Hidden gems

San Millán de la Cogolla

Yuso monastery in San Millan de la Cogolla

San MIllán de la Cogolla Travelers guide

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. 

San Millán de la Cogolla Travelers Guide - Table of Contents

Views of San Millan de la Cogolla
Views of San Millan de la Cogolla
Old book in the library at San Millan de la Cogolla
Old book in the library at San Millan de la Cogolla
Landscape of San Millan from the Hospederia
Landscape of San Millan from the Hospederia

Practical information to plan your visit to San Millán de la Cogolla

In San Millan de la Cogolla you will discover two fascinating monasterios: Suso (the old monastery) and Yuso (the new monastery)

Top reasons to visit San Millán de la Cogolla

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!

Weather in San Millán de la Cogolla

Due to its location next to the mountains, San Millan de loa Cogolla is one of the areas in Rioja where you can expect more rain. Even in July or August you could find rain 8 to 10 days in a month. (from November to April you could expect to find rain 1 out of each 2 days)
The temperatures area also cooler than in the rest of Rioja (some 2-3C cooler) Average highs in winter are around 8-9 C, with averge lows at 2C and in they get to 25C in summer and average lows in summer at 11-12C.

Best things to do near San Millán de la Cogolla

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Hidden Gems


This small Spanish village was founded in 908 by Sancho Abarca of Navarre to defend the frontier, when it was known as La Guarda. It was originally laid out in the shape of
a ship, with the bow facing North. and the stern South. In 1164 it achieved town status under Sancho el Sabio. In 1194 its fortifications were extended by King Sancho el Fuerte. Cars are not permitted inside the walled city!