Q: Can anything top Spain’s perfect travel mix of hot guys, gorgeous scenery, fantastic culture, and total LGBTQ-friendliness?
A: Yes. All of the above, with wine.
Spain isn’t just the home of rioja, it’s also the birthplace of cava and sherry, and its winemaking expertise stretches back at least five millennia. More than 400 varieties of grapes are grown here, and no matter where you go throughout the country, you’re literally never more than 100 miles away from one of its many wine regions, many of which rival northern California’s famed wine scene.
Here are the 4 best ways to explore Spain’s wine-y wonder.
With an organized Spanish wine tour.
Loads of mainstream tour operators offer wine-focused expeditions through Spain’s various wine regions. Among the best: The Unique Traveller, a UK-based company offering more than a dozen Spanish gourmet and wine-themed tours; and Cellar Tours of California, which tailors custom-fit luxury holidays based on its roster of Spain-wide wine outings.
With a totally gay Spanish wine tour.
Key West’s HE Travel, one of the world’s most respected gay tour operators, offers the Road to Rioja Gay Spain Bike Tour, a 7-day combo cycling and wine excursion through Northern Spain’s famed Rioja region. It’s not on their 2016 calendar yet, but keep checking for upcoming dates.
On a Spanish wine-themed day trip.
Catalonian tour operator Castlexperience offers a variety of popular wine-soaked day tours from Barcelona. Take their “Wine, Tapas & Cava” jaunt and discover the region where cava got its name, or better still, pick a tour that includes a visit to the historic hilltop monastery at Montserrat and its spectacular views of the surrounding wine country. From Madrid, Wine Tourism Spain offers a number of wine and culture day trips, including one to the popular Ribera del Duero region.
Forge your own Spanish wine tour.
If group travel’s not your thing or if you’re a true wine snob, get off the beaten path by venturing into one of Spain’s lesser known wine areas. Spain’s official tourism portal has an excellent collection of more than 20 wine routes that you can explore at your own pace. Wines from Spain is another good source of info about the country’s various wine-growing regions.