Bodegas of Aranda de Duero
A network of hundreds of interconnected wineries in caves hides under the town center.
Aranda de Duero is a small town, where just about everywhere worth going is within walking distance. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from one end of the town to the other, but quite a bit longer if you choose to stop off to eat, drink, and socialise along the way—which is almost inevitable.
A provincial town about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Madrid, Aranda is the capital of the Ribera del Duero wine region (which is also famous for its lamb dishes). While there are many interesting places to visit nearby—Roman ruins, castles, walled villages, and so on—what makes Aranda so unique is the extensive network of underground wine cellars that interconnect below the streets of the town centre.
Used since the Middle Ages, there are currently about 135 cave-based wine cellars, or “bodegas,” under Aranda del Duero (many others have either collapsed or are no longer used for winemaking). The 5-mile-long network of caves is about 24 to 33 feet deep. Most of the cellars are interconnected and divided just by wooden doors.
Many of these cavernous wineries offer guided tours and tastings, and obviously all will try to sell you their wine (which is hard to resist). The winery of Don Carlos, built in the 15th century, invites visitors to explore the cave as part of a performance by costumed actors. Wine clubs, called “peñas,” celebrate special events in these cellars and these clubs are clearly marked at street level. The bodegas were designated as ”Assets of Cultural Interest” by the Spanish Government in 2015.
Know Before You Go
While in Aranda also check out the fantastic tile work on the 19th century bar, El Rincon de Cruz Blanca.
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