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Rioja - more than just wine

Here in Scandinavia we've long had a love affair with Rioja wines. The wine isn't the only reason to visit the region though; there's also avant-garde architecture and adventurous outdoor experiences to enjoy too.

The famous Spanish wine region of Rioja is situated in the northern part of Spain, surrounded by the Basque country, Navarre, Aragon and Castilla y León. The capital of this autonomous community and province is Logroño and there are around 315,800 people in total living in Rioja.

Rioja is one of the smaller regions of Spain: it covers an area of 5,045km2, which is just 1% of the country’s total area.

Wine is by far the Rioja region’s most famous export, but they also grow lots of mushrooms, artichokes, peppers and asparagus here – in fact, 95% of Spain’s asparagus exports come from Rioja.

The wine continues to enjoy an elevated status, of course, both in Rioja and throughout Spain. Today, there are over 60,000 hectares of vineyards, divided into the three districts of Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. The tempranillo grape is the most widely grown and today accounts for around three-quarters of the wine area. Annual wine production is usually around 280–300 million liters, 90% of which is red wine.

Photo: Shutterstock

Marques de Riscal

If you're in Rioja, you simply must take the opportunity to visit some of the many wineries. And if you want to combine good wine with spectacular architecture, Marques de Riscal is the place for you. Wine tastings, a luxury hotel and a first-class restaurant all under one roof.

Marques de Riscal

Calle Torrea Kalea 1, 01340 Elciego

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Lopez de Heredia / Vina Tondonia

Another must-visit place for the wine enthusiast, where old meets new in a beautiful and imaginative way: Wander through the old 19th-century cellars, then take a seat for a tasting in the space-age tasting room.

Lopez de Heredia / Vina Tondonia

Avda. de Vizcaya 3, 26200 Haro

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Photo: Hotel Viura

Viura

One of the trendiest design hotels in Rioja right now, this place is also world-famous for its architecture - it looks like cubes carelessly stacked on top of one another. It also has a top-notch wine bar and restaurant of course.

Viura

Calle Mayor s/n, Villabuena de Álava, s/n, 01307 Álava

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Photo: wine-fight.com

Batalla del Vino en Haro

At the end of June each year, Haro's locals and visiting thirsty tourists join together to pay homage to wine - by pouring lots of it both over and into one another in a festive frenzy. The partying then continues well into the following day in the town of Haro, with food, dancing, wine and more wine.

Batalla del Vino en Haro

Photo: Mesón Chuchi

Mesón Chuchi

Simple, rustic restaurant with plenty of charm, popular for its authentically traditional Riojan food, such as cochinillo (suckling pig), cabrito (goat kid) and of course several different varieties of the local specialty, chorizo.

Mesón Chuchi

Carretera de Vitoria 2, 26360 Fuenmayor

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Photo: Tierra Rapaz

Tierra Rapaz

Small animal park with a focus on large birds that's well worth a visit. The flying displays are breathtaking and also involve the audience, who can get up close to these mighty animals. The dedicated and inspiring staff make the experience even better. A tourist attraction that's also suitable for the younger members of the family.

Tierra Rapaz

Carretera antigua Calahorra, Rincón de Soto, 26500 Calahorra

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Last edited: March 8, 2018

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