Logroño is the largest city in Rioja and its capital. But in reality, it is a small city if compared to other cities in Spain. Logroño is not a hot tourist destination in Spain and most visitors arrive at the city either as part of their itinerary in El Camino de Santiago, or as the place to stay during a wine country getaway or vacation. In this Logroño city guide, we will show you what are the best things to enjoy, what makes Logroño such a special place and how to make the most out of its local and traditional vibe.
Logroño travel guide - Contents
6 Top Reasons To Visit Logroño
A top pincho and tapas experience in Spain. The city center of Logroño is well-known across Spain for its tapas. Logroño offers for many the ultimate tapas (pincho as they call them locally) experience. Locals from Logroño use the word pincho and not tapas (the same way as locals from the Basque country use the word pintxos instead of tapas).
A pincho is a small piece of food served on a stick. Calle Laurel is the most famous street in Logroño (please remember that calle means street in Spanish). Calle Laurel is packed with bars and taverns, but it is not the only street you should pay attention to. There are also plenty of bars in nearby Calle San Agustin and Calle Albornoz. Most bars here don´t have tables nor chairs and bar crawling is what locals enjoy most. Local Riojan wine is served everywhere and you can order young wine or a Crianza (a Riojan wine that has been aged in an oak barrel) Some bars offer even Reserva wines on the glass along with their pintxos.
Paseo y plaza del Espolón
El Espolón is the most famous green area in the Logroño. It is a large square with recreational parks for children and many trees and where you will find the most famous statue in the city: that of General Espartero.
Santa María la Redonda
A 15th-century church that was later expanded during the 18th century, this is the main monument in Logroño. It has three polygonal apses, and a nave, and two aisles, all of the same height. There are many chapels inside Santa María la Real. The most outstanding one is the chapel of Nuestra señora de la Paz, an outstanding chapel with a fantastic plateresque retable, and where sits the tomb of the founder of the church: Diego Ponce de Leon. Amongst the other chapels, locals pay special attention to the mausoleum of Espartero (1888) a very important general in Spanish history. The 16th-century choir and the dome (from the 18th century) are both remarkable. From the outside, the main portal on the western side is the most recognized image of Logroño, with the twin baroque towers and numerous sculptures that frame the main façade.
A 15th-century church that was later expanded during the 18th century, this is the main monument in Logroño. It has three polygonal apses, and a nave, and two aisles, all of the same height. There are many chapels inside Santa María la Real. The most outstanding one is the chapel of Nuestra señora de la Paz, an outstanding chapel with a fantastic plateresque retable and where sits the tomb of the founder of the church: Diego Ponce de Leon. Amongst the other chapels, locals pay special attention to the mausoleum of Espartero (1888) a very important general in Spanish history. The 16th-century choir and the dome (from the 18th century) are both remarkable. From the outside, the main portal on the western side is the most recognized image of Logroño, with the twin baroque towers and numerous sculptures that frame the main façade.
Despite most wineries in Rioja are located in the countryside, there are still a good number of wineries in Rioja´s capital city. However, if one of the main intentions of your trip is to enjoy wine tasting, you should make sure you visit Haro, “the wine capital of Rioja” In Logroño, you will find important wineries like Franco Españolas, Ontañon or Viña Ijalba
River Ebro and the Stone Bridge
The Ebro River, the second largest in Spain after the Tagus, is the soul of Logroño. The river is located two steps from the city center and the famous Calle Laurel. The river can be best enjoyed along a beautiful park. The most famous bridge that crosses the river is the Stone Bridge, one of the top sights in logroño.
Santa María del Palacio
This is Logroño´s second most important monument. It was built on the site of the palace of the kings of Castile which Alfonso VII gave to the order of the Knights Templar. The founding of the monastery is attributed to Emperor Constantine, but little or almost nothing remains from that 11th-century building. The transept is from the 13th century and the portal, with its 148 feet high tower, is from the 16th The most interesting part of the building is the 15th-century gothic chapel of Nuestra señora de la Antigua.
The second most famous street in Logroño is Calle Portales. It is a street covered by arcades (this explains its name) where many businesses and shops were concentrated and still are. The street is a meeting point for people who walk from one side to the other, looking for protection in the rain or the summer sun
Camino de Santiago
Logroño is an important step in El Camino and one that will for sure make most pilgrims happy (see our next point to understand why!)
San Millan de la Cogolla
The history of this village in Rioja is intimately connected with the life of Saint Millan. Saint Millan was a shepherd who had devoted his life to solitary prayers and penance in the countryside. He lived in a cave and he became very famous for helping people who sought support and advice.
Saint Millan died in 574 in this area of Rioja. Legend has it that he appeared in a white horse to help the Christians in a battle against the Moors.
San Millán de la Cogolla is a very important tourist destination in Rioja and Northern Spain. The Monasteries are a cultural gem, located at a beautiful location and with great treasures inside, including the first books written in the Spanish language.
The Monastery of Suso
The monastery of Suso contained the tomb of Saint Millan and was a major place for pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. This is a small monastery, located at the top of a hill in a magical and mystical area. The oldest parts of the monastery have kept their simplicity and design. The exterior has eaves with old Mozarabic rafters.
The Yuso Monastery
Yuso is the “modern” monastery or the one “below” as locals also refer to it. It is easier to visit Yuso monastery than the one in Suso as there are guided tours every day. Its library is a real gem and the place where the Emilian Glosses are found; they contain the first words written in the Spanish language.
The 3 neighborhoods in San Millán de la Cogolla
Walking around San Millan is very pleasant. There are 3 different areas or districts. The Santurde neighborhood, the oldest part of San Millan. The Barrio Nuevo or new district, which was developed for the workers who worked in the construction of the Monastery, and the Barrio del Río, quieter and more rural, located next to the River.
San Millán offers some of the best trekking options in Rioja. The enclave where San Millán de la Cogolla is located is beautiful and a good number of paths allow you to enjoy it on foot. Among the best-known routes is the GR-93 Ezcaray- San Millán, which allows you to go to the town of Ezcaray in the Sierra de la Demanda and where is the only ski resort in La Rioja is located.
The Route of the Cueva del Santo, and the Route of Gonzalo de Berceo are also very popular. You will find panels in San Millan that indicate the difficulty level and length of the different options available. If you enjoy walking and you always look for options to enjoy treks during your vacations, we recommend you have a look at our best trekking in Spain guide.
The Fiestas in San Millán are religious festivals. On Pentecost Sunday there is a Pilgrimage to the Monstery of Valvanera, patron saint of La Rioja. On the third Saturday in June there is a Pilgrimage to the Cueva del Santo (traditionally only men can enjoy it)
On July 16th there are festivals in the Rio area. On September 26th the transfer of the remains of Saint San Millán is celebrated and on November 12th, it is the day of the Saint San Millán himself. From June onwards, there is a local Fiesta nearly every month!
The best months to enjoy Logroño are September and October. Local San Mateo Fiestas take place in September and they are organized around the time of the harvest in the nearby vineyards. These are the most exciting months of the year for sure, but March, April, May, and June are also great months to visit Logroño
The weather in Logroño is Continental, despite it receiving Mediterranean and Atlantic influences (though not as much as would be expected thanks to the protection offered by the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range).
The average high temperature in the coldest months (December and January) is 10C or 50F, whilst average low temperatures are 2-3C (36F)
During summer, July and August average high tempratures are 30C (86F) and average lows 16C (61F)
The rainiest months are April and May when you can expect on average rain 1 out of every 3,2 days. during summer it only rains 3 to 5 days per months.