This lovely country house has provided accommodations to visitors for over ten years. They open the doors for those looking to know the charming ambiance of the Rioja Alavesa and its fascinating history, just as the local wines and singular gastronomy.
The house is located in the external walls of the city of Laguardia, westernly oriented towards a pedestrian street and eaternly towards the promenade that surrounds the walls. The house was finally reconstructed back in 1990, though some additions came later, such as an interior elevator and an access ramp, thanks to which it is now fully accessible to users with restricted or diminished mobility.
Its ground and first floor are assigned to provide with lodgings to guests, while the second floor is where the owner (who is also the manager of the house) lives.
On the ground floor visitors can find a large eating room (called "txoko" in euskera) along with a small kitchen, and a twin bedroom with a bathroom en suite. Also there is a small room for the extraction of the honey that the owner handmade produces —apiculture is one of her many passions. On the first floor there are 4 twin rooms complete with a private bathroom each, as well as a big living room for exclusive use of the guests.
The whole house offers a serene, quiet atmosphere, perfectly suited for group or business reunions. Close enough to the house (around 400 yards away) the animated ambiance downtown has to offer can be found.
Asides from its ideal emplacement and warm and welcoming space, the house provides its guests with breakfast services, as well as a Wifi connection and tourist information available whenever requested.
Laguardia is located in Rioja Alavesa, where the region´s internationally renowned wines carrying the Rioja stamp, are produced. The town was fortified in the 13th C, during the reign of Sancho VII, and to this day the splendid walls still stand and even the gates still have their original jambs. Nowadays, and in spite of the raids suffered during the various wars, Laguardia still has its original medieval layout with a good number of fortified towers still surviving, two of which have been adapted to the new function of bell towers.
A walk through the narrow streets is like a step back in time. It´s amazing to think that beneath the polished cobbled streets is a network of hundreds of underground wine cellars; all of the houses have one. For this reason only pedestrian traffic is allowed in the town. A few of the wine cellars can be visited such as “El Fabulista” which dates back to the 12th century and is still producing wine to this day.
Laguardia´s “jewel in the crown” is without doubt the church of Santa María de los Reyes at the top of the Calle Mayor which has an extraordinary polychromatic portico; the finest in Spain. Also worthy of mention are the old Renaissance Town Hall building. On its façade can be seen the coat of arms of Laguardia and a chiming clock with figures which dance to the rhythm of the “passacablia” which is typical dance during fiestas in the town. The numerous manor houses such as the gothic-style Manor House “La Primicia” dating back to the late 14th century are also worth mentioning.
Another very pleasant aspect of the town is the tree lined El Collado walkway. This runs along the north of the hill where Laguardia lies, outside the town walls, between the gates of Santa Engracia and Páganos. The walk opens up onto the vineyards and villages of the Rioja Alavesa crowned to the north by the Sierra de Cantabria mountains. Midway along the walk there is a small metal structure niche which houses a bronze bust of the famous Spanish fable writer, Samaniego.
Very near the town beside the Campillo winery is the award winning Villa Lucía Wine Centre, where visitors can tour the wine cellar museum and have the opportunity to learn interactively about the wine culture in Rioja Alavesa. Of special interest too is the remarkable Ysios winery designed by Santiago Calatrava with it´s incredible wave-like roof.
Laguardia has several excellent restaurants both in the town and in the vicinity of the town.
Interesting visits close to Laguardia include the “La Hoya Settlement” which was first occupied some 3.500 years ago during the mid Bronze age. Major defence works were built around this settlement, which took in an area of approximately 4 hectares, making it an important trading centre and crucial to the organisation of the territory.
On-site there is a small museum that details the history of the place and displays some pieces recovered in the excavations.
There are also numerous pre-historical burial monuments near La Hoya, such as the dolmens of San Martin, Älto de la Huesera, El Sotillo and la Chabola de la Hechicera (the hag’s shack).
The “lagunas”of Laguardia is a protected biotype found in the centre of the region.
It encompasses three marshes. Two of these, “Carralogroño” and “Carravalseca” are natural lakes, whereas the third one, “El Prao de la Paul” is a small reservoir built on an old swamp area. This area is the habitat of a wide range of lacustrine flora and fauna. Standing out are wild birds such as the mallard duck, the grey heron, the stork and the dun-diver. The lakes also fuction as a migratory stop-off point for species such as the plover.
The Balcón de la Rioja (Rioja balcony) located at the top of the Sierra is a wonderful vantage point from which to view the entire region.
Other interesting towns nearby include Labastida which as many important monuments. Also Elciego, where the new Marques de Riscal winery designed by Frank Gehry (Guggenheim Museum Bilbao) will be opened. The cities of Logroño and Haro are also worth visiting.
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