It is one of the most attractive areas for lovers of wine and gastronomy and, despite being a very small territory, the Rioja Alavesa goes a long way. Oenological experiences, cultural visits, sports tourism, traditional festivals, walks among vineyards and discovering charming villages are some of the activities that can be done in this beautiful region of the province of Álava, located between the mountains of the Sierra de Cantabria and the Sierra de Toloño, to the north, and the Ebro River, to the south.
Hand in hand with different wineries, we propose six plans related to wine to enjoy a short getaway just over three hours from Madrid.
The young winery Pago de Larrea, founded in 2003 on the banks of the Rio Mayor on the outskirts of Elciego, offers wine connoisseurs a blind tasting in which participants will learn to identify three types of wine that they make in their facilities: Caecus Joven, Caecus Crianza and Caecus Reserva. Experts will teach attendees to distinguish the nuances and aromas of each wine, something that requires a well-trained sense of smell. They will also help them acquire the basic knowledge of a tasting during the hour that the experience lasts. For groups of 4 to 10 people, Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 14 p.m. Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: 945 60 60 63. Price: 18 euros.
Marqués de Riscal Hotel.
There are two wineries in Rioja Alavesa that stand out for their incredible architecture: Marqués de Riscal and Bodegas Ysios. The first, located in Elciego, was founded by Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga in 1858 and has been recognized throughout these 168 years of history as an innovative, pioneering and benchmark company in a wine sector in continuous transformation. The company proposes a guided tour of the so-called City of Wine of Marqués de Riscal, an experience that traces the history of the winery visiting from Bodega Original (1860) and its bottle of old wines, to the first extension of the facilities, a Bordeaux-style building dating from 1883, known as El Palomar and in which today the premium wines of the brand are made, and, of course, the avant-garde of the XXI century, the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, designed by the architect Frank O. Gehry. Visits take place from Monday to Sunday, holidays included. Reservations on the phone 945 180 888 and email@example.com.
Another that stands out for its design is Bodegas Ysios, an avant-garde boutique winery located at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria. The main building, completed in 2001, was designed by Santiago Calatrava in complete harmony with the beautiful landscape that surrounds it. Visits include a tour of the facilities and the barrel warehouse, with tastings on the terrace of the bar with incredible views. Reservations and more information here.
Visit to a museum and an exclusive garden
The centennial Familia Valdeana winery, with its more than 400 years of history on the outskirts of Elciego, offers visitors the possibility of living a trip to the past in its sixteenth-century facilities. The guided tour delves into the Ethnological Museum, which has centenary drafts with prehistoric, Roman and medieval sites of all civilizations that have made possible the cultivation of the vine; We also visit the Wine Museum, where the public is taught the techniques and tools used by the family to make wine in the nineteenth century. In the Tunnel of the senses you discover the aromas, flavors and colors that appear inside a bottle of wine. The experience ends with a tasting of four wines and an oil.
After the tasting, attendees will be able to see the jewel of the winery: the Garden of Varieties, a vineyard located on a meander of the Ebro River that offers a spectacular view. There are up to 130 varieties of plants and after visiting the vineyard, you can produce a wine like the one taken at The Last Supper or... swing on the incredible swing that stars the place. Visits: every day from 12.30 to 17 h. Price: 20 euros. More information here.
To disconnect, the Wine Oil Spa Villa de Laguardia is a modern thermal health and beauty center specialized in the application of natural treatments with "denomination of origin", based on wine and olive oil, located in the medieval town of Alava. Its facilities include a dynamic pool with different jets, microbubble beds, geyser, jacuzzi area and cold water pool, foot bath and contrast showers. The thermal area, composed of Finnish sauna, Turkish bath and infusion area, integrates some of its therapies in barrels. Price: from 42 euros. More information here.
Hiking and pairing between vineyards
The surroundings of Baños de Ebro, about 5 km west of Elciego, is a great place to enjoy a good walk outdoors and let yourself be carried away by the landscapes and unbeatable views. Bodegas Amador García proposes a hiking route of about nine kilometers around the town that follow the course of the Ebro and that cross vineyards, small towns, the occasional castle, such as Davalillo, and the ancestral huts or guardaviñas, old constructions for winegrowers that are part of the landscape heritage of the area. Along the route, there will be a stop along the way to try a white wine with cheese and nuts and another red wine with young man with a few fleas of ham and chorizo. The tour ends at the winery to enjoy an aging wine paired with croquettes and cheese with jam. Reservations and more information here.
The capital of Rioja Alavesa is the charming Laguardia, a medieval village nestled on top of a hill and surrounded by extensive vineyards. A visit to this walled town (part of the walls are still preserved almost intact since its construction in the thirteenth century) is a must. Inside they await a beautiful network of cobbled streets and corners that transports the visitor to the past of the wine capital. The arcaded Plaza Mayor, presided over by the City Council (s. XIX) and the Old consistory (s. XVI), is the nerve center of the town. The patrimonial jewel is the Church of Santa María de los Reyes, with the Abbey Tower (s. XIII), currently a bell tower. To taste good wines of the area and the local gastronomy, it is essential to go for tapas inthe streets Mayor and Páganos.
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