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Gourmet Camino La Rioja

Gourmet Camino La Rioja

Our Camino La Rioja is a walk, wine and dine tour with a lot to offer lovers of nature, culture and gastronomy. You’ll enjoy vineyard visits, first-class dining, enchanting landscapes and cultural heritage with some very special places to stay.

Overview

La Rioja is one of Spain's finest landscapes with medieval towns, monasteries, vineyards and wonderful local cuisine.

Explore this magical region and indulge your culinary senses in a selection of delightful hotels, featuring a superb 2* Michelin restaurant - all in charming settings with views over a beautiful and varied landscape.

Here you find Mediterranean forest alongside high mountain landscapes that rapidly give way to semi-arid areas with an almost lunar look.

La Rioja's Camino

The Camino in La Rioja is a trail of wide country tracks through vineyards and undulating farmland, dotted with vineyards and hamlets on the way.

Starting in the wine capital of La Rioja - Logroño, the first part of our tour has three days of walking along the Camino between Logroño and Santo Domingo de la Calzada. You pass by medieval villages, pilgrim fountains and majestic monasteries which have been linked for centuries to the Camino de Santiago.

Logrono is the epicentre of Riojan wine - eating and drinking its greatest pastime. A whole street is dedicated to this sport - Calle Laurel - stuffed with 60+ establishments. Famous wineries in town including venerated names such as Marques de Murrieta, Ijalba, Olarra and Ontanon. Visit the Franco-Españolas bodega over the river where photos of Ernest Hemingway enjoying a glass of Diamante adorn the walls. On the outskirts of town, Campo Viejo's hyper-modern winery is the grandest Cathedral of wine - submerged 30 metres underground, with a bunker holding 70,000 barrels. La Rioja's culinary master - Francis Paniego - has a superb restaurant in town "Tondeluna" where creative cool meets a menu focussed on sustainability. It's seriously good. There are many opportunities here to eat, drink and be merry here, in the company of locals and pilgrims.

On the first day, you have a lunchtime stop at a wonderful winery, located right on the Camino where you will have a wine tasting tour and tapas. Then it's just a short walk to your hotel in Navarette. Najera is your next destination, with important monuments such as the Santa Maria Real monastery with a magnificent cloister and Royal Pantheon. Next, you arrive at one of the Camino's most important and historic places, Santo Domingo de la Calzada - where you will be staying in the 12th-century Parador.

Then we take you off-Camino on a green-way track, to Ezcaray - a gourmet town which has a selection of hotels and restaurants. The star of the show here is Francis Paniego's El Portal, for which he holds two Michelin stars. We have a long-standing relationship here at the Echaurren Hotel, which in addition to El Portal boasts a gastro bar and a second restaurant specialising in Riojan fine dining - Echaurren Tradicional. Availability here can be very limited, so please let us know if El Portal is essential to your tour so you're not disappointed

The second last stage is a day walk over a beech-wooded hill to reach the historic hamlet of San Millan de la Cogolla with its double monastic complex. Then your final day's walk is punctuated with a second winery tour before walking back to Najera where your tour ends.

You might like to consider adding on short transfer from Najera to Briones, home of the Vivanco Wine Museum which is considered one of the best in the world. Here you can visit the museum, take a 2-hour wine tasting course with a master winemaker or sommelier. There is also a tour of the Garden of Bacchus which features more than 220 varieties of grapes from all over the world. Ask for more details.

Contact us and we will be happy to create a personalised itinerary designed specifically around your needs and inter

Ezcaray - Gourmet Town


Hotel Echaurren, which boasts two fine restaurants and gastro tapas bar. El Portal was the first in La Rioja to gain a Michelin Star and now holds two. The Echaurren Tradicional elevates Rioja favourites to the status of fine dining. And if you can't wait for dinner - treat yourself to a predinner taster in the gastro bar. They make a really fabulous G&T here...

World-Famous Rioja Wine Cellar and Vineyard Tours

La Rioja produces some of the most esteemed wines in the world, with its own Designation of Origin.

Whites, rosés and especially reds accompany form part of this rich gastronomic heritage.

Our Rioja wine tour includes two wine cellar and vineyard visits.

These can include the Bodegas Corral and the renowned Bodegas David Moreno, as well as a visit to the wine cellars of the Monastery of San Millan.

The magnificent San Millan Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Founded by the Saint of the same name and linked for centuries to the Pilgrim's Route to Santiago de Compostela, this impressive monastery is also known as the cradle of the Spanish language, since the first documents written in this language are preserved here.

The Hospederia Hotel of the Monasterio is simply outstanding. The hotel is accommodated within a wing of this architectural and historical gem. Your sumptuous surroundings will be remembered for a long time to come and the dining here is of the highest standard. Here you also have the option of the trying the special dining experience - El Menu Del Autor.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Logrono

Explore the wine capital of Logrono and time permitting visit some of the wineries in town. In the evening Calle Laurel is the place to be - a long pedestrianised street is filled with locals and visitors, dozens of wine & tapas bars and more than a few restaurants.

The medieval centre houses the Cathedral and the 18th-century Church of Santiago with its sculpture of Santiago astride a horse during the famous local battle of Clavijo, when the Christians defeated the Moors. Inside the church are a variety of statues of the Saint in his various guises, including that of a pilgrim with hat, staff and gourd.

Day 2 - Logrono to Navarette - 13 km

Today you set out from Logrono's medieval centre, through the Puerta del Camino, or Camino gate. Before long you're into the countryside and the large Grajero reservoir & nature reserve, where is a picnic area here and a cafeteria. Later you have your first vineyard and Rioja wine tour at the Bodegas Corrales. A short restorative walk along the last stretch of Camino to the hilltop village of Navarette. This historic Camino town has original period houses with carved family crests, arcaded and cobbled streets and lively plazas with bars and cafes.

Day 3 - Navarette to Najera 17.6 km

The path today becomes a track of bright red Riojan earth, continuing through farmland and vineyards to Najera, once the capital of the Kingdom of Navarre in the 11th-century.

Enjoy an evening stroll to see the magnificent monastery of Santa Maria de la Real with its Royal Pantheon, Knights Cloister and Museum, plus its ancient Castle. The Plazas de España and Navarra have a variety of bars and restaurants.

Day 4 - Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada - 21 km

Walk on wonderful wide country tracks through remote and undulating farmland, past notable medieval way-markers, ancient pilgrim fountains and little villages.

Santo Domingo is intrinsically linked with the Camino, named for Saint Dominic who dedicated his life to this pilgrims' road. He built the Cathedral as well as the pilgrim hospital which today houses the Parador. The town is a fascinating network of medieval streets housing a variety of bars and restaurants.

Day 5 - Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Ezcaray - 15 km

Your first day off the Camino, as you turn south towards the Sierra de la Demanda walking on the type of track known in Spain as a Via Verde or green-way. This reclaimed railway strikes through farmland, with views east and west to mountain ranges. It follows the valley of the River Oja, which feeds the surrounding fields and vineyards. In a valley of the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, on the banks of the Rio Oja, sits the charming little town of Ezcaray.

If staying one night we would reserve your lunch or dinner in one of the two restaurants based in Echaurren - either El Portal or Echaurren Tradicional. Please check which is available at time of booking.

Day 6 - A Day In Ezcaray

A highly regarded gourmet town, Ezcaray is nestled in a peaceful area. This quiet little town has a backdrop of striking mountain scenery with streams, forests and peaks over 2,000 metres high.

On your whole day off here take a circular walk from the hotel climbing into the foothills for fine views of this beautiful valley. It's a great way to work up an appetite for your next dining experience. Your hotel also has bikes to borrow and explore the surroundings.

The second night in Ezcaray is optional.

Day 6 - Ezcaray to San Millan de la Cogolla - 17 km

In the middle of La Rioja's Cardenas river valley sits a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, the monastery of San Millan de la Cogolla.

This Riojan town was founded by the saint of the same name and linked for centuries to the Pilgrim's Route to Santiago de Compostela.

The deep-rooted monastic tradition of the town can be seen in the beautiful collection of historic buildings it houses, where the sibling Monasteries of Suso and Yuso are outstanding.

The importance of San Millan de la Cogolla is also due to its status as the cradle of the Spanish language since the first documents written in this language are preserved here and often on display.

Day 7 - San Millan de la Cogolla to Najera - 15 km

Walk from San Millan through vineyards on the Route of the Monasteries, which eventually rejoins the Camino at Najera.

You'll have great views north to Sierra Cantabria and its "sleeping lion" outline. The walk allows plenty of time to enjoy your pre-arranged vineyard and Rioja wine tour en route, at the renowned Bodegas David Moreno in Badaran.

Day 8 - Onward Transfers

Optional Visit to Bilbao

Transfer by taxi from Najera to Bilbao/Bilbao Airport. If time permits, why not visit the Guggenheim Museum and its world-class collection of avant-garde art.

Optional Visit to Vivanco Wine Museum, Briones

Just a short 20-minute drive from Najera, you might enjoy rounding off your Rioja experience at the first class museum and winery.

Highlights

Culinary Experiences

There will be plenty of opportunities for you to enjoy the delicious Riojan cuisine and its world-famous wines in many bars and restaurants on the Camino.

Francis Paniego and his team produce both traditional and cutting-edge modern Rioja dishes. El Portal's tasting menu comprises of between 8 and 11 dishes, all showcasing the locally sourced produce that Francis uses to create his impressions of the surrounding landscape. The Tradicional restaurant overseen by Francis' mother Marisa elevates Riojan dishes to fine dining status.

World-Famous Rioja Wines: Wine Cellar and Vineyard Tours

La Rioja produces one of the most esteemed wines in the world, with its own Designation of Origin standard. Whites, rosés and especially reds accompany and form part of this rich gastronomy.

Our Rioja wine tour includes special wine cellar and vineyard visits, including the renowned Bodegas David Moreno, the Bodegas Corrales' vineyards, and the wine cellars of the Monastery of San Millan.

Kings and Saints: Ancient monasteries including a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In Najera, once the capital of the Kingdom of Navarre in the 11th century, you will visit the magnificent monastery of Santa Maria de la Real with its Royal Pantheon, Knights Cloister and Museum.

Walking through vineyards on the Route of the Monasteries, one of the highlights of the tour is the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Millan de la Cogolla. Founded by the saint of the same name and linked for centuries to the Pilgrim's Route to Santiago de Compostela, this impressive monastery is also known as the cradle of the Spanish language, since the first documents written in this language are preserved here.

The Hotel of the Monasterio is accommodated within a wing of this architectural and historical gem. Your surroundings will be remembered for a long time to come and the dining here is of a very high standard.

As an addition to the tour, we would recommend you the following optional extras:

The Guggenheim Museum

One of the most admired works of contemporary architecture of the 20th century and more than ten million visitors to its credit, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of several modern and contemporary art museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the museum has world class collection of avant-garde art and features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by international artists. Ask us for details about this optional extra.

Vivanco Wine Museum

Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture in Briones is one of the best museums dedicated to the world of wine and is located in a beautiful area. It is a must-see in Rioja. You can also dine here - in a rather special location, a traditional restaurant built in a former medieval wine cave.

Vivanco is the result of one family's love for wine. Its different rooms show the different aspects related to the culture and history of wine in La Rioja. The museum is a gem for any curious person - not just the connoissour.

Food & Drink

La Rioja, in northern Spain, is a land of vineyards, good food, culture and impressive landscapes. The region takes its name from the Rio Oja, the watercourse that sustains this fertile countryside and many of the vineyards through which you'll be walking.

The Ebro River basin provides the kitchen table with all manner of fresh produce. Asparagus, peppers, artichokes and other vegetables are the staples. Typical dishes are potatoes a la Riojana or vegetable stew, the famous lamb cutlets with vine shoots and delicious sweets fardelejos made with almonds, eggs and sugar), marzipan and pears in wine.
These lands sown with vines produce one of the most esteemed wines in Spain, Rioja, with its own Designation of Origin standard. Whites, roses and especially reds accompany and form part of this rich gastronomy.

Echaurren Gastronomy

Francis runs his avant-garde kitchen, side by side with the more traditional fine dining Riojan kitchen started by his mother. Depending on the day of your booking you'll have the chance to experience El Portal or Echaurren Tradicional. There is also an excellent gastro bar serving light snacks and drink if you just can't wait!

Accommodation

Excellent accommodation in sumptuous surroundings

Just two of the highlights of the trip are Michelin-Star Hotel Echuarren in Ezcaray and the Hospederia of San Millan at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Logroño has an array of fine hotels and is the wine capital of La Rioja.

In Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the historic C11th Hospital de Camino de Santiago is now a fine Parador. The name refers to the founder Dominic de la Calzada, who built the bridge, hospital and hotel for pilgrims on the Way of St. James.

The Hotel Echaurren boasts three restaurants, including one of the finest restaurants in Spain - El Portal, the first in La Rioja to gain a Michelin Star which now holds two. You can take the opportunity to taste both traditional and cutting-edge modern Rioja dishes prepared by the hotel's talented chefs, Michelin-starred Francis Paniego, and his mother, Marisa Sanchez.

Bilbao Airport Recommended. Rail access from Madrid. We can arrange local transfers.

Customer Reviews

Listed below are some reviews from other customers who have already undertaken this tour with Walk the Camino.

  • Review by Carol, UK
    Great trip and everything went to plan. Sunny days and stunning scenery. Great itinerary planned by you. Thank you!

    The Echurran was very special - got special attention from Felix- will be going back there! Tasting menu amazing and we preferred it over the traditional menu as it had a few things not quite to our taste!

    Baggage transfers were perfect. The information Pack was overall good. However, it would have been useful to know that we needed a picnic some days due to limited or no food stops. Eg the walk from Najera to Santo Domingo -the longest walk - the obvious stop for lunch was Ciruena. Also the last part of the walk to the Hosteria San Millan has a tricky downhill section towards the end.

    We especially enjoyed our David Moreno wine tour- as we met the man himself!
  • Review by David
    Enjoyed it very much. Minor glitch was bodega timing. All hotels were acceptable. The Hotel Echaurren in Ezcaray was particularly comfortable and the Parador de Santo Domingo a close second. All breakfasts were good and excellent at the Echaurren and Parador. The included El Portal gourmet lunch was superb and the preceding kitchen tour enhanced the experience. We had some very good meals during the holiday including La Cancela (Santo Domingo), El Perro Chico (Bilbao) and La Merceria (Najera)
    Baggage Transfers worked like clockwork. Information Pack generally provided all the information. The instructions coming out of Santo Domingo were slightly ambiguous about precisely when to turn right out of the town. A picture or street name would have been helpful. There were plenty of fantastic places to eat in Santo Domingo in particular. It might be helpful to include an overview map to show how the whole walk fits together. We enjoyed our extension to Bilbao. Thank you for organising this in addition to the other additional local travel arrangements.
  • Review by Marcia, USA
    The holiday was fabulous. Enjoyed Spain very much. The organisation overall was good. A couple of hiccups re David Moreno wine tour dates being mixed up.
    Appreciated the effort to organise a wine tour in Najera instead with Jesus from the Hotel. The accommodation was very good. Really enjoyed the final stay in Santiago de Compostela and Santo Domingo. The food was excellent. There was no problem with baggage transfers. The directions for the walk around the Rioja Valley were not very adequate but we followed the Red and White markers over the mountain. A brief overview of the history of some of the places visited would have been helpful as it was not always possible to get wifi in all hotels. Overall a wonderful and memorable holiday. The Spanish people were very friendly and helpful.
  • Review by Mariette
    Very good holiday! Everything was taken care of. We had no problems with transport, accommodation, luggage...everything went without a hitch.
    All accommodations were good. The room at Duques de Najera was a little noisy since it faced the ally with the bars, and so I needed earplugs. Otherwise I liked the hotel a lot! No problems at any of the other hotels.

    All the food was very good, We were given a choice between lunch and dinner kitchen experience. What we didn’t realise is that they were on Spanish time - a little different from the American and South African times! - Dinner kitchen experience started at 9:20 that night, we got back to the hotel room at 1:30am! The walk the next day was the most strenuous stretch (very hilly) and we really struggled and didn’t enjoy the walk as much as we should have. I would either recommend to others to do the lunch experience, or the dinner experience the first night they get in town so they have a rest day in-between.
    It was such a wonderful experience that was hard to describe. I would love to go back for more some time. Thanks for all you did to make it go smoothly!

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