A trip along the Rioja Alavesa wine route allows you to enjoy beautiful landscapes with extensive areas of vineyards, but also a historical cultural heritage ranging from archaeological ruins that are over 2,000 years old to wineries that are famous for their contemporary architecture.
The Rioja Alavesa wine route has managed to involve a group of municipalities and their people around a common project: the production, distribution and consumption of wine. Likewise, it has also been backed by the institutions that have endorsed this project.
What is the Rioja Alavesa wine route?
This is a route dedicated to wine where more than a hundred winery establishments have been brought together next to museums, lodgings and restaurants. All this aimed at allowing the visitor to enjoy a product of excellent quality, such as Rioja Alavesa wines, every month of the year.
The territory comprises part of two autonomous communities: La Rioja and the Basque Country. These are two different territories united by the same landscape, with very similar climatic characteristics. This makes it one of the most important groups of wine-producing municipalities in Spain.
Over more than 300 square kilometres, land with spectacular potential for growing grapes stretches out. Traveling through the region, the traveler can enjoy not only the landscapes with roads between vineyards, but also treasures of the historical cultural heritage of Spain.
These treasures range from Prehistory to medieval towns, castles, churches and, of course, wineries of all kinds: large, small, more modern, more artisanal. This complex constitutes a luxury for lovers of this type of tourism.
towns to visit
The visitor can choose between the 23 towns that make up the route not only to taste its wine, but also to enjoy its gastronomy and get lost discovering its monuments.
To enjoy the visit to Laguardia, there are several things that we cannot lose sight of. To know its heritage, we have to go to the Church of Santa María de los Reyes, to the Abbey Tower, to have a panoramic view of the entire Rioja Alavesa; It is also recommended to visit the Church of San Juan and the Capilla del Pilar.
In Laguardia, the traveler will enjoy at the same time an important contrast between some Celtiberian ruins with more than 2100 years and a modern interpretation center that offers a very advanced museum and interpretation proposal.
One of the most unique characteristics of Laguardia are all underground caves below the town. Many of them were built between the 16th and 17th centuries, they were used to store and preserve wine. Over the years, they have also been used as shelters and places to hide.
Only in the town of Laguardia we can visit 67 wineries. We can find contact information for all of them and make the reservation for the visit on the official website of Laguardia.
In this town, the visitor can enjoy the historical cultural heritage of Elciego in the Parish Church of San Andrés and in the Hermitage of Nuestra Señora Virgen de la Plaza.
In addition to going to small family wineries that continue to combine the hard work of different generations, there is also the alternative of contemplating a spectacular building designed by the architect Frank Gehry in the Bodega del Marqués de Riscal (image below).
It is an imposing building over 24 meters high and with four floors where the combination of materials such as stone, glass and metal make the colors of the vineyards blend with the structure itself.
The balcony of La Rioja: Samaniego
Going up the Herrera pass towards Vitoria, we arrive at the so-called Balcón de La Rioja, a unique place where You can see a spectacular view of La Rioja Alta to Rioja Baja, as well as the Sierra de la Demanda and the Ebro River. Located 1,000 meters above sea level, it offers the visitor the best view of the Rioja Alavesa route.
Where to eat and where to sleep to complete the trip
The best thing about the entire trip along the Rioja Alavesa wine route is undoubtedly the perfect mix between visits to modern wineries and artisanal wineries, haute cuisine restaurants and also small bars with excellent pinchos. This, together with the possibility of sleeping in modest rural accommodation or in a four-star hotel, gives them all their charm.
Through its inhabitants, the Rioja Alavesa offers us a friendly face of rural tourism that is perfectly combined with a higher level tourism. On the Rioja Alavesa wine route, everyone is welcome to enjoy its gastronomy, its accommodation, its rich historical heritage, its wineries and its people. However, above all is its wine.