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Valley of Errezil and Mt. Ernio: An oasis of peace

Hidden places, where time seems to have stopped, appear between the steep slopes of Mount Ernio. Very few kilometres away from heavily populated towns like Azpeitia or Tolosa is this oasis of peacefulness, this rural oasis full of life and colour. But it was not always like this: many years ago it was the scene of fierce battles, the cradle of famous guerrillas during the Carlist war of the Independence war.

We leave Donostia-San Sebastian via the Paseo de Miraconcha, and continue along Avenida Zumalakarregi towards Tolosa. We can take the Bilbao-Behobia highway and take the exit to Zumaia, alternatively we can take the N-634 road, which forks at Añorga and passes through Orio, Zarautz and Getaria before arriving at Zumaia. Once in Zumaia, we take the turnoff to Zestoa and Azpeitia (GI-631), which takes us to the old town of Azpeitia following the course of the Urola river.
From here, we take the road towards Beasain, passing through Urrestilla.

Urrestilla is a small town a bit away from Azpeitia. It is worth visiting the Assumption Church, built during the 16th century, and surrounded by a wide timber arcade.

We continue our trip towards Nuarbe, where the road forks, to the right to Beasain, and to the left to Beizama. We must take the road to the left, which will lead us to Mount Ernio.

Once in Beizama, it is worth visiting the church tower and the Town Hall, in a baroque style. From here we must go up the Aldaba pass, through beautiful wood areas. Then we continue towards Bidegoian, which together with Goiatz, makes up the municipality of Bidania. At the Plaza Mayor is the Iriarte Palace, a neoclassical building dating from the 18th century, and St. Bartholomew's Church.

The route continues going up towards Regil-Errezil. Soon we come across the old Regil Guesthouse, also known as the Balcony of Gipuzkoa, as from this lookout we can enjoy fantastic views of Mount Ernio and of the whole valley of Errezil, green, deep and closed at the far end by Mount Oñatz. Errezil is the capital of the valley. Worth visiting is San Martin church and the New Town Hall, which dates back to the 19th century.

To continue our route we must retrace our steps back to Bidania and go down the mountain pass that bears the same name, in the direction of the Valley of the Oria River and Tolosa. While going down the mountain pass we must take the turnoff to the right, with indications for Albiztur. In this small town, which has lately been frequented by tourists in search of its famous bean meals, we can visit the church of Our Lady of the Assumption and the Town Hall. On the ground floor of the town hall is the restaurant where one can sample the typical dish of the valley.

From Albiztur to Tolosa is only a short but beautiful drive. We can return to Donostia through the freeway section of the N-1.

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