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Jeremy Kushner, California, USA
Laguardia is the quintessential Riojan hamlet. It’s honey-coloured streets are both cinematic and, around meal time, so enticingly aromatic. It is a beautifully kept 13th century fortified town.
As with all walled cities such as Carcassonne or Lucca, it has a magical mediaeval atmosphere. What makes Laguardia extra special is what lies below the cobbled streets. It’s underground network of 300 or so caves – many of which are still used to produce and store wine – is larger than the town above. To protect the Emmental-like structures below – the only vehicles allowed into the centre are the tractors delivering the grapes to the caves in September during harvest.
It’s a lovely place to visit a winery, have a long lunch, take a stroll around the town by the tree-lined Paseo del Collado while enjoying views of the surrounding vineyards and the Sierra de Cantabria and then savour a coffee in a square
As a base for exploring the Rioja wine region, Laguardia is ideal. A tranquil alternative to nearby Logroño that puts you right in contact with what this area is really all about.
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