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4 Reasons why you should visit Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, Spain

January 9, 2020 Destination Europe, Headline News No Comments Email Email

When people think of visiting Spain, big cities including Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Granada or the paradise for party goers like Ibiza will come as the top destinations. However, there is another city in northern Spain that will impress you with its world class wineries, beautiful landscape, amazing food and wine and that city is Logroño, a capital of the province of La Rioja.

Logroño exceeds my expectations and here are 4 reasons why you should add Logroño in your itinerary.

Los Calaos de Briones, this restaurant gets busy for lunch at 3 PM

Charcoal grilled baby lambchop at one pinchos & tapas bar on Calle del Laurel

First, the food scene is so great. If you are meat lovers, you will be doing more than just fine, as the main menu here goes heavily towards meat, especially pork and lamb. Lunch here usually starts from 3 PM and last for a few hours while dinner is from 9 PM onwards. The Spaniards like to take their time for enjoying food and drinks (hence siesta, I assume!). The place you need to visit is Calle del Laurel which is in the old town. The street gets very busy after 9.30 PM, especially Friday and Saturday nights. People will head to this street for a gastronomic evening of great food, drinks and socializing. Calle del Laurel is famous for Pinchos which are like tapas but being served in one portion for one person while tapas are small dishes to share, for instance. After deciding on your pincho, the drink people usually have is either a Corto (small beer) or Crianza (red wine).

Cellar at Marqués de Riscal

Photo & insert: Sunset at Vivanco Wine Museum & Winery

The second reason goes to its world class wineries. Some of you may be nodding the head when hearing the name La Rioja, yes, it is the Rioja wine that you have tasted and are craving for more.

A 2015 Reserva at Marqués de Riscal wine tasting

Wine Tasting at Marqués de Riscal

One thing you should know about the Rioja red wine is that the winemakers here have their own classification which comes in three levels based on the time the grapes stay in the barrel and the bottle. 1. CRIANZA (Yes, it is the Crianza you have with the pinchos.) It stays in the barrel for a year and another year in the bottle. This is young and fresh and comes at a very reasonable price tag. It is your everyday wine that goes well with any food. 2. RESERVA which stays at least one year in the barrel and other 2 years in the barrel or bottle. It goes well with meat and seafood (I had Reserva at the New Year’s Eve dinner and it was devine) and 3. GRAN RESERVA which requires two years in the barrel and other three years in the bottle making it a terrific thanks to its five years aging.

Staff preparing food at a pinchos bar

A group of friend enjoys pinchos lunch

Thirdly, the price for food and drinks here are much cheaper that other big cities without compromising in quality and taste. For example, you can get a decent Crianza for 2 euros, a pincho and a drink together for 3 euros and a bus ride at 70 cents.

Bodegas Ysios designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatraval who also designed the World Trade Center terminal station in New York

Lastly, the ARCHITECTURE here is second to none. The Spaniards appreciate food, drinks, arts and design. Even the winemakers here combine their passion in wine and design together resulting outstanding architecture of the buildings at the wineries and the great examples include Vivanco, Bodegas Ysios, and Marqués de Riscal.

Photo & caption: Hotel Marqués de Riscal designed by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry

Photo & caption: Old town Logroño

I hope that the above 4 reasons can convince you to add Logroño to your next itinerary for Spain. The city is located just 1.5 hours by car from Bilbao which has an international airport (and the famous Guggenheim Museum designed by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry who also did the luxury Hotel building at Marqués de Riscal winery), or a 4-hour drive from Madrid. Adios!

Written by Mandy S. Itthikaiwan

Based on the original content on and

About the author: Mandy S. Itthikaiwan

A hotelier, marketer, communicator and traveller, based in Bangkok, Thailand, Mandy enjoys good food and drinks and has passion in travelling. She is interested in exploring different cultures through food, people, architecture and history, and of course passionate in travelling.

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