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Archive for April, 2019

Intro

Located in the north of Spain in the La Rioja region, Haro is not only one of the best wine regions in Spain, but also the world. Most of Haro’s wineries can be found in an area called ‘Barrio de la Estacion’, the location of one of Spain’s first railway lines which was taken advantage of by winery owners to easily transport their products beyond borders. The town’s many wineries are so popular that thousands of tourists come to the city to visit them every year. However, Haro’s most unique wine activity is without a doubt their Wine Battle; a yearly tradition which involves thousands of people coming to the town to throw wine at each other! With that being said, below we have created a list of the best wineries in Haro and the surrounding La Rioja region to help make your planning easier.

1) Bodegas Muga

Bodegas Muga is one of Haro’s oldest wineries, with 80 years of wine making experience. It is a family run business and one of the largest in the area. The unique thing that makes this winery’s production process stand out from the rest is that it is the only winery that still uses oak wood throughout the fermentation, storage and aging process. They are even one of the only wineries which still makes their own barrels, and all of this wood gives the wine a unique characteristic. Here, guests can enjoy daily tours of the facility and wine tastings.

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2) Bodegas López de Heredia

Located in the town of Haro, Bodegas López de Heredia is another classic winery in the area. At over 140 years old, it is a grand complex – some of which was designed by famous Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid – which impresses as much above ground as below. The remarkable underground cellars are like a maze containing barrels upon barrels of high quality wine. Over the years the facilities have expanded significantly, with each generation adding new buildingsand structures. Wines to try here include their Viña Todonia, Bosconia Reserva and Gran Reserva, however visitors are by appointment only so make sure to book in advance.

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3) Bodegas Ramón Bilbao

Also located in Haro’s historic centre, Bodegas Ramón Bilbao dates all the way back to 1924. Since the 70s it has occupied a modern building that has been continuously remodelled, yet retains many characteristics and memories of the winery’s history. A tour of these impressive facilities will take you through the wooden vats, concrete tanks, oak barrels and wine racks. The visit also includes the chance to taste both raw wines and the incredible Ramón Bilbao wines, as well as a fascinating virtual reality experience.

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4) Bodegas CVNE

The history of this company, located within Haro, dates the whole way back to 1879 close to the railway tracks, so that the oak barrels and wine bottles could be transported. Today, the winery is composed of 22 buildings which even include the original 1879 premises. Here, guests can take a tour of the facilities and the cellars, take part in different tasting courses and have lunch. Bodegas CVNE even offer workshops and activities for children, so that parents can even bring their kids along to the visit.

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5) Bodegas Marques de Riscal

Located just outside of Haro in Álava (52km away), the Marques de Riscal winery is truly eye-catching, thanks to its breathtaking avant-garde style five-star hotel designed by architect Frank Gehry, who also designed the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.  Founded in 1958, this winery now produces more than three million bottles of red wine a year. Guests can take a wine tour of these impressive facilities and can even dine in the winery’s on-site Michelin-starred restaurant.

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6) Bodegas Rioja Alta

The history of this winery begins all the way back to Haro in 1890, when it was founded by winemakers from the Basque Country and Rioja who wanted to produce high quality Rioja wines using completely traditional methods. Today La Rioja Alta winery possesses over 450 hectares of land, which makes this winery unique as it is not common for wineries to also own their own vineyards. A detail to highlight is the manual transfer every six months of all the wines into the barrels, a very important element in the wine ageing process. It also allows the winemakers to taste the barrels individually, achieving a better selection of wines. At La Bodega Winery, guests can make the most of tasting tours, private dining rooms and even learning about how the barrels are made.

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7) Bodegas Ysios

Located in the heart of Rioja Alavesa in Álava (30km from Haro), the Bodegas Ysios wines are characterised by the different elements of the region, such as the variety of micro-climates and soils which produce the highest quality grapes. Similar to the Marques Riscal wineries, Bodegas Ysios also combine their wine with stunning architecture. The facilities here boast a main building designed by famous architect Santiago Calatrava, which was created as an emblem of the La Rioja wine region, mirroring the idyllic backdrop of the Cantabrian mountain range. The building is modern inside and offers a tasting room for guests.

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8) Bodegas Vivanco

Located in Briones (La Rioja, 9km from Haro), the Bodegas Vivanco is the largest part of the Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture. Also one of the few wineries to have their own vineyard, all of the grapes here come from the company’s own land. The owner, Rafael Vivanco, has had the winery designed to suit his needs, including wooden vats for the highest quality wines, cold rooms and sorting tables. Production here reaches 1.3 million bottles of wine per year.  Activities for guests here include tastings and tours, tours of the vineyards and entrance to exhibitions in the museum.

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9) Bodegas Franco-Españolas

Located in the historic centre of Logroño, approximately 45km from Haro, the Franco-Españolas winery was founded in 1890 as a partnership between France and Spain at a critical moment in Rioja, when the French came to the region in an attempt to replace their vineyards devastated by the wine blight. Nowadays, Franco-Españolas produce 2 main brands of wine which are called Bordón (a classic wine made with the most traditional red grape varieties) and Diamante (the pioneer of semi-sweet white wines in Rioja). Those interested in visiting the winery can take part in different tours and tastings, have lunch and even bring along children, thanks to the company’s family offers.

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Wine Related Activities in the Region:

Wine Tastings: almost all wineries will offer visitors the opportunity to taste their different products and learn how to properly evaluate a wine.

Winery/Cellar Tours: This involves taking a guided tour around all of the facilities within the winery in order to discover and learn about the different processes when producing wine; such as harvesting, fermentation, storing, aging, bottling etc.

Vineyard Segway Tours: some Riojan vineyards offer visitors the opportunity to take a guided tour of the vineyards and learn about the grapes on a Segway!

La Rioja

 If you are interested in learning more about Spain’s rich history, gastronomy and culture, follow the across spain travel chronicles blog to stay up to date with our latest blog posts!

 

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Spain is the perfect location if you are planning a hiking or biking holiday for this summertime. The Iberian Peninsula has plenty of beautiful routes for cyclists and hikers throughout Spain. If you want to see what the Spanish countryside, the small, hidden towns and  large cities are offering just jump on a bike or take on your backpack and start to discover it. In the followings we have selected the top 5 routes for you to try!

1.Vía Verde de Ojos Negros

The paths of Via Verdes are a great choice for nature lovers who want to enjoy the scenery from their saddle. Originally the routes were old disused railway lines, as its name literally means “Green-Ways” that have been recovered and reconditioned for use by walkers and cyclists. As well the paths of the Via Verde are the largest cycling/hiking paths and contains 2700 km all over Spain. The most famous part of these routes is the so called Ojos Negros which goes for 160 from Teruel to Valencia in the North-Southern part of the country. The route goes through in natural landscapes such as the Palancia Valley (between the natural parks of La Sierra Espadán and La Sierra Calderona), Altos de Ragudo, and Llano de Barracas. As well crosses the historic town of Segorbe and Jérica.

Jerica

City of Jerica

Vía Verde de Ojos Negros

Bikers on the Vía Verde de Ojos Negros

2. Trans Andalus

Would you like to discover the communities of Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga and Seville? Than the Trans Andalus path is made for you. This trekking/biking route goes through in the whole Andalusian part and includes 2000 km of track across the southern part of Spain. It will take you through stunning scenery, you will discover the natural treasures of the many protected areas, and you will stroll through the thousand-year-old history of each corner of Andalusia.

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City of Malaga

biker in andalucia

Biker in the coast of Andalucía

3. Trans Catalonia

In Catalonia visitors can find altogether more than 6,400 km of marked routes which are classified according to their level of difficulty for bikers. Since, Catalonia is in the feet of the Pyrenees several routes runs there with steep roads, but visitors also can find easier plain valleys which are perfect for  biking as well for hiking. This makes this region the perfect place if you are looking for a family trip or you are an adventurous mountain biker. The most famous parts of this area is the Terra Alta Greenway which runs from Arnes-Lledó to El Pinell de Brai in the area of Tarragona. The length of this road section is 23 km and the natural landscape contains pine forests, karst landscapes with cannons and cavities. A journey through tunnels and over viaducts takes us from Aragon to the Ebro. The region is rich in cultural heritage sites, during the way travellers can admire the Sancturay of Fontcalda, the Convent of Sant Salvador d’Horta in Horta and the church of Sant Josep.

region of tarragona

Region of Tarragona

hiking in catalonia

Hikers in the Catalonian mountains

4. Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa is a mountain range situated in the north part of Spain in the autonomies communities of Asturias and Cantabria. The region is designated as a National Park, a status which reflects both the natural beauty of the region and the diverse wildlife in the region. It is accessible from major cities including Gijón, Bilbao and Oviedo – all of which are also well connected to Madrid – making it quite convenient to get to despite how remote it can feel in parts of the park. The region is perfect equally for bikers and hikers since the mountains offers several path, sharp cliffs and roads with low in traffic. As well, until the other parts of Spain in summertime can be too hot for outside sport the north of Spain offers the perfect climate and green landscapes from May to October for all kind of activities. The region is also rich in cultural heritage and the small hidden towns of Potes and Cangas de Onis are beautiful places to relax for a day, or to wander the narrow streets filled with artisan shops.

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Mountains of Picos de Europa

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Hikers in Picos de Europa

5. Via de la Plata

Via de la Plata is one of the oldest routes across Spain, it is older the famous Camino de Santiago. The way goes from the capital of Andalucía, from Seville up to the North to Asturias – Gijon and crossing 4 autonomous communities, 7 provinces and containing 800 km route. The Vía de la Plata visits several important cities fromsouth to the north such as Zafra, Mérida, Cáceres, Palencia, Salamanca, Zamora, León and Oviedo. Four of these cities have UNESCO World Heritage sites, while Zamora has the world’s largest concentration of Romanesque churches and Leon one of its most beautiful Gothic cathedrals. The paths of this route are plane and goes in the old main highway the N630, where there are almost no traffic anymore and makes the perfect cycling path.

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City of Gijón

bikers in the north path

Biker in the path of the El Camino

Spain offers a high variety of routes for all who is seeking for adventures or just a slight family trip in the mountains. All of these routes are only part of the most beautiful paths and sights of Spain. If you would like to get to know the most of Spain, its heritage, countryside, landscapes and paths jump on your bike and start to explore!

If you get interested ask about our biking and trekking packages and we will help to organize the best outdoor activity holiday for you!

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Map marking the best biking and hiking regions mentioned above

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