Looking at your Instagram feed at work can be a dangerous game
You’re scrolling through everyone’s holiday pics and luxury foodie dinners and all of a sudden you’re overcome with envy. That evening glass of wine after work turns into a few more than were expecting and you find yourself scrolling, ideally for some kind of weekend break that won’t break the bank.
Impossible, right? No. We’ve rustled up nine destinations where wine, relaxation and excellent FOMO inducing Instagram shots come in spades.
So grab a partner, a friend, a few friends or rock a lone wolf expedition to some of these gorgeous wine regions where you can taste the finest the world has to offer AND be back at work on Tuesday – albeit with a slight hangover.
Traversing Tuscany Tactfully
Thanks to the movies, the entire region of Tuscany has been embedded into our brains as being awash with romance, Chianti wine, sun-drenched rolling fields and cute castle-like accommodation. Luckily the fantasy is actually pretty close to the reality, and the Castello del Trebbio is a perfect example of a ‘typical’ Tuscan vineyard. This estate features a 12th-century castle, villas and a standout Chianti Sangiovese that’s perfect for drinking while enjoying an Italian sunset on the vineyard grounds.
Accommodation Tip: If you fancy a bit of Florence and a bit of countryside aesthetic then pop yourself in the middle at the Hotel Villa dei Bosconi near Fiesole, which boasts an outdoor pool and total rural seclusion.
Jaunting about Jerez de la Frontera
No travelling needed, fly straight into Jerez de la Frontera and you’ll find yourself in the middle of wine country. This slice of heaven in Andalucia offers bodegas (a cellar or shop selling wine and food) stocked to the brim with slowly and carefully aged wine in traditional wooden barrels. The González Bypass has some of the most famous sherry bodegas in the whole of Spain; if you visit here be prepared for some learning as Spain’s bodegas love telling the storied history and complex processes that are behind their famous wines. Tio Pepe is in Jerez de la Frontera, and their English language wine tours come with a tasting of two, or four wines and could include a selection of tapas if you so wish (we recommend you wish).
Accommodation Tip: TheSercotel Asta Regia Jerez is a four-star rated boutique hotel located in the city centre of Jerez de la Frontera and it includes a sauna and steam room – maybe don’t go for a steam after your wine tour though. From £44.
We’ll help you find your weekend getaway To make sure your weekend getaway doesn’t break the bank, you can compare weekend flights on KAYAK. On the flight search page just click on ‘Show flexible dates‘ and then select ‘weekends’.
Getting Jolly in Gloucestershire
England’s wine prowess may not rival Spain or Italy but the British countryside offers an alternative to the typical International wines. And there’s no better example of that than the Three Choirs Vineyard; even the name inspires a relaxed and serene feeling. Nestled in the heart of the Gloucestershire countryside a visit to this vineyard is perfect at the end of a hike or if you’re pottering around The Cotswolds.
Accommodation Tip: The mysteriously named The Dark Barn Lodge is a guest house just down the road from Three Choirs in Tibberton; enjoy a terrace and friendly service.
Vivaciously Discovering Vilafranca del Penedès
Wine and cava lovers will love visiting the Penedès region, only one hour from Barcelona, as it’s where the best Cavas in the world are produced. In the town of Vilafranca, a must see is Vinseum, the museum of wine cultures of Catalonia, located in the Royal Palace of Villafranca del Penedès, where once upon a time the Kings of the Crown of Aragon lived. Of course, don’t miss out on visiting at least one of the prestigious wineries, among which we highlight Pinord, Mascaró and Torres.
You may have dismissed port as something your Nan enjoyed at Christmas, but that’s because you haven’t tried real authentic port wine, made in the Douro Valley in Portugal and aged in the city centre. There are dozens of ‘caves’ nestled under the city centre, which holds some of the best wine the region has to offer. Visit the Caves Ferreira to feel like you’ve travelled back to the origin of Portuguese tradition, and similar to Spanish vineyards, the Portuguese take their history seriously so be prepared for a history lesson while you quaff.
Accommodation Tip: Stay at the luxurious 5-star Pestana Palácio do Freixo, an 18th-century palace that offers world class comfort and spectacular views of the Douro River. A luxury steal at only £117 per night.
Bounding into Bordeaux
The Bordeaux region in the South West of France is potentially the wine capital of the world, and for good reason. Home to stunning castles, countryside, seaside towns, excellent shopping and, of course, lots and lots of wine. The creation of wine is a complex process though, so make sure you visit at the right time of year otherwise you may find that the chateaux are shut, and you’re buying a bottle of wine at the local supermarché; March to June and October to November are the best times to visit. There are also so many vineyards in Bordeaux that hiring a car is a necessity some of the time. Some wine operators offer buses to pick you up, but if one of you remains the designated driver then a car is the best option to see a bit of everything.
Accommodation Tip: You’re unlikely to find a chateau to stay in, in Bordeaux without it costing an arm and a leg. Luckily Bordeaux is fairly well connected, so staying in the city centre will offer transport routes and Mama Shelter Bordeaux is a chic hotel that’s been rated ‘excellent’ consistently by guests.
Looking for travel inspiration?
KAYAK Explore is a tool that lets you see where the world you can travel with a set budget. Either pick exact dates or choose ‘anytime’ to see the cheapest possible flights all-year-long. Check out these wine regions. Awesome right?
Cavalier in Champagne
Champagneeee! Not just for special occasions but for every occasion in the Champagne region of France. You know, you walked out of a shop champagne! You came out of a shop, champagne! Okay, so perhaps bottles corks aren’t being freed every few seconds but this is definitely the place to go if you’re in the mood for celebration. Champagne is made by blending the “big three” grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier together so if champagne isn’t your bag then there are plenty of other options. Similarly, there are lots of different regions to explore, the three biggest are Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs.
Accommodation Tip: The Campanile Reims Centre-Cathedrale is located only walking distance from the city centre of Reims if you fancy some cultural fare. Rated ‘excellent’ by guests, it’s a steal from £54 per night.
Prancing Panache in Piedmont
Even in the worst weather, the Piedmont region of Italy still looks like it’s been plucked from a fairytale. Turin, Langhe and Roero all play host to some of Piedmont’s most famous vineyards producing Piemonte wine that sports a fruity, delicate and ever-so-sweet taste. Start with wine extravaganza at the Cascina Meriame farmhouse in the heart of Lange del Barolo. This elegant farm house is the perfect kicking off point as it’s surrounded by other must-see wine hotspots. Just 30 minutes away in the medieval village of Nieve is I Love Ba, a tiny dining room offering classic Italian cuisine and bottles from ‘enoteca’ (wine cellar) downstairs.
Accommodation Tip: Stay in Alba which is a nice place to lay your (slightly tipsy) head after a day of wine tasting, there are plenty of reasonable priced B&B’s which have been rated ‘excellent’ by happy guests.
Loving it in Lavaux
Switzerland may not spring to mind when you think of wine havens, but Lavaux on the shores of Lake Geneva has been criminally underrated by the casual wine fan. Named a UNESCO site in 2007, Lavaux covers 800 acres and has good transportation links across the many vineyards that exist on its picturesque rolling hills. A 20-mile footpath leads Lausanne-Ouchy to Chillon Castle. En route you’ll find a possible seven walking circuits to take with information detailing the local wine culture and which vineyards are possible to visit.
Accommodation Tip: Simply designed but very chic, the Hôtel Des Voyageurs is in the historical district and is a charmingly aged from the outside, but impressively modern inside.
Note: These rates are based on search queries made on KAYAK.co.uk on September 13th, 2017. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.