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Walk quiet paths leading you through ever-changing colourful landscapes, from the rolling fields and Mediterranean forests of Navarre to the mountains and vineyards of La Rioja. Stay in beautiful small hotels and enjoy fantastic food and wine throughout this off the beaten track walking holiday.
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Arrive in Pamplona and spend the afternoon exploring this lively city. Follow Hemingway’s footsteps to Café Iruña or make a virtual “run of the bulls” along the streets of the city, stopping here and there to have a pintxo and a wine like the locals do. Your hotel is a converted house of nobility in the heart of the city built in the XVIIIth century by the Viceroy of New Granada.
Walk with pilgrims as you follow the Camino de Santiago through some of its prettiest villages, before peeling off into the peaceful countryside. On your first few kilometres you get to soak up the atmosphere of this great pilgrimage which dates back to the IXth Century. This afternoon you leave the Camino behind to explore the quieter valley of Yerri on your way to Estella, a beautiful town rich with historical buildings.
Start early for today's long but beautiful walk along the Ega river valley. Birdsong fills the air as you walk past fertile allotments, forests and cereal fields. As you approach the mountain ridge that takes you to Mués, there are fantastic open views of a landscape punctuated by villages, each one with its large church as a main feature.
This morning walk through gentle landscapes and sleepy villages as you approach the Sierra de Codés, the highest mountains of this holiday. The northern slopes of the range are covered in thick forest, showing the influence of the Atlantic as Mediterranean forests mix with beech trees.
Enjoy the peace of the village and give your legs a rest while you enjoy the hospitality of Maribel and Guy. You can relax in the house terrace and read, stroll on the rural paths around the village or admire the impressive XVIth century altar-piece of the local church. On hot days you can go for a dip in the river pools in nearby Campezo and if you are dying to keep on walking hard you can climb to the top of the Sierra de Codés.
The walk starts on a beautiful path through an oak forest before climbing gently to the pass, from where the wide Ebro valley opens up below. Walking through the forest on the side of the valley, in the distance you will see the hill-top village of Laguardia. Rest tonight in the heart of town, enjoying the atmosphere and also the good food, wine and perhaps even a massage in the hotel spa.
Have a good rest this morning and enjoy the town - walk around the narrow streets, have a massage or visit one of the ancient wineries in town. This afternoon you stroll between the sea of vineyards for a couple of hours to get to Villabuena de Álava. Along the way you will discover the variety of Rioja's vineyards, from small patches on the hills with gnarled, old stumps to modern vineyards prepared for mechanised harvest.
Today is yours to explore the area as you want. The village itself has many bodegas, including the Luis Cañas winery which offers a particularly good visit. Luis himself is often out and about in the vineyards. Your hotel can arrange a wine tasting lesson or you can simply sit out on the terrace with a good glass and enjoy the wine. For a bit more activity we suggest that you walk or cycle a loop down to the Ebro and along the riverbank.
It's time to bid farewall to the Rioja region today as you are taken to the station for your onward travel. Logroño is the most common point of departure, but Bilbao or Pamplona are also available if those gateways are more convenient for you. If this sample itinerary has whetted your appetite for a walk through Rioja then we'd love to share the full details with this trip with you or discuss how we can make the itinerary personal to you. See below for more details and next steps.
Although you will cover a good distance every day the walks are not very hilly, being mostly flat with some rolling hills. There are a couple of longer hills on two of the days, with a maximum 350m gain in one go, 650m accumulated height gain over the day. The paths are mainly wide trails used as agricultural and forest tracks, which makes it easier to admire the landscapes and enjoy the walk throughout. Though we pace the holiday well, you can shorten the walks on some days without missing on the best sections, taking advantage of your luggage transfers to give you a lift.
As an Inn to Inn holiday, we can’t alter the route too much because we’d risk losing the essence of what we love about it. We are creative sorts though so we can discuss tinkering with it a little to suit you, perhaps adding extra time in one of the cities post-walk or even combining this trip with something else in Northern Spain.
Departs on a day to suit you, March through June, and September through November. In terms of weather the best months tend to be spring and autumn. May and June tend to be showery, but this is also one of the most beautiful times to visit. The summer months of July and August will likely be too hot to really enjoy the walks. The driest month is usually September, with harvest usually towards the end of the month. October gradually gets more changeable but benefits from the beautiful colours of the autumnal forests.
The price is per person based on two sharing and includes:
First-class accommodation with breakfast, most lunches and some dinners
Luggage transfers between hotels
Detailed walking notes, OS maps and GPS device
Welcome briefing with Pura Aventura guide and phone support throughout
Private transfers to and from Pamplona
Rioja Holiday Guide with personal recommendations
Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout
International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best routings are into and out of Barcelona (BCN) from where you can take the train to Pamplona or Logroño.
This holiday is based on a carefully chosen collection of very comfortable hotels, but most importantly we believe they offer variety and character, making your accommodation a key part of your holiday. Most of the hotels are historical buildings that have been renovated, maintaining the cultural heritage of the area at the same time as promoting its enjoyment in comfort. This is something we deeply support in Pura Aventura. As well as traditional properties you can admire the dramatic contrast of some of the modern architectural projects that have chosen La Rioja to blend the old and the new.
For more details, please get in touch to request a detailed PDF itinerary.
Throughout this itinerary you stay in primarily family-run guesthouses, your luggage travels with local drivers and you eat meals prepared with local, season ingredients.
The great thing about our Inn to Inn walking trips is that they immerse you in the local culture as you pass through it slowly, step-by-step. You get to learn more about the region’s past, its culture and ways of life the more you walk and the more people you meet.
Appreciating the great wines and vegetables of Rioja, among the best in Spain, is not exactly a challenge. But there’s also the area's rich historical past, marked by the Basque culture, the pilgrim’s way to Santiago de Compostela and the medieval kingdom of Navarre. Every little village you walk through has important churches, many of them dating back to the 16th century. Sharing this cultural heritage with visitors helps give Rioja a sense of identity and place beyond the vines.
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