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What to see in the Rioja Alavesa

 

Ico_ComillasThe rugged Sierra Cantabria on one side and the capricious course of the Ebro River on the other contribute and give character to this region of Alava known as the Rioja Alavesa, a land of great wines, beautiful landscapes and important history. Its strategic location, together with the unquestionable productivity of its fields, has contributed to the fact that, over the years, several civilizations have inhabited here and many disputes have arisen to control these lands on the banks of the Ebro.

 

Proposed itinerary to visit the Rioja Alavesa

 

Prehistoric sites, dolmens, Roman architecture, medieval villas, living vestiges of the people who passed through here, are mixed today with modern and avant-garde wineries, tourist and well cared for villages, in perfect balance and in tune with the landscape and nature around them. The route of the Rioja Alavesa will lead us, as if it were a time machine, through the history and landscapes that shape this land, where we cannot forget one of its signs of identity, wine, which is undoubtedly one of the great protagonists of many of the places we will discover.

 

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First stop

Labastida

Gateway to the west in the Rioja Alavesa, Labastida sits at the foot of the imposing Toloño, at whose summit we can find the remains of the ancient sanctuary of Our Lady of Toloño, as well as being a point of union between La Rioja and Álava. This sanctuary has fallen into oblivion, in part, because of the harsh weather conditions that these mountains endure, a natural frontier where different types of climate converge and which, together with the barrier that these mountains create, result in excellent conditions for growing grapes. From the top of the watchtower of the palatial Labastida we can enjoy a beautiful view, not only of the Rioja Alavesa, but also of its neighbour and sister La Rioja. Both, as we can see along the route, merge and intermingle, barely separated by the river Ebro, making us wonder whether we are in one community or the other.

Route through the Rioja Alavesa Labastida

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Second stop

Samaniego

After calmly discovering Labastida, whose noble history can still be seen in the regal architecture of its historic centre, we set off for the next stop on the route, surrounded by vineyards that would almost force us to change the name of this route to the Rioja Alavesa Wine Route. The N-232a is in charge of guiding us, as it crosses this region from side to side, reaching Logroño itself, the capital of the neighbouring autonomous community of La Rioja. In this first part of the route we will pass through this community, which will take us past San Vicente de la Sonsierra and then on to another town in La Rioja, Ábalos. We continue escorted through the imposing mountains until we reach Samaniego, once again in the province of Alava. Here we can walk through its streets, visit the Ermita de La Virgen del Valle and the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, while we continue to enjoy the landscape and the proximity of the mountains to which we will be heading next.

Route through the Rioja Alavesa Samaniego

Third stop

The Balcony of La Rioja

We say goodbye to the town of Samaniego to set off for one of the most spectacular corners of the route. Its privileged location, which provides magnificent views, makes it approachable to many people. We continue as before, following the national road until we reach the junction with the Leza road, which we will leave on our right and, leaving the national road, we will begin the ascent to the Herrera Pass, following the road that leads to Vitoria. The ascent with strong ramps makes us gain height quickly climbing these steep mountains in search of the pass that crosses them. This pass should not be reached, as before reaching the pass we will find the detour that will take us to the Balcony of La Rioja. Here, on clear days, we will enjoy a spectacular panorama that is sure to catch us for a while, the Sierra of La Demanda on the horizon, the zigzagging course of the Ebro and its characteristic meanders... Although if our route coincides with days of low clouds or heavy fog, it is possible that in return we will have the opportunity to place ourselves above the sea of clouds that cover the valley.

The Balcony of La Rioja

Fourth stop

Elciego

We left the mountain behind and returned to the valley, going down the road that brought us here to reach the crossroads with the national road again, while we continued to behold the sea of vineyards towards which we were heading. Now we will cross the national road and head towards the town of Leza, which we will reach quickly. The road leads us through this village, which is well worth a short stop to get to know. We continue our journey by entering the vineyards that surround the road, while, without realizing it, we gradually approach the river Ebro. Navaridas, another coquettish town in the Rioja Alavesa, lies to one side, but the road we are on does not even let us pass it. Suddenly the town of Elciego and its surprising mixture of architecture appears before us. Frank Gehry's latest design blends with the classic Gothic style of the San Andrés parish church or the town's regal emblazoned houses. Elciego is one of the clearest examples of the communion of the wine culture with the surrounding environment and how over the years it has been part of the history and people of this land.

Route through the Rioja Alavesa Elciego

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Fifth stop

Laguardia

We said goodbye to Elciego and headed for the medieval town of Laguardia, which is located on a hill and dominates everything around it. It preserves the structure and style of that period in a very good condition, surprising the visitor. There are two possibilities: the first one, a little longer, is to continue towards the river Ebro and take the opportunity to visit Lapuebla de Labarca, located on a promontory on the bank of the Ebro, and from there to go to Laguardia; the second one is to go straight to the meeting of this town, moving away from the bank of the Ebro. Once in Laguardia, there are countless corners waiting for us, a mixture of gastronomy, wine culture and history that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Its streets, inside the walled enclosure, emanate a feeling of security and hospitality similar to what the ancient inhabitants of this noble town must have felt. Walking through its streets, visiting its churches, towers and walls or contemplating the panoramic views from its viewpoints is part of the obligatory visit to this town, but there is an underground Laguardia, a Laguardia of caves and family wine cellars that run through the whole underground of the town as if it were another independent town, another clear example of the importance that wine has had and still has in these parts. However, Laguardia and its surroundings do not cease to surprise us and give us samples of its ancient history and the ancient civilizations that lived here, leaving traces of their passage through these lands, such as the largest water tank of the Iron Age that is known in Europe.

Route through the Rioja Alavesa Laguardia

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Sixth stop

Labraza

We leave Laguardia not without first taking a walk around its lakes, home to numerous birds, to head for the next stop on the route through the Rioja Alavesa, Labraza, a town whose streets are full of history. We have several options to go to Labraza; we can vote to visit the archaeological site of the village of La Hoya, near Laguardia, and then follow part of the route of the dolmens towards Elvillar visiting the dolmen of the Chabola de la Hechicera, El Encinal or Los Llanos, arriving at Cripan and from there approaching Meano, from where we will descend towards Labraza, or we can follow the national road to Logroño, turning off to Oyón and from there continue to Moreda de Álava and then to Labraza. This is an important town in the kingdom of Navarre, with a markedly defensive character, and its walls and medieval structure are in very good condition, taking us back to other times. It is the gateway to the Rioja Alavesa from the east, its location on the border of the Sierra Cantabria and where the Ebro flows further and further away from us, has been coveted for the defence and control of these lands and is the point and end of this route through the Rioja Alavesa.

Labraza

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Make the most of the route through the Rioja Alavesa

 

  • Although the tour can be done in a single day, to enjoy it and get to know each place in depth it is advisable to spend a couple of days, so we can spend enough time that each place deserves.
  • The gastronomic offer of this land is very important and is part of another of the attractions of the route.
  • The culture of wine envelops much of the tour, providing a good number of wine experiences for visitors, ranging from tastings, visits to wineries or even putting themselves in the shoes of the grape harvesters and picking some vines.
  • Lovers of nature, hiking and the mountains or ornithology have a good number of options and places in this region can add to this interesting route.

 


 

Map of the route

 

This map is a sketch made as an example of the route, in no case represents the best or the only itinerary to follow. Its development has not taken into account the current rules of circulation or the state of the places through which it passes and that could affect its layout.

 

​PLACES TO VISIT IN ÁLAVA

 

 

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The route can vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties, traffic rules and the evolution suffered by the natural environment where it is located. SENDITUR is not responsible for any misuse or improper use of the comprehensive guides of its routes and/or publications, and/or the operation of its electronic guides, nor for the variations for the aforementioned reasons in their descriptions and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity, complying with traffic regulations. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. All times are approximate and take an indicative character. All the information related to the route, texts, images, videos, maps, diagrams, tracks, towns and places of tourist interest are published as a guide and may not coincide with the current state of each place. Before carrying out any activity, value your technical knowledge, your physical form, inform yourself about the meteorology and the variations that the route could have suffered, equípate correctly, be prudent and responsible at all times, not surpassing your capacities. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment, as well as the traffic rules wherever you go. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in its descriptions are for guidance only. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to

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Marta Castro
Created the 03-05-2017
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Sin lugar a dudas, es un paisaje precioso!!!

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FILE AND TRACKS
LOCALITIES

Learn more about...

 

Labastida

 

Labastida, Álava

 

 

Elciego

 

Elciego, Álava

 

 

Laguardia

 

Laguardia, Álava

 

 

Labraza

 

Labraza, Álava

 

THE WEATHER
CURIOSITIES

¿Did you know that...

 

Along the route you will find different places where ancient necropolis are located. Also in the area it is very common to find old wine presses at the foot of the vineyard, which were used to press the grapes and get the precious must right there where it was harvested.

 

Don't miss out...

 

The visit to La Hoya Village, a settlement of prehistoric origin that surprises for its unusual location and where you will be able to discover part of the uses and customs, some of them have arrived until our days, of its old settlers, at the same time that you enjoy the magnificent environment that surrounds this archaeological enclave.

 

ico punto ROUTE DATA

 

Distancia

Distance of the route

71 Km This distance corresponds to the distance between each place to visit.

 

Tiempo

Duration of the route

1h 45min It is the approximate time that it will take us to cover the distance that separates us from each place, to which we will have to add the time that we dedicate to each one of them.

 

Época del año

Time of year

Autumn is par excellence a good time to visit this land given the beautiful reddish and ochre tones that the vineyards adopt and which give the landscape even greater relevance.

 

Encantos

Charm

Historical, scenic and gastronomic. This route takes us to different corners of the Rioja Alavesa that mix history, culture and nature.

 

ico punto HOW TO GET TO

 

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ico punto PLACES TO DISCOVER

Go to What to see in Álava 8 magical places

ico punto DON'T BE IN DOUBT

 

You will also be able to discover what surrounds you, the localities, the places of interest or the fountains, the rest areas and much more.

 

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We would appreciate it if you could write us to inform us of any erroneous data, error in the translation or not updated that you have found, or simply to send us your opinion to Thank you very much.

 

ico punto ECOLOGICAL COMMITMENT

 

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