The strong Spanish sun and electric blue sky reflect off the rolling green hills. There are olive groves in every direction, as far as the eye can see. You take a deep breath and inhale the uncanny scent of fresh olive trees while admiring the beauty around you. Welcome to Spanish olive oil country! With summer just around the corner, you’re probably already thinking about where to go. Think no more; Spanish olive oil country is the perfect destination for foodies and nature lovers alike. Get your summer travel bucket list out...you’re going to want to add these stunning Spanish olive oil regions to the top of your list!
Think of Andalucía as the olive oil promise land. We’re not kidding: Did you know that the coastal region of Andalucia produces a whopping 75% of all olive oil produced in Spain?! Not to mention, it’s the home of La Española! The Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters combined with the rich soil make Andalucia the ideal home to cultivate premium olives. While there, be sure to sample olive oil made by all the different types of homegrown olives: Picual, Hojiblanca, Picudo, Lechín, and Verdial. See if you can taste the difference between each variety!
We recommend renting a car, and doing an olive oil tasting tour through the region’s top olive oil cities: Jaén, Córdoba, and Seville. You’ll be amazed at the miles upon miles of never-ending olive groves! Spend the day driving into the picturesque countryside while sampling olive oils from family-run farms and factories, and night wandering the charming cobblestone streets of each city’s old town. And don’t forget, while you’re in Seville, be sure to swing by La Española and see where the magic happens!
Castilla La Mancha
Castilla La Mancha is the second largest producer of Spanish olive oil, producing 14% of all the country’s “liquid gold”. Most of the olive oil production lives in beautiful Toledo and Ciudad Real. What’s unique about this province’s olive oil is that it’s made from the Cornicabra olive variety, which is intensely aromatic with fruity notes.
We recommend taking a day (or two!) trip from Madrid and drive out to close-by Toledo. On your way to the picturesque medieval city, stop along the way to try locally grown olive oil straight from “grove to table”.
For those of you who like to truly go off-the-beaten-path, head to Extremadura. Lying between Andalucia and the border of Portugal, you’ll see rural parts of the country that most tourists never see. Extremadura produces the third largest amount of the country’s olive oil, along with much of the country’s famous jamon iberico (Spanish cured ham). Olive groves are wedged between whitewashed mountain pueblos, free-roaming Iberian pigs and sheep.
We recommend going on a self-guided food tour through Extremadura’s villages, trying locally produced olive oil, paprika, cheese and jamón de bellota (premium jamón made from acorn-fed pigs). Some beautiful white villages to put on your list that are only 1.5 hours from Seville are Jerez de los Caballeros and Fregenal de la Sierra.
Can you taste the olive oil? Where is going to be #1 on your summer travel bucket list?!