Logroño, capital of Rioja
On the banks of the Ebro, Spain’s longest river, Logroño is an important traditional stop on the’Camino francés’, the French pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.
Although the city’s history is closely linked to that of the pilgrimage, its present opulence is mainly due to its position as the capital of the Rioja wine region.
As a green city, Logroño is endowed with numerous urban parks, including El Parque del Ebro, between the historical centre and the river, the Isla river on the banks of the Ebro, the Parque del Espolón on the edge of the city centre or the Parque del Carmen known for its rich flora and fauna.
Traditionally a wine-growing region, the wines of La Rioja, whose reputation has long since crossed the Spanish border, now enjoy a controlled designation of origin.
The stone bridge
The key to the development of the city, El Puente de Piedra has allowed for centuries the entrance of Logroño to the pilgrims of Compostela.
If the current arches date from the 1880s, the original structure would date from the 11th century and would have been rebuilt in the 12th century by San Juan de Ortega, the holy builder. According to an 18th century writing, it had twelve arches and three guard towers.
La Rúa Vieja
After crossing the Puente de Piedra, pilgrims traditionally used the “Rúa Vieja”, whose tile shells on the ground indicate the holy way to enter the medieval city.
In this street lined with old houses, we discover the “Albergue de Perigrinos”, then at the end, under an armoured pediment, the “Fuente de los Perigrinos” and the imposing church of Santiago still assisting the pilgrims who, in summer, still cross this street by hundreds.
This was in the past, as evidenced by the blazons still visible on the facades of some houses, a very active and commercial street.
The Fuente del Peregrino
The Pilgrim’s Fountain is located Calle de Boterias next to the Plaza del Juego de la Oca. This square is paved with a giant mosaic representing a game of the goose.
Known as Fuente de Santiago or del Camino, its construction dates back to 1675, when it was rebuilt. The fountain can be accessed from the steps below an armoured pediment.
Plaza del Juego de la Oca Plaza
For some, the game of the goose was invented by the Knights Templar in the 11th century and is also largely inspired by the Way of Compostela.
For them, the game began in Logroño; on the mosaics of the square, there are as many squares as steps and the most representative monuments are also represented.
Crossing the historic centre of Logroño, its name comes from the many porches that it has in its southern part.
Some of the most important buildings and monuments of the city can be found here: the Rioja Parliament, the library, the Rioja Museum, the Santa María de la Redonda Cathedral and the Chapitales Palace.
Plaza del Mercado
Next door to Calle Portales, the place where the inhabitants of Logroño meet, the city’s night festivals generally take place.
Calle del Laurel
Also known as the Elephant Trail, this popular street is popular for its many bars and restaurants.
San Juan Street
Above the Paseo del Espolón park, it has the same similarities as the Calle del Laurel. However, on the night of San Juan, Saint John’s Day, there is a meal that lasts all night.
The Revellín Gate
Of the gates that existed the ancient fortifications of the city, it is the only one still visible.
It is in the Espartero Palace, an 18th century baroque building, that the Rioja Museum welcomes its visitors.
The museum occupies just over 1000 m2 of the 3000 square metres of the building. The first floor offers a journey back in time, up to prehistory and the Roman era in different fields: economy, beliefs and religious worship.
On the second floor: collections of archaeological pieces and an exhibition on the fine arts in the Middle Ages from the Renaissance to the Baroque including paintings on wood from San Milán and the altarpiece of Torremuña.
The third floor houses collections of nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century paintings.
Access : Plaza de San Augustín.
Opening hours : Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm and from 4pm to 9pm – Sunday and public holidays: from 10am to 2pm. Free admission.
Co-cathedral Santa María de la Redonda
In the heart of the historic quarter, the 15th century Cathedral of Santa María la Redonda unfolds its immense twin baroque towers on the Plaza del Mercado, the centre of the city’s night-time festivities.
Renovated in the 15th and 16th centuries and at the end of the 19th century, Santa María de la Redonda was built on the remains of a 12th century Romanesque temple.
It became a co-cathedral in 1959 with those of Santo Domingo de la Calzada in Rioja Alta and Calahorra in Rioja Baja, and has three naves and three polygonal apses. Its interior has several chapels and tombs.
Access : Calle Portales, 14.
Opening hours : Monday to Saturday from 8am to 1pm and from 6:30pm to 8:45pm. Sundays and public holidays from 9am to 2pm and from 6:30pm to 8:45pm. Free admission.
Church of Santiago el Real
Located on Calle Barriodepo in the extension of Rúa Vieja, it reflects the importance of the Compostela road for the city. Built in the 16th century, the imposing building has only one nave.
On its facade, we can see an image of Santiago Matamoros who distinguished himself against the Muslims at the battle of Clavojo in 844. The Virgen de la Esperanza, patroness of Logroño, is venerated there.
Opening hours : every day from 8:15 am to 1:15 pm and from 4:30 pm to 7pm.