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If you have chosen La Rioja to spend a weekend or if you are thinking about it, here's a suggestion to make good use of your time and discover the basics:

Friday:
If you arrive in La Rioja on Friday afternoon, visit Calle Laurel or Calle San Juan in Logroño or the Herradura in Haro. Trying the specialities of each bar, along with the House Rioja is the best way to start your visit to La Rioja and learn about the culture of wine.


Saturday:
On the Saturday you can begin by visiting the Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine, located in Briones. There you will learn how wine is made, barrels are manufactured, bottles are made, wines are transported, the wines of the world, the history of wine and, above all, the extensive culture that wine has created across the world, from Egyptian times to modern Picassos.

After this visit, we suggest taking a wine tasting course at the museum or elsewhere across La Rioja: The Rioja Wine Guild, The Control Board, wineries and associations offer these courses, some very complete, with certifying diplomas.

If you would like to know the process of making wine a little better, you can approach one of the hundred wineries that open their doors to tourists. Knowing their wines and how they make them will allow you to enjoy this Riojan product even better.

When you stop to eat, do not hesitate to try the lamb chops grilled over vine cane embers or the potatoes with chorizo; typical dishes of Riojan cuisine. that can be found in many restaurants across the region and in some wineries too. You can also discover the new Riojan cuisine, refreshed classics with surprising presentations and tasty flavours.

After the meal, we recommend another way of getting to know about the culture of wine: vineyard activities: On foot, by bike, on horseback or even kayaking in the Ebro or flying in a hot air balloon over the vineyards, you learn about the different grape varieties and the strict rules governing viticulture in the Rioja Designation of Origin.

To finish the day take a treasure with you: a bottle of Rioja specially chosen now that you know everything about this world-famous wine or a wineskin made by hand by an artisan in La Rioja.


Sunday:
On Sunday we suggest a unique cultural visit: The monasteries of Suso and Yuso in San Millán de la Cogolla, a World Heritage Site.

The Monastery of Suso, the older of the two, is situated between mountains. There, the hermits in the middle ages wrote in its scriptorium the first words in the Spanish language.

The Monastery of Yuso, is bigger and wealthier. It houses the Spanish Language Classroom and a unique library.

On the road to San Millán, you will pass Berceo, the village where Gonzalo de Berceo, the first poet of the Spanish language was born.

From San Millán, we recommend a visit to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.. Make sure to visit the Cathedral, where you will find the saint's tomb and a chicken coop! Inside the church! Ask about the miracle of the cock and chicken and you will find out why. Be sure to stroll through its streets and take a break at the Parador de Turismo, ancient Pilgrims' Hospital.

You will pass by many places that are worth stopping. Take your time. Stop and enjoy the landscape, the people and the Rioja-style hospitality. If you don't have not enough time to do it all, don't worry. La Rioja is very close and we will be delighted to welcome you back.

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Mosaic of cultures

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On Sunday we suggest a unique cultural visit: The Monasteries of Suso and Yuso at San Millán de la Cogolla, World Heritage Site and cradle of the Spanish language. The Route of the Spanish Language starts off from these monasteries in La Rioja.

The Monastery of Suso, the older of the two, is situated between mountains. There, the hermits in the middle ages wrote in its scriptorium the first words in the Spanish and Basque languages. The Monastery of Yuso, is bigger and wealthier. It houses the Spanish Language Classroom and a unique library.

On the road to San Millán, you will pass Berceo, the village where Gonzalo de Berceo, the first poet of the Spanish language was born.

From San Millán, we recommend a visit to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.. Make sure to visit the Cathedral, where you will find the saint's tomb and a chicken coop! Inside the church! Ask about the miracle of the cock and chicken and you will find out why. Be sure to stroll through its streets and take a break at the Parador de Turismo, ancient Pilgrims' Hospital.

You will pass by many places that are worth stopping. Take your time. Stop and enjoy the landscape, the people and the Rioja-style hospitality. If you don't have not enough time to do it all, don't worry. La Rioja is very close and we will be delighted to welcome you back.

Remember that in La Rioja there is much to see: dinosaur tracks, colonies of storks, artisans... a day is too little. Come back soon!

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A wine tourism day

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Our suggestion to enjoy a day around wine and culture begins in the Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine, in the town of Briones. This museum is an essential visit to learn how wine is made, aged and distributed. Learn all sorts of trivia about this product and discover the amazing influence of wine in cultures across the world.

Do not leave La Rioja without enjoying a walk through the vineyards, which have such special characteristics at each time of the year. If you wish you can hire the services of a guide who will explain the grape growing tasks while you walk between the vineyards. You can even get to know the vineyards by bicycle, on horseback, from a canoe or from a hot-air balloon. There are several companies in La Rioja which offer these services.


La Rioja also offers proposals of activities around wine for all tastes and budgets. We recommend that you discover our wineries, where you can learn about winemaking processes first hand and and even put your winetasting knowledge into practice. You can find more than 50 wineries who open their doors to tourists try to teach them the art of making wine. There are also entities which offer organised or custom winetasting courses.


What would wine be without food? In Calle Laurel in Logroño or the Herradura in Haro, in any village in La Rioja, you can find a bar or restaurant with tapas and other house specialities or the most exquisite cuisine, as well as full dishes like the potatoes with chorizo, or cod Riojan style, not to mention the lamb chops grilled over vine cane embers. Doesn't your mouth water?


There is still much to do and see in la Rioja. Have you thought of returning or just staying one more night? You can even sleep in a winery or a hotel or rural guest house where they can teach you more about wine through their wine tourism programmes.

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La Rioja Baja Culture

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Time for itinerary: 1 day

We suggest one day to explore the ancient cultures that left their mark in La Rioja. From Calahorra, ancient Roman Calagurris. A Roman city of great importance as evidenced by the Roman remains left in this town. Calahorra is the capital of La Rioja Baja, after visiting the Cathedral, the Diocesan Museum and other interesting landmarks, be sure to try in one of its excellent restaurants the local vegetables in any form, from the most traditional to nouvelle cuisine.

From Calahorra, it is worthwhile to go to nearby Alfaro where you will see a large number of storks. In the Alfaro collegiate church you can find the largest colony of white storks in Europe. If you like taking pictures, do not forget your camera.

In the Sotos del Ebro Nature Reserve Interpretation Centre you can find an explanation of why these storks have chosen La Rioja to spend most of the year and learn all about the natural beauty of this part of La Rioja.

Following the course of Alhama from Alfaro, you arrive in Cervera, the capital of the eastern Rioja mountains, from there you can access the ancient celtiberian settlement of Contrebia - Leukade, an archaeological site of great interest. There you can learn about the lifestyles of these ancient inhabitants of La Rioja.

And closer to Logroño, in the Ocón Valley, you can wander through the villages in the area and take walks along the valley to visit a wind-powered flour mill that was recently recovered.

You will pass by many places that are worth stopping. Take your time. Stop and enjoy the landscape, the people and the Rioja-style hospitality. If you don't have not enough time to do it all, don't worry. La Rioja is very close and we will be delighted to welcome you back.

Some advice: if you have time, stop in Arnedo, La Rioja shoe capital and do some shopping while you visit this key Rioja town.

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The Biosphere Reserve of La Rioja is a large area that occupies almost a quarter of the southeastern part of the region. It has a geographical, climatic and landscape homogeneity that gives it a very high environmental value. The Leza, Jubera, Cidacos and Alhama Valleys were listed as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on 9 July 2003.

In this area of ​​La Rioja, with successive valleys and mountains, there is a great cultural, scenic, culinary and ethnographic appeal. Discover how the ancient Celts lived by visiting the ruins of Contrebia Leukade and its interpretation centre. In this area there existed even older inhabitants, the great dinosaurs, leaving their tracks everywhere which you can now visit. You will also learn a lot about these amazing animals in the Interpretation Centre in Igea and the Palaeoadventure Park of El Barranco Perdido.

The cultural tour can be completed with a multitude of activities. These include visits to mines, snow pits, interpretation centres, caves, churches and palaces which every small town hides to offer visitors a unique experience.

To regain your strength, the local produce provides excellent oils —you can visit the oil presses— and also the most precious mycological treasure, truffles and other species in high demand. The local cuisine, as befits La Rioja, is simple, tasty and plentiful.

Nature, of course, is the highlight of this area. That is why it has been declared a Biosphere Reserve. There is a complete network of trails where you can enjoy these landscapes, flora and fauna. On this page you can choose a path to your liking.

And after so much activity, what better way to relax than to go to any of the spas found in this area so rich in thermal waters, each is indicated to improve a different ailment but you can simply enjoy the high temperatures and stress reducing properties.

If dusk surprises you in the midst of all these activities, do not worry, on the contrary. This whole area of ​​La Rioja is considered a Starlight Reserve for the quality of its starry skies. You can still enjoy the stars to start again the next day.

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The Rioja Alta Wine Route is prominently included among the "Wine Routes of Spain" because in this area of ​​La Rioja, the wine supply is one of the richest in the country and probably the world.

Travellers approaching the north-western part of La Rioja find a wide range of wineries to visit, tasting activities, sports among vineyards, charming hotels and, of course, great restaurants and wine bars where they can sample our excellent wine along with Rioja's delicious cuisine. Furthermore, the tourist offer is completed with one of the best wine museums in world, the Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine, which houses an extensive ethnographic, artistic and archaeological collection on this product that is more than a mere drink and which in ​​La Rioja becomes a culture, a way of life.

This area of ​​La Rioja has some of the most famous wine tourism celebrations, like the Haro Wine Battle, listed as an event of national interest and its sister event, the San Asensio Claret Battle.

Each town has its own wine tourism offer, from the smallest village to the capital of La Rioja Alta, Haro, with its famous Station Quarter. In the late 19th centuries, wineries were built close to the railway station. Today they are among the great names of Rioja wine, universal references. Walking through this area is like walking through history. In these ancient wineries you can see how they have evolved architecturally, artistically and, of course, in their winemaking, to become the modern winemakers we see today.

To complete your visit to this area, on the Rioja Alta Wine Route website you can find all the detailed offer along with suggestion for tourist trails which take you through some of the most beautiful vineyard scenery in the world.

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La Rioja is most famous for its pinchos (small tapas) and wine. Shall we go out for pinchos?

It is very common in La Rioja to go out in the evening or before lunch (sometimes even instead of lunch) and wander from bar to bar, trying each house speciality with a glass of your favourite wine or one recommended by the staff, combining Rioja's flavours.
The variety of pinchos, specialities and ingredients is never-ending and so is the imagination of the chefs working hard inside La Rioja's bars.

Explore Calle Laurel's most traditional bars in Logroño and the Herradura area in Haro. There is a mouthwatering smell of mushrooms, mini kebabs, cuttlefish, ham, squid, etc

Groups of friends hop from bar to bar before lunch in Logroño's oldest and best-known Calle Laurel or Haro's Herradura area, trying the pinchos and appetizers made with mushrooms, sausages, pork, anchovies in batter or vinegar, omelettes, sardines topped with hot peppers, wild mushrooms and,of course, Rioja wine.

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