Logroño is the largest city in la Rioja and the capital of the region with a population of around 150.000. The main reason why people choose to visit this city is twofold: 1. its vibrant historic quarter (also known as Casco Antiguo) and 2. its culinary delights that accompany great wines. It is important to note that in 2012, Logrono was selected as the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy. Also for the past thousand years, this city has become an official stop of the pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago. Below is our list of what not to miss in Logrono.
Top things to do in Logroño
1- Taste some of the best tapas (pinchos) and wines in Spain: Visit Calle Laurel and Calle Juan in Logrono for some of the best tapas bars in Spain. You will find around 60 of them in this area. Calle Laurel is touristy, while Calle Juan is local’s favourite place to hang out. Both have impressive tapas bars specializing in different delicacies such as meat skewers, pork cheeks, stuffed piquillo peppers and quail eggs. In most cases, a glass of crianza or reserva Rioja red wine accompanies each pinchos. Rarely, a local will ask for a white rioja or a glass of clarete, a light rosé from the region. These streets are always full of people and they are great fun!
2- Join the grape harvest and the famous Fiesta de San Mateo in fall. Even Ernest Hemingway, the world famous Nobel Prize winning novelist, came to Fiesta de San Mateo in 1956 with his friend Antonio Ordóñez, the first year the festival was called Fiesta de la Vendimia Riojana (Rioja grape harvest festival). You can follow his footsteps and pay a visit to Bodegas Franco-Españolas, the only bodega he is known to visit during his stay.
3- Enjoy Fiestas San Bernabé in June: Beware, this week-long festival involves some serious wine drinking! There are street fairs, parties and exciting pelota games to watch. Pelota is a favorite local sport, a form of squash played with bare hands.
4- Visit Cathedral de Santa Maria de la Redonda. This cathedral, also known as the La Concatedral de Santa María de La Redonda was once a Gothic church and was converted to a co-cathedral in the 16th century.
5- See an exhibition at Casa del Imagen at Calle de San Bartolome. This special photography gallery can be found just opposite to the beautiful church of San Bartolome (Iglesia de San Bartolomé). The 12th century church is built of ashlar stone and has a stunning Gothic doorway.
6- Discover the contemporary art collection of Museo Würth la Rioja. This unexpected museum just on the outer edge of the city was founded by a German billionaire, Reinhold Würth.
Where to eat and drink in Logroño?
Iruña: A great family-run restaurant with best local dishes. We particularly recommend their stews with pocha beans. (Calle del Laurel 8. Tel. 00 34 941 502044.)
Enascuas: This is la cocina riojana at its pure and simple form. Try some traditional dishes such as menestra de verdura and patatas a la riojana. The restaurant has over 100 types of Rioja wines.
La Cueva, Logrono: Try pincho morunos
Bar Angel, Logrono: Try the juicy grilled mushrooms topped with prawns, the champis.
Bar Paganos, Logrono: Try tortilla with piquante sauce
Bar Sebas, Logrono: Try fried lamb ear sandwich
Where to stay in Logroño?
Hotel Marques de Vallejo, Logroño, Spain: This central hotel has nice facade and comfortable rooms, some designed by Spanish fashion brand Devota & Lomba. (Calle Marqués de Vallejo, Logroño, La Rioja. Tel.00 34 941 248333. www.hotelmarquesdevallejo.com)
What to buy in Logroño?
Wine and food are the two best options for shopping in Logrono. The local market Mercado de San Blas is abundant with both. Almost all stands can vacuum your products so you can take them home easily in your suitcase.