Excursions around Portia
You don’t need to find an excuse to visit a winery such as Portia, an architectural wonder where wine takes centre stage. However, here are a few extra plans to turn your visit into a weekend-long stay and ensure that you have an unforgettable time.
Bodegas Portia is found right in the heart of the Ribera del Duero wine-growing region, boasting facilities designed by Norman Foster and producing some of the finest wines that the DO has to offer. There’s no doubt that it is among the top destinations for wine lovers.
Wine-tasting, walks through the vineyards, cutting-edge architecture… A weekend in Gumiel de Izán, accompanied by fine wine and a visit to five little-known spots that give you a true insight into the surrounding area.
1.- SANTA MARÍA DE LA VID MONASTERY
Just a stone’s throw from Gumiel is Santa María de la Vid Monastery, perched on the banks of the Douro. Its name – vid means “grapevine” in English – is clear proof of the importance of grapes and wine to the area. The monument dates back to the 12th century and is located in the town of La Vid, in the province of Burgos.
The monastery is home to a breathtaking cloister that was built in the 16th century on the site of an original Roman one, as well as a library with a collection of immeasurable historic value, containing over 80,000 ancient documents. It is impossible to find the words to paint a true picture of the wealth of features found here; you’ll simply have to pay it a visit yourself and find out first-hand what it is that makes this place truly special.
2.- PEÑARANDA DE DUERO
Right next to La Vid is the town of Peñaranda de Duero, a little gem full of Renaissance and medieval buildings that pepper its irregular streets. Amble through its shady streets and uncover Plaza Mayor, the delightful main square which offers unparalleled views of the castle. It truly is a spectacular place.
The castle is an architectural masterpiece that has been converted into a viewpoint over the Douro region. It started being built in the 10th century and underwent a major renovation in the 15th century. The Arandilla flood plain is full of wonderful buildings. The Condes de Miranda Palace is one of the highlights, while Santa Ana Church, also known as “La Colegiata”, is also a must-see. And once the sun has gone down, a route of bars and pinchos (small snacks served on bread) is awaiting, the perfect way to unwind after a long and tiresome day of sightseeing.
3.- ARANDA DE DUERO
Another town that should be on everyone’s list when travelling along one of Spain’s greatest wine routes is Aranda de Duero, the biggest town in the county. Here you’re guaranteed to sample some mouthwatering lamb dishes and olive oil bread and be dazzled by the beautiful architecture, all while wandering through its enchanting cobbled streets. No trip is complete without a visit to Santa María La Real Church.
4.- MORADILLO DE ROA
A less than thirty-minute drive from Gumiel de Izán is another of the most beautiful towns found in Ribera del Duero. Moradillo de Roa received the 2020 European heritage award thanks to the recovery of the El Cotarro neighbourhood, one of the top areas for wineries in all of Spain. Here it’s not just the wine that is noteworthy, but also the houses, whose domed roofs perched atop a hill give it the appearance of a Hobbit village taken straight out of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
5.- SOTILLO DE LA RIBERA
Falling in the jurisdiction of Gumiel de Mercado, the town of Sotillo de la Ribera was founded in the Late Middle Ages. Located near Gumiel and the towns in the Esgueva valley, it is worth the trip to Sotillo to wander around and take in the popular architecture, which is its finest piece of heritage. Here you can also visit its winery district, on San Jorge mountain, which dates back to the 18th century, and which is watched over by San Jorge hermitage, complete with a network of tunnels and labyrinths.
The Town Hall and Los Serrano Palace are also deserving of a visit, and so too are Casa de La Botica and Santa Águeda parish church. And for lovers of contemporary art, the town is also home to the birthplace of Fermín Aguayo, one of the leading abstract artists in Spain.