If you’re planning a wine trip through the Rioja region, a visit to the wine village of Haro is definitely a must go. You can say that Haro is pretty much the wine capital of Rioja where you can find many famous wine houses. You can compare it a bit with Épernay in Champagne. Maybe a little less chic as the Avenue Champagne presents the houses, but the city is also completely dominated by the wine, you will find many bodegas, side by side, which you can easily visit by foot in one day.
Personally, we prefer to alternate and also like to take the car to explore the surrounded villages with its smaller and maybe more unknown houses. Something you can organize very well for yourself from Haro. And so we continued our journey from San Sebastian towards this famous wine village in Rioja, where we would stay a few days in parador de Los Agustinos. A former monastery that now serves as a luxury hotel. Something you see a lot in Spain.
Haro is characterized as a picturesque town with a small historic center with narrow streets, fountains and beautiful stately homes, including the beautiful Palacio Tejado. You can enjoy the famous Rioja wine in one of the many cafés or wine cellars in the atmospheric old center. But most tourists, including the necessary Spaniards, come to visit the renowned bodegas on the outskirts of the city. Haro is a cozy city where you can wander through the streets during the day and can enjoy a nice wine and a delicious meal in the evening. The cuisine of Rioja is certainly recommended.
We were told that festivals are regularly organized in the city, something I can imagine very well. Unfortunately we were too early, but the wine festival ‘Batalla del Vino‘ (a wine fight!) that is given every year on 29th of June, must be a spectacle.
When you stay in Haro, a visit to the nearby villages and cities is easy to organise. So we combined our stay with a visit to the wine capital Logroño, a larger city about 35 minutes drive from Haro. Logroño is located on the banks of the Rio Ebro and on the pilgrimage route. It’s the commercial center of the region with a lot of activity. Many residents in this town are involved in the trade of wine.
One of the more famous streets in Logroño is Calle del Laurel, a long street with wine and tapas bars. When you enter this street in the weekend on the day or at night, it’s like you visit a party. A very popular destination for the locals, students and bachelor parties. We were with our daughter of three, so went off towards Calle Portales, which is just two streets parallel, but less crowded and also very cozy. You’ll find here many restaurants with big terraces, perfect if you want to have lunch or diner and want to sit outside. In the end we found a really nice restaurant which we could definitely recommend because of its Price-quality ratio: Asador Ardanza. For a 3-course lunch includes a bottle of good wine you just pay €20,- in the weekend and €17,- during the week. Very usual in Spain.
Another nice village to visit near Haro is Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Which is on the route to the city of Santiago and is strongly influenced by it. The center has narrow, medieval streets, a cathedral and an original hospital for pilgrims. There are also a few special monasteries, which you can visit. The village was founded in 1044. The purpose of the village was to support the pilgrims on their way to the city of Santiago.
Initially we would stay two nights in Parador de Los Agustinos in Haro and two nights in Parador Santo Domingo de la Calzada. But because of the many trips and the destinations that we already had booked, we finally decided to spend four nights at one place and to make day trips from there. Similarly to this village, where we had changed the night at Parador Santo Domingo de la Calzada in an extensive lunch so that we could still see and experience the beautiful old building from the inside.
On the route back to Haro you definitely have to turn off when you’re driving between the mountains. There are many roads to follow to the top of the mountains where you can enjoy a great panoramic view over the fields of Rioja. Such an amazing experience and wonderful to see.
When you come to Haro, you come in the first case for the wines. But even if you’re not a big fan of it, then a visit is still more than worth it. The beautiful streets, historic buildings, the beautiful view, the hospitality of the locals, the great cuisine and the central location from where you can easily explore the surroundings makes this place a great destination to stay for a few days and get to know Rioja a bit better. For us a perfect first stop of our wine trip through the Northern part of Spain.
If you want more information about Haro or want to book a tasting or a stay at one of the bodegas? Then please take a look here.