Located in north-central Spain, Rioja is famous for its vineyards and its idyllic countryside. However, this area offers so much more – beautiful sun-baked villages, historic castles, fabulous wine museums and internationally renowned vineyards, together with opportunities for exciting activities, from kayaking to mountain biking to walking the Camino de Santiago.
Rioja is the place to visit for a real taste of Spain
Whether you are wanting to know what’s the best wine to buy from your local wine merchant, or you are a serious wine tourist planning a wine tour of Rioja, or simply a holiday maker to Spain wanting to get the most out of the local food and wine, a little knowledge about the wines of Rioja will stand you in good stead.
If you are looking for lovely weather, the ideal months to visit Rioja are May through October. You experience warm temperatures and nearly no precipitation throughout this time. Rioja region’s typical temperature ranges from 28°C in August to 9°C in January, rarely dropping below freezing. Unlike many of the more well known Spanish tourist destinations, the Rioja region stays open year round, so if you are looking for a quiet holiday without hoards of tourists, Rioja is a great low season option.
Is there much to do in Rioja, Spain?
Rioja is a vibrant area covering a range of different geographies, including large rivers, plains and significant mountain ranges. In addition to touring wineries, Rioja is famous for its gastronomy with many exciting local specialities all made with fresh local ingredients. There are a host of different activities available in the area – from hiking (the famous Camino de Santiago runs right through the area), mountain climbing, hot air ballooning, river kayaking, horseback riding, to mention but a few. Depending on the time of year you visit you will find local fiesta, processions, festivals, each one with its own tradition. There are natural hot springs and famous spa hotels; towns with great architectural heritage, museums and art galleries. Many towns will have a municipal pool and a range of other sporting activities. Come and explore!!!
How do I get to Rioja, Spain?
By plane: The nearest airports to Rioja are Bilbao Airport (BIO), Santander airport (SDR) and Zaragoza (ZAZ) and all offer regular flights from various destinations in the UK. There are also many flights from Madrid both into these airports and to Logroño-Agoncillo Airport (RJL)
By train: There are regular trains to Rioja from major cities in Spain, including Madrid and Bilbao. The main train station in Rioja is located in Logroño.
By car: Rioja is easily accessible by car from other parts of Spain and from Bilbao port and the various airports that serve the area. The main road that connects Rioja to other parts of the country is the A-12, which runs through the region.
All of the points of arrival, be it one of the international airports or the ports of Bilboa or Santander, have a good range of affordable car hire options, if you are looking for ultimate freedom to explore the area. And of course, if you arrive into one of the ports you have the option to either travel as a foot passenger, or with your car. See our “travel” section for more information. However, the area is served by some excellent public bus routes, and most of the larger towns are easily accessible by bus. Logroño also has a train station on the mainline route to Zaragoza. This all means that it is perfectly possible to enjoy a holiday in the area without a car, with some careful planning.