Fascinating La Rioja: its most beautiful villages

La Rioja is one of those communities that usually goes unnoticed by tourists looking to discover Spain and its villages in a rural way. However, this community next to the Basque Country has much more to offer besides its renowned wine with denomination of origin. La Rioja has hundreds of villages that make its visitors travel back in time and are a real attraction for all rural tourism lovers.

Arnedillo, the perfect mix of nature and stone houses in La Rioja

Arnedillo, La Rioja

Arnedillo, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

In the village of Arnedillo, located between the mountain ranges of Hez and Peñalmonte, not only is a visit to the interior of its streets a must, but it also has one of the most spectacular panoramic views of La Rioja. This village is built in a privileged mountainous area and follows the silhouette of the Cidacos River, becoming a perfect mix between nature and stone houses. However, it is in its interior where you can find its greatest architectural attraction: the Church of San Servando and San Germán, built in the 16th century.


Cornago Castle la rioja

Cornago Castle. | Shutterstock

Cornago is one of the most charming and interesting medieval villages in the region. Built around the morphology of a hill, this village has managed to go through the years maintaining its historical spirit and preserving one of its main attractions: its castle. Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and built in the 14th century, its layout makes it seem that the houses are superimposed on each other. The fortress crowns the top of Cornago, next to the Church of San Pedro, also of great historical interest.

Ezcaray, charming streets in La Rioja

Ezcaray, La Rioja

Streets of Ezcaray, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

Ezcaray is one of the towns with more history in La Rioja. Thus, in 1998 it was the first place in the community declared Municipality of Tourist Interest. This charming village, located next to the river Oja, has a privileged location, as it is very close to Logroño and is the closest village to the ski resort of Valdezcaray. Within its streets stands out the Church of Santa María la Mayor, of Gothic style and turned into one of the most visited places in the village.


Calahorra, La Rioja

Calahorra, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

This town is one of the most remarkable to see in La Rioja Baja. Formerly this area was considered one of the most important and largest orchards in Spain. That is why, in honor of this Romanesque period, the Vegetable Museum has been created and the gastronomic legacy of the whole region is carefully preserved. Its cathedral is one of the must-see sites, in addition to many others. As a curiosity, here took place a war episode known as fames calagurritana, in which the citizens preferred to die of hunger rather than surrender.

Navarrete, the essence of La Rioja

Navarrete, La Rioja

Wall of Navarrete, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

This town is one of those that best represents, within the list, the classic Rioja essence, having many of the vineyards that give their name to the famous wine. Also, Navarrete is one of the must stops on the Way to Santiago and every year thousands of pilgrims pass through its streets. In its interior, you can enjoy its well-preserved historic center, which in 1970 was named as an Asset of Cultural Interest. You should also visit the old Hospital of San Juan de Acre or the Church of the Assumption. It is also the town of the television character Paquita Salas.

Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja

Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

This particular village borders the province of Burgos and corresponds to the eighth municipality in all of La Rioja. Located near the Oja River, Santo Domingo de la Calzada has gained great relevance in the area for its medieval legacy. It was precisely its old hospital, dating from the 12th century, which promoted the Jacobean route and put the town on the map in the Middle Ages. From that period, some traces remain in its cathedral and its wall, which has become an obligatory stop for all walkers on their way to Santiago de Compostela.


Sunset in Nájera

Sunset in Nájera, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

Less than 30 kilometers from Logroño you can find another of the most picturesque and illustrious towns in the entire La Rioja region. Nájera has a charming set of streets through which to get lost and discover its essence. This town is another of the places of passage within the Way to Santiago and has a strategic location between cliffs that give it a special character. In addition, in its Pantheon, the remains of important figures of its past are preserved, such as the Dukes of Nájera or Blanca de Navarra.

San Vicente de la Sonsierra, an impressive caslte in La Rioja

San Vicente de la Sonsierra

San Vicente de la Sonsierra, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

Located near the Ebro River, this small town has its origins in the tenth century, when it was built as a strategic fort for the defense of the Navarrese people next to the Castle of Davalillo. Precisely its location, in the heart of the Sonsierra region, makes it a town with privileged views. Within its historic center, it is essential to visit the Basilica of Santa María de la Piscina, as well as to walk the Roman bridge and discover the mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles.



Briones, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

Briones is one of the villages that best reflects the typical character of La Rioja and its importance in the world of oenology. It has become, thanks to the passage of time and national recognition, one of the essential villages of La Rioja Alta. In addition to the value of its vineyards, Briones has been named an Asset of Cultural Interest due to its great contribution in the artistic and cultural fields. The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, in Gothic style, is an example of this.

San Millán de la Cogolla

San Millán de la Cogolla

San Millán de la Cogolla, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

This is one of the most relevant and interesting towns in La Rioja. San Millán de la Cogolla not only has a spectacular setting thanks to its proximity to the Iberian System, in the valley of the river Cardenas, but it has also been an essential place for the development of the Castilian language. Its history dates back to the 11th century, when it became a point of cultural interest thanks to the construction of its two great monasteries, Suso and Yuso. Both were part of the route of the Castilian language and were inhabited by the great poet Gonzalo de Berceo.


Village of Sajazarra, La Rioja

Village of Sajazarra, La Rioja. | Shutterstock

Sajazarra is a village that is striking for the layout of its streets and its aesthetics, which transports the traveler to the 10th century. In addition to its striking historic center, the village has become the gateway to the natural environment of the area, with dozens of routes and trails ideal for all nature lovers. In addition, its castle is used today as a winery and is considered one of the best in the area.

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