Northern Spain has some of the best vineyards in the country. The influence from the Mediterranean and Atlantic shows itself in the region’s craggy vines and stony, barren soils, which are ideal bases for wines. Come for the excellent cuisine, dynamic cities, stunning natural landscapes, and stay for the surprising hyper-modern architecture and warm hospitality. Vineyard hotels in Northern Spain are sometimes housed in old castles, and sometimes in tangled Frank Gehry buildings. Settle in for a candlelit dinner for two, gear up for an extensive tour of the wine cellar, or try your hand in mountaineering through stunning landscapes.
Where to stay at a vineyard hotel in Northern Spain? Northern Spain’s favorite wine regions at a glance
Basque Country: A special kind of wine holiday
© Hotel Viura Basque Country isn’t like the rest of Spain; equipped with its own language, unique landscape, and even a special kind of tapas, this northern Spanish region, framed by the Bay of Biscay and the Pyrenees mountain range, is worth a visit for a taste of a culture unlike anywhere else in the world. A vineyard hotel places you within tranquil landscapes, setting you up for an escape amidst nature. Country house meets design hotel meets vineyard: these well-equipped locations provide the perfect balance between traditional and modern. Chacolí wine has been perfected over hundreds of years in the region and is known as the Spanish tapas wine; a glass of this over sunset on the hotel patio is sure to send you spiraling back to a bygone era. In the medieval city of Laguardia and its environs, tour the onsite wine cellar or wander through the attached vineyards. The terrain is also primed for active holidays. Mountaineering, trail running, and hiking are all possible with your comfortable room as the perfect beginning and ending point. For an amazing day trip, check out the world-class contemporary art at the Frank Gehry Bilbao Guggenheim Museum right on the ocean. Alternatively, San Sebastian, a seaside metropolis, is considered one of the best places in the world for food and drink and is worth a visit if not just for its marvelous beaches and tapas culture.
Rioja Valley: Traditional vineyards and pristine natural landscapes
© Hotel Villa de Ábalos More south and inland than Basque Country, in La Rioja, you’ll find traditional old-Spanish wineries, set in historic monasteries with stony facades. Spain’s most famous wine region, the Rioja Valley produces everything from aged red wines to young whites, best paired with delicious pintxos and the impending sunset. The scenery in the region is out of a fairytale: shimmering rows of vines and soft rolling hills constitute picturesque landscapes. Perfect for a romantic escape, spend days tasting wine, visiting local museums, and wandering through the lush nature and medieval-walled villages. Vineyard hotels in the region boast excellent service, comfy rooms, and always come with a special touch—whether the magic of staying in a 1509 monastery or a hiking trip with the hotel hosts. The fresh air alone is worth a trip through the forest trails that run along the high peaks of Pyrenees. On a hike to the highest point of Rioja, at 2.228 meters, pass by small waterfalls and an array of flora and fauna before taking in breathtaking views of the whole province from Pico Urbión. The natural reserve of Sierra de Cebollera, the UNESCO-listed San Millán de la Cogolla Monastery, and a foray into the Ebro River Valley promise to make a trip to La Rioja region an unforgettable one.
Good to know
Getting there: Flying into Madrid allows for a spectacular 4-hour drive through the other wine regions that lead up to La Rioja and Basque Country. The flight from London is just about two and a half hours and is served by most budget and local airlines. For a quicker stay, fly into Bilbao (alternatively, you can take a 24-hour ferry to the Bilbao Port) and rent a car for a quick couple-hour drive to your hotel in Northern Spain’s wine regions.