In La Rioja, wine is much more than just a beverage, it is a shared culture. In La Rioja, everything focuses on a single star product … Wine. Park conversations, people´s lives, the news … even the name of the region is related to wine. Wine is culture, a way of life that you can experience for yourself when you visit La Rioja.
You don´t have to know a lot about wine, in fact, you don´t even have to like it ! Wine tourism is packed with many different exciting activities to cater to all types of visitors. Your can visit a vineyard to learn about the hard work that goes into wine production, practice sports surrounded by vines, see what it is like to tread grapes or perform other typical tasks related with winemaking. You will obviously be able to visit a winery or two, or three … Bear in mind that out of the over 500 wineries in the region, more than 80 offer the possibility to visit them to tourists.
You can also admire the treasures of the wine museum and see how fun learning is while attending a winetasting course. Wine is for sharing and it is best paired with the rich gastronomy of the area. Having lunch at a bodega or enjoying a delicious menu where each dish is paired with an specific wine is a unique experience. But there is much more to wine tourism than just wining and dining, you don´t need to drink wine to enjoy it. A wine therapy treatment maximising the antioxidant properties found in the Rioja grapes is another exciting possibility. Do you like the idea ?
But La rioja also offers many other possibilities apart from wine and winemaking. In addition to experiencing the vineyards and wineries, plus the beautiful landscape, there are festivivities, popular festivals, vintage car exhibitions, sports marathons or personalised excursions. Inns, country houses and hotels, welcoming places full of charm and offering acomodation for the night, along with a cuisine that is true to its roots blessed with a prodigious pantry of pulses, vegetables, cured porks, meats and sweets, with some of its best dishes becoming part of traditional cooking to complete the offer.
You can also visit the capital city or the region Logroño, and also the cities of Vitoria-Gasteiz (50 Km), Pamplona-Iruña (125 Km), Bilbao (100 Km) and San Sebastian-Donostia (150 Km). They are all worth visiting and for example Vitoria has a very interesting Cathedral and old part, Pamplona is the capital of Navarre with it´s famous San Fermin fiestas in July, Bilbao is a more cosmopolitan city where you can visit the Guggenheim museum and San Sebastian is a beautiful city with 3 beaches and a french inspired architecture.
La Rioja also offers the possibility to visit several different minor museums, monasteries, medieval towns and churches, castles, etc. If you like architecture, you can find several interesting new wineries that have recently been built by world wide known famous architects and are therefore worth visiting, for example:
– Marqués de Riscal ….. Frank Gehry
– Ysios ……………………….. Santiago Calatrava
– Viña Real ………………… Philippe Mezieras
– Baigorri ………………….. Iñaki Azpiazu
La Rioja has also some beautiful natural spaces including a dinosaur park. And finally you will have the opportunity to enjoy the local Fiestas and festivals, specially if you visit in summer.