Anything But Paella

Logroño – not just Rioja!

Logroño is the capital city of the La Rioja region most famously recognised for its wine. Now, although a nice glass of red features highly on our list of priorities, we found the city had a lot going for it aside from that. It’s also just a couple of hours drive from Santander so it makes a great stop-off on the way to the ferry port.

We chose to stay at the NH Logroño where we have stayed in the past. It’s about a 20 minute walk into the heart of the city allowing a good stretch of the legs. Parking is widely available in the surrounding streets and if you are really lucky, right outside the hotel. There’s no need to drive into the centre if you are staying there either, which is also a bonus. Just a few streets aways is the fabulous La Rúa Craft Beer pub. We knew their beers were special just from tasting them, but since our visit they have won gold medals at the World Beer Awards. Who needs Rioja wines when you have this?!

For a true lucroniense night out you have to head to Calle del Laurel. This famous street and its near neighbours are packed with tapas bars serving all manner of snacks with lashings of red wine of course. We found in these Covid times that the bars were generally a little too busy for us, but a short distance away from the central area there were plenty of quieter options. We particularly liked Bodeguilla Los Rotos because we could perch outside on a wine barrel and eat what can only be described as soggy scrambled egg rolls with extras such as prawns or morcilla. Sounds terrible but it was both messy and delicious!!

Logroño isn’t just about food and drink though. The Ebro river runs through the city and there’s a lovely riverside walk. Just what’s needed after all those treats! There are plenty of green areas too so you never really feell like you are in a big city. With a bit of foresight there’s also the opportunity to visit a bodega but they were fully booked during our visit. Even so, just a glimpse inside the Franco-Españolas complex was interesting.

Highly recommended on your wanderings is the inpressive Cubo de Revellin where you can explore some of the city’s history. Set inside a circular tower which formed part of the city defences, you are whisked back to its construction in 1522 before following the battles for control in the France/Spain wars in a multimedia spectacular projected onto the old walls. Other exhibits show the tower being converted into a frontón (a court for Basque pelota) and even a cinema. There’s enough information in English to please every traveller who can’t handle Spanish history in its native language.

On the north bank of the river is an interesting (and free!) science centre, La Casa de las Ciencias. The exhibition during our visit was about engineering projects around Spain during the reign of Felipe II (late 1500s) which, although a little dry, featured lots of models to help you visualise what was being explained. Outside there are a number of interactive scientific experiments to do with sight and sound. Great for kids young and old!

Logroño is also a major stop on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Telltale shells can be seen along the route and near the river is a centre for pilgrims where they can register their progress on The Way.

The city is great for exploring on foot. There are lots of murals and statues all over so keep your eyes peeled. Some of the architecture is stunning too. Remember to leave a comment if you are inspired to visit!

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