Nestled into the beautiful La Rioja countryside is Briones, a small medieval village located on a hilltop. Briones is tiny, but it packs a lot of cultural heritage, and that makes it a great place to visit. The town offers beautiful views, architecture, wines and a look at its medieval past.
As stated before, Briones is tiny, with a population of just around 880 people. But don’t count Briones out as a destination to visit, this town is a hidden gem. Many of the buildings were built pre-19th century, including the Iglesias de Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion, which was built in the 16th century. Due to this, the town was designated a heritage and artistic site in the 1970’s.
Briones is as much a part of La Rioja as any other city, and as such, there’s wineries and an even wine museum. Wineries include Bodega Miguel Merino, Vivanco and Finca Allende. All of these wineries offer tours, and a chance to learn the process of winemaking while getting to try some of the local treats.
- 1 Briones Top Attractions
- 2 Planning a Trip to Briones
- 3 Events and Festivals
- 4 How to get to Briones
- 5 Briones in One Day Itinerary
Briones Top Attractions
Vivanco is not just a winery, it also offers a great museum. The winery offers museum tours Wednesday through Sunday, and tours of the winery only on Saturdays. The museum is over 4,000 square metres and has over 220 grapevines from around the world at it. There are 5 permanent exhibitions, and these are designed to educate visitors about wine and the process of making it. Another popular winery to check out in the area is Miguel Marino, a small boutique winery. Much like Vivanco, tours are given of the winery and include tastings.
Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Asunción
With its tall bell tower, Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Asunción towers over Briones. This 16th-century Spanish church is breathtaking inside. High vaulted ceilings, murals on the walls and the design of the building are a popular sight for tourists to see. The building is open for tours, and of course, worship on Sunday.
Located atop a hill just outside the main city, is Briones Castle. Popular due to its age, this castle was built in the 13th century. Today, it is just ruined, but that doesn’t stop guests from climbing up its spiral staircase. At the top of the ruins, you will find beautiful views of the landscape. Briones Castle is just north-west of the city and is a quick walk or ride.
Palacio del Marques de San Nicolas
Palacio del Marques de San Nicolas was built in the 17th century and is now used as a town hall. This building has the classic Spanish look, with small terrace like overhangs outside of each window, to the large wooden front door. The building offers an interesting tour and became a basis for many future homes of this size.
Planning a Trip to Briones
There’s only a handful of places to stay in Briones, the best being Los Calaos de Briones, Los Nietos and Casa Rural El Meson. This mix of hotels and bed and breakfasts are nice and offer modern amenities. If you don’t want to stay in Briones, you could also stay in either Haro or Logrono. Both cities are a short distance away and offer more in the way of shopping, restaurants and bars.
Events and Festivals
Briones Medieval Festival
Each year, on the third weekend of June, Briones comes to life as a small medieval town. It’s at this time that the city hosts its famed Medieval festival. The festival transforms the town into its old-time past, with medieval flags and coats of arms strung across streets. The authenticity runs into local businesses as well, and there’s even an Inquisition jail.
How to get to Briones
Nearest Airports: The closest airport to Briones is Logrono, which has limited service to Madrid only. While much further than Logroño, other options include Bilbao and Santander. All of these will require a bus ride from the airport to Briones.
Getting to Briones via public transportation requires you to exit a train station outside of Briones and then take a bus into town. Depending on where you’re coming from, you could get off at a train station in Haro or Logroño. Either way, you will have a short bus ride to Briones. There are Renfe trains that go from Bilbao To Haro on a daily basis for 20 euros round trip.
The main road servicing the city is N-232. You can get to this by exiting AP-68 between Miranda de Ebro and Logrono. If you coming from Bilbao you would take the AP-68 to Mirando and then the N-232. It would around 100 km drive which could take you a little bit over an hour to get there.
Briones is small but spread out. The city is easily walkable, but something’s you may not be able to see without a car or bicycle, so it could be worth renting something for the day when visiting the city.
Briones in One Day Itinerary
One of the Spots That You Can’t Miss in Briones is the Vivanco winery and museum. The day to go to Vivanco is on Saturdays so you can tour both the winery and the museum. The trip to the winery and museum can last anywhere from several hours to an entire day deepening on your style, but if there is time left over, you will want to check out Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Asunción. For such a small town, Briones offers up some great food that you can try that night. One such restaurant is located in the bed and breakfast, Los Calaos de Briones, with the restaurant being located in the property’s old wine cellar.
Briones is a small town many may overlook when planning a trip to La Rioja, but it is a vital piece to the region. The region is known for its beautiful wineries and towns, and Briones provides both of those things.