Logroño, Spain: A Guide to the La Rioja Capital
If you’re looking for something charming and quaint, you’ll find it in Logroño, Spain. This city reins you in with copious amounts of great-tasting wine and friendly people.
If you don’t know much about Logroño, no problem. Many people around the world haven’t heard of it just yet. It’s not Madrid or Barcelona so the city has been overlooked by most of the go-getter travelers.
Hopefully, Logroño’s personality will shine through and make you realize just how wonderful the city actually is. You can find out everything you need to know below.
Where is Logroño?
Functioning as the social capital city of La Rioja, Logroño is located in the north of Spain. It’s just south of Bilbao and under 4 hours north of Madrid. It is connected to Zaragoza by the river running past Logroño.
Logroño is a must-see for everyone looking to get off the beaten track. This city is a worthwhile addition while traveling through the Basque country. It forms part of an irresistible tour of Northern Spain where you can visit historically rich places like Bilbao, Logroño, and Barcelona in a matter of 5 days.
Facts about La Rioja, Spain
La Rioja is basically wine-central, boasting some of the best wines that Spain has to offer. The province has three sub-regions where wine is produced; this covers over 65 000 hectares of vineyards that stretch across the province.
In the capital of La Rioja, Logroño is where many pilgrims stopover on their way to Santiago de Compostela. On pilgrimage, many people head toward the Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Redondo. Visitors can also delight in the Church of San Bartolomé or the Parish of Santiago Real.
But religious places of interest are not the only thing that you can expect.
You’ve heard of tapas? Well, in the northern part of Spain, you’ll hear people say “pinchos” or pintxos, which is the basque country equivalent of tapas. You’ll still be delighted to find all of your favorite bite-sized snacks ready to gobble down with your tasty tinto (red) wine.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Logroño, Spain
Take your pick with a variety of hotels in Logroño, Spain. This little town definitely has you covered. Many of the hotels provide you with breakfast and offer the usual amenities required such as wifi, air-conditioning, private bathrooms, and a TV.
Since most things are within walking distance in Logroño, you don’t have to worry about being too far away from the bus or train stations. You could also opt to get a bicycle and cycle around.
Most hotels range between €70 ($80 USD) and €100 ($120 USD). Check out the top picks here:
- NH Logroño Herencia Rioja – four-star luxury hotel with comfy beds.
- Hotel Calle Mayor – a great four-star luxury hotel.
- Hotel los Bracos by Silken – a four-star hotel with excellent service and standards.
- F&G Logroño – more affordable without losing your desired level of comfort, for the budget-conscious traveler.
Things to Do in Logroño, Spain
If you’re looking for places to visit in Spain, there are so many things to see and do! Compared to the major cities in the country, Logroño doesn’t have that many tourist attractions. The city is small, but you’ll probably find that the vineyards and pinchos are more than enough to keep you occupied.
Untouched by too many tourists, you’ll find that locals are friendly and welcoming. Everything is in close quarters so you’ll be able to travel from one city to another if you’re looking for an excursion for the day.
The best part of Logroño is how affordable everything is. The cost of living is quite low, so you’ll save on accommodation and daily expenditure. For the beginner Spanish learner, it is a great place to improve your speaking skills, you’ll have willing tutors and quite a few places to practice.
Museo de la Rioja
Inside an 18th-century Baroque building, you’ll find the history and culture of La Rioja. Expect to see some 5th century stone carvings from the Celtiberian people. Displays from the Roman period as well as some paintings from the 19th century.
Fiestas de San Bernabé
If you’re one for festivals, this one is something unique. Named after the city’s patron saint, Fiestas de San Bernabé is a traditional festival that commemorates the defeat of French troops. The festival is filled with rituals that are repeated in memory of the inhabitants of Logroño at the time.
According to tradition, the inhabitants survived the French by eating bread, drinking wine, and enjoying seafood in secret. The mayor gets involved by waving flags, there are cannon fire salutes and everyone convenes at the Revellίn Gate.
Fiestas de San Mateo
If bull running, parades and crushing grapes with your feet sound appealing to you, Fiesta San Mateo has to be on your to-do list. It’s a week-long festival that originated in the 12th century. It’s done in celebration and gratitude for the vineyard harvest every year from the first Saturday before the 21st of September.
Batalla del Vino
Certain wineries allow locals (and the few tourists that visit) to throw grapes at each other. Literally. They call it the Wine Battle or Batalla del Vino. The Festival takes place every year on 29 June, just outside of Haro which is just 35 minutes away from Logroño.
Madrid to Logroño
Once you’ve landed in the wonderful city of Madrid. Make sure to spend enough time there so that you can experience the true culture and social life of Spain’s capital city.
Madrid is the second-largest city in Europe and you’ll find lots to do. From bullfighting to festivals and football matches to the opera and museum visits — you’ll definitely have lots to do before you head out to Logroño.
In order to get from the capital city to Logroño, it’ll take between 3 to 4 hours. You can rent a car and drive yourself, with the distance being around 315km.
Since rental prices can sometimes be a little bit pricey, you’ve also got the option of taking the bus. These traveling times are anywhere from under 3 hours to over 5 hours. So, make sure that you’ve packed some tapas with you for the journey.
You’ve also got the choice of taking a flight to Logroño–Agoncillo airport or hopping on a train. You’ll have to check the schedule in advance because some buses and trains will depart either once a day or in some cases, once a week.
For transport costs, you’re looking at spending anywhere from €28 for a train, €15 for a bus, and €48 for a plane ticket ($17 to $57 USD).
Have we mentioned wine? Well, there are about 5 various bodegas that you can visit. They’ve got wine-tasting, tapas with wine pairings, and a whole lot more!
Bodegas Franco Españolas
With this winery, you’ll experience magnificent and informative tours. In their English Winery Tour, you can expect to learn everything you need to know about Spanish wine.
You’ll learn about the history of Rioja. Explore barrel rooms, old cellars and taste their best wines. From anywhere around €15 ($17 USD).
Bodegas Arizcuren Vinos
This winery is where urban chic meets old and traditional vineyards. The vineyard has been in the Arizcuren family for years. The current winemaker has brought in some interesting modern twists which make this vineyard an absolute treat.
Experience an urban cellar tour, small and artisanal, explore the wines and understand the visions behind their attempt to restore lost historical traditions. You can expect prices anywhere from €15 to €120 ($17 to $150 USD) depending on your selection.
Weather in Logroño
In summer, you’ll find the weather is warm and dry with temperatures reaching as high as 85℉ (29℃). From the middle of June to late September, you’ll experience the best climate for moderately warm to hot weather.
In winter, you can expect temperatures of 36℉ (2℃), some snow on the mountains which brings in cold and partly cloudy days to the visitors of Logroño. Extremely cold temperatures are experienced from late November to the end of February.
Final say on Logroño
For a small city, it packs a big punch. It might not seem like much at first but this city has been dubbed the best city to live in Spain by some experienced ex-pats. From the people to the food and wine, there is definitely something special about Logroño.
Make sure to check the weather before you book your tickets because the weather can get extremely hot. But, that’s nothing some pinchos and a walk to the Ebro river can’t fix. You’ll need a few days in the city to truly enjoy the hidden streets and friendly locals.
There are lots of wineries for you to explore along with all of the tours you’ll be able to do. At the heart of Northern Spain, this city will have you wondering why you didn’t hear about it sooner.