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Travel to La Rioja, so much more than just wine

  • La Rioja, Spain, La Rioja, Spain
    © iStockphoto.com / Angusben
  • La Rioja, Spain
    © Albertoloyo / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Spain

There's certainly more to La Rioja than its vineyards, although the importance of the latter can sometimes overshadow the region's other assets, which you'll soon appreciate once you've finished sampling the local wine. Indeed, this is one wine of protected geographical status that very few palates can resist! La Rioja does, nevertheless, boast countless other assets, despite the fact that it is a small peninsular region.

La Rioja: the key figures

Surface area : 5045.0 km2

Population : 323609 inhabitants

  • Lovers of fine wine will be in their element here.
  • The extreme temperatures in some parts

La Rioja: what to visit?

Landscapes

  • Agricultural and viticultural areas , Agriculture, La Rioja , Spain
    Agricultural and viticultural areas
  • Los Cameros, valleys and mountains , Spain
    Los Cameros, valleys and mountains
  • Sierras of Toloño and Urbión

The fauna and flora

  • Storks and other animal species in Sotos de Ebro , Spain
    Storks and other animal species in Sotos de Ebro
  • The Sierra de Cebollera park , Spain
    The Sierra de Cebollera park
  • The valleys of the Rioja Baja , Spain
    The valleys of the Rioja Baja
  • The valleys of the Rioja Baja , Spain

Arts and culture

  • San Andrés Ethnographic Museum
  • Wine-growing , Spain
    Wine-growing
  • Museo de la Trashumancia ('Museum of Seasonal Migration')

Monuments

  • Cornago Castle
  • Yuso and Suso Monasteries , Spain
    Yuso and Suso Monasteries
  • Yuso and Suso Monasteries , Spain

La Rioja: what to buy?

Needless to say, the best thing to buy in the Rioja region is wine. A good bottle of wine is easy to come by anywhere in the region, whether you buy it from a cellar, an enoteca or a market. Likewise, wine enthusiasts visiting the region may also wish to take the opportunity to pick up some related accessories since many of the wine shops here also sell corkscrews, decanters, glasses, sommelier knives and anything else you could possibly need to serve and savour your wine as you should.

La Rioja: what to eat?

La Rioja-style potatoes (a hotpot consisting primarily of potatoes and paprika) and La Rioja-style chorizo sausage are the main culinary delights to be enjoyed here. Having said that, the real star of any Riojan table is undoubtedly the wine. Red or white, young or more refined, the Rioja provides ideal wine-growing conditions as far as the land (which makes for excellent viticultural conditions), the grape (particularly the Tempranillo variety), the climate (which is perfect for the growth of the vines) and the expertise of the region's winegrowers and producers are concerned. In fact, La Rioja is Spain's answer to Bordeaux - a region which lives for and through its wines and where a visit to a wine cellar is top of the 'to-do' list for visitors to the area. There are also a great many wine routes you can follow and almost all of the wine cellars in the region are open to the public.

La Rioja: travel tips

This is a region marked with a succession of hills, mountains and other precipitous landscapes, such as the Sierra de Toloño, and all of this accompanied by forest-covered massifs as far as the eye can see? Welcome to La Rioja. The cradle of Spain's wine country, one of the valleys rich with vineyards is that of Najerilla. Every town displays traces of oenology and offers the possibility to taste some Spanish wines, accompanied by many different types of appetisers. Among the cities, a stop in Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, is essential. Stroll along Mayor Street or around Martínez Zaporta Square, where the night life is fantastic. For those with a thirst for knowledge, the region has a cultural heritage that is more than satisfactory. The stone bridge, the Murallas de Revellín (city walls), the Concathedral, etc.: curious visitors will have a lot to choose from.

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