Enjoy the landscape, cuisine and art... bit by bit
Friday Landscape, traditions and cuisine, a very Basque combination.
If you arrived into Aretxabaleta in the afternoon, we suggest kicking off the weekend with a walk round the Urkulu reservoir, a beautiful natural site at one of the entrances to the Aizkorri-Aratz Nature Park. You can take the complete 7-kilometre (4.5-mile) trail round the reservoir or the accessible path, which is 805 metres (half a mile) long. If you book in advance, you can do the long route by horse-drawn calash and ensure a memorable evening. And if you’re a bird watcher, don’t forget your binoculars. You can choose from a range of nearby accommodation: the cabins in the magical forest of Lenitz Gatzaga, the rural B&B by the reservoir at Urkulu, the rural B&Bs in the neighbouring town of Eskoriatza or a pension in the urban centre. All delightful, authentic options. And in any of these villages you’ll find places to get a delicious dinner.
Saturday Arantzazu and Urbia. Contemporary art, Basque culture and pure nature.
Saturday morning begins with a guided tour of the Sanctuary at Arantzazu, set in the Aizkorri-Aratz Nature Park, one of the most significant examples of Basque contemporary art with works by Eduardo Chillida, Jorge Oteiza and many others. If this is your first visit, prepare to be truly amazed by the sanctuary and its surroundings. After the sanctuary, you can visit the Aizkorri-Aratz Nature Park Interpretation Centre and the Gomiztegi farmhouse, which as well as a cheese dairy also houses a School for Shepherds. It is an accessible circular path, 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) long, and well worthwhile. You can then decide whether you want to have lunch in one of the restaurants in the neighbourhood of the Sanctuary, along the way to Oñati or in the historical urban centre of Oñati itself. Perhaps the mountaineers among you have eaten in the Fields of Urbia (Campas de Urbia). Whatever you choose, enjoy your meal!
Saturday Oñati and Arrasate
The Sancti Spiritus university, the parish church of San Miguel and the Monastery of Bidaurreta are just some of the many buildings worth seeing in the historical/artistic centre of Oñati, followed by a visit to the Chocolate Interpretation Centre, “Txokolateixia”, with its exhibition of the chocolate-making tradition of Oñati. In Arrasate, cradle of the Basque cooperative movement, start from the “Portalón” to take a tour of the medieval centre and stroll through the Santa Barbara park. From the dragon sculpture, there are some beautiful vistas out over the medieval town. You can also enjoy some pintxos on one of the many terraces or browse the town’s numerous shops. And if you’ve decided to move base camp in order to have less distance to travel on Sunday, you’ll find a wide range of small hotels, apartments and rural B&Bs in Oñati, Arrasate, Bergara and Elgeta. If you’re travelling by motorhome, there are also a number of places to stay.
Sunday Historical trek, sweets, local products, science… what more could you want?
Sunday begins in Elgeta. Take the guided tour up Mount Intxorta to learn more about the events that took place here during the Spanish Civil War. The town stands at a height on the border between Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia, surrounded by small rural neighbourhoods. After the tour, the town square is a great place to get something to drink. To complete the visit to Debagoiena, take a stroll through the historical centre of Bergara, with its many palacios and mansions, and taste its traditional filled pastry (rellenos), tostones and the innovating wolfram goxoa. You can also visit the Laboratorium Museum at the Errekalde Palace, an EPS Historic Site, for it was in the laboratories of the Royal Seminary of Bergara that a new chemical element was discovered: tungsten (also known as wolfram).