La Rioja, Spain: A Land of Wine and Pure Nature

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A Vineyard in La Rioja

Located between Basque Country, Castile and Leon, and Navarra, this small Spanish autonomous community is known worldwide for its enjoyable Rioja wines. But the region has more to offer than just wine. La Rioja is a cultural and historic center, with numerous monasteries, castles, and old towns and villages.

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La Rioja is the birthplace of the Castilian language. The Monastery of Suso, in the village of San Millán de la Cogolla, is the place where the first words written in Castilian were found. The village has two twin monasteries, Yuso and Suso, and both are World Heritage Sites.

The area is also filled with dinosaur tracks. Enciso, Munilla, Igea, and Cornago are some of the sites open to the public which display tracks from Theropods, Coelurosaurs, and other dinosaurs that roamed La Rioja millions of years ago.

One of the most important touristic attractions in La Rioja is the Way of St. James. This is a centuries old pilgrimage route leading to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The portion of the route crossing La Rioja is a great way to discover the history, art, and culture of this region of the map of Spain.

La Rioja is an excellent region for rural tourism and is a great place for fishing, climbing, and hiking.

Logroño

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People soaked with red wine.
Battle of Wine in Haro, La Rioja, Spain.

Logroño is the capital of La Rioja and a major center of the Rioja wine trade. The city has a beautiful historic center with its 16th century cathedral and an interesting stone bridge.

The Museo de Cultura del Vino de la Dinastía Vivanco, a museum dedicated to the wine culture, and the 13th century San Bartolomé Church, with its Norman facade and Mudéjar tower are especially interesting.

Logroño is one of points in the Way of St. James route and is an important resting center for many tourists and pilgrims that pass by. The local food and the Rioja wine can be appreciated at many local restaurants and tapas bars.

Haro

Haro is the center of wine production in La Rioja. Every year, on July 29th, during St. Peter’s Feast, the town hosts the Battle of Wine (La Batalla del Vino). On that day, the locals, as well as thousands of tourists, go onto the streets with all kinds of containers filled with wine and spray each other until everybody is drenched.