On the banks of the river Ebro, in the land of wines, stands Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, an ideal location for rural tourism with a lot to offer.
Located to the north of the province, in the Rioja Media region, the city is settled in flat lands, acting as a crossroads between the famous Camino de Santiago and a landscape of extensive vineyards.
What do we know about its history? Although there are several cultures that have passed through these lands, it was the Romans who originated the settlement Vareia, the current Varea that is part of the city.
During the middle ages it was razed by Cid Campeador in 1092, built 3 years later by order of Alfonso VI and granted the Law of Logroño which lead to an increase in the population. It is in the 11th century that Logroño becomes increasingly relevant due to its positioning and its possession was disputed between the kings of Navarre and Castile.
Now we know more about its origins, how about knowing about the most prominent places in Logroño? We begin the tour at the la Muralla y Puerta de Revellín, a fine example of medieval defences that once protected the city. Close by we can find the Parliament of La Rioja, a building that was formerly the Convent de La Merced, which displays a beautiful baroque façade and an interior cloister from the century XVII.
If we get to the Market Square, we can visit the Co-Cathedral of Santa María la Redonda, a name that comes from the old Romanesque church of the eleventh century in which it sits.
The Cathedral has two elaborately decorated twin towers of baroque style, a reformed structure built between the 16th-18th centuries.
Once we leave the Market Square, we can enter the historic centre, where it’s easy to find quaint corners of character such a Calle Ruavieja. Calle Ruavieja is a passing point of the Camino de Santiago and is full of ‘Calados’ – old wineries under the houses- such as San Gregorio (16th century) or the Palace of Yanguas, the current Cultural Centre of La Rioja.
Other outstanding religious buildings in the old town are the churches the Imperial de Santa María (built in 12th-13th centuries), which has an impressive octagonal spire next to its tower or the Church of Santiago, an essential stop for any pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago. Speaking of pilgrimages, don´t overlook taking your own pleasant walk along the Paseo del Espolón, one of the green lungs of the city.
Shall we walk through its gastronomy now? Yes, let’s stroll down Laurel Street or as the locals would call it ‘La Senda de los Elefantes’ –The Elephants Path. It’s the most famous street for tapas or chiqueteo and the nickname originates from the colloquial phrase salir trompa a cuatro patas, which translates to ´leaving the trunk on all fours´.
In addition to the variety of well-known pinchos, you can be assured that the Riojan Gastronomy is nourished by the fresh local produce and that their ingredients are found in many typical dishes such as Riojan potatoes (potatoes with chorizo), caparrones (Spanish Stew), tuna with Riojan tomatoes and meat chops with vine shoots.
Also not forgetting that no self-respecting dinner table in Logroño is compete without a good wine that proudly originates from La Rioja itself.
How about their celebrations? The most important date, which receives national tourist interest, is the patron saint festivities of San Bernabé on 11th June, where you can find many historical performances and costumes. Equally impressive is the town´s harvest festival in September, Fiesta de la Vendimia, where the harvested grapes are stomped on in the traditional fashion.
Now to take a look at the city´s economy, we see that wine is one of the main bases of its livelihood, having developed an oenological tourism with great relevance. Additionally this is normally accompanied by another pillar of the city, its rural tourism, which brings many to Logroño’s doors to experience its culture and history.