If you’re a wine fan, then of course you’ll know about Rioja and other famous Spainish wines. But Nothern Spain also has some unique wines and drinks and for that reason you must try if you’re visiting this region. The Basque region, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia are all different as are the drinks you can enjoy whilst visiting them. Here are some of the best drinks in northern Spain.

Is alcohol cheap in Spain?

Yes, i fact alcohol is cheaper in Spain than almost anywhere in western Europe. Spain produces a lot of cheap wine and while therewe were able to purchase a glass of wine from restaurants and cafes for around 2 euros. While small beers (around 330ml) were sometimes only a euro. If you like drinking on sunny terraces then Spain could be a good option for your next trip.

What is the national drink of Spain?

Sangria is the national drink of Spain although it comes in many iterations depending on where you are in the country. In the north of Spain Tinto de Verano (summer drink) is ubiquitous. This version is less heavy than its cousin with loads of ice.

Can you walk around drinking alcohol?

Legally no. Does everyone still do it? Yes. Some cities such as Barcelona have cracked down in recent years. Stay away from religious or cultural sites. If you want to walk around with a drink I would suggest you do it subtly and don’t have a large or strong quantity. Thinking a bottle of vodka or wine is a no, small beer you won’t get bothered.

These are our favourite drinks.

1. Txakoli – Basque wine

Best drinks of Northern Spain pintxos bar
Pintxos in Bilbao

Txakoli (pronounced cha-co-li) is a wine predominately found in the Basque region. Its normally white and is ever so lightly fizzy. It reminds me of the popular Portuguese tipple, Vinho Verde. It has a lower alcohol content than other wines so is perfect to enjoy alongside a few delicious pintxos. We found this wine in Cantabria where it is called Chacoli.

2. Kalimotxo – a refreshing red wine cola combination

Kalimotxo (pronounced Cal-i-moch-o). This is a delightful cold long drink. Its normally made in a large glass and is a mix of red wine (vino tinto) and coca cola in equal measure and poured over ice. It’s mainly found in the Basque region but you could order it anywhere and therefore be understood. It is one of the most refreshing drinks found in northern Spain.

3. Tinto de Verano – similar to Sangria, one of the best drinks of Northern Spain for the ladies

Tinto de Verano (Summer Wine) is very similar to Sangria and the two are sometimes interchangeable. It is red wine and soda, normally lemonade served over ice with a nice slice of lemon as result fabulous on the beach or as an afternoon drink.

4. Chardonnay in Cantabria – an oaky white wine

bottle of chardonay at vineyard Best drinks of Northern Spain

Cantabria may not be renowned for wine, but we found there is a smattering of vineyards or bodegas across the region. I visited a small bodega called Bodegas Vidular near the delightful coastal town of Noja. The host was lovely and there were lots of places to sit and sample the wine.

The two white wines they sell are both Chardonnay mix, one with Albraiño and the other with Trexidura. Both were refreshing, light, fruity and highly drinkable. They were really some of the best drinks in Northern Spain. You can find visiting info for the vineyard here.

5. Sidra – a Asturian institution, an unual drink in Northern Spain

Sidra (pronounced See-dra) is a cider found in Asturias. Here you will notice that most of the bars and restaurants are called Siderias. In Asturias, the bar staff will insist on pouring your sidra for you. This must be done accordingly from shoulder height and with great panache as shown below!

Sidra Best drinks of Northern Spain
Pouring Sidra in Bar Sideria Armistad Llanes

Dont be alarmed if the bar staff throw away any remaining sidra in your glass, its best drunk fresh after pouring as the bubbles make it taste less acidic as a result, a bottle is around 4 euros. We loved the atmosphere behind this unique drink and think it is one of the best drinks in Northern Spain.

6. Alboriño in Galicia – a crisp white wine

Galicia is a seafood lovers paradise. Here you can get Pulpo (octopus) which pairs wonderfully with a crisp cold glass of Albariño. In most restaurants and bars in Galicia, you’ll be served Albariño if you ask for white wine. As an example they range in quality, but you can get a decent glass for just over 2 euro.

meal with squid and albraino wine
Albraiño at a Pulperia in Galicia

Many people assume the legal drinking age to be low in Spain but it’s actually 18. This includes grocery stores and places like bars and restaurants.

Do Spanish people drink a lot?

The good weather in Spain allows all round drinking. But what is not seen as much comapred to northern European countries is the antisocial behaviour from excessive drinking. Most people in Spain will only have their first drink when they are 16 years old. As Spain produces its own wine there has been a traditon of drinking going back thousands of years.

In conclusion the drinks of Northern Spain are delicious. Do you think we have missed some of the best drinks of Northern Spain off this list? Let us know in the comment below.

Intested in fine dining? Read more about our food a drink guide to Michelin Star Restaurant experience ar Eirado in Pontevedra Spain here.

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3 responses to “Camino Norte, best drinks of Northern Spain”

  1. […] For advice on what to drink in Nothern Spain, have a peruse of my blog on this very topic. […]

  2. […] other must do, is to sample the tapas and wine. There are also some upscale restaurants serving a more a la carte experience. The best streets for […]

  3. […] final course, the dessert. Genius! I can see this trend taking off. We opted for the 7 course with lots of drinks which came to 40 euros per person, which is a total bargain! Highlight from the menu would be giant […]

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