Rioja Alta Wine Route in slippers: Obarenes Mountains

Rioja Alta Wine Route in slippers: Obarenes Mountains
Experiences News Rioja Alta Wine Route

We will never tire of repeating it: the Rioja Alta Wine Route is a destination that can be enjoyed in a thousand and one ways throughout the year. You can come for a gastronomic getaway, to explore its culture and heritage or, as we are going to show you below: to put on your mountain shoes and discover its natural wealth. With the Obarenes Mountains as the protagonists, and coinciding with the celebration of World Forest Day, we inaugurate the first of this series through the nature of the Rioja Alta Wine Route.

With an average altitude of between 800 and 900 metres, this mountain range is approximately 30 kilometres long and stretches from the Ebro gorges, in Sobrón (Burgos and Álava), to the Conchas de Haro, where the river Ebro separates it from the Cantabria mountain range. It is here, in the far northwest of La Rioja and along several municipalities of the Rioja Alta, such as Foncea, Cellorigo, Galbárruli, Sajazarra, Villalba de Rioja and Haro, where we find the rugged silhouettes of the Obarenes Mountains. An invitation to “get lost” by walking along its well-signposted paths and finding along the way old vineyard guards or cave wine presses that centuries ago were used to tread grapes.

On foot, by bicycle, on horseback or even in a hot air balloon, you will enter an area of rural roads and vineyards. This westernmost point combines geological diversity and scenic beauty with a privileged landscape that changes colour with each season, with the autumn season being undoubtedly the most captivating.

One of the most beautiful natural routes through the Obarenes Mountains in La Rioja is the one we can take through the Riscos de Bilibio, 6 kilometres from Haro, where the famous Wine Battle takes place every year. Before starting the circuit, it is essential to visit the hermitage located at the top of the Riscos de Bilibio, erected to San Felices in 1710. From here, we can enjoy a magnificent view of the Conchas de Haro, a natural pass over the Ebro and the separation of the Sierra de Toloño and the Obarenes Mountains, which end here.


If you are a fan of ornithological tourism, the Obarenes Mountains will also captivate you with their great wealth of rocky birds. Don’t forget your binoculars: the important line of rocky outcrops makes these mountains a very suitable enclave for birds such as golden and Bonelli’s eagles, eagle owls, vultures, Egyptian vultures and peregrine falcons, which justified their designation as a SPA (Special Protection Area for Birds). Along the route, you can also spot other larger mammals, such as roe deer and wild boar, characteristic of this area.

The Obarenes Mountains protect the vineyards of La Rioja Alta Occidental and, in addition to wineries and fields of crops, we can find marvellous examples of Romanesque art, some of them the most important and best preserved in the region. The Obarenes have been a natural defensive frontier against the passes to the north and the region was disputed for two centuries by Christians and Muslims.


Pulpit of La Rioja

Special attention should be paid to the so-called ‘Pulpit of La Rioja’, located at an altitude of almost 800 metres in the almost uninhabited village of Cellorigo. Its location means that its profile can be seen from a large part of La Rioja Alta and, therefore, from here there are incredible and privileged views over the valley crossed by the rivers Tirón and Oja. This territory is very rugged and has large cliffs such as the Peñaluenga massif, which forms the border with Burgos.

These are just a few examples of everything you can do on a visit to the Obarenes Mountains on the Rioja Alta Wine Route. There are many more that we’ll be telling you about little by little so that you can experience your greatest adventure on the Rioja Alta Wine Route.