Landscapes & traditions of the Rioja Alta NEW

Discovery week based at the Venta Piqueras - small international guided group - north-central Spain

A splendid country of luxuriant valleys and plateaux, with grazing cows and horses surveyed by numerous vultures... Fascinating monumental and popular architecture... Delicious mountain gastronomy... Ancient traditions: wine bodega, transhumance and shepherds' festivals.

ONE WEEK Activities: six days with easy walks of 2 hours-2h30; visits: chapels and monasteries, bodega, caves, museums. Group 10 maximum.

in rooms for two (private bathrooms) in the historical Venta de Piqueras, at an altitude of 1340 metres. A warm welcome and excellent local cuisine.

2019 Wednesdays 19-26 June, Thursdays 3-10 October.

945 euros per person; single room supplement 225 euros.

RENDEZVOUS Soria bus station at 17.50 — direct bus from Madrid airport; choose a flight arriving before 14.00.
DISPERSAL Soria bus station — choose a flight departing Madrid after 15.30.

We can book your bus tickets in advance and send them to you. Ask us for further information.

Location of this programme:


THURSDAY: Transfer from Soria to the Venta Piqueras, in the Sierra de Cebollera Natural Park.

FRIDAY: The picturesque villages of Soto and Cabezón en Cameros: gorges with a big vulture colony and dinosaur footprints. Ethnographic museum of the 13 Villas.

SATURDAY: Fiesta de la Trashumancia. We become shepherds to accompany a flock of 200 merinos on the last part of the transhumance route to the Venta de Piqueras, and relive the goodbye fête which celebrated the departure of the transhumant shepherds each autumn. Their music, crafts and food are on the agenda!

SUNDAY: The monastery of Valvanera, symbol of La Rioja, hidden in a steep, wooded valley sheltered by the summit of Pancrudo (2065m). Lunch at the isolated Venta Goyo. The wonderful formations of the Ortigosa caves.

MONDAY: A panoramic footpath which dominates Lumbreras village, then passes through forest to arrive at the monumental village of Villoslada de Cameros.

TUESDAY: Visit to Soria city and its surroundings, with the Mudéjar-Romanesque monastery of San Juan de Duero, along whose banks we follow the steps of Bécquer and Machado, and the rock-shelter paintings of Monte Valonsadero.

WEDNESDAY: The adorable former Visigothic monastery of Suso at San Millán de la Cogolla, cradle of the Castilian language and UNESCO world heritage. The chapel of Tricio, one of the oldest religious buildings in Spain. Visit to a reputed bodega of Rioja wines. Spectacular short walk in the Iregua valley.

THUSDAY: Transfer to Soria.

The same visits and walks (in a different order); the fiesta de la trashumancia is replaced by the Romería de la Virgen de la Luz. The mediaeval Hermandad de las Trece Villas was created to defend the pasturelands of the 13 villages of the Camero Nuevo. Every year the inhabitants meet at the Venta de Piqueras to honour their patron by a procession and fiesta, including a market of local produce, tasting of traditional dishes, music and dance...

Discovery: Berlanga-Soria / Almagro-La Mancha / Jaén / Almería / Extremaduran Kaleidoscope
Candás-Costa Verde / Liérganes-Santander / Xmas 2019 Cordoba / New Year 19-20 Toro-Benavente
Walking: Duero soriano / Natural Parks of Old Castile / Albarracín-Cuenca-Teruel / Mar y Sierra: Cantabria
walking: Andalusia / walking: Extremadura / Ruta del Oro / Ciudad Rodrigo & Arribes del Duero
historical journeys / nature rambles / festivals / for groups, families or friends
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