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Surroundings of Vitoria-Gasteiz: The relaxation place for the city dwellers

The Hermitages, the shrines, the recreational areas and the calm landscapes that surround Vitoria are a true oasis of peace which encourage leisure, resting and a relaxed visit.

Departing from the capital of Alava towards Estella we arrive at the Basilica of Estibaliz, where we find one of the wonders of the Romanesque style, with a fantastic facade and a carving of the Virgin which dates from the 12th century. "The day of Santa Maria de Estibaliz' s Atonements" is the official festivity of Estibaliz, which is held on the 12th of September, when a candle offering to the Virgin is performed.

Near the shrine is the Argomaniz Parador de Turismo, which offers the visitor excellent gastronomy and fantastic rooms for resting.

Art lovers can contemplate paintings with simple, medieval sketching found in Alegria-Dulantzi and nearby, the gothic mural paintings at Gazeo-Gaceo church.

Continuing our itinerary, we arrive at Salvatierra-Agurain, where we can contemplate St. John's Church and Square, located at the southern end of the historical part of town. St. John's parish church is a monumental work dating from the end of the 15th century. Begoña House, bearing a coat of arms, in Calle Mayor, is one of the stately houses from the 16th century. The oldest building is the House of the Widows, which dates from the end of the 14th century.

As we go down from San Adrian to Zalduondo, we find the Hermitage of San Julian and Santa Basilia on one side. It is the old church of the deserted place of Aistra, which shows pre-Roman elements. Around this area is the well-known Way of St. James, and for this reason it is very common to find inns along the way, like Barria inn, which is an old Cistercian Monastery. From here it is only a short distance to the town of Ozeta, with the Guevara Castle.

When the weather decides to be good in this land of Alava, the lovers of the sun and the water can come to the Garaio Park, an excellent recreational area, where the artificial beaches and the barbecues, together with some woods make Garaio a great place to spend a hot August afternoon.

A few kilometres away from this peculiar coast is the Nautical Club, where one can practice sailing, waterskiing or even enjoy a quiet boat trip on Ullibarri reservoir.

To finish our itinerary, and before returning to Vitoria-Gasteiz, we can come and have a look at the Tower of the Hurtado de Mendoza family in Martioda, where we can also find Alava's Heraldry Museum, or the Roman bridge and the Oppidum at Trasponte-Trespuentes.

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