La Rioja

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La Rioja's red earth and clear, blue skies don't just produce delicious red wine, pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago also pass this way, visiting the crops of tiny churches, and the ochre soil also nourishes the local cuisine. So come, foodies, walkers, wine lovers and folk looking for a cultural and flavoursome destination, and discover some of the best places to stay in La Rioja.

La Rioja is the smallest of Spain's 17 provinces, the majority of it sitting pretty on a plateau, surrounded by hills dotted with medieval hilltop towns, and beyond that mountains to which ancient monasteries cling.

Logroño is the regional capital, and a burgeoning gastronomic hotspot. They're big on tapas, which is ideal because it makes it easier to try more dishes, and more bars and restaurants!

Logroño also has a beautiful, but stately cathedral, a prime example of La Rioja's religious architecture - devotional, but also very elegant.

La Rioja also has more than its fair share of monasteries, some of which are still very active today, and some of which have been part converted into some of the best places to stay in La Rioja.

The rather staid looking Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada is probably the region's most famous church, a key point on the Camino de Santiago grown monumental due to the wealth of its visitors.

Aside from wine and religion - both of which you can also learn more about at the Museo de la Rioja - La Rioja's other highlights include the Dinosaur Museum or Centro Paleontologico de Enciso and the Eagle Hide, where you can see the local Booted Eagles in action.

La Rioja for the Wine

Centred around the plains of the Ebro Valley, which are surrounded by dramatic, rain-cloud-catching, mountain ranges, the La Rioja wine region actually has three different microclimates.

  • The northern Rioja Alavesa grow the fruitier Tempranillo grapes, best drunk young.
  • The Rioja Alta is also planted with Tempranillo vines, but here they're left to mature longer, producing the spicier flavours.
  • The middle region is the Rioja Baja, best for the Garnacha grapes, which produce the heavier, darker wines most of us think of when we're ordering Rioja.

It used to be that white Riojas were thought of as uninspiring, but these days you'll see them on menus further and further from Spain.

The larger producers have big wineries and offer tours and tastings etc., but many of the smaller family owned bodegas also have welcoming cellars, and this is where you'll find some of the region's most interesting flavours, and memories. You can find a lot of them in and around the hill town of Haro.

Best Places to Stay in La Rioja

For the wine

  • As well as being designed by Frank Gehry of the Guggenheim fame, the Marques de Riscal is set amid its own vines and offers fabulous food plus an impressive spa. Undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in La Rioja, for those who enjoy the finer things in life!

For the architecture

  • Another property that boasts both noteworthy contemporary architecture and great wine is the Hotel Viura. Here you'll find sleek rooms and suites created from whimsically superimposed cubes, with huge french windows for maximum light and great views. The wine cellar's not too shabby either!

Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in La Rioja, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in La Rioja

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  • Marques de Vallejo

    Logroño, La Rioja

    18th century exterior; 21st century interior. Communal areas are decorated in the dark, brooding colours of the wine the region is famous for. Bedrooms are light and bright with modern furnishings and bathrooms. There is a gourmet restaurant serving a fresh take on local cuisine. One for foodies!

    51 rooms
    Sights nearby  -  Santa María de la Redonda Cathedral is 40 metres away whilst Iglesia de San Bartolome is nearby.
    Great walks  -  Logroño is located along the famous pilgrim's route, the Camino de Santiago.
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Quirky  -  An experience!
  • Los Agustinos

    Haro, La Rioja

    Located in La Rioja region of Spain this property is all about the wine. Beginning life in the 14th century as a convent it still maintains huge stone arches with the impressive addition of a vaulted glass ceiling. Rooms are traditional with bright floral fabrics. There is a bar, restaurant and gym.

    62 rooms from $86
    Sights nearby  -  The 'space age' Dinastía Vivanco museum is just a few kilometres drive away.
    Full of character
    Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
  • Hospederia Casalarreina

    La Rioja

    An elegant hotel in a 16th century building. Enchanting rooms have wooden beams, wall paintings, antiques, and all the mod cons. Spa, gardens and lovely bar area. A magical choice for exploring this rich region of Spain.

    15 rooms from $92
    Romantic Break  -  Elegant rooms, an historic local town to explore, wine tasting trips and beautiful cycling routes
    Sights nearby  -  Logroño, Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Vitoria
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
  • Hotel Viura

    Eskuernaga, La Rioja

    An unusual contemporary design hotel in the Rioja region. Sleek modern rooms and suites with all the mod cons and private balconies. Excellent restaurant, garden and pool, and plenty to explore in the region. A romantic country escape for wine lovers.

    33 rooms from $111
    Wine tasting  -  Located in the heart of Rioja wine country
    Architectural  -  Avant Garde architecture
    Sights nearby  -  Laguardia, a pretty hilltop town 5km east.
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, I Escape, Small Luxury Hotels
  • Eguren Ugarte

    Laguardia, La Rioja

    This gorgeous hotel, set within a winery has a fabulous lookout tower and bedroom views across the stunning vineyards. Bedrooms are comfortable with lots of natural light and private balconies. The restaurant serves a range of traditional Spanish cuisines and great wines.

    21 rooms from $114
    Sights nearby  -  The prehistoric settlement of La Hoya
    Full of character
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
  • Castillo el Collado

    Alava, La Rioja

    An enchanting castle hotel in the Basque countryside. Unique and elegant rooms are filled with exposed stone walls, antiques and canopy beds. Excellent regional cuisine, outdoor pool, fragrant gardens and a lovely terrace. A delightful choice for a weekend break.

    10 rooms from $141
    Local exploring  -  Historic Laguardia, with the stunning Church of Santa Maria de los Reyes, riding trips through vineyards and walks by lagoons
    Foodies  -  With nine vineyards in the vicinity, this is an unmissable spot for exploring the rich region
    Views  -  Sierra de Cantabria
    Full of character
  • Real Casona de las Amas

    La Rioja

    An elegant hotel in a former 17th century palace. Rooms are traditional, with antique furniture, rustic accessories, and bathrooms with whirlpool baths. Spa, a library and a charming old-world bar. An enchanting, historic and cultural choice for exploring this lovely region.

    16 rooms from $164
    Local exploring  -  A region rich with culture, as the home of Rioja wine. Monastries, abbies and vineyards
    Sights nearby  -  Guggenheim museum in Bilbao is one hour away, Monastry in San Millan de la Cogolla
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • Hespederia de los parajes

    Laguardia, La Rioja

    Gorgeous spa hotel. Rooms have wooden beamed ceilings, stone walls, chandeliers and jacuzzi tubs. Superb spa with aromatherapy, wine and olive treatments. Outstanding Spanish cuisine in both restaurants, and atmospheric cellar with tasting menu. Unique and romantic.

    18 rooms from $148
    Foodies  -  Wine tasting for all abilities, food pairing courses and hot air balloon to see the vineyards
    Sights nearby  -  Palaces and prehistoric remains as the town of La Hoya
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
  • Hotel Marques de Riscal

    Elciego, La Rioja

    An unusual hotel built by the designer of the Guggenheim museum. Set amid its own vines, a large metallic building with fantastic food and an impressive spa. Sun lit rooms and suites in contemporary style with balconies and sophisticated furnishings. Wonderful views and plenty of exploring.

    43 rooms from $359
    Designer  -  Built by the designer of the Guggenheim.
    Good wine list  -  In the heart of the Rioja region.
    Spa breaks
    Recommended by  -  I Escape
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