We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

Which Madrid hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Dallas, Texas
posts: 51
reviews: 3
Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

My husband and I (early 30s) will be in Spain from Sept 10th to Sept. 19th. We'll be arriving in Madrid and most likely returning home to the U.S. from Madrid. We want to visit Madrid, Barcelona, and the La Rioja region for wine tours. We are open to doing touristy things and walking from place to place while in Madrid and Barcelona, but we are looking forward to spending time in La Rioja and mostly relaxing. Where would you recommend we go to after Madrid? Barcelona or Rioja? How many nights would you recommend in each city and what is the best way to travel to each? AVE?

From what I've read on TA, there are many small towns around La Rioja that are Must See, but we don't really want to drive on our trip. We would prefer to take the bus if we want to get from one small town to the next. Do those exist? From what I've read, I know that we'll need to make reservations in advance..

If we don't want to drive, would Penedes for wine tours/tastings be a good option? I've heard getting there from Barcelona is not as far as getting to La Rioja. How is Penedes compared to La Rioja? Pros/Cons?

Another complicating factor is that I have read on TA that the La Merce festival might be happening around the same time of our trip. Should we go to La Rioja and then Barcelona to better coincide dates in Barcelona with the festival?

All advice is highly appreciated!! Thanks in advance!!

O Savinao, Galicia
Destination Expert
for Galicia
posts: 4,945
reviews: 9
1. Re: Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

I thought you had asked this before. here is the question. If it was not up to much please tell us what you did not like and maybe we can add (or subtract) from those suggestions.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187427-i42-k66609…

Most bodegas are located in the countryside, seeing that is where their production is based, so a car is really essential.

Dallas, Texas
posts: 51
reviews: 3
2. Re: Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

Hi Casa_Santo_Estevo,

Thanks so much for the advice. Yes, you are right. I did ask these questions, but in the Barcelona and Spain forums. Just trying to get more than one perspective.

Are there any tours that we could take once in La Rioja? Maybe if we get to Logrado (I apologize for the misspelling) by train and find a hotel near by, we may not need a car?

Another option is visiting Penedes. Any thoughts on how it compares to La Rioja region? Thanks again for all the advice!

Malaga, Spain
Destination Expert
for Malaga, Andalucia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia, Seville
posts: 39,377
reviews: 2,594
3. Re: Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

ssarangi:

I would go to Barcelona after Madrid and take the AVE to go there. Read Buying Renfe Tickets Online.

Visiting La Rioja requires one to rent a car because there is little public transportation there. However there are tours to La Rioja from Madrid like this:

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g187514-d1…

Dallas, Texas
posts: 51
reviews: 3
4. Re: Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

Thanks so much Benny! I think we will decide to take a day trip to La Rioja from Madrid for a Ruta de Vino! :-)

O Savinao, Galicia
Destination Expert
for Galicia
posts: 4,945
reviews: 9
5. Re: Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

Unfortunately Benny's suggestion is not very good. La Rioja is not done on a day trip from Madrid by the company. The distance is just too far for a day trip from Madrid. It involves around trip of over 4 hours in good traffic conditions.

You can choose somewhere nearer.

Edited: 12:20 pm, July 12, 2013
Barcelona, Spain
Destination Expert
for Barcelona
posts: 8,755
reviews: 11
6. Re: Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

I neither belive that a tour to La Rioja from Madrid is a good idea. Obviuosly is feasible, if you really want to spend a full day mostly on route.

La Rioja is a nice wine area but not the only one in Spain (and not even the "best" one anymore for many wine lovers). Unless you're looking for a specific winery, there are many other wine areas that can be easier to reach and equally if not more rewarding.

As you say in your other thread you prefer reds:

- Penedés can be better known for their Cavas, but it is not the only production there. You may have heard of Torres wines (one of the few Spanish wines easy to find abroad). Some of their reds are some of the Spanish wines most sold out of Spain. And guess from where they are. So, you could easily reach Vilafranca del Penedés by train from Barcelona and visit some wineries there. You can use taxis or join a tour there and have both the wine and cava experience.

- If you have more time to play with: travel to Madrid to Tarragona by AVE, stay a few nights and join there a wine tour to Priorat/Montsant. The reds of Montsant are some of the best in Europe and the Priorat and Rioja are the only 2 DOC in Spain (Qualified Origin Denomination, they have special requisites of quality to award this). Plus, its a very beautiful ladscape area and it has very interesting medieval villages and monasteries if you want to add these to your trip.

I'm not dismissing La Rioja, that's a region I love. I'm just suggesting you to get more from your holiday time (avoiding backtracking to Madrid) and with a similar wine experience.

Salud!

Dallas, Texas
posts: 51
reviews: 3
7. Re: Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

Thanks everyone for the suggetions. I didn't realize that La Rioja is quite far from Madrid. You are right, we will want to visit somewhere closer. We don't have many days, so I think a day trip to a wine area from Madrid or Barcelona will work best for us. Also, we will want to take a tour with 4 - 5 wineries visited. Which area do you all recommend based on (1) proximity to Madrid/Barcelona and (2) best red wines? Thanks so much everyone!!

8. Re: Madrid then Barcelona or La Rioja?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:24 am, August 01, 2014