One of the tiniest regions in Spain but surely
with an international name due to its extraordinary
wines. Its name coms from the river 'Río
Oja' that crosses this region. There are several
different parts in this region: Rioja alta
(high rioja) is humid and mountainy; the 'Rioja
baja' (lower rioja) has a mediterranean climate;
'Rioja Alavesa' is the side that neighbours
the Basque Country.
Among the touristic routes of the region we
suggest the following: the
monastery route, the
dinosaur route , the
wine route and the always attractive possibility
of going skiing to Valdezcaray, or following
the part of the pilgrim's trail of the 'Camino
de Santiago' (the French path) that crosses
Logroño, the capital of the region.
of Gonzalo de Berceo, the first ever in Spanish
Celebrations: San Mateo,
September 20th to 26th.
Monuments: Co-cathedral 'Santa María
de La Redonda', church of 'Santiago el Real',
Palace of 'Espartero' (today Museum of La
Rioja), church of 'San Bartolomé',
Fine Arts museum, convent of 'La Merced',
convent of 'La Madre de Dios'.
'San Millán de la Cogolla' is part
of UNESCO World Heritage since 1997. Small
town with the monasteries of Suso and Yuso
where Spanish language seems to have its roots.
The monasteries have romanic and Arab influence.
'Suso' monastery (centuries 5th to 14th) is
placed at the high part of the town and was
home to the stone carved graves of the seven
princes of Lara as well as the empty grave
of San Millán. In this monastery the
poet and writer Gonzalo de Berceo wrote the
first verses in Spanish ever. 'Yuso' monstery,
on the lower side, with a barroque door is
also an interesting site.
Food: the food of La Rioja is among
the best in the country. It has a very rich
and distinctive identity. Very typical are
the potatoes with chorizo, 'callos a la riojana'
(tripe), 'asadurilla de cordero' (lamb roast),
'pimientos rellenos' (filled peppers), 'caracoles'
(snails), 'pochas con codorniz', 'menestra
de verdura' (vegetable mix), 'chuletas al
sarmiento'. There's not much to add to what
many critics have already said about the excellent
wines form this region. The reds are dark
and intense and they are responsible for having
taken the name of La Rioja around the world,
but the whites and rosé are also good.
The most important wineries are in Haro, Cenicero
and Fuenmayor, to mention a few.
Route of the monasteries
Route of the dinosaurs
Departing from the center of San Millán,
you can do an easy route visting all monasteries
as they are all relatively near from one
another. 27 Km from Logroño in Nájera,
you will find the monastery of 'Santa María
la Real', a national monument. A few kilometres
from there you have 'San Millán'
nearby to the monasteries of 'Yuso' and
'Suso'. Not far —in Valvanera—
you can visit the monastery that guards
the 'Patrona de La Rioja'. Further on is
the 'Monasterio de Cañas', with a
good sample of art from 'Císter'.
In Enciso you will find the "Jurasic
Park" of the region. A research site
of paleontology among the most important in
Europe. A route of over 23 kilometres full
with dinoasur's fooprints. At Virgen del Campo
excavation site, footprints of iguanodonts,
carnosaurs and tiranosaur rex have been found.
Logo of the Official Regulation
Comitee of the wines from La Rioja >
Route of Rioja wines (Rioja Alta,
Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Baja)
In Logroño you will find the wineries
of 'Campo Viejo' which produce wines like
the 'Marqués de Villamagna, Gran
Reserva 94' or 'Viña Alcorta Reserva
95' to name a couple. Also in Logroño
are 'Bodegas Olarra' and 'Bodegas Franco
Españolas'. If you take the N-232
road to Fuenmayor, you will find 'Bodegas
AGE', 'Bodegas Marqués del Puerto'
and 'Bodegas LAN'. In Cenicero are the headqueaters
of 'Bodegas Berberana' and 'Bodegas Riojanas'.
San Asensio is known for its production
of 'clarete' wine and it's where every year
they celebrate the 'Batalla del clarete'
(a battle with wine as a weapon that takes
place every July 25th). In the village of
Ollauri you will find the famous winery
'Bodegas Marqués de Griñón'.
In Haro, 'Bodegas Muga', 'Federico Paternina',
'Bilbaína', etc. and the Wine Museum.