Are you planning to head out to Europe for vacation? Do you love wine? Yes? Then you are in for a treat because Europe offers a great selection of travel destinations that are just perfect for any wine enthusiast. Not only is Europe the largest producer of wine in the world, but it also boasts of a long and rich history of producing wine. The continent is dotted with some of the oldest, most prestigious wine regions that are famous throughout the world.
Chances are, that if you are a wine lover you know about ecotourism. Ecotourism, also referred to as mini or wine tourism, refers to tourism that is primarily about tasting, consuming, and purchasing wine, usually at the site of its production. Wines are intimately linked to the region where they are made, and ecotourism allows you to not only savor the wines and learn how they are produced but also immerse yourself in the local culture of the land and take a peek into its rich heritage and history.
No matter which part of Europe you are visiting, there will be many great wine spots for you to explore. Here are some of the best European destinations if you are a wine lover:
The Bordeaux region is the most popular wine region in France and has even informally been crowned as the wine capital of the world. Needless to say, it is a must-visit for any wine lover.
Known for its rich white wine, the region of Bordeaux also promises travelers a rich heritage and culture, a delicious cuisine, and many tourist spots peppered throughout the city. The medieval town of Saint Emilion, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-visit destination only about an hour from Bordeaux. It is world-renowned for wine tasting.
The Bordeaux wine region is quite large, and as such, it can be a daunting task for travelers to explore the region. It is recommended that one take a guided wine tour through the region or sail on a wine river cruise to properly savor the delights it offers.
Located in the North-East region of France, Champagne is the land of the eponymous wine that is famous throughout the world - the champagne.
Champagne, like any other wine, is intimately linked with the land where it is made. It is made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or Chardonnay grapes that are grown in this region. Due to the cold climate, the grapes do not fully ripen and have a sharp acidic tinge to them. This makes them ideal for making sparkling wine.
Champagne is a comfortable day trip from Paris, and with its picturesque hillsides and lush vineyards, is the perfect getaway for the wine-loving soul. There are several activities you can get involved in when you visit Champagne. From wine tasting to visiting the centuries-old vineyards and wine cellars, you can learn more about this world-famous bubbling beverage as well as discover the rich culture and heritage of this region. There are even museums that are devoted to champagne!
And since you can buy directly from the wineries, make sure you take some of the best stuff homes as souvenirs.
Located in central Italy, Tuscany is famous for its varied landscapes, rich cultural heritage, its charming, romantic vibes, and its capital city - Florence. But this tourism hotspot also offers some delectable wine choices, prominently the Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Montepulciano, and the famous dessert wine – Vin Santo.
Literally ‘Foot of Mountain’, Piedmont is, true to its name, surrounded on three sides by the Alps. This scenic region in the north-west of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland, is dotted with quaint villages, luxurious villas, and lush vineyards. It specializes in red wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco wines, but also produces white wines.
TAKE A WINE RIVER CRUISE
Whether you are a wine novice or an oenophile with your own wine cellar, board one of hundreds of river cruises dedicated to Europe's most celebrated wine regions. These wine-themed European sailings provide a unique and delicious dimension to already enticing itineraries—with enhanced epicurean experiences included in the price of the cruise.
This beautiful island in the Aegean Sea offers a plethora of reasons for you to visit it – panoramic beaches, glorious sheer cliff sides, idyllic villages, and delectable cuisine. Its unique wines are another reason that makes it a must-visit for any wine enthusiast.
Santorini has a rich historical connection when it comes to wines. This island boasts of the oldest vineyard in the whole of Europe! Santorini utilizes a unique wine-growing technique called the Koulara and is famous for white grapes such as the Assyrtiko (which is unique to the island) and the Nykteri. The sweet wine Vin Santo (marketed as VinSanto to not confuse with the Tuscan wine of the same name) is another world-renowned wine that comes out of Santorini.
Lying to the northeast of Spain, the region of Catalonia where Barcelona is located has diverse landscapes and climates, ranging from the Mediterranean to the alpine. The Mediterranean climate is particularly favorable for producing wines, and Catalonia is home to as many as 10 different wine regions, each with its own unique identity and flavor. Of particular note is the sparkling Cava wine that is made in the region.
Okay, so Germany is famous for its beer. But that doesn’t mean that it cannot have a wine-lovers haven as well! Even though it is not the largest producer of wines in Germany, the region around the Mosel River and its two tributaries is one of the most prestigious producers of wine.
Exploring Mosel through its idyllic villages and cobblestoned lanes will give you a peek into the history of wine-making in Germany, which dates back to the 15th century. The signature wine from the region is the Riesling wine known for its pale color and fruity acidity. A river cruise down the Mosel is a great way to experience the area.
Europe is an alluring paradise for anyone who is a lover of wines. It is peppered with wine regions that offer exceptional wines, each unique and associated with the rich history and heritage of the land. Savoring a wine at a winery is not limited to merely consuming the wine itself – it’s an enthralling activity that lets you experience the cultural soul of the region and its people.
There is so much to see in Europe that planning a trip there all by yourself might be an intimidating task. However, I will be with you at every step and help you do an end to end planning for a once in a lifetime experience. I specialize in providing customized European tours, including river and small ship cruising. My firsthand experience of living in various European countries combined with my knowledge about the best spots to incorporate in your vacation ensures that you have a time that’s worth remembering for years to come.