One of most important tasks when planning a trip to Rioja in Spain is to decide where to stay in Rioja. Which are the best of hotels of Rioja or which is the best town to stay.
Your first dilema would probably be to decide if you opt for a day tour to Rioja from nearby cities or choosing one of the towns in Rioja as your base to explore the wine country. Although is quite easy to visit Rioja as a day trip from Bilbao or as a day tour from San Sebastian to Rioja, we highly recommend to stay at least 2 nights in Rioja, or ideally 3 nights – to make the most of our beautiful region. This way you will be able not only to feel the essence of the Rioja wine region and extend your wine experience after visiting wineries during the day, but also you will be more relaxed as it can be a bit tiring to drive back to your hotel located out of the region after having spent a day tasting wines and savouring good food of Rioja. Believe us that after spending a day in Rioja you will be sad to leave!
Another positive point to help you opt for staying in Rioja is that the region is still off the beaten track. Which means you will be able to get a more authentic experience compared to big cities. So, if you are looking for rural charm and a genuine experience, don’t think twice and book a couple of nights at one of the best hotels in Rioja
Here are some tips to help you decide which is the best place to stay in Rioja and some of our favourite hotels in Rioja
WHICH TOWN TO STAY IN RIOJA
If you are having a hard time trying to decide which town is better for you while visiting Rioja, you have first to decide if you prefer a town that has better night life or restaurants and things to do after visiting wineries. Or if you prefer a quiter and more rural place. It is also important to consider how you plan to get to Rioja and if you would have your own car.
Generally speaking, if you plan to visit wineries the best area to stay in Rioja is the area between Logroño and Haro and all the towns or villages of Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta that you can find in between. This way, most of the wineries can be reached within 40 min by car and any location will work out well.
Logroño is the biggest city in the area with a population of 150.000 people. If you are looking for night life, many restaurants, shops… is the perfect place to stay. It is also good if you plan to get to Rioja by train and not with your own car. Although it is easy to get a taxi from Logroño railway station to other locations.
But you can not feel the real and authentic Rioja there as it is simply a modern city. Therefore if you prefer to have a more relaxed and rural atmosphere right in the wine country, this is not the place for you.
You will find a big selection of hotels and apartments in Logroño. These are our prefered places to stay in Logroño:
This small 4* boutique hotel is located in in the heart of Logroño’s historic centre in a completely restored palace of the 16th century.
A 3* hotel located in the cultural heart of the city of Logroño at an historic building, built in 1911.
– Hotel Eurostars Fuerte Ruavieja
A beautiful 4* boutique hotel with a perfect location in a quiet area yet very close to the Old Town for enjoying the famous tapas bars of Logroño.
Haro is smaller than Logroño but still has a nice selection of bars and restaurants, good atmosphere and some night life. You can find in Haro a big concentration of historical centenary wineries at the Railway Station Quarter where you can walk from town centre. It is not a big city but also not a small village. This is perfect if you are looking to be in the wine country but prefer a smaller place. Haro is also very well connected with public transportation with train and bus to other cities such as Bilbao, Vitoria or Logroño.
These are our prefered places to stay in Haro
A beautiful and historic building located at a former monastery from the 15th century with a striking courtyard that once was a cloister. Its location is perfect, right in town center
Luxurious and high quality wine-themed apartments with a wonderful and very accommodating host. A 19th century building houses the suites with lovely interior design work and a delicious care of details.
Laguardia is located in the Basque side of Rioja wine region, Rioja Alavesa. It is a very charming and beautiful small walled town with its origins back in the Middle Ages and right in the wine country. There is a very good selection of places to stay . And you can find very nice bars and restaurants despite being a small town as it is one of most important and touristic towns in the area. It is perfect located for touring the wine region.
There are quite a few interesting options to stay in Laguardia, but these are our favourite places:
This 4* hotel is surrounded by vineyards and has nice views of the area. It has a delightful spa with wine and olive oil treatments and two good restaurants. And also an outdoor pool if you are visiting Rioja in summertime. The hotel is situated outside the walled town but it is just 5 minutes walk to the town Old Centre.
This is a boutique hotel located in the main square of Laguardia. Its location is a plus but if you are an easy sleeper ask for rooms facing to the back as the hotel is right in the middle of the action. Rooms have wooden beamed ceilings, stone walls, chandeliers and jacuzzi tubs. Unique and romantic. The hotel has also 2 different restaurants, one of them located in an old underground cellar of the 15th century. In the basement of the building you can find a space for the relaxation, where you can enjoy beauty and healthy treatments.
If you dream to sleep in a castle, this is the place for you. This is an enchanting castle hotel with classic and elegant rooms filled with exposed stone walls, antiques and canopy beds. They have a good restaurant and a lovely terrace with stunning views
Labastida is in our opinion one of most beautiful towns in Roja Alavesa and it is located right in the heart of wine country. It has the charm and beauty of Laguardia but with less tourism. The medieval Old Quarter is amazing and it has the biggest concretation of notable mansions with coats of arms in the region.A perfect place for history lovers. It is similar in size to Laguardia but less crowded and you can find also a nice selection of bars and restaurants and a very local atmosphere. This is also where our office is located, so if you are finally staying here, you are welcome if you want to come by and say hello.
Labastida has also a wonderful natural heritage. If you like hiking, there are lots of beautiful paths in the vineyards or up to the mountain. The town has also good connections by bus to Bilbao, Vitoria, Logroño and Haro.
Accommodation here is more focused in bed and breakfast houses, apartments or simple hotels. These are our favourite places:
This is a charming bed and breakfast located in the historic old quarter of Labastida. The house – dated from the beginning of the 18th century – has seven warm and cosy fully-equipped double rooms with bathroom and a beautiful and fully accessible area to relax or to enjoy the delicious and home-made breakfast that Ana, the kind hostess, prepares every morning.
A neoclassical stone building manor house with 3 appartments in the fomer family-house and cellar where the wine pioneers Diego and Manuel Quintano began to ellaborate and age wine using the Bordeaux method in the late 18th century. It is located in the old quarter of Labastida and it has a lovely and huge garden to relax and have a glass of wine.
OTHER SMALL VILLAGES OFF-THE-BEATEN-TRACK
If you are looking for places off-the-beaten-track with less tourism, right in the country, with rural atmosphere but still good accommodation options, there are also a few places to consider such as Samaniego, Villabuena, Elciego, Abalos, Briñas …
Most of these little towns have beautiful small Old Quarters and you can find there family-run wineries. The location is also very good for touring the Rioja region and you will have a very authentic experience. Major disadvantes are the lack of public transportation – you will need a car or private transfer to get there – and no many bars, restaurants or other options outside your hotel. But if you are looking for a romantic getaway or peaceful holidays, you can stay at wonderful boutique hotels at some of these little towns.
Some of our recommendations.
Palacio Tondón in Briñas is a beautiful and recently opened hotel located in a restored 16th century palace. It is a unique architectural complex with amazing views over Ebro river and surrounded by vineyards and mountains. Location and views are gorgeous. Briñas is a small village very close to Haro with no much to do outside the hotel, but if you plan to do wine tours in Rioja visiting wineries in the region during the day, this is a perfect hotel to relax after the tours. We love this place. They have a good restaurant led by great chefs who come from Mugaritz and Etxebarri restaurants, an underground cellar and a wine bar. Perfect for couples.
A very modern 4* hotel composed of whimsically superimposed cubes that seem to surge forcefully from the centre of the earth. The place to stay if you are an architecture fan. They have a very good restaurant and a wine bar. The village of Villabuena is very small but it has a very big concetration of wineries where you can walk from the hotel.
WINERY HOTELS IN RIOJA
Staying in winery is also a preferred choice for some wine lovers. And Rioja offers also some nice options for winery hotels. Most of these hotels also offer a free tour to their winery when staying there.
These are some options if you are looking to stay in a winery:
The most luxury hotel in Rioja, this 5* innovative hotel is located in the town of Elciego inside the City of Wine complex of Marques de Riscal winery. It belongs to the luxury collection brand of Marriott.
The main building was designed by the renowned architect Frank Ghery. It’s easy to recognize his stamp in the tilted walls, zigzag windows and cathedral-height ceilings.
The hotel has also a Vinotherapie Spa and 2 restaurants. One of them with one Michelin star.
This 3* hotel is set within a winery and has a fabulous lookout tower and bedroom views across the stunning vineyards. The hotel stands on 2,000 m2 of tunnels excavated in rock (which can be visited) where the wines are stored. Bedrooms are comfortable with lots of natural light and private balconies. It is located right in the vineyards, so you need a car if you plan to have dinner out of the hotel or move around as it is 2 km. away from Laguardia and taxis are not always easy to find.
We hope that this information is useful for you when planning your trip to Rioja. Beside these recommendations for the best places to stay in Rioja and no matter which option you choose, our best advice is that you book your acommodation well in advance as accommodation is limited in Rioja and most hotels are small sized . And specially in high season, which goes May to end of October, best hotels in Rioja can be fully booked months in advance.
We would be delighted to help you to book accommodation together with any of our one day wine tours in Rioja or if you are looking for an added value experience and local knowledge. Or you can also check out our multi day tours in Rioja which include accommodation and can be tailored to your needs.
Enjoy your time in our amazing Rioja region!