Wines of La Rioja
A complete route in La Rioja, biking through the small wine villages of La Rioja Alavesa and discovering the history and mosaic landscapes of the South, where vineyards alternate with growing fields. A week of cycle touring that will allow you to taste the wines of the OD Rioja, visiting its “calados” where the wine settles before it takes centre stage in a delicious spread of the tastes of the region, you will also learn some of the fabulous history of the region.
The route mainly runs along minor roads and rural paved roads and, occasionally, on dirt roads.
Need to Know
Arrival at Logroño and accommodation at the Hotel Los Portales, in the town centre and very close to the main strip of the capital of La Rioja - the Calle Laurel. We reccommend you to go for a stroll around the town and to taste the “tapas” of the Calle Laurel.
Day 2 - “Tapas” and “Calados”
Logroño – Laguardia
Today’s route will lead you from Logroño to the village of Laguardia, in the area known as La Rioja Alavesa. The departure from Logroño is via the Way of Saint James, where you will probably meet many pilgrims. After a few kilometres you will leave the farming fields behind to travel through the characteristic landscape of La Rioja, the vineyards. Once settled in your hotel, we highly recommend you to go for a walk around the medieval village of Laguardia (10th Century) and visit any of its wineries with the typical “calados”, such as El Fabulista or Casa Primicia wineries, and also taste the famous Spanish “tapas”.
Day 3 - Sea of Vineyards
Laguardia – Haro
Today you will leave Laguardia and travel towards the Ysios Winery, designed by the architect Calatrava and typifying La Rioja. Our route goes over La Rioja Alavesa and Euskadi, through rural paths and secondary roads, between old and new vineyards. A very beautiful landscape that looks, at some points, like a huge sea of vineyards that change colour, depending on the season of the year. You will travel through rural villages with stone houses and small churches, until reaching Haro, in La Rioja again. Two of the most famous wineries of La Rioja, Viña Tondonia and Muga, are located in Haro. Both of them have their own cooperage that you can see working if you visit them on a weekday
Day 4 - Wine Culture Museum
Haro – Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Distance: 34 km
Along the first part of this route, to Briones, the countryside is very flat and still full of vineyards. At Briones you will find the Wine Culture Museum, of Dinastía Vivancos, that is well worth a visit. From Briones on you will leave the La Rioja of wines to enter a more unknown Rioja, with a landscape that turns to be more Castilian, with cereal fields and just a few vineyards. The finishing point today will be Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a village linked to the Way of Saint James from its origins back in the 11th Century.
Day 5 - Way of Saint James in La Rioja
Santo Domingo de la Calzada – Nájera
Distance: 37 km
You will depart from Santo Domingo de la Calzada by the Way of Saint James, where you will probably meet some pilgrims doing the French way. This first stretch goes up and down following the undulating land of La Rioja, with the mosaic landscapes of the growing fields and the Ezcaray Mountains at the bottom, until you reach San Millán, the cradle of the Spanish language. From this point you will travel east by an incredible rural path between old vineyards and with stunning views of La Rioja before the final descent to Nájera.
Day 6 - Down the Ebro River
Nájera – Logroño
Distance: 37 km
Today you will cross two different autonomous commmunities. First, in La Rioja you will find more cereal fields and then, when you get closer to Álava, you will find more and more vineyards. You will arrive at Elciego, home of one of the most famous wineries of the area, Marqués de Riscal, designed by Frank Gueri. After leaving Elciego you will meet the Ebro River which you follow until the end of your trip, back in Logroño. Accommodation in Logroño.
Day 7 - Logroño and departure
Free day in Logroño and transfer to the airport or your starting point.
Hybrid bikes are provided and included in the cost of this tour, as they are ideal for the nature of the route and the terrain involved, as well as offering a reasonable level of comfort over the daily distances shown.
As for all of our tours, electric ‘E-Bikes’ are available with an additional supplement.
Bikes are provided fully equipped with helmets, pump and puncture repair kit, pannier bags, bike lock and bike computer, all included.
This is a SELF-GUIDED cycle tour, while comprehensive maps and route notes are provided. It is available from around mid-March to mid-October, while the months of July and August are of course the busier times and the weather can be very warm to cycle, however this does not mean it would not be enjoyable! We ask for 48 hours to confirm our tours, yet this may be slightly longer in the aforementioned peak July and August period.
The hotels and accommodations provided here are of an excellent standard, they are a mixture of traditional and modern Spanish hotels and authentic 'agriturismo' farmhouses, offering a warm welcome. They are specifically selected as being ideal places to relax after a hard day's cycling while offering a taste of the local culture.
Of course, single rooms are available at a supplement on the main tour cost, while this can again vary dependent on the overall package, whilst not forgetting that extra nights are always available too.
The closest airport is Madrid Airport (MAD) and it takes approximately 60 min by taxi or transfer from the airport to Logroño. If you're looking for international or domestic flights to MAD, airlines that fly there include Iberia, BA, Norwegian, Ryanair and Easyjet.
Other airports close by include Bilbao Airport (BIO) and Zaragoza Airport both of which are approximately 90 min by taxi or transfer from the airport to Logroño.
There are buses that connect from Madrid airport, Bilbao airport and Zaragoza airport to Logroño. However, the service can be sporadic and therefore direct transfers are available. Please just ask for further details.
Most of our tours are available from early April until the end of October to enable you to make the most of the weather and scenery with some available year round. There is no ‘best’ time to go, this is really down to personal preference and your requirements however, peak summer months like July and August can be warm in southern Europe and busier so we would recommend these to sun worshippers. We would suggest that around May, June and September are the preferable months for comfortable and optimum cycling experience.
What clothing and kit should I bring?
Each individual tour provides slight variations in kit provided so we would always recommend checking your individual booking. In all cases bicycles are provided along with full puncture repair kit. In the majority of cases helmets will be provided and you will be given this information as part of the booking process. Where these are not provided there is the option to add this on or bring your own. Clothing is not provided but we would recommend suitable, comfortable clothing to cover all eventualities! Lycra and padded short are not mandatory but we would recommend these for your comfort. Breathable fabrics and light layers with a shower proof jacket will enhance your experience and we would also recommend comfortable footwear.
How do I carry this clothing and kit from A to B?
You don’t! Whilst we would recommend taking a small backpack or loading your panniers with daily essentials such as a light cycle jacket, water, snacks and your phone and camera the great news is your main luggage will be transported by ourselves between your accommodations allowing you to enjoy you day baggage free. We usually ask you to leave this the morning of the day you depart the particular hotel and should arrive by late afternoon at your next destination but we always aim to have this there before you.
How fit do I need to be to do the tours?
Every tour description gives an indication of the level of suitability along with details on the distances and terrains covered. However, the majority of our tours on Pedal & Break are open and suitable for all with a reasonable level of fitness and all age groups. As we say Lycra is optional and we actively encourage and truly welcome those on a first time cycling holiday. You also do not all need to be the same level to enjoy our holidays as a group. A basic level of cycling is a must in order to be confident on the roads and routes and we would recommend a good base level of fitness. Our routes are designed to enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace with sightseeing and refreshment stops factored in, after all this is your holiday! The days should not be viewed as a leg of the Tour de France and don’t require you to cycle flat out from dawn till dusk. The e-bike is also an excellent option for those needing a ‘boost’. As a husband and wife partnership on our first holiday this worked perfectly for us and enabled us to enjoy our holiday together stress free.
What is an e-bike?
An e-bike is an electric bike and does not require a license and nor should it be confused with a moped or scooter! An e-bike will be available on most of our tours and is the perfect option for the slightly more apprehensive cyclist, simply as these bikes provide the ideal boost when the legs feel a little tired or when facing a hilly section. You are still required to pedal as the bike is a modified standard bicycle and the e-bike merely gives you a helping hand. The electric element can be turned on and off as you like but from personal experience having this at a low level throughout with an extra boost added for setting off at junctions and up hills enabled my wife to enjoy her first cycling tour alongside me throughout and gave her the confidence she needed.