Visit Rioja, a wine-growing region of Spain
The Romans founded Logroño in the 2nd century, capital of the Rioja wine region. Three centuries later, the region will integrate the Spanish crown.
Long before the formation of the Pyrenees, dinosaurs left traces along the Cidacos River in the eastern part of the province, making Rioja one of the most interesting paleontological territories.
The Route des Dinosaures has been created to visit several sites and a paleontology museum located in the city of Igea.
The crossing of the Rioja along the Route of Santiago de Compostela, one of the three great pilgrimages of Christianity from the 11th century onwards, was at the origin of the region’s economic development.
Two routes cross the Rioja, the most popular French route from Roncesvalles and Pamplona pass through Logroño to reach Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The second arrival from Irún at the French border joins Vitoria-Gasteiz before also reaching Santo Domingo, the most frequented place of pilgrims in Rioja.
The final stage is located in Grañón between Logroño and Burgos. Many villages on this spiritual path have pensions available to walkers.
Nature lovers will not miss Sierra Cebollera Park, a place with many varieties of native trees, mammals and birds. As for the Rioja Biosphere Reserve, it covers 24% of the territory and concerns 40 municipalities in the south-east of Rioja.
The wine-growing region, the Rioja vineyards, which benefit from the rare” appellation d’ origine Qualified Designation of Origin”, have acquired an international reputation…
Stages of La Rioja
On the banks of the Ebro, the longest Spanish river, Logroño is a secular stage of the Camino Francés on the Pilgrimage Route of Compostela, to which the city owes a part of its opulence.
Mais Logroño, a green city with numerous urban parks, is also the capital of Rioja’s wines whose vineyards, the only one with the Priorat a Catalan wine, also boasts a D. O. C., a qualified appellation of origin, more rigorous than an AOC.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada
50 km west of Logroño.
Santo Domingo is the capital of Rioja Alta, Santo Domingo is one of the most important cities in Rioja, where the footprint of the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago de Compostela is present. Founded in 1044 by Santo Domingo, it keeps in the intertwined narrow streets of the medieval center, an important historical heritage. We discover the ancient ramparts, the co-cathedral and the old pilgrims’ hospital.
On the way to Compostela, pilgrims used to rest in the Hojuela woods near the banks of the River Oja. It is this place that Santo Domingo chooses to build a bridge over the river, then erect an inn and a hermitage and hospital. This small urban nucleus at the foot of the Sierra de la Demanda and Mount Yuso was at the origin of a village to which Alfonso XI conceded the title of city in 1334.
Cocathedral with those of Logroño and Calahorra, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, in Gothic style, was built in 1158 on the Plaza del Santo at the site of the original hermitage. A square that also offers a harmonious mix of several styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance.
11 km west of Logroño.
The pilgrim on his way to Compostela crosses the main street of this medieval town situated a few kilometres from Logroño. This street, because of its historical and artistic value, is considered to be of cultural interest in Spain.
As can be seen from its many houses and palaces decorated with shields and coats of arms, Navarrete, a major stopover in the’ Camino Francés’, became a major conurbation in the 12th century. An edifice not to be missed during a stopover in the city: the church with three naves of the Asunción dating from the 16th century.
40 km west of Logroño.
It was at the instigation of King Sancho III, who in the eleventh century decided on the itinerary of the Way of Compostela for her, that Nájera became a stopover of the Camino.
One of the banks of the river Najerilla which cuts the city in two, proposes an imposing construction: the monastery of Santa María la Real built in 1032. Restored several times, it retains an aspect of fortress that contrasts with the ornamental harmony of the cloister of Caballeros, so named for the large number of knights who decided to be buried there.
In front of the monastery, the Historical and Archaeological Museum of Nájera offers exhibitions dedicated to prehistory, Roman and medieval times, ethnography and painting.
65 km northwest of Logroño.
Land of wines, vineyards constitute the landscapes and the cellars are numerous to visit. Wine is both the city’s cultural and economic driving force. Moreover, the municipality has created a museum entirely dedicated to the surrounding vineyards.
On June 29th of each year, the city’s streets welcome the’ Battle of Wine’, its most famous festival. In this festive fight, the participants, divided into two opposing groups, water each other with several thousand litres of wine.
This does not in any way prevent visits to its basilica Nuestra Señora de Haro and its large baroque altar, the palace of the counts of Haro, also in baroque style, the 16th century Plateresque palace of Beldaña, the church of Santo Tomás or the municipal archives which contain documents dating from the 13th century.
75 km southeast of Logroño.
On a hill overlooking the Cidacos valley, Calahorra, of Roman origin and the main city of Rioja Baja, presides over a region of orchards.
Calahorra was an important Roman city until the Middle Ages, named Calagurris Iulia Nasica. It is also the city of the great rhetorical master Marcu Fabius Quintilianus whose statue was erected in front of the town hall.
The historic centre preserves numerous testimonies of its past, such as the Cathedral of Santa María in flamboyant gothic style, the 16th century porch decorated with alabaster sculptures and the Plateresque San Jeronímo doorway. Co-cathedral with those of Logroño and Santo Domingo de la Calzada, its museum houses paintings, goldsmiths, a 12th century Bible, among others…
On the Plaza del Raso, the ancient Roman forum, we discover the Santiago church, the most beautiful example of the neoclassical style of Rioja.
As for the city’s museum dedicated to the Roman period, it contains almost 11,000 archaeological pieces, including the famous Dama Calagurritana, a marble bust, emblem of the city and dating back to Roman times.
50 km southeast of Logroño.
Located in the Cidacos Valley, Arnedo is the third largest city in Rioja. With its ancient origins, the city owes its current development to the shoe industry.
An activity so important that a museum was dedicated to it. You will discover the tools and utensils related to the handcrafted manufacture of footwear.
Arnedo also possesses a historical and artistic heritage through its medieval castle, the palace house of Archbishop Argaiz of 1678, the palace in the modernist style of the Baroness of Benasque, or the monastery of Vico, on which it is said that in 1045 the Virgin appeared to an Arab chief.
15 km south of Logroño.
This curious rock formation of red color is 400 meters high. Sculpted by erosion and wind, it can be seen from Logroño and is one of the most visited natural monuments in the region.
This set of rocks is ideal for climbing and hiking. It is covered by several paths from which one can see different species of raptors, in particular vultures.