Built on a cliff overlooking the River Ebro looking towards the escarpment of Toloño in the Sierra Cantabria, the city of Haro is acknowledged as being the centre of Rioja wine production. After a period of economic decline the city is enjoying a revival with extensive refurbishment in the centre and new properties on the outskirts, and returning it to a vibrancy and excitement that would hope to find in such a lovely place.
The first records date back to Roman times around 100 BC when they set up camp in the region, but Haro was not established until 1117 AD when Alfonso VI agreed the petition of Castillo de Diego Lopez, Lord of Vizcaya for it to be established. In the 15th century Haro was the base for the High Constable of Castile, Fernandez de Velasco who took the title Conde de Haro, but the City was controlled by several different regimes until the 19th century.
The Rioja wine region is accessed through the Conchas de Haro, a narrow gap in the Sierra Cantabria through which the river, railway and road (motorway not included) enter the Rioja region from the west. The city altitude is 500 metres [1,535 feet] with a cold winter climate but pleasantly warm, sometimes hot summer. Haro has a population of 10,000 friendly, warm, but proud people most of whom are directly or indirectly involved in the wine business or other forms of agriculture. There are decent Hotels and several good restaurants with an excellent area of Tapas Bars off the central square.
The most famous fiesta is the Batalla de Vino to celebrate the city's patron saint, San Felices, when after a service and dedication to the saint at a Hermitage above the Conchas, participants proceed back towards Haro spraying each other with copious amounts of red wine, not Rioja it must be stressed, to the central square.