Visit La Rioja
Whenever we think of La Rioja, they come to mind their great wines and their hundreds of wineries, most of them over a hundred years old.
However, we cannot forget other aspects that characterize this region as its landscape with predominance of vines, multicoloured during some seasons. It also highlights its charming villages and its varied cuisine, very rich in sausages and cheeses, without forgetting the vegetables from La Rioja Baja.
Photography: James Sturcke
Our trip starts in Haro, where our cheesery Los Cameros is located. It is strongly recommended to visit the Barrio de la Estación with the largest concentration of centenary wineries in the world, all of them built around the railway station. It is known as the Golden Mile of Rioja wine. Every two years a special tasting takes place in the Barrio de la Estación, a highly recommended event if you wish to discover all the wineries in a single day as their facilities can be visited while tasting their best wines.
We also recommend you to visit the parish church Santo Tomás Apóstol, declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument, and the baroque basilica Nuestra Señora de la Vega, the patron Virgin of Haro. Besides there are lots of palaces scattered throughout the town: Palacio de los Salazar, Palacio de las Sevillanas, Palacio de los Pisones or Palacio de los Condes de Haro, among others. In order to end the day with a good taste in your mind, there is nothing better than going to La Herradura and tasting an excellent D.O.Ca. Rioja wine and some tasty tapas.
We are now focusing our attention in Briones, located on an 80 meters-high hill that makes it visible several kilometers away. Its emblazoned houses, its old fortress and its palaces will transport us to a different time. Also its amazing views will surprise us.
The Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture is also in Briones. It has five permanent exhibition areas, a temporary exhibition room and the Bacchus Garden with nothing less than 220 vine’s varieties from all over the world. It is the perfect place to discover the wine’s world interactively.
Another town that you cannot miss is Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Especially the Cathedral, from the beginning of the 12th century. It was started in a Gothic style but it also has some elements of Romanesque, Baroque and Renaissance origin. Inside you can admire the main altarpiece and the sepulcher with the carving of the Saint. But what perhaps catches our attention is finding a henhouse in the church. This is because Santo Domingo is credited with the miracle of achieving that a hen flew after being roasted to prove the innocence of a pilgrim accused of having stolen it. Over time the popular saying became “Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where the hen sang after being roasted”.
Photography: Joan Vendrell
We are now moving to Nájera. The convent of Santa Elena, the monastery of Santa María La Real, the caves of the Castle and the Santa Cruz church are some of the most important monuments.
Also very popular in La Rioja Alta is the ski resort of Valdezcaray. The beautiful village of Ezcaray can be found closely. We invite you to go for a walk through its streets and enjoy its architecture and charm.
A few kilometers away, it is possible to visit the impressive Monasteries of Suso and Yuso in San Millán de la Cogolla. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is one of the cradles of Spanish. Gonzalo de Berceo, a monk of this monastery, was also the first renowned poet that wrote in Spanish. Hence its importance not only architectural but also cultural and literary.