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La Rioja & Navarra

Visit La Rioja & Navarra

Introduction

La Rioja and Navarra are neighbouring regions in Northern Spain. Both are noted for their winemaking, although La Rioja is better known internationally, amid landscapes of gorgeous rural countryside dotted with old stone towns and villages.

Navarra, once a small independent kingdom and now a semi-autonomous province, includes the lower reaches of the Pyrenees - where excellent walking and cycling can be enjoyed amongst its seasonal cattle pastures and sleepy mountain villages. It's here that the Camino de Santiago begins (in Roncesvalles) and following a section of the pilgrimage route is a wonderful way to take in Navarra's scenery. Another regional highlight is Navarra's capital, Pamplona, where locals dress in white with red neck scarves for the Running of the Bulls during the Fiesta de San Fermín in July.

La Rioja is mainland Spain's smallest province, yet its best-known wine-region. La Rioja is famous worldwide for its deep red wines, many of which are produced in the fertile Río Ebro river valley or alongside its tributary the Río Oja, after which the region and its wine take their names. A tours of a few local bodegas - wine cellars - is a major highlight of a holiday in the region, while a messier but fun alternative is to visit the town of Haro during the annual Batalla de Vina (Battle of Wine), a glorified food fight where the locals get drenched in buckets of the red stuff.

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