, and some of the best cuisine coming out of Spain. Explore vineyards on roads less traveled that will take you to ancient monasteries, historic villages, innovative restaurants and futuristic architecture among the scenic vineyards and classic wine cellars of intriguing Rioja. The Rioja wine region is emerging as a capital of avant-garde winery architecture by innovative international architects like Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava and Zaha Hadid. Stay right in the heart of the Rioja Region surrounded by Vineyards and impressive landscape, in its majestic and most emblematic hotel, Marques de Riscal, a luxury collection hotel, built for the enjoyment of the senses. The hotel is his second masterpiece in Spain, after Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum. Outside of the absolute unique design of the property, you are sure to appreciate the wonderful cuisine and the state of the art Caudalie vinotherapie spa on site.
Enjoy a private chauffeur driven transfer from Bilbao to Elciego in the heart of the Rioja wine country, stopping off en route at various places of interest. From Bilbao to La Rioja you will cross the Gorbeia Natural Park, a mountain range with spectacular and beautiful scenery. En route, you will visit Vitoria- Gasteiz, Capital of the Basque Country, and above all a city rich in heritage. Its medieval Old Town is the best preserved in the Basque Country with its gothic design and its narrow streets, as well as important medieval and Renaissance buildings. In the Old Town you can admire four towers, belonging to its four great temples: Santa María Cathedral or Old Cathedral, at the highest part of the Old Town; the church of San Pedro; the church of San Vicente or the parish church of San Miguel, where the Virgen Blanca, patron saint of the city, is venerated. Not far away from this last church is the Virgen Blanca square and the Plaza Nueva square, declared historic-artistic Monument in 1984, and where the Town Hall is situated. This arcaded square means the beginning of the neoclassical new neighbourhood, formed by pedestrian streets and high commercial activity. Vitoria´s pedestrian areas together with its large green zones make the capital one of the cities with the best quality of life in Europe.
Continue through the “Condado de Treviño”. The enclave of Treviño was one of the few enclaves preserved in the 1833 territorial division of Spain, an island of Old Castile in the midst of Álava. The artistic-historic assemblage of the town of Treviño, declared 28 September 1983 as a heritage site.
Before arriving to your destination, make a final stop in Puerto Herrera Vista Point where you will be able to enjoy a stunning panoramic View of La Rioja Lanscapes.
A welcome package with a city map, train tickets (if relevant), a SIM card with 1Gb of data, and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Enjoy the phenomenal cuisine offered at the Marques de Riscal hotel. Presiding over The Marqués de Riscal Hotel's cuisine is Executive Chef Francis Paniego, whose pedigree includes Michelin Star restaurant Portal de Echuarren. Chef Jose Ramón Piñeiro interprets Paniego's cuisine at the Marqués de Riscal Restaurant and Bistro 1860. Ten years working as Chef Paniego's right hand at the Echuarren have made Ramón one of Spain's most promising culinary stars. The Marqués de Riscal Restaurant and Bistro 1860 delight with an elite selection of wines and the best traditional Basque-Riojan cuisine combined with modern influences. The Wine Bar Vinoteca and the Rooftop Lounge - Library present a stylish, yet comfortable atmosphere with panoramic views.
The landmark Hotel Marqués de Riscal (5*), a member of the Luxury Collection, is nestled in the heart of the Rioja wine country. Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the hotel is his second masterpiece in Spain, after Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum. Comprised of 43 guest rooms, including 11 suites, the hotel features a modern, comfortable atmosphere and unique design. Enjoy the views of the vineyards and the town of Elciego from any of the eight terraces located in the two wing building. The Caudalíe Vinothérapie Spa offers an indoor swimming pool, steam room, fitness centre, Jacuzzi, and invigorating shower.
Meet with your guide in the lobby of the hotel this morning and get ready for a culinary day as you discover the best of the region in terms of food and wine! Enjoy a visit to a small family-run Oil Mill where Rioja Alavesa Oil is produced. Enjoy oil tasting at the end of your visit. From here, you will be driven to Laguardia, where you will have a guided tour at a Wine Theme Centre. Here, you will be able to acquire general knowledge about Rioja wine and its production, from the vines until the ageing in the oak. You will play to stimulate and train your senses (especially smell and sight), in order to acquire a higher organoleptic judgement which will prove very useful for wine, cheese and oil tastings. After learning basic concepts of wine and tasting, proceed to a tasting of cheese and wine with a marriage of Basque and Spanish cheese and Rioja wines. Taste Basque Country’s and Spain’s most representative cheese, making a detailed sensory analysis (shape, rind, colour, sight, smell, texture, taste and aftertaste). Wine makes the best partner for cheese; therefore each cheese variety will be married with a different Rioja wine. Learn key issues and basics in a wine tasting: colour, aroma, taste… describing Rioja wine features. You will be able to taste the Award winning cheese at Idiazabal Competition in Laguardia, and then enjoy a stroll through Laguardia Old Town, a beautiful medieval walled village with an underground labyrinth of wine cellars and narrow streets. Sit down to lunch with signature and fusion cuisine to continue your gourmet day. You will get to enjoy a tasting menu with the chef’s best specialties (beverages not included)
Fully sated, leave the Old Centre of Laguardia and drive to Bodegas Ysios, a modern and dramatic winery designed by the famous architect, artist and engineer Santiago Calatrava where you can do a wine tasting after your tour.
Meet with your driver in the lobby of the hotel this morning and get ready for an exciting wine and vineyard experience. Enjoy a visit to Labastida where you will meet your guide and a local vine-grower and have a pleasant walk through the very soft vineyards, visiting the rock wine presses and learning its history and vegetative cycle of vines. Rock wine presses are ancient wine presses excavated in the rock, near vineyards, where grapes were stepped during Middle Ages. Depending on the season of your visit, you will be taught about the activity to be carried out in vineyards at that time such as pruning, defolding, harvesting, etc... You will learn all the secrets of viticulture while learning how to be a wine grower. You will also have a snack at the vineyards. Afterwards walk to historic centre in order to learn further about wine making process, visiting a family-run winery dating from the 13th Century, right in the medieval quarter. You will be welcomed by the owner and taste several wines.
Enjoy a private chauffeur driven transfer to Bilbao Airport. The distance is approx. 125 km and should take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
February 19, 2014
"Lynne Pettit is a particularly good tour planner and contact person because she is knowledgeable, patient, and thorough. She makes sure she understands exactly what you want to get from your trip and plans the tours accordingly. In my case, she was right on the mark!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Edwards Family ,
November 28, 2013
"People do not know what they are missing by not going to Romania. The landscape: beautiful, clean, untouched. The people: People exceeded friendly! Super safe. Wherever we went, we received the reception of "Welcome, welcome! You are our guest", by everyone. Food & Drink: Everything had such incredible flavor! They use only the freshest ingredients and everything is organic. Every meal was a new, exciting experience to our palettes. Architecture: The beauty, intricacy, history. One cannot help but appreciate the abundance of castles, churches and buildings boasting such incredible architecture. Experience Romania sooner than later! You’ll be so glad you did! Once again, Kensington Tours, and special thank you to Claudia.
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Mike Mikkelsen ,
November 15, 2013
"Lianne Kim did a great job for us (on our tour of Spain). Most enjoyable - thanks for all you did."
November 09, 2013
"My trip to Holland and Belgium was a lifelong dream and Kensington Tours made it greater than my dream. I was treated like royalty, even when I missed some of my connections. They quickly solved any problems that U had. All the drivers were courteous and helpful. My accommodations were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better tour experience. Thanks to Richard Racicot for booking the best fo me."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery lWestlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bend over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangement made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
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