Enjoy the magic of Gipuzkoa’s hinterland
You’re probably keen to see somewhere different, but you think you’ve exhausted all the nearby possibilities. Think again! That’s because you don’t know Gipuzkoa’s smallest region, Urola Garaia. Its motto is “Serendipity”, so prepare for an unexpected surprise.
It’s a good idea to head off on Friday with a place booked to recharge your batteries. Climb to the chapel of La Antigua in Zumarraga and enjoy the sunset as you take a short walk around Mount Beloki in natural surroundings. Take a deep breath, because when you descend once more, the interior of the chapel will leave you breathless. Its beauty is unmatched, with an extraordinary mixture of stone and wood.
To complete the visit, we recommend going to the La Antigua interpretation centre (which also houses the regional tourist office), where you can get more information on the chapel and the history of the town of Zumarraga.
To finish off the day enjoy a drink in the lively atmosphere of the neighbouring town of Urretxu and the charm of its old quarter. It was here that Joxe Mari Iparragirre, the famous Basque singer and musician, was born. If you want to learn more about him and the town, follow the plaques with Iparragirre’s picture and scan the QR Code into your phone. Let your imagination fly with his songs and stories… And because this is the bicentenary of Iparragirre’s birth, check out the weekend’s programme. There are plenty of activities scheduled for 2020.
There are lots of places to stay in the region; rural B&Bs and modern apartments in natural surroundings or urban hotels and charming little pensions.
What better way to start the day than a visit to the market at Zumarraga. The recently renovated market (Azoka) is a great place to meet local Basque farmers who can guide you on the best local products to buy. You’ll find market produce, homemade bread, honey, cheese and eggs, among many other options.
If you like a nice walk, this is an ideal day for a stroll through Zumarraga, followed by a drink in one of its bars or cafes.
Close by, in the adjacent town of Urretxu, you can visit the district of Santa Barbara, which has much to offer the visitor: you can climb Mount Irimo or take other walks, visit the Aikur honey museum, photograph the fabulous Ipeñarrieta palacio with the local latxa breed of sheep in the background or have a nice cup of coffee in the bar/restaurant/hostel beside the chapel, as your children play in the playpark in the picnic area. Sound like a good plan?
In the afternoon, the Igartubeiti Baserri museum in Ezkio is a must. Whether you’re travelling alone or as a family, this sixteenth century farmhouse and cider press —the only one of kind in the area— has something for everyone. You can visit all the rooms and see how people lived centuries ago.
Then take a 3-minute walk up to the upper part of the town, to get the full authentic rural atmosphere of Ezkio. And what better way of taking your leave of the town than a meal in any of its restaurants. They all offer the best of cuisine made with local produce, and some of them are typical of our small rural towns — as are the ostatus (inns).
On Sunday, you can visit Legazpi with its magnificently preserved industrial heritage. The jewel in this particular crown is the Mirandaola Forge, which still regularly operates for visitors when you can see the giant bellows and the hammer striking the red-hot iron. It’s an unforgettable experience! (photo)
Afterwards, why not round the day off with one of several tours organised by the Lenbur Foundation, such as the Workers’ Trail or the visit to the Igaralde mill, where you’ll get a chance to make your very own “opila” cake. It’s an ideal plan for all the family!
The urban centre of Legazpi has a wide offering of bars and restaurants, where you can enjoy pintxos and raciones or, if you prefer, a relaxed sit-down meal in one of the restaurants. Sunday at midday is aperitif time. Enjoy the great local atmosphere. What better way to end the weekend?