A 5 day escape to the Spanish wine country...perfect for foodies, wine connoisseurs, and couples looking for a romantic getaway!
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Europe4 days / August 2020
Highs & Lows
Tapas in Logroño. Touring an underground winery in Laguardia.
It's VERY hot during summer in La Rioja!
With the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating the possibility of visiting the United States, Lucie and I were forced to re-plan our 2020 summer vacations. What started as a last-minute idea, turned out to be one of our most unique and memorable vacations spent together!
Get ready to step back in time as this itinerary begins in the 12th-century village of Laguardia. From here, you'll drive 30 minutes south to the Riojan capital of Logroño before finishing near the countryside town of Ortigosa de Cameros. Rolling hills covered in vineyards so close to the road that you can touch the grapes will accompany your journey between stops.
Highlights of this region include 5-star tapas, wine (of course!), local cuisine, picturesque views unique to the region, and a wide variety of activities offered by wineries. Whether you're a professional sommelier or a non-alcoholic family with kids, there is something in La Rioja for everyone!
Q & A
What would you have changed?
Visiting La Rioja in August is not the best idea. Summer temperatures can easily soar to 100°F, making it difficult to enjoy long periods outside. If we could re-plan the trip, we would come in early autumn for the grape harvesting activities or late spring for milder temps.
How was the food?
In Laguardia, we splurged for a meal at Amelibia. This Michelin Star restaurant puts its own modern spin on traditional dishes and boasts an amble list of locally made wines. If you call ahead, be sure to ask for a table by the windows...the view of the surrounding vineyards is spectacular! Not only is Logroño a foodie's dream, but it's also one of the least expensive cities for tapas in Spain. Once you hit Calle Laurel, it's hard to go wrong when choosing from the dozens of bars. Most tapas run between €1-4, and unless your eyes are bigger than your stomach, you'll be full after three or four stops! Over by Ortigosa de Cameros, we recommend the Club Náutico El Rasillo. Fantastic lakeside views accompany hearty local cuisine....Read More
What tips would you give a friend?
To beat the crowds when tapa touring in Logroño, keep in mind that Spaniards have completely different eating times. Lunch typically falls between 2-4pm and dinner between 8-10pm. If you start around 1pm for lunch or 7pm for dinner, you'll have the best chance of beating the locals and finding bars ready to serve food.
While you could try and do everything on public transportation, a rental car is your best bet in La Rioja. Unlike metropolitan areas, this region lacks the infrastructure to support a large public transportation network. Buses do exist, but the timetables are limited, and finding them often involves digging through city hall websites written in Spanish.
Since I don't drink alcohol, I was initially skeptical of planning a vacation in the Spanish wine country. But we were pleasantly surprised to find that most wineries offer a variety of non-drinking related activities, as well as non-alcoholic options for tastings.