In part seven of beautiful and lesser known places in Spain, we look at a very underrated city, yet both beautiful and worth visiting
There is so much more to see in Spain than beaches and big cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Granada and Seville. These are in themselves towns that are worth visiting, but the pearls are often forgotten throughout the rest of Spain.
Now we are taking you to Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, the famous wine region of northern Spain. The city has everything that makes life nice; a beautiful old center with more Pinco (tapas) bars than you can count. Right next to the center, there is an area of four blocks where over 50 first-class tapas bars have accumulated .
The city is not particularly large with continental standards, with a little over 150,000 inhabitants. It is beautifully situated by the river Ebro and the pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago passes through the city, thus it is a natural stop for many pilgrims. The town is strategically located between many other large cities, so it is a good base for exploring northern Spain.
The location helps to ensure that prices are pleasantly low and the food and wine is of the highest class. In addition there are, oddly enough, almost no tourists here (except resting pilgrims).
If you’re in a hurry and just want to do the most important: Take time to visit a bodega and go out on the town for some pinchos (tapas). Bodegas Franco-Españolas is across the river seen from the old town, a five minutes walk. Hemingway used to visit it when he was visiting the city. Then go back over the river and take a lunch or dinner around the Calle del Laurel and Calle San Juan, the famous pincho streets.
Of course you can visit the city all year round, but the best time is in October when the leaves out in the vineyards are changing color. Another good time is in September, when the patron saint of San Mateo is being celebrated, a fair week with plenty of madness.
Logroño is located 336 km from Madrid, 152 km from Bilbao and 468 km from Barcelona. Of course you can travel there by car, but they have an airport (Aeropuerto de Logroño-Agoncillo) with regular flights from Madrid. Trains and buses are other options. When it comes to traffic between Madrid and Logroño, I recommend the ALSA buses. It takes about the same time as the train to a quarter of the price and there is wifi on board the buses.