Northwestern Spain and Northern Portugal
Autumn in northwestern Spain and neighboring Portugal is a vibrant splash of color as you travel through Castile and León’s stunning El Bierzo wine region to Ponferrada and Villafranca del Bierzo from the provincial capital of León. Crossing into Galicia’s Ourense province on the N-120, you’ll find the vineyards of Valdeorras and Ribeira Sacra clinging to the banks of the Sil and Minho River Valleys, presenting a brilliant canvas of rich fall colors during the final days of the harvest season.
The Rías Baixas and O Ribeiro wine regions, closer to the Atlantic, are no less colorful, as are the vineyards of the Monterrei DO, in the southeast corner of Ourense province, which grow on both sides of the Tâmega River and in the Val de Monterrei, the Monterrei Valley.
South, across the Tâmega River, lies Portugal’s Trás-os-Montes wine sub-regions of Chaves, Valpaços and Planalto Mirandês, while to the west you’ll find the nine sub zones of the mountainous Vinhos Verdes, Portugal’s largest wine region, bordered on the north by the Minho and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean.
Further south lies the drier Douro River Valley and it’s three sub zones; Baixo Corgo, Alto Corgo and Douro Superior, all waiting for you in a flash of fall color. Hopefully the weather will be cool and inviting for a leisurely tour of some of Portugal’s most spectacular wine estates.
Fall in northwest Spain and northern Portugal presents an array of endless possibilities as the weather slowly changes in this beautiful, rugged countryside. Starting from León, you can spend the few days exploring the vineyards and long history of the El Bierzo wine region before moving on to the rich countryside surrounding cities of Ourense and Pontevedra in Galicia.
Temperatures in the Alto Douro are finally cooling down with the approach of the harvest season. Here you can tour some of the magnificent Quintas and their terraced vineyards that line both sides of the the Alto Douro, where wine has been produced for more than 2000 years, join in a traditional grape harvest and savor the local cuisine.