Walks in La Rioja
La Rioja is one of the smaller self- governing provinces of Spain in the north of the country. Nestling between the Cantabrian Mountains to the North and the Sierras de Cameros and Demanda to the south and with the River Ebro running through the region from west to east.
The geography of the region has, for centuries, ensured the success of its wine growing and in more recent times the wines of La Rioja have received world acclaim. Only by visiting the region can one truly grasp the scale of modern wine production and for those interested in learning more about the history and present day methods, a visit to the Bodega and Museum Dinastia Vivanco at Briones, not far from Logroño, is a must. The bodega visit is fascinating but the museum is just amazing. Over 4 levels is covers fully not only the history of wine production but also the associated industries of barrel making, bottle making, cork making and much, much more.
The history of La Rioja is very much tied to the Pilgrims’ routes, which pass through from France on their way to Santiago de Compostela. There are wonderful old towns, full of history such as Santo Domingo de la Calzada and LaGuardia where they are very keen on dried peppers! Other nearby places, which are worth visiting, are Burgos, Pamplona and if you have time, Bilbao - if only to see the amazing Guggenheim Museum.
But in addition to all this, the Sierras Demanda and Cameros at the southern edge of the Region are stunningly beautiful and provide some excellent walking at altitudes between 800 and 1400 metres.
Good locations to be based for both hiking and visiting would be Logrño, Najera or Navarette. From here most hikes can be reached in less than an hour by car. Good times to visit would be spring or around October when the leaves have turned and the countryside is at its best.
This is a region of Spain with something for everyone, whether visiting, sightseeing or hiking – and the wine is pretty good too!