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Rioja road trip – Rioja at its best

Map with recommended roadtrip itinerary

If you are planning a road trip in the Rioja wine country, save this url in your favorites list. Our team of local experts have put great care on the preparation of this itinerary. This is a free travel guide.

We have included some links to websites where you will be able to book services we recommend. Our team appreciates if you decide to book using those links. This will help us in our effort to continue providing excellent trip recommendations.

Discover the best of La Rioja with a complete roadtrip in which you will enjoy fantastic landscapes, visit emblematic wineries and taste their wines, discover the traditional gastronomy of Rioja, get to know its culture and curiosities, and enjoy activities related to the world of wine. Our team of Riojan experts  has prepared this free itinerary to ensure you get the most of Rioja if you plan to enjoy your own road trip in Rioja.

This itinerary, as with any of the road trip plans we propose have been prepared to ease your travel planning.

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This itinerary is built to be enjoyed in 3 or 4 days. It can easily be extended to include San Sebastian in it.

Rioja roadtrip - Top recommendations

OUR SELECTION OF AMAZING HOTELS

More recommendations are provided in the detailed itinerary

The hotels we include in this list have been visited by at least one member of our editorial team. They are exceptional and that means they normally get booked well in advance. We strongly recommend you get them booked as soon as possible to ensure availability but also the best prices. Please note that if you book with a flexible cancellation policy you could book today and cancel later with no problem!

BRIÑAS (near Haro) – PALACIO TONDON – Top Charm and best option near Haro) This new hotel in Rioja offers unique views over the Ebro river. It is located in the small village of Briñas (5 minutes drive from Haro or 20 minutes walk next to the river! Modern architecture has been used at the service of an amazing old mansion.  See more HERE

LAGUARDIA – HOSPEDERIA DE LOS PARAJES (Top charm in Laguardia)  This small boutique hotel used to be a palace that was spectacularly renovated to become a luxury hotel. The glass roof that covers the central courtyard and the combination of ancient stones with modern structures bring charm to this hotel in which all details are taken care of. 2 restaurants (one with a tapas menu and one dedicated to fine dining) . See more HERE

ELCIEGO – Marqués de Riscal (the ultimate luxury experience in Rioja) This hotel is a huge sculpture and one of the modern world´s top pieces of architecture. Designed by Frank Gehry, sleeping at Marqués de Riscal is a pricey, yet unique experience! Best rates HERE

LOGROÑO – Hotel Calle Mayor. Top charm and value in Logroño. This is our favorite hotel in Logroño, not only because it is perfectly well located, but also because the hotel has just the right size, has very comfortable rooms and a great design that combines old and new. Best rates HERE

RECOMMENDED TRIP DURATION

3  nights / 4 days. With 4 days you will have enough time to enjoy wine country, and also visit the faascinating monasteries of Yuso and Suso and the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a very important step in El Camino de Santiago. 

Best months to visit? September and the first part of October are fantastic months to enjoy wine country in both Rioja. End of March, April, May, June and first 2 weeks of July. August can be very quite, which is good in a way, but also rather warm.

TOP HIGHLIGHTS

Rioja wine country roadtrip
  • Top wineries and wine tasting at Barrio de la Estación de Haro
  • The outstanding architecture of modern wineries (Ysios, Riscal, Baigorri, Viña Real)
  • Enjoy the unique monasterries of Yuso and Suso and their treasures. Spanish language was first writeen here!
  • Discover beautiful medieval villages like Laguardia, Briones, Labastida or San Vicente de la Sonsierra
  • Beautiful landscapes in Rioja Alavesa and RiojaSome viewpoints offer spectacular views of wine country
  • Tapas in Calle Laurel in Logroño
  • Experience local Fiestas if you travel at the right time: the wine battle in Haro or San Mateo in Logroño

HIDDEN GEMS

  • Visit century old wineries in Rioja and experience the region´s beautiful countryside
  • Labastida and Briñas2 villages next to Haro that will seduce you with its views and churches (Labastida) and its walk next to the river (Briñas)
  • Enjoy the famous tapas and wines of Rioja in Calle Laurel in Logroño

BEST DAY TOURS OR EXCURSIONS

DETAILED ROADTRIP PLANNER DAY BY DAY

Rioja roadtrip - Click on each tab to see the detailed information

Where to start your road trip in Rioja? Does it make to stay in more than one city and change hotels in Rioja?

These two questions are logical and important for your trip planning in Rioja. Rioja is not too big, which means it could be visited without the need to change hotel. Please note that when we refer to Rioja here we do refer to the Rioja wine region, not Rioja the administrative region (part of the Rioja wine country region includes Basque country and even a small area of Navarre).

There is one important reason why you may decide to change hotel and that is to enjoy wineries and wine tasting. Haro is the best place to enjoy wine tasting at the wine bars of different wineries. If you stay in Haro you can walk to El Barrio de la Estación, and this is indeed a great option since you avoid driving.   But Haro is not the most «sexy» place to stay in Rioja. We would rather recommend at Laguardia for instance. 

Besides wine tasting you will probably want to enjoy tapas in Logroño, and to do so the best option is to stay there. 

You can always decide to join a guided wine tour which eases things since you do not care about driving. 

On this road trip we will propose to stay at 3 different locations: Haro or Briñas, Laguardia and Logroño. The same itinerary can be enjoyed staying at just one place, though bear in mind driving would be increased: not a problem if the distance is considered, but this could pose a problem if wine tasting and tapas eating get into the picture. 

HARO
1 night to be able to enjoy wine tasting and avoid driving

1Haro in a nutshell

Haro is usually referred to as the «wine capital» of Rioja due to the number of wineries it holds. Haro played a very important role in the evolution of wine in Rioja, Spain, and Europe. Haro was an important economic hub in Spain thanks to wine, and it held a bank of Spain office and was one of the first towns to enjoy electricity in its streets. The rail station in Haro was used to transport wine to the port of Bilbao, from where Riojan wine was shipped to Europe when the phylloxera bug had destroyed most of the vineyards of France. Barrio de la Estacion and its wineries and wine bars is the main tourist attraction in Haro. Any wine fan should spend a few hours in «El Barrio», enjoy a guided visit and wine tasting at some of the wine bars. this is the area in Rioja with more wineries per square meter. You can enjoy wine tasting by the glass at Muga, Lopez Heredia, or Roda winery.

2Things to do in Haro

We recommend walking around the old part of Haro. Here you will be able to see the old architecture, houses, and palaces. Next to the main square, you will find the Palacio Bendaña, which runs next to Calle Santo Tomás. It is on this street that you will find one of Haro´smost interesting Gothic-style churches, Santo Tomás, which has beautiful views over the river and Barrio de la Estación.
You can also find the Palace of the Duques de Haro next to this church, and from here get lost amongst amaze of tavernas that serve wine and tapas.
THE FAMOUS WINE BATTLE OF HARO The wine battle takes place in July. It has become a very important Fiesta and one that attracts an increasingly large number of visitors.

3Top hotels in Haro

This hotel is located at 5 minutes drive from Haro in the beautiful village of Briñas, next to the Ebro river. It is our favorite hotel in the area with lots of charm and a great balance between modern comfort and ancient charm.
HOTEL LOS AGUSTINOS This hotel is the most famous hotel in Haro. It is located at an old monastery and renovation was undertaken with great care. Great location and at walking distance from Barrio de la Estacion.

4Restaurants in Haro

Haro is home to a good number of bars and restaurants where you will be able to enjoy local gastronomy. Our favorite option in Haro itself is Terete, a roaster with a good atmosphere. Beethoven in la Herradura area is a classical option too. You can find more information here about – THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN HARO

LAGUARDIA
2 nights to enjoy wine country and relax. It takes 30 minutes to drive from Haro to Laguardia.

1Top things to enjoy between Haro and Laguardia

You can get to Laguardia in different ways. Our recommended road is N124-N232 (please note that roads in Spain get numbers. Numbers apply to roads apply to regions. In this road trip through Rioja wine country you will change region (administrative region) and hence the same road will change name. It can be a bit confusing so pay attention.

This road offers great landscapes. We recommend stopping in Briñas, Labastida, and in San Vicente de la Sonsierra. Both Labastida and San Vicente offer amazing viewpoints to enjoy the landscapes. You can get to the viewpoints by car but it implies driving through rather narrow streets. The viewpoint in Labastida is next to the church. The viewpoint in San -Vicente is next to the castle.

2Laguardia in a nutshell

Imagine a medieval walled village where cars are not allowed, perched at the top of a hill and with amazing views of wine country. Add beautiful squares, cobbled streets, mansions, and small palaces, and fascinating churches and you get a picture of what awaits to be discovered in Laguardia. Laguardia retains its old walls and it faces the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range with breathtaking views of the vineyards of Rioja.

2Top attractions in Laguardia

Visit the Plaza Mayor or main square of Laguardia. Once every hour (minutes before the hour), you can see three Basque figurines dancing to a traditional song in the Pendulum Clock of one of the buildings. We recommend walking around the beautiful town of Laguardia. You can enjoy a walk in Paseo del Collado.

This is an interesting guided tour of Laguardia where you will learn about the history of this medieval village that served as a defense stand for centuries. Laguardia tour

There are 2 main highlights in Laguardia. Number one is with no doubt El Portico (portal) at the church of Santa María de Los Reyes. Number two is to enjoy a visit to one of the ancient wineries of the village.

You can find more interesting things to do in this post with ideas and best things to do in Laguardia

4Recommended hotels in Laguardia

Hospederia de los Parajes This is is our favorite hotel in Laguardia. Lots of charm, attention to details and good restaurants
Sercotel Villa de Laguardia. This is a modern hotel, with less charm, but excellent value for money, very comfortable beds, top quality breakfast, and a great swimming pool and spa area. If you travel in summer this could be a very good option, specially with children!
Eguren Ugarte. This is a small family-owned hotel. if you would like to sleep at a winery, this is your place!. Good value for money and breathtaking views over wine country. The hotel is 5 minutes drive from the walled town of Laguardia and you will not be able to walk there.

5Recommended restaurants in Laguardia

– Our top pick is Hector Oribe restaurant. It is located in Paganos, a tiny village 2 minutes drive from Laguardia
– Our second choice is Amelibia, inside Laguardia
– If you prefer a lighter version or tapas we would recommend Cueva de Lobos

LOGROÑO
1 night or 2 in case you would like to visit the Yuso and Suso monasteries

1Logroño in a nutshell

Logroño is the administrative capital of Rioja in Spain. It is a mid-sized city, an important stop in el Camino de Santiago, and it is a gastronomic heaven for those who enjoy tapas dining. Tapas and wines in the old quarter of Logroño are the top tourist attraction of Logroño. Its Calle Laurel is one of the most famous tapas streets in Spain. In Calle Laurel and nearby streets; bars specialize sometimes in just one dish and serve it along with a glass of wine from Rioja normally in its «young» version. If you ask for Crianza you will be understood and you will be served Riojan reds aged in an oak barrel.

2Top attractions in Logroño

Santa María La Redonda con-cathedral is the top monument in Logroño. We recommend a stroll along the river Ebro in the old town, including its squares, the food market and Calle Laurel and Calle San Juan.

3Recommended hotels

HOTEL FUERTE RUAVIEJA
HOTEL CALLE MAYOR

They both offer a fantastic location and boast a good mix of modern and traditional architecture.

A very good 3 star lower budget option is HOTEL FG, with an excellent location and very comfortable rooms.

HOTEL FG LOGROÑO

5Recommended restaurants and tapas bars in Logroño

Logroño has a strong culinary reputation in Spain. This reputation was acquired through its tapas and pinchos, but has increased beyond and reached also Michelin starred status. In this article, you can find a

guide with the best restaurants in Logroño

And for tapas, this other article includes our recommendations to enjoy tapas culture in Rioja , with the best tapas and guide with tapas bars in Logroño

Rioja road trip pictures
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