La Rioja

Wine Country- Logroño, Haro, and Ezcaray

If you are a red wine lover, look no further than an escape to La Rioja, where the La Rioja wines are made. Not only is the wine delicious (and cheap), the vineyards and their staff are extremely welcoming and hospitable. I have been to La Rioja on two different occasions, and would highly recommend making all three stops (if you have time). I must preface this post with the fact that these trips were very food and wine (emphasis on the wine) oriented (aka although I walked around, I wouldn’t exactly say I was sightseeing).

Logroño-the capital of La Rioja, it has a small city/large town feel, especially in the city center. Although I didn’t visit any of the bodegas (wineries) inside the city, the nightlife and the tapa culture is truly one of a kind, and delicious.

Where to Stay

I was looking to travel to La Rioja on a budget- I stayed at the Hotel Ciudad de Logroño a few minutes outside of the city center and it was nice, clean, and served its purpose. It was quiet, since it was about a 10 minute walk from the “happening area.”

Where to Eat

Calle del Laurel – the street is lined with bars that specialize in either one, or various tapas. Order a racion or a tapa, grab a glass of wine (starting at 70 cents a glass for a young wine, or a crianza) and hop around! My favorites were

         Bar Angel (a piece of toast topped with sautéed mushrooms and garlic)

         Bar Jubera (the most delicious patatas bravas I have ever tasted)

         Bar Lorenzo “Tio Agus” (the best pincho moruno– which is a meat skewer)

What do Do

I went in September and rode the Tren de Vino– this train took us to Haro (where the majority of the La Rioja wineries are located) on a vintage-1920s themed train, gave us a tour of the winery of our choice, and then gave us free time (where we hopped around between wineries trying their wines and cheeses). The train then brought us back to Logroño. This train was a great way to get to the wineries and fully enjoy them, without having to drive (For specific wineries see below in Haro).

Haro– the second time in La Rioja, I decided to stay directly in Haro, a quaint town in the heart of La Rioja. Most of the vineyards are walkable distance, and are open Saturday morning (and some are open Saturday afternoon). Be sure to keep their opening hours in mind when planning your trip!

Where to Stay

This time around, I opted for a more luxurious option and stayed at the Eurostars Los Agustinos, and was very pleased. It’s a newly renovated palace which has a nice ambience, clean rooms, and great breakfast.

Where to Eat

Unfortunately, both restaurants I ate at permanently closed, but there are a bunch of tapas bars and restaurants in the “center” of Haro.

What to Do- Vineyard Hop!!! I took a tour of R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, S.A and cannot recommend them enough! Not only was the staff very kind, they went out of their way to accommodate our group. Their winery maintains the old installations, and shows you what the wine-making process looked like hundreds of years ago, something that makes this particular winery very unique. I also took a tour of Bodegas Gomez Cruzado, and it was also a great experience! I would recommend hopping around CVNE, and Bodegas Muga.

Ezcaray– is a beautiful, sleepy little town in the Oja River Valley.

Where to Stay

I stayed at the beautiful Echaurren Hotel, a modern boutique hotel that I would definitely recommend. It is cozy yet stylish, and the staff is extremely kind.

Where to Eat

This is one of the few times I would recommend the hotel restaurant for dinner – be sure to try the croquetas, the roasted mushrooms, and the traditional Red Bean soup.

What to Do

I was only there for one day, so I took a hike from Ezcaray to the town of Zaldierna (about 1 hour 15 min) and ate lunch at Casa Rural Zaldierna. The croquetas and the Pochas con Chorizo were my absolute fave!

Categories: Mountains, Northern Spain, WineTags: , , ,

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