La Rioja is an inland region of northern Spain that is bathed by one of our most important rivers: the Ebro. Its orography is almost flat, although it is delimited by two mountain systems: the Cantabria mountain range to the north and different mountain ranges of the Iberian System to the south. The climate of La Rioja is quite dry, with little rainfall and very pleasant temperatures throughout the year, although winters are usually cold and it is possible to find some hot days in summer. These features make this region an extraordinary area for the growing and production of its famous wines, which have won fame and recognition throughout the world. Indeed, this whole region is dotted with small villages with countless wineries, many of which can be visited. Some of them are located in modern design buildings that, by themselves, attract numerous tourists who come to visit these avant-garde constructions and enjoy the tourism related to the world of wine.
But in addition to offering excellent wines and delicious gastronomy, La Rioja is a fantastic place for hiking. In fact, there are many trails and paths that cover all corners of this region, offering the hiker interesting routes that combine history, culture and scenery.
After having explored and analyzed these itineraries in depth, at Walking North Spain we have designed and selected 6 different routes to ensure the maximum enjoyment of our clients. To this end, three different places have been selected to stay overnight, not far apart from each other, but that show the different corners of this region. Two different routes begin from each of these locations.
Every route has been designed in such a way that their length can be adapted to the distance the hiker wants to cover each day. Some of the itineraries run through terrain with little difference in altitude, while others have a more mountainous character, reaching some summits from where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. You will discover many surprises of great interest along these routes, making each hike complete and entertaining. At the end of each route, you will be able to relax in the charming lodgings in the beautiful villages that we have selected.
Depending on the means of transport you use to travel to this area, we will inform you about how to easily reach the first town where you will spend the night. At your arrival at the lodging, a comprehensive dossier with all the information you need for this trip (route sheets, maps and brochures) will be provided. From our organization in San Sebastian we will confirm that everything is going perfectly and we will keep in contact with you in case you have any questions or need anything.
As from the other villages where you will spend the night, there will be two optional routes to hike from the first village where you stay. You will be able to decide which one you do each day according to your preferences.
The first route is more mountainous since it is 17.5 km long and with a height gain of 925 metres in all, although its itinerary is very easy to walk. In addition, as with the other routes of this trip, it is possible to shorten the walk and reduce it to 13.9 km. with a height gain of 775 metres. It is a route by a mountain that offers beautiful views and whose ascent follows well-marked and easy to follow tracks and paths. The second of the offered routes is longer than the previous one, since its length is 26.6 km in all, although it runs over a flatter terrain, so its height gain is only 575 metres, providing an easy walk along very well marked tracks and paths. This route can be shortened by taxi at two different spots, reducing it to either 20.4 or 17 km. Whatever the chosen length, the route has a number of remarkable places that make the path very entertaining and interesting for the hiker.
Once the second route is finished, you will spend the third consecutive night in the charming rural house at this first village.
After breakfast, you will leave the first village in which you have stayed and a taxi arranged by us will take you to a lovely second village among beautiful mountains.
After leaving your luggage at the hotel, the same taxi driver will take you to a small hamlet that is 5 kms away from where you´ll start to hike the first of the routes. Once there, the route starts climbing through a wooded valley to a mountain pass at 1,500 metres from where, besides enjoying spectacular views of the mountains of the area, you can choose to walk a little more to one of the nearby peaks. Each hiker can choose the distance they want to walk.
From the mountain pass, another path with very good views goes down directly to the village where the accommodation is located. This first route is 13.3 km long and has a height gain of 725 mts. although it can be extended to the hiker's liking.
The next day's route starts from the very door of the hotel. It is a lovely circular route in the vicinity of the village. You walk through forests and mountains that have an exuberant nature, with many different types of trees and a large number of animals, including squirrels, deer, roe deer and wild boar. Its length is 14 km and its height gain 785 metres.
A good dinner and a well deserved rest in the hotel will be the end of the stay in this beautiful village.
After breakfast, you make your last transfer by taxi to the third town where you spend the last two nights. Another beautiful village with a special charm.
Upon arrival, you can choose to do the first of the routes programmed from here, or take a rest day to visit the town and some of its old wineries. In the latter case, you should let us know your plans in advance so that we can arrange a visit to a winery (not included in the price).
If you decide to do the first of these routes, once you have checked in, you start walking from the very door of the hotel. This route runs over terrain that is almost flat, following paths among the innumerable vineyards of the area and returns to the village after visiting three other nearby villages. The distance to cover is only 13.9 km and with a height gain of 330 metres, so the hike and visit to a local winery can be made on the same day.
On the next day, the last route takes place on a slightly steeper terrain, although it is still very easy to follow. You leave from the same village and visit a series of interesting points, so the tour is very entertaining. As in previous routes, you can choose to reduce the distance you walk as you go if you want to make less effort. In all, this last route is 18.7 km long and has a height gain of 785 metres, though it can be shortened to 15 kms, or even less.
Back at the hotel, a good dinner provides an appropriate ending to a wonderful week.
This is the summary of the programme:
Day 1: Arrival to the starting point.
Days 2 and 3: Two hiking routes from the first village.
Days 4 and 5: Transfer to the next village and two other hiking routes from there.
Days 6 and 7: Transfer to the last village and two last hiking routes. Possible visit to a local winery
Day 8: Departure day.
You stay in villages that are not very large and, therefore, do not offer as much choice of accommodation as can be found in the big cities. Despite this limitation, there is a network of small hotels and rural houses that offer all the comfort and amenities that the hiker needs for a good rest, always with close and friendly service.
The fact that we are a local travel agency has allowed us to directly select the best establishments in the area. We have been able to choose them in person, visit them frequently and have direct contact with the owners. All this guarantees that they are the perfect places for our customers to rest after a beautiful day of walking, recharge their batteries with a good dinner and a good breakfast in order to fully enjoy the next stage.
The best routes of La Rioja trip can be done at any time of the year, except for a few weeks in winter, so you can arrive and start the trip on the day of your choice.
(*) Possibility of organizing additional nights of accommodation to have extra rest days and more time to visit the interesting cities and places of the area. Please contact us if you are interested.
(**) In any case, we will provide you with all the necessary information and help you organize your trip, both to get to the village where you will be accommodated the first night and to leave the last village where you stay.
How can I get to the area?
The best option to get to La Rioja is through Bilbao airport. Once in this city, you should take one of the buses that make the trip daily to this area in little more than 1 hour. Of course, you can also go from Bilbao to La Rioja by taxi, although this option is more expensive. For the return trip, the bus route is also the fastest, most comfortable and cheapest. In addition, there is also the possibility of leaving La Rioja using the bus services connecting the capital, Logroño, with Madrid and Barcelona. Remember that our agency will provide you with all the information you might need concerning the different transport options available and, if you wish, we will advise and assist you with all the arrangements that are required.
What currency and language is used in the area?
As in the rest of Spain, the currency used in La Rioja is the euro. With regard to languages, Spanish is the official language, although in the northern part of La Rioja, in the so-called Rioja Alavesa, Basque is also an official language, although it is not widely spoken.
Will there be many hikers along these routes?
You may find other hikers on some of these routes but, in general, they are not very busy paths so you will usually able to enjoy the pleasure of walking alone, in a pleasant and quiet environment.
Is it easy to find your way around or follow the route?
On many occasions, the path runs through usual hiking trails that are well marked with signs and wooden signposts. In those places where these signs do not exist, we have put our own marks so, in general, the routes are easy to follow. Also, remember that we will provide you with detailed information in our route cards. However, it should not be forgotten that some of the routes are done in mountainous surroundings and you should exercise extreme caution in the event of fog or bad weather.
Is it a safe route?
Yes, fortunately this area is very safe and hikers do not usually have any problems on their trip, even if they are travelling alone. In addition, part of the routes pass through inhabited areas and always begin and end in important centres of population. Also, remember that our agency is located in San Sebastian and that you can contact us at any time, either through the accommodation where you are staying, or directly to the contact telephone number in our arrival documentation.
Can I book a trip for a single person?
Although it is ideal to be able to share the experiences of these routes with other people, it is possible to book this trip for individuals, with an additional supplement (please consult prices in the Dates/Prices tab).
What is the best time of year to make this trip?
The best months to hike these routes are April, May, June and, above all, September and October, which is when the grape harvest begins and the vineyards are at their best. Mid July onwards can also be a good time, but it is high season and some days can be quite hot.
Is it possible to shorten some routes?
Yes, if you don't want to walk all or part of any of the routes, you can shorten them by hiring a private taxi service, which you should pay for directly to the driver. This taxi can be booked the day before, either directly in the accommodation where you are staying or by contacting us. If you have any doubts about how to shorten a particular route, please contact us.
I have certain dietary considerations, is it possible to take this into account?
Of course, in this case, we will notify the hotels where you will be staying so that they take this into account at dinner time. When dinners are not included in our programme and you are on your own, you will be able to choose your own menu.
Is it possible to book an additional night in Bilbao at the beginning or end of the trip?
Of course, either because you want to have time to visit the city, or because you need to stay overnight in Bilbao to catch your flight the next day, you can ask for us to book you an additional night in this city. In this case, at the time of making your reservation, let us know how many days you want and we will arrange your reservation free of charge, just with the corresponding additional cost for these extra hotel nights.
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