23 Nov The Best Things to do in the Somontano Area and around
The Somontano region is a hidden gem located in the North of Spain, at the south of the Pyrenees. This region is full of treasures, offering not only beautiful landscapes, but also an exceptional gastronomy, some amazing wines, and a lot of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, art, and culture. Discover here all the best things to do in the Somontano area and around!
One of the main reasons to come to this region of Huesca, one of the provinces in Aragón, is the Somontano Wine Route. So do not miss it if you are a foodie and a wine enthusiast! But you will see that you can find many other reasons to come here 🙂 .
Somontano means “at the foot of the mountains” and this territory is ideal to cultivate grapes and produce high quality wines. In fact, the cultivation of vineyards is taking place in the Somontano since several centuries before Christ. Therefore, the Somontano Wine Route – Ruta del Vino – is a must do in Spain!
It will allow you to immerse yourself in the culture of wine, getting to know the Somontano county through its heritage and enjoy the gastronomy to the fullest!
Visiting bodegas should be on the top of your list of the things to do in the Somontano area! You will see that it goes beyond wine tasting 🙂 .
Let me share below some of the best wineries to check out.
Bodega Laus was created in 2002. It has an ideal location offering great panoramic views of the Somontano region: vineyards, olive trees and the Pyrenees! Their vineyards are located at a high altitude (between 350 and 400 meters above sea level) which allows them to produce unique white, rosé and red wines. These are fruity, easy to drink and friendly, perfect to pair with comfort food.
The bodega itself looks modern with an avant-garde architecture.
You can visit the Bodega Laus and enjoy some wine tasting every day at 10am, 12pm and 4pm (in English, Spanish or French). It’s recommended to make an appointment before.
And don’t miss their restaurant and their yoga events! Additionally you can also organize your wedding and other events in this beautiful environment.
More info: Bodega Laus
Bodega Viñas del Vero
Bodega Viñas del Vero was created in Somontano in 1986, taking its name from the Vero River, known for its ravines, gorges and canyons.
Nowadays Viñas del Vero is the first bodega in the Somontano in terms of volume and quality of production. Additionally, it has one of the largest areas of its own vineyard in Spain and is one of the reference wineries both for its technology and for the style of its wines.
More info: Bodega Viñas del Vero
In 2000, the company Viñas del Vero founded Blecua, a dedicated winery for the exclusive elaboration of its top-of-the-range wine. Located in an Italian villa from the 19th century nearby Viñas del Vero, the cellar is unique with natural caves formed in the rock. The wine is stored here in barrels for around 20 months, and then in bottles for around 6 years before drinking! The oenologist selects the best barrels to make the iconic Blecua wine. He says he needs to feel a “chispa” (spark in Spanish) to choose a barrel. As a reference a bottle of Blecua is worth around 75€.
More info: Bodega Blecua
Established in 2022, Bodega Enate is both a winery and a museum. Considering the art as the essence of its identity, Enate is pairing each of its wine with a dedicated painting, created on purpose by a contemporary Spanish artist, and featured on the label on each bottle. You can find all these paintings (and more) in the exhibition hall of the winery.
The respect of the environment is also one of the pillars of bodega Enate.
It’s highly recommended to visit this bodega: you will be able to taste some wines, but also enjoy all the pieces of art. Do not miss the giant iron forest “Bosque de Hierro” sculpted by the artists Vicente Garcia Plana in the middle of the vineyards.
More info: Bodega Enate
Bodega Sommos was created in 2014. This avant-garde winery is described as “one of the architectural wonders of the winemaking world”. Built of steel and glass, Bodega Sommos’s original design was built to mimic the shape of the Pyrenees mounts in the background of the building. To be honest, it mostly reminded me of the face of the iconic character Darth Vader in Star Wars. Anyway, it looks super cool!
The equipment of the winery is also ultra-modern and technologic.
You can book wine tasting tours and activities, eat at their restaurant or organize weddings and other celebrations here.
More info: Bodega Sommos
Bodegas Lalanne is the most ancient bodega is the Somontano. Founded in 1842 in France in Bordeaux, the owners moved the first high-quality vineyards to Spain in Barbastro in 1894 because the phylloxera that was ravaging their vineyards. Since then, 6 generations of Spanish decedents of the Lalanne family consolidated the wine making tradition.
Bodegas Lalanne proposes a wide range of wines: red, rosé, white a Brut Nature made with the traditional Champenoise method.
Their San Marcos farm, also called Torre del Americano, is very beautiful and worth the visit! If you are interested, you can also organize your wedding or other private events in their villa.
More info: Bodegas Lalanne
Created in 1964, Pirineos is one of the first bodegas in the Somontano region. Pirineos is a cooperative developing, producing and marketing wines made with the grapes of 162 winegrowers. Most of them have less than 1 hectare of land.
You can visit the founding winery of the Somontano origin and discover its wines in a privileged environment with a guided tour and a wine tasting. It’s necessary to make a reservation.
More info: Bodega Pirineos
Barbastro, located in the province of Huesca, is the main city of the Somontano county. Therefore discovering Barbastro is one of the best things to do in the Somontano area. The city was founded in Roman times.
Best Things to Do in Barbastro
Here are some of the things you can do in Barbastro.
Walking around in the old town will allow you to discover the beautiful architecture and the attractions. The Cathedral – Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Barbastro – from the 16th century (declared a Historic-Artistic Heritage) and the Archaeological Garden around it are a must see. And check out also the Episcopal Palace, the Diocesan Museum, the town hall, the house of Argensola, Casa Latorre and the Baselga house.
If you are in Barbastro during the weekend, do not miss the vegetable and fruit market on Plaza del Mercado. It happens every Saturday and features many local producers.
Best Places to Eat in Barbastro
Additionally you will find a lot of delicious restaurants in Barbastro. I had some amazing lunch and dinner here: the local gastronomy is exceptional and affordable! See below some of the best places to eat in Barbastro.
L’Usuella: an outstanding yet tiny gastronomic restaurant. They have a 5 course menu for only 25€ for lunch. The food was delicious and we paired it with some local wines. As there aren’t many tables, I recommend you book it in advance.
Sabores d’Entonces: this is one of the official bars and restaurants belonging to the Somontano Ruta del Vino (wine route). You can recognize them by the sign on their facade. It’s the perfect place for tapas and wine. They serve glasses of local wine for only 2€ and that price includes free tapas!
Restaurante Nueve is another of the best places for tapas y vinos in Barbastro. It also belongs to the official Somontano wine route. You will find it only at a few meters from l’Usuella.
Trasiego is an exceptional gastronomic restaurant in Barbastro. I had a fantastic dinner paired with a great selection of local wines. Their 5 course gastronomic menu is at 35 euros for dinner.
La Bodega del Vero: this unique restaurant is hidden in the basement of a typical grocery store selling fresh local product like fruits, vegetables, cheese, sausage and more. The atmosphere down there is warm and welcoming, with beautiful wooden furniture, pretty tablecloth, and a fireplace. You will feel like you’re at home! They serve traditional yummy meals from grandma’s kitchen, cooked with the fresh products sold in the grocery store.
Additionally it’s a great place to buy local fresh products to bring back home or eat here.
Wander in some of the most beautiful villages in Spain
As you are on the Somontano Wine Route, you should take the opportunity to visit some of the villages and towns of the area. You will find here some of the most beautiful villages in Spain!
I visited Alquézar and Aínsa and I found them absolutely charming!
Alquézar is a small village in the province of Huesca. It has an ideal situation to the west of the canyon of the Rio Vero in the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Reserve.
The castle/ fort and the 11th century Collegiate church of Santa Maria at the top of the village are two of the main landmarks of Alquézar.
If you are interested in the history of the village and the Somontano region, you should visit the Casa Fabián Ethnological Museum.
All the houses of the village are made of ochre color stones and it’s very photogenic!
Additionally, it’s the departure point for the hike in the pasarelas de Alquézar.
My secret tip: don’t miss the viewpoint Mirador Sonrisa al Viento: it offers a stunning panoramic view over the village and canyons of the Natural Park!
Aínsa is a beautiful medieval village a bit further from the Somontano county. It’s absolutely worth the visit and the detour! It’s located south of the Pyrenees at the north of Huesca.
Best places to see in Aínsa
The charming Old Town of Aínsa was declared a Historic-Artistic site.
The main landmarks to visit here are the 11th-century castle, the 12th-century Romanesque church Iglesia parroquial de Santa María, and the medieval wall protecting the village. In the Santa Maria church, you can admire the cloister and the crypt. But the most interesting part is the bell tower.
Plaza Mayor, the main square of Aínsa, offers a few cafes and restaurants and a view on the church.
Additionally, you might be interested in visiting the Museo de Oficios y Artes Tradicionales (the Museum of Traditional Crafts and Arts). It features an interesting ethnographic collections of ancient tools and objects.
My secret tip: climb to the top of the bell tower of the Santa Maria church to enjoy some stunning panoramic views over the town and the whole area around it!
Best places to eat in Aínsa
By the way, here are the best places to eat in Aínsa.
The restaurant La Carrasca Tapas serves some great local tapas and dishes. The service is friendly, and they have a terrace. It’s an excellent value for money.
And if you want to treat yourself, I recommend the excellent restaurant Callizo. This One Michelin Star restaurant proposes some tasting menus from 95€ offering a journey around the region and the whole world.
Enjoy local gastronomy
As you understood from the previous paragraphs, this area offers amazing gastronomy and wines! So if you are around here, enjoying local cuisine and local wines are obviously some of the best things to do in the Somontano!
On the one hand, you should eat in some of the restaurants I mentioned before. Barbastro and Aínsa provide many great places to eat for example. From great value for money tapas and wine bars to phenomenal gastronomic restaurants, you will find something matching your needs and budget!
On the other hand, the Somontano is a territory blessed with vineyards creating some very good red, white and rose wines. You will miss out if you don’t try them! Head to the first paragraph to know some of the best bodegas to visit in the region.
Last but not least, I recommend going to local markets and grocery stores to try some of the food produced in the area! The Somontano supplies amazing giant tomatoes and peppers, quinces, mushrooms and other delicious fruits and vegetables. And try as well the different varieties of salumis and cheeses!
Hike the Pasarelas de Alquézar
The Pasarelas de Alquézar – aka Pasarelas del Vero – is one of the most famous hikes in Aragon and in Spain! It takes its name from the metal footbridges (pasarelas) built against the cliffs following the Vero river downstream. It’s a must do if you are doing some sightseeing on the Somontano wine route!
On this hike you will walk in the beautiful canyons of the Sierra de Guara National Park. And the nature here is stunning!
The hike starts at the village of Alquézar. The access costs 4€ per person. From the village you will start your descent into the gorge. The ochre color of the rock is fascinating!
Don’t miss the impressive Cueva de Picamartillo! This cave is located on the opposite side of the Barranco de Fuente. You can walk into the cave and stand on a pebble beach in front of it.
On a side note, this area is one of the biggest natural reserves for Griffon vultures in Europe. So remember to look up! You can also hear them.
After the cave, take the pasarelas to walk the rest of the hike along the Vero river. You will find a beautiful waterfall on your way, as well as an old dam and the old hydroelectric power station of Alquézar.
At the end of the hike you can get some beautiful panoramic views over the National Park and over the village of Alquézar from a viewing platform.
The level of this hike is moderate and will take you around 1h30 to do it.
FYI it might not be recommend for people afraid of heights as the pasarelas are hanging above the river.
Location: Pasarelas de Alquézar
Explore further: Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park
If you are in the Somontano area, take the opportunity to explore further to the North of Huesca, and get closer to the Pyrenees. One of the best places to visit if you like hiking, the outdoors and the mountains is the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park.
To wander in this National Park, you can take one of the 22 routes with different difficulties and altitudes from 700 to more than 3,000 metres. They will take amongst the four beautiful valleys: Añisclo, Escueta, Ordesa and Picuaín. You will some waterfalls and a luxurious flora and fauna.
Additionally, the Monte Perdido peak features a glacier at an altitude of 2,590 metres. You can hike it following the Balcón de Pineta route.
Lastly one of the highlights of this hike is the Hermitage of San Úrbez. The current monastery was built in the rock in the 12th century, on the site of the 9th-century hermitage of Saint Urbicius.
Locations: Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park and Hermitage of San Úrbez