If you’re a lover of good wine, fantastic food, sizzling Spanish sun and culture, there is no better place to visit than the Rioja wine region. With the nearby airport of Bilbao and Drivalia offering all-inclusive car hire from Bilbao airport, it has never been easier to explore the beautiful region and the most famous wines of Spain.

What is the Rioja region?

Covering over 54,000 hectares, the Rioja wine region encompasses three different communities of Spain; La Rioja, Navarre and Basque Country. In the region, there are over 600 wineries and over 16,000 vineyards.

Amazingly, wine has been produced in the region since the 11th Century because of the first Phoenician settlers. However, it was the ancient Romans who established many of the vineyards in the region. Across the Rioja region, you can find vineyards both old and new that showcase the unique culture of the area.

From traditional winemaking methods in bodegas to state-of-the-art modern wineries and even mediaeval caves that make stunning wine cellars; there is something for everyone and plenty to discover.

Wineries to visit

Drivalia Ultimate offers what is arguably the best value car hire in Bilbao and on of the advantages is that you can nominate a second driver with no extra charge which means you can take it in turns to enjoy a drink – perfect to visit some of the Wineries in the area of Bilbao.

The Bodegas Riojanas is the perfect balance of modern winemaking and traditional techniques to produce superb wine. Situated in Cenicero, the winery has been producing wine for over a hundred years. Their speciality is Tempranillo. However, there are also vineyards dedicated to the Graciano and Mazuelo grape varieties.

The Bodegas Muga have their own cooperage to make their own wine barrels, which is one of the few wineries that still do this. While you need to book in advance for a tour, you can just turn up to visit what is arguably the best tasting room in Rioja.

For a stunning view of state-of-the-art winemaking, head to the ‘wine village’ of Bodegas Marques de Riscal. Situated in Laguardia, the winery has its own hotel which makes it a perfect place to stay the night so that the designated driver can sample some of the wines too! The hotel looks super modern with a design by Frank Gehry while the winery itself is one of the oldest in the region.

What else is there to see?

If you need a break from sampling delicious wine, then Rioja has plenty more to discover, such as the UNESCO-listed monasteries in San Millan. Monasterio de Yuso is truly breath-taking and offers regular guided tours.

Alternatively, take a walk on the wild side, in the footsteps of dinosaurs at the Centro Paleontológico de Enciso.

Travel across the Rioja region in style and comfort with Drivalia. We regularly renew the fleet, so customers always have a state-of-the-art, modern vehicles to make every drive comfortable and enjoyable. Discover more about the best value car hire in Bilbao and book your car today.