The Rioja is both a province and an autonomous region located in the North ofSpain. It is situated between Castilla La Mancha to the south, Castilla Leónto the west, Aragón to the east and Navarra and the Pais Vasco to the north.The capital of La Rioja is Logroño - see Guideto Logroño
It is a very fertile part of Spain and has anabundant supply of water due to the 7 major rivers that flow through it: the Oja, the Najerilla, the Iregua, the Leza, the Jubera, the Cidacos and the Alhama allof which end up in the Ebro, which also flows through this province. La Riojais also known as the province with 7 valleys (although in reality there are more).
La Rioja is a small province but it is veryrich in natural resources - it is one of Spain's most famous wine producing areas as well as having an interesting landscape. It has an important historical heritage and there are endless possibilities for visitors.
You can do all kinds of sports in La Rioja. There are ski slopes in the mountains: Valdezcaray, the Cebolleramountain range, in the Obarenses and the Cantabria and Demanda mountain ranges.Climbing, hiking, bungee jumping, paragliding and canoeing (in the Najerilla, Oja, Tirón, Iregua, Leza and Cidacos rivers ) are all popular sports here.You can also go on a trip in a hot air balloon. You can go horse riding (in Navarrete), hunting or fishing or play golf.
La Rioja's main economy is wine production and its related industries (wine distribution, rural tourism ...). There are alsoother important industries such as its textile and shoe industry as well as agriculture.Logroño the capital of La Rioja is its commercial center.
It is well connected by air (the nearest airport is La Rioja-Agoncillo, on theN-232 road to Zaragoza, Tel: 941 277 400) by rail and also by road. The A-1 motorwaywhich passes Burgos connects it to Madrid which is almost 388 kms away, Bilbaois 137 kms away on the AP-46 motorway (with pay tolls), Barcelona is on the AP-48motorway (with pay tolls) 478 kms away and you reach Zaragoza which is 176 kmsaway on the same road. There is a good coach service too which connects La Riojato the rest of the country.
The first to settle here were the Celtiberians in the 4th centuryon the Monte de Cantabria. Varea was an important settlement during the Romanperiod because the river Ebro which leads to the sea could be controlled from here. Some Roman remains have been conserved in Varea which is now a neighborhood in Logroño. From the 6th century onwards the city of Logroño beganto take shape. In the 10th and 11th centuries La Rioja's economy started to evolvethanks to the Jacobean route (the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela) and the areas belonging to Alfonso VI, king of Castilla in 1095. Logroño meanwhile was always on the border between the kingdoms of Castilla and Navarra and so was the setting for many wars.
The Santiago's road benefited Logroñoand helped the economy grow significantly. La Rioja is a meeting point for the Jacobean route, which goes from the river Ebro and joins up with the CaminoFrench (another pilgrimage), which crosses the Pyrenees and also cutsthrough Aragon and Navarra. The Santiago's road or Ebro Route, actually goes from Cataluña, Aragón, Navarra and La Rioja, whereit meets up with the French Way. In La Rioja it starts in Alfaro and passes through Rincón de Soto, Calahorra, Alcanadre, Agoncillo andVarea.
However, the French Way, starts in Logroño and passesthrough Navarrete, Nájera, Azofra, Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Grañón.
From the 16th century La Rioja's prosperity grew thanks to its wine producing industry.
From the 19th century onwards it industrialized and factories were established, therailway was built and wine production was modernized. A large number of wine cellarswere established and now there are more than 500 in the province. Nowadays much of the industry in this region revolves around wine production one way or theother whether it be labeling bottles or even producing corks.
Lace in Logroño and Alfaro.
Ceramics in Calahorra, Logroñoand in Alfaro.
Woodcraft in Logroño, Lardero, Bergasa, Alfaroand Ezcaray.
Fronton balls in Logroño.
PatchworkQuilts in Logroño
Painted silks : scarves, blouses and morein Murillo de Río Leza.
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Despite its rich landscape, numerous valleys andrivers that run through it La Rioja only has one national park. However we have included mountain ranges and valleys in our guide. All of the places listed area good option for a day trip. They also offer the visitor excellent opportunities to do all sorts of sports.
: This is between the Cidacos valley and the mountains where the river Cidacos runs through the middle. It is an agricultural area where grape vines, olives and different types of cereals are grown.
Alfaro: Capital of the area. It is an ancient city full of history. The Iberos were the first to settle here. They named the city Ilurcis. Later the Celts settledhere and in 719 B.C and it was occupied by the Romans under the general calledTiberio Sempronio Graco, who called it Gracurris. It was briefly occupiedby the Moors and later on it was taken over by the Kingdom of Navarra and theKingdom of Aragon both of which fought over it. Finally it became a city underFelipe IV from Aragon in 1629.
Rincon de Soto: This formspart of the Santiago's road.
Arnedo: Capital of the area.It has prehistoric origins. It gained importance during the Roman occupation becausethe Roman road between Calahorra and Numancia passed through the town. Laterit was occupied by the Moors and from 844 onwards the kings of Navarra and Aragonboth fought for control of it. In 1653 king Felipe V granted it the title of city. It is an agricultural area where olives, grape vines and cereals are grown. It is also a base for La Rioja's shoe industry.
Things to do and see:
Calahorra: This forms part of the Santiago's road. It has Iberian, Celtic, Greekand Basque origins dating back 2000 years. This was once a Roman colony called Calagurris - it was the last Spanish city to fall to Rome. There are lots of historical monuments from this period in Calahorra's history. After the Romanoccupation the Visigoths settled here followed by the Moors who remained until the city was reconquered and became part of the Kingdom of Navarra and later Castellana.
Enciso: This is a very picturesque village in the mountains near Calahorra.
The area around Logroño: The Iregua valley, the Camero Nuevo mountains, the Leza and Jubera valleys.
Logroño: This is the capital of La Rioja (see above)
The area known as La Rioja Alta: This is where the Oja, Tirón, Ebro and Najerilla valleys are located. It is a fertile area mainly grape vines, cereals and fruit.
Haro: This is an elegant town dating back to medievaltimes. It still retains its ancient city wall and has an interesting old partfull of old houses and some very good bars and restaurants. It is the capital of the wine producing area and the wines from here have an excellent reputation.The plaza Mayor is at the center of the city.
Casalarreina: This is a small picturesque touristic village near Haro. There is a 16th centuryconvent (Dominican Convent of La Piedad) in the Catholic kings and Plateresque styles.
Azofra: This is an agricultural village with Arabic origins. It belonged the Lordof Cidamón and Montalbo until the 19th century. It forms part of the Santiago's road.
Plum: This is an agricultural village (mainly grape vines, cereals and fruit).
Santo Domingo de la Calzada: This village was created by SantoDomingo to help pilgrims. He started with the hospital which is now a Parador, the bridge over the river Ojá and a temple. It is a medieval village. ThePlaza de Santo Domingo is at the center of the village. The house where the saintlived is now the headquarters of the village guild. It forms part of the Jacobeanroute. In fact this was the largest walled town in La Rioja in the 14th -15thcenturies. Nowadays only part of the wall remain and 3 entrances to the town.
Groat: This is the last village on the Jacobean route. It is a mainly agricultural area.
SanMillán de la Cogolla: This village dates back to around the year 500when hermits lived here. For example, Millán (later Saint Millán) - this is where the village's name comes from. There are 2 monasteries in theriver Cárdenas valley. Both form part of the Santiago's road
Berceo: The illustrator Gonzalo de Berceo was born in thisvillage in the 12th century. He wrote about Saints from that period. His mostfamous work was called The Miracles of Our Lady in the 13thcentury.
San Vicente de la Sonsierra: In Pesciña you can see a waterfall near a dolmen.
The Alhama and Linares Valleys:
Louvers: The San Andrés Ethnographic exhibition: This is a museum with displays on traditional tools and local customs.
SanRoman de Cameros: Ecomuseum El Molino del Corregidor: This shows how the last mill worked.
Villoslada de Cameros: Interpretation Center of Sierra Cebollera(on the Montenegros roadTel: 941 468 216): This is an exhibition about the Sierra Cebollera National Park.
Ortigosade Cameros: This is a very typical touristic village built on the side of a mountain with pretty houses and churches. The 16th century San Martínchurch is especially interesting.
Aguilarde Alhama: There is a 12th century castle built on top of some rocks here.
Cervera del Rio Alhama: This is a village with Arabicinfluences.
Ezcaray: This is a pretty touristic village. The town hall is interesting because it used to be the Santa Barbara Royal Tapestry factory. There is an ancient 15th centurychurch too called Church of Santa María la Mayor.
Trevijano: This is at the beginning of the Cameros mountain range and is where you can see the largest dolmens in La Rioja. This is where the Collado del Mallo dolmen is.
Golf courses in the Rioja
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