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Towards the Gorbeia reservoirs: Paths full of charm

Hundreds of charming paths go pass the land of the Gorbeia, which lead us to the summits and towns of the area. Here we also find the Basque Country's largest natural park, with leafy beech woods, oaks, ash trees, high pastures and wild fauna.

We depart from Vitoria towards Altube and past Foronda Airport, and arrive at Gopegi, in the land of Mt. Gorbeia. Here we can visit the recently restored church which preserves some Romanesque elements, and the Goikoetxea Tower, near the Gorbeia reservoir.

We can take a walk to an unexpected lookout of the old Murua quarries, and where we can enjoy beautiful panoramic views and breathe fresh air. If we walk a bit further on we arrive at Ollerias de Elosu, next to national road 240, where we find the Basque Traditional Pottery Museum. Next to the museum is an old ceramic kiln, which was declared a Monument of Euskadi as it is the only one in the Basque Country.

After crossing into the province of Bizkaia, we arrive at Otxandio, which borders with Alava. Otxandio is a village outstanding for its old ironworks. Also worth noting are the hermitages and churches, like Santa Ana, San Roque, San Antonio Abad and San Martín de Zelaieta church. In this area is Urkiola Natural Park.

Leaving this Bizkaian town aside, we return to Olaeta in Alava, on the slopes of Mount Amboto, where we can get stunned by the landscapes we can see from the car.

After a few bends and slopes on the road we arrive at Ibarra de Aramaio, the centre and the capital of the valley. Worth a visit are the Town Hall and San Martin Church.

On this journey we can organise small excursions, like the one that begins at the neighbourhood of Gantzaga, about 3 kilometres from Ibarra, and we can visit the small villages of Etxaguen, Arexola, Uribarri and Untzilla. In the small rural area of Aramaiona there is an agro-tourism house located at the bottom of Mount Izpizte on the Eastern side, which has the most unnegotiable and spectacular cornices.

Half way along the way we arrive to the most populated town in this route, with over 25,000 people: Arrasate-Mondragón, famous for its co-operatives but also for its monuments and fiestas.

On our way back to Vitoria we go through one of the highest mountain passes in the area: Cruceta, where it is not unusal to find bicycle lovers. After going up we must go down and we arrive at Legutiano, after skirting the Albina reservoir, where we can see the ruins of the old fortress and San Blas church. We should arrive in Vitoria in another twenty minutes.

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