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Spain’s most enticing wine routes: Rioja Alta

The region of La Rioja revolves around life’s simple pleasures. Lunches are long, siestas are savoured, and there’s always time for another glass of wine.

This rural province of northern Spain is famous for its fertile soil – and the vibrant wines its vineyards produce. Made largely from native Tempranillo grapes, Riojas range from young, juicy Crianzas to full-bodied Reservas and intensely oaky bottled-aged Gran Reservas. Deep cherry notes, bold tannins, and hint of acidity create a complex flavour profile that’s beloved by wine enthusiasts around the world.

So where to start?

With hundreds of wineries scattered across the region, you can’t really go wrong, but the 50 km stretch from Haro to Logroño is hard to beat. This area – known as Rioja Alta, or ‘High Rioja’ – is said to produce the finest vintages, thanks to its raised elevation and unique microclimate.

The Rioja Alta route hugs the banks of the River Ebro as it winds from village to village, with the snow-capped Sierra Alavesa mountains marking the horizon. Dotted along the way, sleepy towns like San Vicente de la Sonsierra and San Asensio are home to hole-in-the-wall bodegas and large-scale wineries alike, while in regional capital Logroño, Rioja wines are paired with mouthwatering tapas.

Where to stay?

Apartamentos Turísticos Los Zapatos Morados – Haro, Spain

The Zapatos Morados apartments combine old and new seamlessly. Each roomy apartment has rustic stone walls, modern furnishings, and a handy kitchenette. guests rave about the thoughtfulness of host María, and also love the outstanding location in Haro town centre, surrounded by local shops and wine bars.

Casona del Boticario – San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Spain

This former apothecary shop has been owned by the same family since the 18th century, and it shows. A lot of love has gone into Casona del Boticario’s harmonious design, which blends modern elements with original features like exposed stone walls, stained glass and antique furniture. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also within a short walk of a dozen local bodegas.

Hotel El Mirador de la Chana – San Asensio, Spain

Where better to sip Rioja than on a peaceful terrace, gazing out over miles of vineyards? This modern guest house has a secluded setting, but it’s just a few minutes’ walk from central San Asensio. guests are consistently impressed by hosts Ana and Javier, who provide everything from homemade cakes to tips on the best local wineries.

Hotel Calle Mayor – Logroño, Spain

Compared to its 16th-century façade, this hotel’s ultra-modern interiors are something of a contrast – but one that goes down a treat with guests. Reviews are packed with positive comments about the stylish rooms, spacious bathrooms, and indulgent rain showers. The property’s location in the historic centre of Logroño is also hard to beat.

*These properties were chosen due to their popularity with guests who endorsed the destinations for ‘wine’ and ‘vineyards’.