7 reasons to visit La Rioja with Pura Aventura
Rioja is the most famous area of wine production in Spain. What is less well-known is the high quality of food, sourced from the fertile valleys, the plains to the south, and the coast to the north. Add in the delightful landscapes of rolling mountains, pretty villages, medieval castles, wonderful places to stay and all those vineyards and you have a part of Spain which is a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.
We hope what follows captures the essence of all that, enough at least to have you itching to get out there and have a good look around for yourself.
We'd love to share it with you.
#1. Wonderful wineries, new and old
"Family wineries are passed from one generation to the next, infusing new ideas and renewed energy, forever improving, forever modernising this most traditional of industries. From this regeneration we get a complete spectrum of wineries, from the ultra-modern Marqués de Riscal, a masterpiece plucked from the brilliant imagination of Frank Ghery, to our partner Marina and her more humble, yet equally heartfelt, ode to the tradition of small-scale family winemaking at the other end of the scale."
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#2. Vintage landscapes
"We often see La Rioja described as the Spanish Tuscany. As full of good-intention and complimentary spirit as they no doubt are, we can’t help feeling it does La Rioja a bit of a disservice. After all, the convergence of mountain ridges, poppy fields, thick forests, open valleys, hilltop villages, ruined castles, Roman bridges, the meandering path of one of the Iberian Peninsula’s great rivers and all of those pristine centuries-old vineyards hardly warrants the need to hitch Rioja’s wagon to its Italian contemporary."
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#3. Perfect pintxos, Michelin meals
"All you have to do is find the right combination of great wine and great food for you and your tastebuds. You could start in the crowded backstreet pintxos bars of Logroño, picking your way through the bounty on offer with a mixture of luck, judgement and recommendations, whilst simultaneously comparing the traditional-style wines with their newer, more creative contemporaries."
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#4. Walking at a Rioja pace
"When you have the prospect of a great variety of peaceful landscapes, the lure of medieval villages so lightly touched by the hands of modernity, the daily ritual of world-class wine drunk at source and the generous hospitality of small hotels owners all stretching out before you, what’s the great rush? If Rioja’s vineyards can teach us anything, it’s that nature does a commendable job of setting the pace of life here. Us visitors do well to fall in line."
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#5. Memorable places to stay
"At one end of the scale, you have the modern masterpiece that is Hotel Viura, a bonkers creation, seemingly put together by a builder whose spirit level was on the blink that day. It’s a great place to end a good week’s walking through the Basque Rioja countryside, your aching limbs soothed by a bit of well-deserved luxury. If you're driving there, we'll trust you've earned it somewhere along the line."
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#6. A Master's in Spanish history
"Beautiful as they are to look at, the landscapes also have their stories to tell. In fact, there are so many cultural references in a Rioja holiday that you could almost do a Masters in Spanish history along the way should you wish. From the Neolithic dolmens and Roman bridges outside Laguardia and the paths followed by medieval pilgrims, to the ancient unknown origins of the Basque culture and its daily presence in Spanish politics, you will travel through a land that reached its nexus in the Middle Age."
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#7. A gateway to northern Spain
"There are many ways that we can slice and dice all that you have read so far into a trip that fits your idea of a good holiday. Given Rioja’s central position in northern Spain, and given that everything we do is completely flexible and designed to you, even down to the smallest detail, we have great scope to create a bespoke journey that pieces together different parts of the country."
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