The most interesting locations to be visited in both Rioja and Rioja Alavesa
Calahorra is probably Rioja's most historical town. It has a long history. As early as 200 years BC the Town had the name of Calagoricos. At that time it was an important place and there is archaeological evidence of this. The Romans invaded Calagoricos in 189 BC. They changed the name to Calagurris and made it a Civis Romanus. The town was a cultural center at the time and its influence remained till the Middle Ages.
Calahorra has a fantastic cathedral that was built between the 13-15C. Most of it is Gothic, though Renaissance style is also present. The interior is lavishly furnished with grilles, alters and retables. The churches of Santiago (with very interesting byzantine features) and San Andres (late gothic) are worth seeing.
San Millán de la Cogolla is one of the locations most visited in Rioja. The landscape is terrific here but the main reason why tourists get to San Milla is two monasteries, Suso and Yuso. The oldest of both is the Monastery of Suso. The tomb of San Millan was here and it was a place for pilgrimage throughout the Middle ages. The design stands out thanks to the simplicity of the shapes and the interior is most inusual. The tomb of San Millan was moved to the Monastery of Yuso in 1053.
The Monastery of Yuso is also known as the “Escorial of La Rioja”. It was originally built in Romanesque style and later rebuilt in Herrera style. The interior has many interesting features: The Hall of the Kings and cloisters of San Millan and San Agustin. The most impressive things in the Monastery of Yuso is the library, which has valuable manuscripts and codices which contain the first writing in Spanish language.
This small town in Rioja Alavesa (Basque Country) was founded in 908 by King Sancho of Navarre. Its original name was La Guarda (derived from the Spanish word which means protection). As many other villages created with a defensive criteria in mind, Laguardia was planned with the shape of a ship. Its fortifications were extendend several times and the town witnessed many battles.
Laguardia offer fantastic vies over the valley. Its most interesting monument is the Church of Santa Maria de los Reyes. The portal is late 14th century and it is a masterpiece of Spanish Gothic carving. Another interesting church is that of San Juan Bautista. It was begun in Romanesque style and was continued in Gothic. Laguardia is home to many wineries and many good restaurants are also located in the town.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada is one of the most important cultural points of La Rioja. It is a obligatory place for the pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago, who visit the Cathedral of the city, a Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque style temple that is the main tourist attraction of this place. In addition, The cathedral highlight because its tower is not attached to the rest of the building and it is declared a World Heritage Site because it is within the route of the Camino de Santiago Francés.
In Santo Domingo de la Calzada, which is located just 40 minutes from Logroño, you can also visit other monuments appart from its cathedral, such as manor houses, palaces, hermitages or nice churches. This town is a must for art, history and culture lovers in the Rioja wine country.