La Rioja is one of Spain’s northern provinces, known for its historical and hilly villages, as well as its world-famous wine region. The capital of La Rioja is the city of Logroño, which makes for an excellent hub exploring the rest of the area. It’s also worth a visit in itself, with a historic old town and numerous cafes with excellent tapas and pintxos. With buses, trains, and highways leading straight to Logroño, traveling to La Rioja is fairly simple.

The closest major city to La Rioja is Bilbao, the hub of scenic Basque Country. Traveling by car or by train are the best options. Logroño is also well-connected to Spain’s largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, which are serviced by both buses and trains.

If you’d like to eat your way through your trip, this 9-day culinary itinerary highlights the tastes of Barcelona, La Rioja, and Basque Country.

From Bilbao

Duration: 1.5 - 2.5 hours

Bilbao is the largest city in Basque Country, which is La Rioja’s northern neighbor. Getting between the two is quite straightforward, allowing for an easy day trip from Bilbao. The quickest way to reach La Rioja is by car, either rental or private transfer. The drive follows the AP-68 highway south and east from Bilbao via the city of Miranda de Ebro. You’ll arrive at Logroño 1.5 hours later. 

Buses aren’t recommended as they are infrequent and require lengthy journeys connecting in other cities around Spain. So if you prefer public transportation, a 2.5-hour direct train is your best bet. 

Once in Logroño, traveling by car is the best way to enjoy the scenic province of La Rioja. There are many picturesque villages and wineries to see, including Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, and Ezcaray. Regional buses and tour companies are also available for travel within La Rioja.

From Madrid

Duration: 3.5 - 4 hours

Spain’s capital city is well-connected to La Rioja and Logroño. Driving is the fastest option, following the A2/N111 highways north and east for about 3.5 hours. You’ll pass by the historic towns of Sigüenza and Soria on the way, both worth a stop. 

Public transportation takes only slightly longer, with regional bus and train services arriving in Logroño in about four hours. Note that some trains require a connection in Zaragoza, whereas all buses are direct.

You can read more about the journey in How to Get From Madrid to La Rioja. For more information on travel between Logroño and La Rioja, see the previous option.

From Barcelona

Duration: 4.5 - 6.5 hours

If you’re starting in Spain’s northeast region, you can also visit La Rioja from Barcelona. The fastest option is to go by train, with departures taking 3.5-4.5 hours to reach Logroño. Some trains are direct while others require a connection in Zaragoza. 

Driving takes only slightly longer, following the AP-2/AP-68 highways via Zaragoza and arriving in Logroño 4.5 hours later. The longest option is to go by bus. There are a handful of direct departures each day, arriving in La Rioja in about 6-6.5 hours.

For more information on travel between Logroño and La Rioja, see the first option.