San Millán de la Cogolla is a town in La Rioja located at the foot of the Sierra de la Demanda and on the French Way. This small village has a lot to offer, as it presents some jewels declared World Heritage Site and is presented in an incomparable scenic setting. It is worth making a stop on the way to enjoy one of the most charming villages in La Rioja. It is a quiet place that opens its way in the middle of the valley of the Cárdenas River.
What to see and do in San Millán de la Cogolla
The monastery of Suso
The monasteries of Suso and Yuso are World Heritage Sites and represent the most characteristic and identifying buildings of San Millán de la Cogolla. For its part, the monastery of Suso is the oldest and its origin is determined practically in the cave in which the saint who gives his name to the town took refuge.
It is preserved in an excellent state and the manuscripts found inside it stand out. It is classified as one of the most fundamental scriptoriums of the Middle Ages and is therefore of great patrimonial importance. The history of this construction is very long and it is determined that around the year 923 the monastery was inhabited by Mozarabic monks. They left their mark on the architecture visible in the Mozarabic horseshoe arch that leads into the church, the square chapels and the twin chapels inside.
The monastery of Yuso
The other important monastery is located in the valley of Cárdenas, within the urban area of the town. This is also known colloquially as the Escorial of La Rioja. It is larger and easier to visit, so in this case it is more worthwhile than ever to take a walk inside.
It was built in the 11th century, although nothing remains of the first building. The present monastery is made up of several buildings that began to rise in the 16th century and were completed in the 18th century. The altarpiece of the main altar and the main façade of the convent stand out. The sacristy is considered one of the most beautiful in Spain.
The hiking trails
San Millán de la Cogolla is undoubtedly an excellent place for hiking. There are several pre-established routes to do it without too much planning, such as the GR-93 Ezcaray – San Millán, the GR-93 San Millán – Anguiano, the Ruta de la Cueva del Santo, or the Ruta de Gonzalo de Berceo. The most interesting thing about these beautiful rural walks is that they are adapted to different needs, with different lengths and difficulties.
Between cultural and rural visits, it is not a bad idea to stop to recharge your batteries and taste the gastronomy that San Millán de la Cogolla has to offer. In this village it is very common to use products from the vegetable garden that are used in dishes such as vegetable stew, Rioja-style potatoes or stuffed peppers. The ideal is to taste these delicacies with the delicate wines of Rioja with its renowned Denomination of Origin.