Álava offers travellers a varied and quality offer based on an abundance of nature and a rich historical heritage. In the following pages we suggest outdoor plans to discover some of the must-see places in this province: waterfalls, viewpoints, hiking routes, dolmens and archaeological sites, caves and castles. Are you up for it?
These turbulent times have reinforced our desire to enjoy nature and develop activities in open spaces... We have felt more than ever the need to walk in the forest; to breathe deeply in the shelter of hills and mountains; or to relax while contemplating a sunset on a beach...
To DISCONNECT in capital letters and to do so in the open air.
Alava offers endless possibilities for disconnecting outdoors. Possibilities linked to its overflowing nature present in five natural parks, more than a thousand kilometres of green itineraries and unique landscapes; but also to a rich historical and archaeological heritage with medieval castles, dolmens and sites of Roman origin.
The Provincial Council of Alava launches the new publication 'Alava outdoor paradise' with thirty plans for discovering and enjoying the province's nature and heritage in the open air. This guide is available in paper version in the tourist offices of Alava and can also be downloaded in digital version from the portal alavaturismo.eus.
We highlight below some of these must-visit plans due to their spectacular nature and interest.
Nervión and Gujuli waterfall
For centuries the river Nervión has sculpted the Delika canyon, one of the icons of the Ayala region, in the north of the province, and has created the largest waterfall in Spain with a drop of almost 250 metres. Very close by, barely 15 minutes away by road, lovers of waterfalls have another unmissable event: the Goiuri waterfall, a gift from the river Jaundia at the gates of the Gorbeia Nature Reserve. Nervión waterfall.
Vitoria-Gasteiz Green Belt
Years ago, Vitoria-Gasteiz bet everything on green and the gamble was a success. The prize was a ring, green, of course, almost 32 kilometres long, which surrounds and protects the city. Its more than 700 hectares are ideal for walking, running, cycling and, above all, enjoying nature in its purest state. The Green Belt is a succession of five parks that form a natural lung and complement each other, offering alternatives for nature lovers. They include fauna observatories, lagoons, hills, forests, environmental centres...
Of the different enclaves in the Green Belt, two stand out above the rest: the Armentia forest and the Salburúa wetlands.
Via ferratas in Sobrón
In the natural surroundings of Sobrón, in the south of Álava, the world becomes vertical. Imposing walls rise above rugged valleys where the only two via ferratas in the Basque Country are located.
The first, Cresta Sobrón, runs along a rocky ridge, with a route of 550 metres with several ascents and descents and a drop of 100 metres. It is divided into three sections: an introductory section of 50 metres, a medium level section of 250 metres and a more difficult section of 250 metres.
The second, Harri Gorri, classified as K5 (for people with experience), has vertical walls for ascent and descent, and two bridges of 45 metres each.
You must obtain an access ticket here viaferratasobron.com
Raise your eyes and look at the universe. Behind a clear sky and with the Milky Way silhouetted against our gaze, the immensity of space throws transcendental questions at us. In the region of Montaña Alavesa, a route of eight astronomical viewpoints will allow us to answer many of them.
These viewpoints, located in places of singular beauty, allow us to enjoy the silence and dream from points such as the Chapel of Santa Teodosia, the Alto de Iturrieta, the river pools of Fresnedo or other chapels such as those of San Bartolomé, Larrauri, Andra Mari, Virgen de la Peña and Peña Hueca. Astronomical viewpoints.
Dolmens of Álava
Dolmens are the most powerful temples ever built by mankind. In addition to their archaeological value, the mysticism that surrounds these prehistoric pantheons retains the power to stir the imagination and evoke stories.
Of the 72 dolmens in Alava, those of Sorginetxe (house of the witch) and Aizkomendi in the Llanada Alavesa region, and La Chabola de la Hechicera in the town of Elvillar, in the Rioja Alavesa region, stand out.
Iruña Veleia and La Hoya archaeological sites
The origins of Iruña Veleia date back to the Bronze Age, but it was in Roman times that it gained importance, becoming a great city of more than 10,000 inhabitants defended by a powerful wall 1.5 kilometres in perimeter and 8 metres high.
Today we can walk through its streets and corners, observe the remains of some of its most important buildings and imagine, with the help of guided tours, how the first civilisation that modernised the Iberian Peninsula developed.
La Hoya was one of the largest settlements in the Rioja Alavesa between the Bronze and Iron Ages. The fire and collapse it suffered at the height of its splendour 'froze' the thriving activity of a market day, the remains of which remained buried but intact until their discovery in 1935. Iruña Veleia.
Gorbeia Natural Park
Gorbeia offers countless routes for hiking or mountain biking and extensive recreational areas, as well as numerous activities to discover its fauna and flora. Its landscapes around the Gorbea massif (1,481 m.) and the perfect harmony between agricultural uses and environmental conservation make it a reference point within the policies for the protection of the natural environment.
The Gorbeia Natural Park is surprising for its multitude of tourist resources. Its extensive network of marked trails for all levels makes it ideal for enjoying contact with nature. The Itxina Protected Biotype stands out in the park, with more than 450 hectares, and is an excellent example of karst formation. Gorbeia.
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