Day 1 – Arrival Day in Bilbao (Please feel free to arrive earlier as we’ll give you lots of suggestions of what to do in this great city)
(Hotel in Bilbao is walking distance to the Centre) You’ll be given clear directions of how to get from the airport to the centre of Bilbao and our hotel. You need to arrive at the hotel before 19hrs. If you wish to meet the group for a complimentary drink, hosted by your leader for the week. Dinner not included, but suggestions given.
Day 2 – “Najera Hills / Santa Maria La Real and Marques de Riscal vineyard” (Hotel / Najera)
We leave the Basque country after breakfast and head south. Our base for the next two days is the historic pilgrim town of Nájera with the vibrant Nájerilla river running right through the middle. Today is about exploring this community and we start with the Monastery of Santa Maria La Real dating back to 1032 and built impressively into the hills which overlook the town. Local aristocracy tombs from the birth of the kingdom of castile provide a fascinating insight into the world that shaped this area. Those hills at the back of town provide some of todays walking and have ruined fortifications and a crackin view. Afternoon we head to El Ciego to visit the modern and world famous Marques De Riscal vineyard with the dramatic architecture of Frank Gehry (Guggenheim fame) (3hrs walking) Dinner included.
Day 3 – “Ermita de Toloño and Sonsierra” (Hotel / Najera)
La Rioja vines stretch for miles and are protected by a large massif of rock (Sierra De Cantabria) to the north, with the ruins of an old religious dwelling (Toloño) looking out far into the distance. The walk travels along forest tracks, through woods and up onto a spectacular rocky outcrop, before dropping down the other side to complete a circle. After the walk, we’ll head to the nearby village of Sonsierra for a rewarding drink, overlooking the River Ebro. (Walking 4.30hrs approx) Dinner not included, but suggestions made.
Day 4 – “Tobia – San Millan“ (Monasterio Valvanera)
We breakfast at our Najera hotel and leave our luggage with reception to collect later in the day after this gem of a walk. Tobia with its imposing cliffs is our start point as we follow the GR93 route over the lumps to what many call the birthplace of the Castilian language Yuso Monastery / San Millan and obviously the bar. (Walking 5.30hrs approx) Dinner included and complimented by stroll under star filled sky.
Day 5 – “Peñas de Oro” (Monasterio Valvanera)
Something special about waking up in surroundings with only birdsong. The Monastery of Valvanera sits high in the Sierra de la Demanda at 1000mtrs. We walk from base via the Barranco Del Cristo ravine along a path that emerges on top of the world. Wonderful sweeping views in all directions as we make for the highest point of the week “Pico de Rioja” 1532 mtrs. A combination of high alpine meadow and forest bring us back to the monastery terrace for a well earned beer after a truly classy walk (Walking 6.30hrs approx) Dinner included.
Day 6 – “Leza Canyon / Trevijano”. (Hotel / Logroño)
Today we head to the capital of Rioja / Logroño for the last two nights and after dropping our luggage at the hotel, we set off to Leza Canyon. Leza has some truly breathtaking terrain and resembles a mini North American canyon but the highlight has to be watching the vultures circle and swoop close enough below to see the sunlight bring out their wonderful colours. The trip starts and finishes at Soto En Cameros village (Walking 4.30hrs approx) Dinner not included, but suggestions made.
Day 7 – “Clavijo Castle / Visit to Laguardia and cave wine cellar ” (Hotel / Logroño)
We drive to one of the most famous landmarks in the area Clavijo Castle located on top of an imposing rock and the scene of a famous battle between Christians and Muslims with the Christians well outnumbered, similar to Davy Crockett at the Alamo, but somehow valiant in this case. If the weathers good we’ll make the short climb to Monte Laturce 1039 mtrs with the whole Riojan landscape stretched out at your feet. Later in the day we’ll visit the one and only Laguardia with its stunning network of streets and vistas and then to celebrate the week we’ve just experienced we descend under those streets for a cave wine tasting.
(Walking 3hrs approx). Dinner included.
Day 8 – Departure day!
Last breakie together then it’s time to head back north to Bilbao to drop our transport for midday latest.
Please note: There may be some variation to the basic tour plan depending on weather conditions and group interests.