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See and Do

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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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La Rioja can be an adventure for children. Where else are they going to find dinosaurs, castles, windmills, waterfalls and adventure?

Start by discovering the oldest animals on earth. The dinosaurs left their tracks in La Rioja thousands of years ago and can still be seen. Can you imagine your hand within the footprint of a dinosaur? Try to see who leaves the biggest impression.

To understand the lives of these animals, how they left their tracks and above all, how the tracks have survived until present day, you have to visit Barranco Perdido, a complete palaeoadventure park where children can pretend to be explorers and families enjoy themselves while learning. In Enciso and other locations around you will discover most of the finds, life-size replicas of animals and the most curious stories: a struggle between dinosaurs, a whole family, a lame dinosaur... Yes, oddly enough, you can see all this in La Rioja.

Wine can also be fun for children, who cannot drink it, but they can learn how the must is made, taste it while their elders taste the wines and admire the enormous wineries with their stainless steel tanks that look like spacecraft, play among the vineyards, learning how grapes are picked, how the vines are cared for... The possibilities are many and children love to behave like grown-ups in a grape juice tasting session and learn how grapes turn into wine... a mystery, isn't it?

But family fun does not stop there. Did you know that La Rioja is full of castles? With famous battles and everything, like Clavijo Castle, where Santiago appeared on his famous white horse to win the battle.

Between castles and monasteries you can live medieval tales of princes and kings, like the King of Nájera - Pamplona, who was hunting one​ day when he spotted a dove that led him to a cave in which he found an image of the Virgin Mary, a bunch of lilies, a bell and an oil lamp. In that same place he built the Monastery of Santa María la Real de Nájera and if you visit it with children you can enter the cave at the back of the pantheon where the kings are buried.

La Rioja is full of medieval legends, such as the hen that crowed after being roasted in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. In the cathedral there is a chicken coop with live chicken and cock who crows for visitors.

Also hiding in a forest in La Rioja there is the small monastery of Suso (almost a shrine) where centuries ago the first words were written in the Spanish language and also in Basque, on the margin of a book written in Latin, like a side note written on a textbook.

If you're looking for adventure, what you need are sport activities: snowshoes, bicycles and horses among the vineyards, hiking picking blackberries or other wild fruit... What seems most fun?

Also in La Rioja you can have fun while learning, in the Interpretation Centres (transhumance, bee-keeping, snow, celtiberian, the groves of the Ebro), by visiting a wind- or water mill, by playing in the House of Sciences or enjoying activities at the Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine or family visits to the Würth Museum of Modern Art.

You thought that the children would get bored in La Rioja?

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