The time that you need to get to fully know Rioja is a whole lifetime!!! But, of course, even if it was your wish, you don't have that much time available… or maybe you do?
There are so many things to do in La Rioja that if it’s the main destination of your holidays, the minimum stay recommended is three nights, to have enough time for a Rioja wine two days’ trip, visiting several wineries in Rioja and tasting the best Rioja wines, discovering the winemaking styles and the three sub-regions, getting to know some of the heritage monuments, enjoying a Rioja vineyard tour, trekking along the mountainous areas and savoring the varied gastronomy, from the “pinchos” bars to the awarded restaurants.
If you stay longer than 3 nights, your Rioja experience will improve exponentially, having the opportunity to take it easy, to travel slowly and to go off the beaten path. Aside from the wines, vineyards and wineries in Rioja, the region has a very rich historical and artistic heritage linked with the Camino de Santiago and with its past as a border area between kingdoms during the medieval age. Castles, churches, cathedrals and palaces will show you the importance of this land throughout history.
If you are traveling calmly or looking for varied landscapes, apart from the Rioja vineyards, there are different mountainous areas that embrace and protect the Rioja wine region. The one to the south-east, Sierra Cebollera, is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of the UNESCO due to its high environmental value. In Rioja, seven rivers flow into the main Ebro river, creating seven valleys, each one developing its own natural landscape.
Also, due to the central location of Rioja in the North of Spain, you can extend your stay in Rioja, establishing here your headquarters and touring from Rioja to the nearby regions and towns, in a one-hour or two-hours drive you can be in Bilbao, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Burgos, Zaragoza,…
But if you are trying to fit a Rioja wine tour in your packed holiday schedule it is important to consider your previous destination or your departure point:
Rioja wine tours from Bilbao: the short distance from Bilbao to Haro (95km/53mi) or Laguardia (110km/68mi) will allow you to take a half day trip or one day trip to La Rioja, being back to your accommodation in Bilbao by the evening. You will find several options of public bus transportation linking Bilbao and Haro, but it will limit your chances of visiting the surrounding areas and vineyards unless you take a taxi or a private chauffeured tour. However, you will find a nice bunch of Rioja century-old wineries in Haro, among the best wineries to visit in La Rioja, in what is called the Railway Station Quarter. If you want to explore the area, not only the town of Haro, it is absolutely recommended to hire a car for your trip (being careful not to drink & drive) or to take a private tour. It is an easy drive from Bilbao, but to get the most of it, better if you plan a two days’ trip to Rioja.
Rioja wine tours from San Sebastian: we can say that San Sebastian is not far from Rioja, but further than Bilbao, so in this case, even when it is possible to plan a one day trip, it is suggested to stay a minimum of one night in Rioja. This way, you will enjoy a minimum of one day and a half in the region and have the chance to be delighted by its gastronomy in the evening and the animated nightlife in any of its main towns. On the way from/to San Sebastian to/from Rioja, you will find Pamplona, very recommended as well, to complete your experience through the north of Spain.
Rioja wine tours from Madrid or Barcelona: Rioja has a strategic position on your way from Madrid or from Barcelona to the Basque Country, so if you are planning a road trip to the north of Spain, schedule a minimum of one night in Rioja, you will not regret it.
We will customize the best Rioja wine tours just for you and send you a suggested itinerary and an estimate with no obligation.