Logroño: The Heart of La Rioja

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When you live a short trip away from Spain’s wine country, there’s no excuse not to go (as if you needed one!) And if your mom is visiting you? An even better reason! Logroño, capital of La Rioja, made for the perfect,  slightly wine-soaked, mother-daughter weekend.

Logroño ended up being the ideal introduction to La Rioja. It’s a comfortably sized city that’s super flat, which makes sight-seeing a breeze, especially if you’re sampling the local wine! The center of Logroño is packed with historic plazas, churches, statues…and bar after bar of amazing wine and pinchos that taste like a million bucks, but will only set you back a few euros. Here’s what we got up to in a quick 2-day trip…

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One Last Stop in Llanes

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Llanes is both the name of one of 78 concejos in Asturias, as well as the name of a town in Asturias. I’m going to talk about both, but mostly focus on the town. What I want to mention about the broader district of Llanes is that it has no less than 32 beaches (there is a walking/bike path where you can reach all of them without a car, if you’re so inclined.) And they ALL look like somewhere you’d want to throw down your beach towel down for the summer.  You saw my post on Playa de Torimbia, right? That’s just one example of the many beautiful patches of sandy coastline on the Costa Verde. 

So not that we’ve got that out of the way, let me take you on a tour of the town:

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This is another one of the 32 beaches in Llanes, located right in town. Fine sand? Check. Aquamarine waters? Check! If that sky wouldn’t have been so overcast, I would have made myself right at home.

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Here, we have what remains of the medieval wall that once surrounded the town. Some parts of the wall date back to the 1200’s.

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Some traditional architecture of the region spotted around town, accompanied by flowers in bloom. :)

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The port, which is just as pretty as can be. See those huge, painted blocks? Those are an art installation by Basque artist Agustín Ibarrolla. He’s known for his outlandish, colorful installations in unlikely places, like El Bosque Pintado (The Painted Forest) which will be coming to the blog soon!

He declared this piece, called “The Cubes of Memory” as his “most powerful work.”

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 And some other peeks around this pretty, coastal town.

This was my last stop of the trip, and since I was there for just an hour or two, I’d love to go back and really explore! Asturias is a region of Spain that completely charmed me and I can’t wait to go back and see more. Many thanks to Paradores de España and Turismo de Asturias for giving me this wonderful opportunity to see this part of Spain. 

Playa de Torimbia: A Slice of Paradise

If a place can still look like paradise even when there are looming gray skies, a chilly breeze and light rain showers, then I can’t imagine what it would look like bathed in warm sunshine.

Let me introduce you to Playa de Torimbia, considered one of Asturia’s most beautiful beaches.

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Now when I lived in Andalucía, the region that claims the most coastline in Spain, I lived a stone’s throw away from Tarifa; one of the most popular places in the world for kite-surfing. Costa de la Luz had some incredible beaches–I remember long summer days in Zahara de los Atunes, Conil de la Frontera and Bolonia fondly.

Thank goodness moving up north didn’t mean sacrificing beautiful beaches!  The beaches I’ve seen in the north give the playas of Costa de la Luz a run for their money. Take Playa de Torimbia for instance;

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 Wondering what’s up with the director’s chair? Well, Llanes (the municipality where this beach is) has been featured in a lot of movies over the years. Check out the full list here.

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The scenery! That sand! Apparently, the natural beauty of the area drives people to take their clothes off, as this is a popular nudist beach.

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So next time you plan a beach vacation to Spain, rethink going to the same place you go to each year, and consider the north–this part of the country has some of the most beautiful bits of coastline I’ve seen! Sure, the weather isn’t always guaranteed, but July and August are usually safe bets and you’ll find beaches like this to nap on. This past summer was fantastic in the north!