The Perfect Rioja Vacation
Day 1: Arrive in Bilbao via Madrid, Barcelona or Paris. Visit the Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum followed by tapas in old Bilbao. Spend a night in one of Bilbao’s charming inns or modern hotels near the Guggenheim.
Days 2-3: Drive to Rioja; stay in the walled city of LaGuardia or the parador in the wine city of Haro. Spend a day visiting wineries and new architectural wine palaces followed by a tapas crawl on Logroño’s famous Calle Laurel. Don’t miss dining at the Michelin starred El Portal de Echaurren in the resort town of Ezcaray or one of the regions many steak houses known as “asadors”, where grilling meats is an art. Spend a half-day at Rioja’s spectacular Museum of Wine Culture near Briones.
Days 4-5: Drive to Europe’s food capital, San Sebastian, where great eating and drinking are a lifestyle. This beachside resort’s restaurants have more Michelin stars per capita than any city in the world. Work up your appetite with a walk on one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches or climb nearby hills. Then set yourself loose on the miles of tapas bars that line the streets. Plan your meals carefully because you’ll want to try one of the region’s famous restaurants, traditional eateries or seaside fish restaurants. All of them have an amazing array of wines from their favorite region: Rioja.
Art, Wine & Rioja
Days 1-3: Fly to Madrid and enjoy a morning walk in Retiro Park. Plan your three days around three of the world’s greatest museums:
* The Prado with its extraordinary collection of Goya and Valazquez (also, don’t miss The Garden of Earthly Delights by Heronymous Bosch on the museum’s first floor);
* The Theissen – has the world’s largest private art collection;
* The Reina Sofia is Spain’s MOMA and houses Picasso’s famous Guernica. Drive to Rioja late on your third day. It will take you about 3 ½ hours.
Days 4-6: Visit the magnificent wine palaces by Gehry, Calatrava, Hadid, Mazieres, Quemada and Aspiazu. Take a trip back to the great architecture of Gustave Eiffel at CVNE. At night, Rioja’s dining scene abounds with asadors and tapas bars. Return your car in Bilbao and leave from there or drive back to Madrid.