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8d./7n. Club format tour Taste and Aroma of Castilla and Leon”

 

We invite you to take part in a luxurious tour over Castilla and Leon.  You are going to live in an authentic XIth century castle, which was originally built as one of the outposts of Reconquista.  In the XVth century the castle belonged to the Catholic Kings of Castilla, and later to the Archbishop of Avila who rebuilt the castle into a residential style manor, which we could see and enjoy today.

 

You will have a chance to plunge into the legendary past of the Castillian knighthood, enjoy the exquisite cuisine of Castilla and Leon, taste elegant white and hearty red wines of the region, as well as Portuguese sweet viscous Port wines.  The rooms of the castle offer traditional medieval interiors with all the comfort necessary for the modern-day traveler.  You will taste the most exquisite as well, as traditional dishes of Castillian cuisine, and of course become familiar with the best Spanish wines of Ribera del Duero, Toro and elegant whites of Rueda.

Team spirit and the romance of the plains of Castilla will touch your heart and soul.

 

Tour itinerary:  Madrid airport-Topas-Valverdon-Salamanca-Arribes del Duero-Miranda da Douro-Zamora-Ribera-del-Duero-Tordesillas-Valladolid-Medina del Campo-Alba de Tormes-Mogarraz-La Alberca-Madrid airport

Recommended group size:  12-15 pax

Tour program:

1 day

Meeting with the guide at the airport Madrid-Barajas.  Beginning of our adventurous journey.

We’ll be heading to Avila, medieval fortress, founded by Visigoths on the land of an ancient tribe of Vettones, who inhabited the Iberian peninsula long before the Roman conquest.

We are going to see the fortification walls, the oldest part of which were built in the XIth century by  Raymond, Duke of Burgundy, the spouse of Queen Urraca of Castilla and Leon, a daughter of legendary King Alphonso VI.

The history of Avila is tied to the history of religious mysticism in Spain.  Saint Teresa of Avila was born here and spent many years composing her treatise here at the monastery.  Catholic church declared St. Teresa a Doctor of the Church over four centuries after her death.

You will see the secluded monastery, housing the Museum of Saint Teresa, the Cathedral of Avila, originally erected as a defensive facility and then converted into a religious structure, and several palaces of the Castilian noblemen.

After the excursion we are going to dine in a warm company at one of the traditional taverns of Castilla province.

Transfer to the castle.

Accommodation and time for rest.

Communal dinner.

 

2 day

Communal breakfast at the castle.  Today we are going to visit a unique place–an eco-farm,

where on the territory of more than 300 ha different fruit and vegetables are grown with care; sheep of the Churros breed, the Verata goats, water buffaloes and Iberian pigs are kept under natural conditions.

The owners of the farm will share the farming history of their family, cultivating the land and growing the crop since the XIVth century in that area.

The farmers support the idea of Slow Food movement, comprising careful agriculture with minimum intrusion into natural processes, as well as conscious consumption of the alimentary products.

We will take a walk around the farm, visit the local cheese dairy and learn how the cheese is produced here in a traditional way.

We will have a chance to taste different types of cheese, made according to an eco-bio technology.

Following the cheese dairy visit, we will take a step into a real vinegar brewery where natural grapes vinegar is kept in wooden barrels. We will taste a 10-years-old vinegar.  Next step will be to visit the eco-fruit & vegetable garden.

For the lunch will be invited to taste the traditional village dishes of Castilla made of the locally grown stuff:  dry-cured meet delicacies, homemade tortilla, cheese, oven baked bread, pies, homemade cookies, fruit, wine, water, beer, coffee, lemonade.

After the wholesome lunch we continue our journey to Salamanca, the city of students, esoterics, pilgrims and Miguel de Unamuno.

In Salamanca the first university in Spain was founded according to the King´s order.

We will see the new university, the house of Miguel de Unamuno, the Chancellor of the university, the Plaza Mayor built in the style of Radical Barocco, the Clove Tower, the famous House of Shells, the old Roman bridge, the old and new cathedrals and the palaces of the local aristocracy.

You may see Salamanca´s sky climbing up the ¨stairway to the sky¨ or Scala Coelii on the towers of the Clergy Palace.

Returning to the castle.

Communal dinner, time for rest.

Overnight stay at the castle.

 

3 day

After the communal breakfast we will be heading to the National Park of the Arribes de Duero.

The Duero river originates near the Peak of Urbion at the height of 2160 masl in the region of Soria

and goes all the way West crossing the Iberian peninsula and then opens into the Atlantic Ocean near the city of Porto (Portugal).

The river forms special microclimate along its course, and provides favorable conditions for the precious grapevine varieties cultivation.  It is well known, that the grapevine was grown in the area since the VIIth century, and was probably brought here by the Phoenicians.

We will take a nice boat ride from the platform of an EcoStation.  During the excursion we will get acquainted with a unique eco-system of the region of the Arribes del Duero, named because of the rather high cliffy mountains framing the course of the river.

Following the boat ride we’ll taste Port wines of Portuguese origin and enjoy the scenery.

For the lunch we’ll drive to the town of Miranda do Douro over the Portuguese border.

Return to the castle.

Time for rest and communal dinner.

Overnight stay at the castle.

 

4 day

After the communal breakfast we’ll be heading to the wine land of Ribera del Duero.

We will take a ride along the Golden Mile of the Spanish wine making, and see picturesque tempranillo grape vineyards.

We are going to visit a legendary winemaking estate, who´d started the 20th century history of the wine style of Ribera del Duero.  The winery is located in the former abbey built in the XIIIth century.

We will visit different zones of the estate, see the old church, the vineyards and orchards, and will take a sir under the shadow of an oak.  

We will taste different wines, produced at the estate and learn how to identify and distinguish aromas and traits of the taste.  You will have an assortment of typical local snacks to accompany a glass of wine.

Following the winery visit we will make stop for the lunch at one of the gastronomic restaurants of the region.

Next point on our route is the town of Tordesillas, famous medieval town known for the Treaty of Tordesillas signed there in 1494 by the King and Queen of Castilla and the King of Portugal with regards to the lands newly discovered or explored by Christopher Columbus and other late 15th-century voyagers.

We will take a look at the town museum, visit artisan shops, well-known for the leather and ceramics crafts.

Later we´ll arrive to Valladolid, beautiful city of nowadays and a royal site of the late Middle Ages.  We will take a nice tour around the historic quarters of the city following the steps of the characters of the novels of Miguel de Cervantes.

Return to the castle.

Communal dinner.

Time for rest. Overnight stay at the castle.

 

5 day

After the communal breakfast we´ll continue our journey into the knighthood past of Castilla.

We will visit the Royal Palace of the Queen Isabella in Medina del Campo. Here at the palace the Queen signed her last will.

After the palace we will head to the Castle of La Mota, one of the biggest fortified castles of Europe.

Leaving the castle we´ll be going down into the old cellars of Rueda wine region.  Today the cellars offer an interesting underground tour called the Ariadne’s Thread

Return to the castle.

Communal dinner.

Time for rest. Overnight stay at the castle.

Overnight stay at the castle.

 

6 day

After the communal breakfast we’ll be heading to the land of Iberian jamon, or jamon iberico as it is called in Spanish, dry-cured type of ham produced from the special pork meat, which is served in thin slices just cut.

The first encounter of jamon-like product dates the period of Roman rule on the Iberian Peninsula.  Today we are going to visit some special farm specialized on Iberian pigs breed and jamon production.  We will take a visit to the production area and later will taste different varieties of the bacon.

Following the jamon tasting we´ll be heading to a small town of Alba de Tormes spread over the banks of the cognominal river.

The town’s history is connected with the illustrious family of the Dukes de Alba and the history of the Carmelite Order founded by St.Teresa of Avila.

The first church of the Carmelite order was founded here and the Church of Annunciation with the sepulcher of St.Teresa is located in the heart of Alba de Tormes. 

We will take a walk around the historic quarter of the town and learn a lot about the history of the place since the early Paleolithic era.

We will see the Castle of the Dukes de Alba. The monastery of the Carmelite Order, the Church of San Juan. Upon your will you may visit the Church of Annunciation and see the Sepulcher of St. Teresa.

Return to the castle.

Communal dinner.

Time for rest. Overnight stay at the castle.

 

7 day

After the communal breakfast we’ll be heading to the mountain region of Castllla called Sierra de Francia.

We will visit the towns of Mogarraz and La Alberca where the life is slow and quiet, but so much enjoyable for the serene relaxing atmosphere.

We will make a stop at a traditional tavern for the lunch. You will have a chance to taste local cuisine and savor the moment.

After a short ride we´ll arrive to Salamanca where you will have several hours to walk on your own around the town, visit museums and shop for some souvenirs.

Return to the castle.

Overnight stay at the castle.

 

8 day

Communal breakfast in the castle dining room.

Transfer to the airport of Madrid.  

End of the tour.

Flight back home.

 

The price includes:

–Accommodation at the authentic castle-hotel in Castilla Leon region for the 7 nights,

— 7 Breakfasts and 7 dinners at the castle,

–3 lunches, 2 wine tastings, jamon tasting (as listed below),

–Group transfers according to the program,

–Transportation for all the excursions on a comfortable bus or mini-coach (depends on the group size),

–English-speaking guide support during all the tour,

–All the excursions according to the program,

–All the entrance tickets (as listed below),

–Headphones+audiosystems for the street excursions.

 

Entrance tickets and tastings included in the price:

–Slow Food eco-farm excursion and lunch,

–River Duero boat ride and experience with Porto wine tasting in the Arribes de Duero National Park,

–Medina del Campo Royal Palace,

–Castillo La Mota,

–Visit to the winery in Ribera del Duero region with lunch,

–Visit to the Museum of Wine Ariadne’s Thread and the lunch in the underground restaurant in Rueda region,

–Zamora Cathedral,

–Visit to the white wines winery in Rueda with wine, cheese and olive oil tasting,

–Visit to the jamon factory with the excursion and the tasting of the product.

 

Extra expenses not included in the price:

–Airfare to Madrid,

–Bars and restaurants expenses,

–Lunches, except 3 lunches included in the program,

–Personal expenses,

–Medical insurance, visa expenses if applies.

 

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