La Rioja is an autonomous community and province in Spain, in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Its capital is Logroño.
It covers part of the Ebro valley towards its north and the Iberian Range in the south.
The community is a single province, so there is no County Council, and it is organized into 174 municipalities. It borders the Basque community to the north, Navarre to the northeast, Aragón to the southeast, and Castile and León to the west and south.
This autonomous community is historically linked to the Diocese of Calahorra and the Kingdom of Najera. The first documentary reference to La Rioja as Rioga is written in the jurisdiction of Miranda de Ebro, in the year 1099. The Statute of Autonomy of La Rioja, also called the Statute of San Millán, was approved in 1982.
The region is well known for its wines under the brand Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja. Rioja wine is made from grapes grown in the autonomous communities of La Rioja and Navarre, and the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Oriental and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions, though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines.
It is also one of the most important paleontological territories in the world in terms of ichnites (dinosaur footprints) deposits, which stand out for their number and conservation. Among its monuments are the monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla, considered medieval centers of culture and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago has had great importance over the years in these territories, with two routes running through them. The French way, the most popular, which, starting from Roncesvalles, passes through Pamplona, Estella, Los Arcos and once inside La Rioja, through Logroño and Nájera to reach Santo Domingo de la Calzada where it will converge with the other way called the Interior or Basque – French, which coming from France through Irún, passes through Andoain, Beasain, Zalduendo de Álava, Vitoria, La Puebla de Arganzón, entering La Rioja through the Conchas de Haro towards Briñas, Haro, Zarratón, Cidamón, San Torcuato, Bañares and finally Santo Domingo de la Calzada, from where it will continue towards Belorado on the way to Santiago de Compostela, ending its Rioja route in Grañón.
Another of the Caminos de Santiago that passes through La Rioja is the Camino Jacobeo del Ebro. Pilgrims from the Mediterranean and the eastern Pyrenees consolidated this Camino del Ebro from Tortosa to Logroño passing through Gandesa, Caspe, Zaragoza, Tudela, Alfaro and Calahorra. It is the Roman road that has linked Tarraco with Astorga for more than two thousand years, a historic axis of communications that discovers the lands and peoples of Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre and La Rioja.
Many of the municipalities through which the road passes have hostels, so that pilgrims can spend the night.
La Rioja currently has 118 declared Assets of Cultural Interest (BIC), as an example we can cite the following:
Churches and cathedrals: Cathedral of Santa María (Calahorra), Co-Cathedral of Santa María de la Redonda (Logroño), Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Church of Santiago el Mayor (Calahorra), Church of San Andrés (Calahorra), Church of San Bartolomé (Logroño), Collegiate Church of Santo Tomás (Haro), Parish Church of Santa María la Mayor (Ezcaray), Parish Church of Santa María la Mayor (San Vicente de la Sonsierra), Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Briones ) and church of Santa María de la Asunción (Navarrete).
Monasteries: Monastery of San José (Calahorra), Monastery of Ntra. Sra. de la Piedad (Casalarreina), Cistercian Monastery of Santa María (Cañas), Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Valvanera (Anguiano), Monastery of Santa María la Real de Nájera and Monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla.
Castles: Sajazarra Castle, Clavijo Castle, Arnedo Castle, Cornago Castle, Cuzcurrita Castle.
Houses and palaces: Palace of the Marquis of Casa Torre (Igea), Palace of the Salazar (Haro).
Archaeological remains: Roman ruins of Calahorra, Roman Nifeo (Alfaro) and Contrebia Leukade (Aguilar del Río Alhama).
Paleontological deposits: Enciso deposit, Hornillos deposit, San Vicente deposit (Munilla) and the Paleontological deposit of Icnitas de las Hoyas (Arnedillo).
Historical-Artistic Complex: The Camino de Santiago in La Rioja, Historical-Artistic Complex of Casalarreina, Historical-Artistic Complex of Briones, Canals de la Sierra Historical Complex and the Historical-Artistic Complex of Ortigosa de Cameros.
Assets of intangible cultural interest: La Jota Rioja, The Kingdom of Nájera (Theatrical representation of historical events), The miracle of the hen and the rooster of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
What to see (in alphabetical order)
Casalarreina and its monastery of Our Lady of Mercy
Haro – capital of La Rioja wines
Monastery of Nuestra Señora de Valvanera
Monasteries of San Millán de Suso and San Millán de Yuso – UNESCO sites
Monastery of Santa María de San Salvador de Cañas – Cistercian abbey
Santo Domingo de la Calzada and its Cathedral
Villoslada de Cameros and its attractions
Viniegra de Abajo and its attractions
Viniegra de Arriba and its attractions
Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture – world best museum devoted to wines by UNESCO
On December 4, 1997, the monasteries of San Millán de Yuso and Suso were declared a World Heritage Site in Europe by UNESCO. Both are located in the Rioja town of San Millán de la Cogolla, and are famous because the Glosas Emilianenses were found there.
The Camino Frances de Santiago is also a World Heritage Site, which passes through several communities, including La Rioja, and 35 dinosaurs footprints sites on the Iberian Peninsula are in the process of becoming so, of which 13 are in La Rioja.
In 2013, the cultural landscape of wine and vineyards in La Rioja and Rioja Alavesa was included in the list of candidate assets for World Heritage.
Transport and how to get to?
Logroño–Agoncillo Airport (IATA: RJL, ICAO: LERJ) is the airport serving Logroño in the autonomous community of La Rioja. However, as of 2021, there are no longer any scheduled services at the airport after Iberia Regional terminated the sole route to Madrid.
Regional services are offered to Zaragoza and Valladolid, with intermediate stops such as Calahorra, Haro, Alfaro, Tudela, Castejón, Miranda de Ebro, Burgos, etc. There are also services from Grandes Líneas to Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Salamanca, Asturias and Galicia, among others.
Distance by car from Logroño to the main cities of Spain
From Madrid 3 hr 42 min (335 km) via A-2 and N-111
From Pamplona 56 min (85.3 km) via Autovía Camino de Santiago/A-12
From Santiago de Compostela 5 hr 54 min (616 km) via A-6 and A-231
From Oviedo 4 hr 2 min (424 km) via A-231
From Santander 2 hr 25 min (234 km) via A-8 and AP-68
From Vitoria-Gasteiz 1 hr 6 min (94.1 km) via AP-68
From Zaragoza 1 hr 40 min (170 km) via AP-68
From Barcelona 4 hr 29 min (472 km) via AP-2 and AP-68
From Valladolid 2 hr 38 min (256 km) via A-62
From Toledo 4 hr 6 min (397 km) via A-2
From Valencia 4 hr 31 min (479 km) via A-23 and AP-68
From Mérida 5 hr 54 min (646 km) via A-66 and A-62
From Murcia 6 hr 36 min (701 km) via A-3
From Seville 7 hr 42 min (838 km) via A-66 and A-62
Area: 5045 km²
Coordinates: 42°15′N 2°30′W
Population: 319 914
Time: Central European UTC +1