Tucked away on the world famous Camino trail, Logroño is a small city known as the capital of the Rioja region. Yep, you guessed it – wine. While a visit to Logroño isn’t complete without a visit to a vineyard, or at least sampling the regions finest wines at one of the many bars and cafes, there is plenty to do in this charming city to fill a weekend away.
When in the capital of La Rioja region, it’s difficult to completely avoid wine. Whether or not you drink it, wine is a huge part of the culture here, and a visit to a bodega or sampling the local produce is a big part of a trip to Logroño. The bars and cafes have a wide range on offer to sample, and at such cheap prices it’s easy to become well acquainted with the local produce.
Small dishes of delicious food. Need I say more? No, but I will anyway – whether you like to enjoy tapas on busy streets, standing at tables outside while soaking up the atmosphere, or in a town square watching people go about their day, Logroño has it all. You can also grab pintxos in some of the bars, which is a slice of baguette with meat, fish, omelette or vegetable on top. Yep, yummy.
As Logroño is on one of the famous camino trails ending in Santiago de Compostela, you’ll see many people taking part in the walk. They start to appear in the city late morning as they finish their daily walk from the previous stop, and as they fill the bars and cafes you’ll find many of them are familiar with each other having met in previous stops on the trail, or having walked part of the camino together. People from all over the world, from all walks of life take part in the camino, and listening to their stories and reasons for doing the epic 500-mile walk are so inspiring you might find that you consider undertaking the journey.
Walk part of the camino
If you have been inspired by some of the people walking the camino who pass through the town, you can join them in part of the journey. It’s easy to follow the trail through the city, just find and follow the yellow shells and arrows that guide the pilgrims through the city and onwards. You can walk follow the trail just to the edge of the city, or go all the way to the next town and catch a bus/taxi back.
Please be aware that it’s easy to follow the trail, but it’s not as easy to follow it back if you don’t pay attention. Yes, that’s coming from experience, but luckily it’s a lovely city to be lost in.
Small town vibes
There’s something about smaller Spanish towns that means they have that bit of extra charm that the bigger cities don’t. The chance to practice your Spanish if you’re learning, small markets to explore and endless numbers of people in the streets enjoying a coffee and tapas at all times of the day…just a few of my favourite things about visiting these smaller towns. There’s a sense of community that isn’t always present in the larger city centres, and Logroño has it in abundance.
In a place where wine is such a big part of the culture, a visit to a winery should be on the cards. Whether you opt for a day excursion to tour some of the local winerys, or you’d rather stay close to home and just visit one, the chance to learn about and sample the local wine will be a winner. Bodegas Franco Espanolas is a 100 year old winery just a 5-minute walk from the centre, or Bodegas Campo Viejo will give you an insight into the making of a wine that graces many shelves in our local supermarkets.
Calle del Laurel
A street full of bars offering tapas, pintxos and delicious wine, you could easily visit here every day and still enjoy hopping between the bars sampling everything on offer. It’s a great place to chill out in the evening, with the typically Spanish relaxed atmosphere welcoming people in. The garlic mushroom pintxos at Bar Soriano are a hit with many, and for fancier tapas head for Torrecilla. Although, to be honest, half the fun of this street is exploring the different bars and seeing what they’ve got!
Concatedral de Santa Maria de la Redonda takes pride of place in the city centre, and is known for its twin towers. Inside, you’ll find impressive architecture, chapels and a surprisingly bright prayer area in a separate room. It’s not open all day, but just ask a local and they’ll let you know when you can go inside, although the exterior is just as impressive and worthy of seeing.
Mercado de San Blas
A fresh and vibrant local market offering an array of meat, fish, vegetables and spices. It’s not huge, and be sure to ask before you snap away on your camera, but there are some really interesting things on offer here that aren’t commonplace in Spanish markets. The surrounding area is full of shops, so after you’ve perused the market you can carry on shopping in the local shops nearby.
Casa de Las Ciencias
One of the museums on offer in the city, my favourite thing about Casa de Las Ciencias is the surrounding area on the riverside that is home to free interactive science stuff. Probably intended for children, it’s also fun for adults who want to jump on musical tiles, practice memory games or see physics in an interesting visual way.
Paseo del Espolon
A compact park taking pride of place in the centre of the old city, it’s not only a nice place to sit and relax but also home to a number of cafes and bars that are a great choice to enjoy a drink and tapas…or two. If you’re here around midday in the week you’ll hear the siren wail. Although initially alarming, once you notice none of the locals even batting an eyelid you’ll forget the worry that it’s an air raid siren and can appreciate that it’s just for the local workers to know it’s lunchtime.
Chimenea de La Antigua Tabacalera
It’s big. It’s red. It’s right in the street for everyone to admire, and is just a chimney. However, the interest starts when you learn about the history of the building that the chimney belongs to. It started out as a convent for nuns, before being turned into a tobacco factory in 1890. The tobacco factory remained in the city until the 1970’s, during which time it was one of the town’s leading businesses.
Tips for how to get in and around Logroño:
Logroño doesn’t have it’s own airport, but is easily accessible by bus and train from Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid. Once you arrive in the city by train, it’s a short walk to the city centre, or an even quicker taxi ride.
If you’re coming in via the camino, you’ve got a bit of a further walk from the previous town, but you rock!
Logroño isn’t the biggest place, and can easily be explored by foot.
For a central spot, try for somewhere near Parque del Espolón or near the charming square outside Concatedral de Santa María de la Redonda.
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