Scenery and nature
Nature marks our character. The Cantabrian Sea, deep valleys, large rivers and mountains on the horizon define how we are and the way we live.
On its 86 kilometres of coastline, the mountains come down to the sea to form cliffs that curb its impact, while they contain kilometres of beaches and charming coves, or create picture-postcard bays. In the interior, mountains form the landscape and character of Gipuzkoa. Valleys and rivers, forests and paths, natural parks and all kinds of protected eco-systems follow one another in succession. The area is covered all over in green right up to the sea, and will turn bluish or grey, depending on the sky at the time. The only thing that we haven’t got is a desert.
We have got so many things that we haven’t got any room for anything else. 20% of our surface is classified as a Protected Natural Area, but woodland takes up 62% of the total (when in heavily-forested Finland it reaches 65%). We invite you to fully enjoy all this nature that has shaped our province, as well as our diverse, friendly, (and, of course, natural) character.
Areas of natural beauty
Passion Green colour
Damp grass covers Gipuzkoa. The landscape in the interior is abrupt, mountainous and zigzagging, but you will feel that it is warm and welcoming. The entire setting encourages you to imagine the lifestyle that many previous generations led, as if you yourself formed part of one of them.
Omnipresent legends and rural traditions blend into nature. The needle-shaped relief of the Aiako Harria Nature Reserve soars into the sky. The protected coastline between Deba and Zumaia stretches for 8 kilometres and the geological history of the planet is written in its layers. Aitxuri, 1,551 metres in height, is the roof of the Basque Country and the mythological goddess Mari is said to live on its summit.
Greenery is always in view and clearly stands out from all the other colours. It tinges the coasts, mountains, valleys, everything, accompanying the courses of rivers like inseparable friends. It is the tonality that distinguishes and unifies the province. Green is our passion and it’ll also be yours. You’ll see.
Beaches with views
The map of beaches in Gipuzkoa runs from Hondarribia to Mutriku. These are the Sandy beaches that the Royal family and the Court chose for their summer holidays. There was a reason for this. The 86 kilometre of coast in Guipuzcoa offer you 13 beaches with a range of features and alternatives to really enjoy.
Because you have all kinds of top-quality options. There are beaches with or without waves, with rows of blue and white sunshades, unspoilt, urban, quiet or crowded, with or without a nudist area, more than 2 kilometres long or tiny and secluded,... You’ll be able to lie on the sand, go for a walk, jog, swim, go diving, surf or enjoy other water sports. Or just look at the horizon, or the mountains in the background, or cliffs or that island in the middle of the bay. Each one has its memorable views.
Nearby you’ll find restaurants where you can eat grilled fish. And at sunset you’ll probably want to sit and watch how the sea devours the sun while you enjoy some pintxos and a txakoli, in a seaside atmosphere. As far as beaches are concerned you can never go wrong, they’re all just right.
Astonishing natural beauty at every turn
Gipuzkoa is full of natural treasures. They are displayed like signature pintxos on the counter of a bar. And you’re spoilt for choice. But rather than choosing one it’s better to try and see them all: they never give you indigestion.
The Sakoneta cliffs are one of the most spectacular parts of the “Geo-park of the Basque Coast”, boxed in between the sea and the mountains. The Sastarrain valley is calm and peaceful; it runs from the spa town of Zestoa to the Izarraitz mountain range. The Urkulu reservoir is ideal for family walks... You’re permanently in touch with nature. There are a great many curiosities, picturesque landscapes and unique places.
This is the case with the San Adrián tunnel, at the top of the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park. A typical pilgrimage and transhumance route, the legend says that the only time that Emperor Charles V ever bowed his head in his entire life was in this tunnel. Or the area around Pagoeta, with the peace of the beech forest next to an old ironworks. Gipuzkoa is a box of lovely landscapes that opens up at every turn. You’ve got to see them. You’ll always remember them.
Industrial historical heritage
You’ll see that Gipuzkoa preserves treasures from a landscape shaped by humans for millennia. You’ll realize this, for example, when you go inside the Arditurri mining complex in Oiartzun, first dug by the Romans and then worked for two thousand years.
You can further experience this in the Aizpea mines, this time in Zerain, or in the old Mollarri loading bay in Zarautz. You will be able to plunge into our prehistory by going into the Arrikrutz caves (Oñati) or into the replica of Ekain (Zestoa), or climbing Mount Adarra, an exceptional vantage point where our ancestors erected lots of megalithic monuments.
In Lastur valley you’ll find 14th –century mills in an idyllic setting. And spread all over the province you can see collections of medieval architectural sites, historical monuments, fortified houses, mansions and other buildings that bear witness to our past. Our history is on display, ready for your visit, so that in just a few days you can relive thousands of years…