A holiday with sparkle: Get into the festive spirit with a visit to Europe's finest spots for fizz

It's easier than ever to cut straight to the source of Europe's wine regions

Nothing indicates party time like a bottle of bubbly. Other than - you know - multiple bottles of bubbly, or bubbly everywhere you look.

Now, it's easier than ever to cut straight to the source, as Europe's wine regions get better at looking after tourists. Here are five places you can guzzle the fizzy stuff down with your breakfast, lunch or dinner and fill your suitcases for next Christmas - whatever your budget, whatever your tipple.

Prosecco - Italy

In the dark days of recession, prosecco has put the fizz back into the bubbly market; Majestic Wine recently reported a 39 per cent increase in sales in the past year. Italy's foremost sparkling wine is produced in the northern regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia; to head to the source, catch a Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com) flight to Venice Treviso, pick up a car and head for the hills of Veneto, 30 minutes away.

Up here, the wiggly Strada del Prosecco is a 25-mile road, laden with vines and dreamy lunches. At Trattoria alla Tripolitania, a spread of skewered meats, garlicky snails, saucy pasta and prosecco costs £20 a head (00 39 0438 894112; trattoria allatripolitania.com). For a DIY wine tour, the Strada's Association has a website - coneglianovaldobbiadene. it - that can point you in the direction of bubbles and beds.

But if time is tight, Veneto Tours has a daytrip out of Venice, with cellar tours and tastings, for €140pp (theothersideofvenice.com).

Cava - Spain

Fuller and drier than prosecco, the other affordable fizz, cava, hails from the sun-drenched fields of Catalonia, but comes into its own in the big city of Barcelona. In the beachy area of Barceloneta, Can Paixano (00 34 93 310 08 39;canpaix ano.com) is a cool, crammed sailors' tavern where €1.50 glasses of signature cava slip down best with jamon-filled bocadillos and croquetas.

There's a similar vibe at El Xampanyet (00 34 933 19 70 03) in the trendy El Born neighbourhood - no bookings, just a lovely, noisy kind of cava chaos, and a few delicious snacks on the side.


In Poble-Sec, just outside of the city, El Rincon del Cava (00 34 934 41 70 31; rincondelcava.es) has piles of calamari, chorizo and meatballs, and bottles of cava rosada (pink) for less than €5. If you do want to dig a little deeper, giant cava house Freixenet runs tours of its super-cool Catalonian caves in Sant Sadurní - you can book tickets for €5.50 via the tourist board (barcelonaturisme.com).

Champagne - France

Sparkle purists will settle for nothing less than the wines produced in the Champagne region, under the strict laws of the appellation, and France's watchful eye. In the most famous wine region on earth, tour operators step up to the mark. Arblaster & Clarke (01730 263 111; winetours.co.uk) offers a classic champagne weekend: over three days, you get to taste 25 champagnes from a crosssection of houses, and drink fizz with your scrambled eggs each morning; the trips cost from £499 with Eurotunnel crossings, but you can scale up with Michelin-star meals.

Or, try Grape Escapes (08456 430 860, grapeescapes.net), which will pour in a stay at a chateau. A twonight "Exclusive Reims" tour starts at £1,104 with accommodation at the five-star Château les Crayères, dinner at its Michelin-starred restaurants, plus tastings including a private tour of Dom Perignon. Travel not included.

Moscato d'Asti - Italy

The northern Italian region of Piedmont is beloved of big eaters everywhere; the white truffles are legendary, the hazelnuts incomparable (and often blended with smooth chocolate to form gianduja), and the tajarin - a type of ribbony pasta - is one of the yolkiest of them all. The sweet, gently uplifting sparkling wine from the town of Asti completes the feast.

La Villa is a gorgeous 17th-century palazzo 30 minutes from Asti; lofty double rooms cost from £160 (00 39 0141 793 890; lavillahotel.net). Or, let BK Wine Tours (00 33 680 453 570; bkwinetours.com) help you to work your way through the major foodstuffs - a five-day trip based in Asti, with vineyard visits, tastings and three lunches costs from €1,450pp.

English sparkling wine - UK

Our home-grown fizz is giving champagne a run for its money, so much so that the Duchess of Cornwall has called for a grander label than simply "English sparkling wine".

In Sussex, the English Wine Centre (01323 870164; englishwine.co.uk) runs monthly tutored tastings at its shop, which you can combine with a stay in a beautifully converted barn, for £135 per double. From here, it's a 30-minute drive to Bolney Wine Estate (01444 881 575; bolnetwine estate.com), where you can sip award winners with scones in the café, and take a guided tour from £16. And Ridgeview has reported a good 2013; it offers guided tours too, for £15 (0845 345 7292; ridgeview.co.uk).

There's also a self-guided wine trail you can follow (bit.ly/SEWINE-Tour), taking in such highlights as Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey and the Chapel Down Winery in Kent.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes