This short break brings you out from Madrid into the rolling greenery of the Duero (Douro) Valley where you’ll stay in a converted country manor. Dating back some 700 years, it’s the perfect base for tasting your way through this historic wine region, showcased on a pair of included guided tours and even in wine-themed spa therapies. You’ll also have the use of a hire car to explore next-door Salamanca where Spain’s Golden Age is revisited in everything from Romanesque cathedrals to Renaissance palaces.
Day 1: UK/Salamanca
Flying into Madrid, you’ll pick up your hire car at the airport to make the scenic drive, through the Spanish countryside, to Salamanca and your luxury accommodation. Set on the banks of the River Tormes in the city’s rural surrounds, this Dominican estate dates back to the 14th century and counts one Christopher Columbus among its esteemed guests. Here, you’ll be welcomed to the traditional charm and stunning vineyard views of your room with a complimentary bottle of Hacienda Zorita’s wine. Many also come with private terraces, wine cellars and their own gardens. You’ll then have five days to enjoy the hotel’s superb facilities that include a farm-to-table restaurant, poolside sun loungers and an excellent spa. There’s also the small matter of 300 hectares of eagle-plied farmland and oak forests to explore.
Days 2-4: Salamanca
To help acquaint you to with the region’s rich oenology – wine has been produced in the Duero (Douro) Valley for over a thousand years – we’ve included a pair of tasting experiences. On the first, an expert guide will bring you down into the former monastery’s cellars to sample a selection from its 1,450 oak barrels. The valley is particularly known for its intense reds and rich whites. Your second experience will see you go behind the scenes at the hacienda’s winery. Led by the hotel’s sommelier, you’ll learn about both the winemaking process and how each can be paired with the region’s fine gastronomy. You’ll also have plenty of time at leisure, perhaps to relax with a vinotherapy spa treatment or make use of your hire car to explore next-door Salamanca. Its signature golden sandstone beautifies everything from its 13th-century university and Convento de San Esteban to the intricately detailed façade of its Gothic cathedral. It’s all centred on the Plaza Mayor; often termed ‘Spain’s Grandest Square’, it’s awash with Baroque flourishes and monuments to the city’s rich past. You’ll also be perfectly poised to dip into Portugal, perhaps following the Douro River upstream to watch as its banks are terraced into rolling vineyards dotted with pretty whitewashed villages and medieval towns.
Day 5: Salamanca/UK
On your last day, drive back to Madrid to drop your car off and make your flight home.
Extending your stay: While this itinerary is ideal as a stand-alone break, it's also available as an extension out of Madrid, perhaps ending your holiday with some viticulture indulgence and spa relaxation in the Spanish capital.
Nov 2017 - April 2018
to Oct 2018
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website