A unique opportunity to discover one of the most unknown and unpopulated regions of the Basque Country: Valles Alaveses (Valleys of Alava). For nature and history lovers, we bring you a day to enjoy with the family. The Portilla Castle, a historical enclave and the protagonist of the coat of arms of Alava, and the Santa Catalina Garden, an ideal place for lovers of flora.
In the town of Portilla, a short route of just 5km follows the SL-A 34 footpath, which will take us to discover this important historical and tourist resource. Today, part of the castle has been restored with walkways and panels so that visitors can learn about the importance of this enclave.
The latest research suggests that it was very possibly built in the first half of the 11th century, either by the Pamplona monarch Sancho Garcés III el Mayor (1004-1035) or by his son García Sánchez III (1035-1054), as a means of establishing his authority over the lands of Alava, within a general process of expansion and strengthening of the kingdom of Pamplona in the county of Castile.
Portilla is one of the three castles that can be visited on a route known as the Route of the Castles. The trail is approximately 15 km long and links Portilla, Ocio and Berganzo.
After the route, we can choose to look for a restaurant in towns near Portilla, such as Berantevilla, or have a picnic.
We then move on to the Santa Catalina Botanical Garden. This space -built among the ruins of the old monastery of Santa Catalina- houses almost 1,000 different species from the 5 continents. It also conserves the cisterns and remains of the palace, the entrances to the moat and the church choir and the terraces built by the Augustinians for the cultivation of life and the vegetable garden. A perfect interplay between nature and history. This space has been declared Parque Estelar Starlight (Starlight Star Park), so a night-time visit to see the stars from this place is an experience not to be missed. Until the end of the year the garden will be closed for works, but it will return with all the improvements so that everyone who visits it can enjoy it more.
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