Luxury Barcelona – Wine, Culture, Gastronomy, Golf or Beach – Tailor-Made Tours

If you’re heading to Barcelona and want a trip to remember having a tailor-made tour professionally planned by long-term locals who will help you with every step of your holiday is the key to an incredible experience.

Gran Reserva

Whether you want to visit a winery and sample some cava, enjoy a day playing golf or wander around visiting the best culture and monuments all combined with sampling the great gastronomy that Barcelona offers then Barcelona Inside and Out can help create your bespoke holiday.

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Wine is an essential element of many of their holidays and visitors love to discover the stories behind the wines and just how good Catalonia’s wines are getting these days.
As all their holidays are tailor-made they can include a wine tour  wherever guests are planning to go, although the DO’s they work with  mainly are in Catalonia are Penedes, Priorat and Bages.

Winery Tour Catalunya, Spain
Wine tours can be part of a holiday touring Catalonia or a day tour from Barcelona. The Penedes is a 45 minute drive from the city, while the Priorat is 1hr 40mins and is only really a day option for those who already know the regions’ wines and want to go for a particular reason.

Spanish Catalonia Winery

In the Penedes they work with the very well regarded Llopart winery. Llopart’s vineyards have a special position on the hills above San Sadurni with wonderful views of Montserrat. The effect of the extra altitude on the Maccabeu, Xarello, Parellada and Chardonay grapes is said to give Llopart’s cavas their especially well balanced and rounded character.

Visitors to Llopart are given a complete tour of the installations and vineyards. Followed, of course, by a comprehensive tasting of different varieties of their cavas.

Llopart Cava Winery

There is also the option of cycling through the vineyards on electric bikes provided by the winery and having a delicious homemade picnic lunch, full of good, traditional Catalan fayre and served in individual picnic baskets at the outdoor tables dotted around the vineyard. Alternatively guests are taken to a nearby Catalan masia for a more substantial, great local lunch – whatever you want, they will organise it for you.

Spanish Winery Picnic

If you prefer, you can visit a smaller winery, such as Cava Guillera or Albet i Noya, to provide a contrast. Here you will discover the processes on a more human scale and also some of the regions’ award winning reds and whites, which show how the Penedes is evolving and becoming well known for its wines as well as its cavas.

Hot Air Balloon Flights, Barcelona

Beach days, skiing, seeing Catalonia’s human castles or Barcelona from the air, whatevery you want to include in your holiday plans Barcelona Inside & Out will individually craft your holiday or your tour.

 

Where to stay in Barcelona?

Winery – Bodegas Tradicion in Jerez

Bodegas Tradicion

Although Bodegas Tradicion is a fairly new winery it is the successor of the oldest one in the Jerez wine producing area.

The original winery was Bodega CZ, J.M. Rivero which  dated back to 1650 and was the supplier of the Royal Houses of Spain and Portugal winning many different international rewards.

Art Gallery Bodega Tradicion

Opening in the late 1990s by a descendant of the oldest sherry house the bodegas are open for viewing as well as wine and brandy tastings while viewing the considerable private art collection. It is reported to be one of the best  collections of Spanish paintings  in Andalusia and contains over 300 paintings, some of the works are by Grand Masters Goya and Velazquez  amongst many others 15th – 20th century  artists.

 

There are two types of unique and limited production Tradicion Brandies and six fabulous wines:

Fino
Palo Cortado VORS
Amontillado
Oloroso VORS
Cream VOS
Pedro Ximenez VOS

A trip to this winery will have you taking away a great choice of fine wines and brandy – if there’s any remaining.

For more information or to book visits go to the Bodega Tradicion website.

Local Cheese & Wine in Jaen, Andalusia

I don’t know whether it’s ever happened to you but on a recent outing with visiting family we headed to a local winery for some more of their fabulous Syrah grape red wine. The nicest Spanish Red I’ve had, and living in Spain I’ve tried a few of them – and then we find some great cheese to go with it.

Bodegas CampoAmeno

This winery or bodega – CampoAmeno – in the Sierra Sur de Jaen bordering on Granada province produces four reds, three whites and a rose with locally grown grapes. I’d had one of them in a restaurant in Alcala la Real and rather liked it. Then while visiting the fabulous Fortress La Mota there were a couple of different ones in the shop – we had to try them. My stepfather took a bottle of the CampoAmena Syrah back for a wine conoisseur friend who very much enjoyed it. So we then had to visit the winery shop to try all the reds before his next visit.

Bodegas CampoAmeno

Having sampled three of the reds, both hubby and I liked the same one best (always handy that!) So with stepfather visiting again the winery was definitely on our visiting list. We bought several boxes, not all for us, a presentation pack for said wine conoisseur and happy with our purchases headed into  Frailes for a much needed bar and beer. But as things happen and as wine goes with cheese, there was a cheese factory on the way selling it direct and – Quesos Artesanos de Frailes was open. We had to go in.

After sampling two – a cured and a semi-cured goat’s cheese made on the premises from the neighbouring goat herd’s milk we all liked the smooth and creamy texture of the semi-cured one, which has won many a prize, best.

Quesos Artesanos de Frailes

So back to the wine laden car laden with the cheeses we had the best pairing possible of locally produced and bought slow food and slow wine, both exquisite.

Quesos Artesanos de Frailes

Sadly to say neither lasted long and one of the cheeses took a journey to the UK and so adding a few food miles and making it not so slow. Ours didn’t.  It went from factory to car to fridge to stomach and there it was gone.

The up side of that is we live near enough and so have to go again – the down side we’re probably always going to have to do it now we’ve discovered both!

If you like cheese and wine I know a very good spot to shop.

Visit the Cheese shop website (in Spanish) the winery website  (in Spanish) read about Fortress La Mota and here’s where to stay in Alcala la Real – Atelier 88.

World’s First Sherry Boutique Hotel in Spain

The province of Cadiz well-known for its wines and wine cellars is to have the world’s first sherry hotel. The wine cellar, bodega in Spanish, González Byass has announced its plans to convert its old bodega housing in the town of Jerez de la Frontera.

gonzalez-byass

Situated in the old quarter the hotel, which González Byass say, will be a Boutique Hotel, the first Sherry Boutique  Hotel in which you can sleep in ancient wine cellars. The aroma and history of centuries wine making whisper secrets from the past in this historical location in front of Jerez Cathedral.

The famous bodega  is Tio Pepe, one of the best known and most visited wine cellars in Europe with over 200.000 a year. With the opening of the ‘Sherry Hotel’ planned for late 2018 visitors will be able to have a complete ‘wine’ experience, not only tours and tastings but sleeping in a wine cellar too, living and learning about its history and culture.

I’ll put my name on the list to stay, what about you?

Sources/Photo credit: Diario de Jerez/González Byass / Manuel Aranda

Best Spa Hotels of the World in Spain

The collection of Best Spa Hotels of the World has two fabulous hotels in Spain, let’s take a peek at behind their doors to see why they are part of this great portfolio.

Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa

With forty  rooms and villas Hacienda Zorita on the edge of the famous university town of Salamanca and the impressive River Duero has lovely views. Once a Domincan monastery, its contemporary interior design compliments the solid 700 year-old structure and its long history of hospitality together with today’s modern amenities provides a graceful and elegant yet peaceful and comtemplative escape.

Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Spa

Hacienda Zorita  was brought back to life, after a long slow decline, as the home of Marques de la Concordia family of wines and now restored to its former glory with modern installations it’s now owned by The Hacienda’s Company, and is part of Small Luxury Hotels collection.

See Hotel Zorita on Best Spa HotelsHotel Zorita on Best Spa Hotels

 

Hotel Peralada Wine Hotel & Golf

Fifteen minutes from the Costa  Brava coast and in the middle of a golf course the 56 rooms offer fabulous views in peaceful surroundings. The innovative spa offers a wide range of treatments many of which are grape/wine based. What about a grape oil massage or a four-hand massage?

Hotel Peralada Wine & Golf

An ideal away break for golf lover and spa lovers, sharing both experiences or each to their own.

See Hotel Peralada on Best Spa Hotels 

Unusual Spas in Spain – Wine and Oil Massages at Hotel Villa de Laguardia

 

The Hotel Villa de Laguardia in the heart of Rioja Alavesa has created an exclusive and unusual Spa using the local produce –  grapes. Its signature experience is a massage with grape oil.

Divided into two independent spaces the thermal circuit complete with an ancient olive tree and surrounded by a foot bath in a barrel and a covered outer area which is stunning at night.

Hotel Villa lGuardia cupola

The thermal circuit has different contrasting showers, a Finnish sauna, a Turkish bath and an ice fountain. All designed to invigorate the body, activate the circulatory system and relax the mind.

Guardianightspa

The curved swimming pool has water jets, water beds, duckbills, geysers, hydromassage benches and cold water basins, so that the visitor gets the most benefit and therapeutic effect. Not forgetting the herbal teas and relaxing hammocks.

The other area has 15 theme massage cabins for facial and body treatments and various hydrotherapy techniques where you can experience natural treatments based on wine and olive oil from Rioja Alavesa.

The Wine Oil Spa offers you a novel à la carte experiences based on the cosmetic properties of products such as chestnuts, sloes, truffles and local aromatic plants like thyme, lavender and rosemary.

guardiamassage

Some of the winetherapy and oiltherapy treatments on offer are:

Wine Oil Scrub: An exfoliating cocktail with Arroniz olive oil emulsified with grape skin, pips and natural grapes scented with mint.

Moisturising Body Massage: A creamy emulsion massage with grapes or olive oil

Body Wrapping: Black grapes (anti-oxidizing), olive oil (restoring), chocolate (nourishing), black truffle (mineralising), black mud (analgesic) or seaweeds (draining)

Take your pick and be wined and oiled in luxury at Hotel Villa de LaGuardia.

Hotel Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine

Spanish 5* Vineyard Hotel in Ribera del Duero

The Estate Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, once a 12th century monastery, now a 5* star Relais & Chateaux hotel with the Michelin star restaurant – Refectario.

Nestling between vines along the River Duero it radiates luxury and peace and quiet rule from the inside the historical Romanesque-Baroque monastery walls.

Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine @ Relais & Chateaux

North of Madrid in the region of Castilla y Leon and east of Valladolid this is wine growing country so a vineyard visit is a must but there are plenty of other experiences available, Horse riding, Cycling or Hiking Trails, Historical and cultural guided tours, Medieval falconry and the almost obligatory wine tastings.
Hotel Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine