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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.