4 Unmissable Tapas and Wine Routes in Spain
Iberico ham, Spanish omelette, wine and tapas are integral elements of Spanish culture. So much so, that Spanish even has a word for the concept of going out to delight in a few rounds of tapas: “tapear”. Whether you prefer cold or hot dishes, small or larger portions, we invite you to embark on a delightful tapas tour with El Coto de Rioja throughout Spain, especially now that the holiday season is approaching!
For many food enthusiasts visiting Spain, the ultimate dream is to hop from bar to bar, indulging in all the tapas that come their way. And who can blame them? We, too, thoroughly enjoy the experience of trying tapas.
Whether it’s summer or winter, the streets of Spain are always bustling with people in search of the perfect tapas evening. And, of course, one of the best ways to enjoy any kind of tapas is accompanied by a glass of wine and good company.
Whether you’re savouring a dish of exquisite Spanish ham, relishing a mouthwatering pintxo or delighting in a typical tapa from the city you are in, we can assure you that the combination of gastronomic delights and vibrant ambiance is truly worth it. So, here are our top 4 unmissable tapas and wine routes in Spain.
1. Barrio Húmedo in León
Small and easily explored on foot, León is one of the gems of northern Spain when it comes to culture and tapas bars. What was once the Kingdom of León in the Middle Ages is now a perfect weekend destination. In addition to its incredible Cathedral, Casa Botines and Roman walls, the Barrio Húmedo is a must-visit for foodies.
Its long, winding alleys are full of bars where each drink is served with a tantalising tapa. Here are some of the best tapas the city has to offer:
- Different varieties of fried potatoes. Depending on the bar you go to, you can find fried potatoes with garlic and cayenne powder, diced potatoes served with spicy pink sauce or garlicky aioli...
- Morcilla (blood sausage). León is renowned for its morcilla, so understandably, this cured meat is one of the most popular tapas. Cecina (cured beef) is another cold cut commonly served in the city.
- Garlic soup. It gets cold in León, and what better way to warm up than with a hearty traditional soup and a glass of wine.
- Potatoes with picadillo (ground meat seasoned with spices). This delicious tapa is typically served with a good hunk of bread.
To go with your morcilla, cecina or cheese tapas, we recommend a fruity red wine. El Coto Crianza is a great choice due to its excellent versatility. We would choose a glass of white wine to accompany our potato tapa. Whether with picadillo or different sauces, we want the wine to contrast with the flavour.
Another León neighbourhood famed for its tapas offering is the Barrio Romántico. Legend has it that this is where military leader El Cid Campeador lived.
2. San Sebastián Old Town
San Sebastián—also known as Donostia—is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. For Spanish and international visitors alike, La Concha beach is a must-visit in the Basque city. But when it comes to tapas, it’s the Old Town that wins us over. Not only will you find history, culture and unforgettable views, but you will also be able to eat pintxos to your heart’s content.
Going for pintxos in Donostia is the best way to spend time with friends and family and enjoy the delicious Basque gastronomy. Also known as the “quintessence of Basque cuisine”, some of the most popular pintxos are seafood-themed: prawn skewers, mini Charlottes filled with cream of spider crab or the lobster pintxo.
And what better accompaniment for seafood than a glass of fine white wine? Among our wide selection of white wine varieties, we would suggest Coto Mayor Blanco and El Coto Verdejo. The latter is the first single-varietal Verdejo white wine in the Rioja DOCa. It is a fruity wine with tropical and fennel aromas.
In San Sebastián, there are hundreds of different tapas to discover. Some of the most common include pintxos with anchovies and chilli peppers, with eggs or with various types of cheeses. Many of them are mounted on a slice of bread and held together with a toothpick. Others, in contrast, are served in a small pot, like the famous Borda Berri risotto.
3. Calle Elvira and Calle Navas in Granada
Let’s head south! With the imposing Alhambra looming over it from one of its hills, Granada welcomes thousands of students and visitors every year. The Albaicín neighbourhood, Sacromonte district, Granada Cathedral and Carrera del Darro are all essential stops in this Andalusian city.
Tapas culture is deeply entrenched in Granada, and it is common to be served a tapa alongside your drink. Calle Rosario, Alhamar, Campo del Príncipe and Plaza Bib-Rambla are just a few areas in the city where people gather to enjoy an appetiser.
Two of the city’s streets are particularly noteworthy for their tapas bars: Calle Elvira and Calle Navas. The former starts at Plaza Nueva and ends at Calle Reyes Católicos. It is always bustling with activity and offers a range of bars serving both traditional and modern tapas. Calle Navas, located near the Town Hall, is considered the “temple” of tapas in the city.
Tapas in Granada are as abundant as its bars. You can find a wide variety to suit every taste. However, the most traditional choices are roasted ham and croquettes.
- Roasted ham is one of the most popular tapas choices and could be considered one of Granada’s official tapas. In general, roasted pork pairs well with a wide variety of wines. So, why not pair it with a glass of 875 m Chardonnay?
- Croquettes come filled with many different ingredients, such as meat, fish and vegetables. However, the ones filled with ham and cheese are always a hit. A glass of Coto de Imaz Reserva is a great choice to pair with these tasty fried morsels.
Other popular tapas in Granada include Russian salad, meat in sauce, black rice or paella, migas (breadcrumbs dish), patatas a lo pobre (thinly sliced potatoes with garlic and parsley) and fried fish.
4. Calle Laurel in Logroño
Last but certainly not least we have a tapas route in famous wine region, La Rioja. Logroño is a wine-producing city with numerous tree-lined squares, narrow streets and hidden gems. The Co-Cathedral of Santa María de la Redonda and its Old Town are two imperative sights. Another obligatory stop is Calle Laurel, where you can enjoy tapas and a glass of DOCa Rioja wine.
It is also known as “the trail of the elephants” because that’s how you emerge if you accompany each tapa with a glass of wine—crawling out on all fours and bellowing like an elephant. The street is packed with all sorts of tapas bars, and we recommend enjoying the speciality of each establishment.
Do you fancy a pincho moruno (pork skewer), patatas bravas, fried pig snouts or a plate of mushrooms? With so many tasty options to choose from, we believe the best bet is to try them all. And, since this is our turf, you’ll always find them served with an El Coto de Rioja wine like Coto Mayor Crianza. This is our DOCa Rioja wine that can be savoured in bars and restaurants all over the area.
If you haven’t decided on your next weekend getaway yet, one of these 4 destinations and their tapas and wine routes are the best choice. While you make up your mind, explore our entire selection of wines: