One of my goals on this blog is to get you excited about the possibility of visiting Rioja, not just drinking it.
Few people know where Rioja is beyond the fact that it is in Spain. Being a red wine, and partly because most of those who have visited Spain have been to the Mediterranean coast or the far south, I would assume most would place it in the south east somewhere.
In fact, the nearest city anyone will be familiar with is Bilbao. Bilbao is on the Northern coast of Spain, facing the Bay of Biscay and not far from the border with France. If you are planning to visit Rioja, then Bilbao is highly likely to be the first place on your itinerary, and I would definitely recommend you do make it your first port of call.
I have been flying there for several years on Easyjet, but I thought I would alert you to a relatively new airline that flies there, one of the new breed of ‘no-frills’ (they prefer ‘low cost’) airlines. The new airline is Clickair, a subsidiary of Iberia. I have not flown with them yet, although I’m sure I will soon, but as I doubt most of those planning on travelling to Spain this summer are aware of it, I thought I’d give them a bit of a plug. After all, the more services we get to the area, the cheaper it will be for those of us wanting to fly out.
Clickair fly from London Gatwick airport as opposed to Stansted. I’m not sure if this is a positive or negative, but at least we now have a choice. Flights only cost around €80 for a return flight (that’s around £60 or $80 depending on what the exchange rates are up to at the time you read this) which, as someone who remembers life before such airlines existed, I still find astonishing. I can’t get a train to Birmingham for that price, and I know which I would rather do.
Northern Spain is nothing like the places we normally associate with Spanish holidays. This is a place of gourmet food (with lots of michelin stars on offer) as well as pintxos, wonderful seafood, lots of rain (believe it or not) and hill top castles.
Please keep checking out this site as I will be trying to bring you a flavour of the area as well as some ideas for extended holidays (I know that at least some of you out there want to do something other than drink wines all day long on holiday).