THE ROUTE OF THE PATHS
THE ROUTE OF THE PATHS TOUR OFFERS YOU THE CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE SOMETHING EVOCATIVE AND DIFFERENT WHILE YOU ENJOY ÁLAVA’S IMPRESSIVE CULTURAL HERITAGE. THE HISTORICAL TREASURES FOUND ALONG ITS ITINERARY ARE AN INVITATION TO TRAVEL IN TIME AND DISCOVER WHAT THE LIFE OF OUR ANCESTORS WAS LIKE.
The starting point for this route is Vitoria-Gasteiz. After checking into your hotel, we suggest you amble about the streets of the medieval city centre, which is designated as a monumental heritage site. This short and appealing evening stroll through our past will lead you to one of the city’s treasures, the Cathedral of Santa María, which dates back to the fourteenth century. (1) Our dear Catedral Vieja s(Old Cathedral) stands upon the ruins of the primitive church of the village of Gasteiz. You can uncover its history by walking through the triforium, contemplating its spectacular Gothic portal or climbing its old defence tower. From the lookout you can enjoy a unique panoramic view of the city. You can also stop along the parapet walk to observe the city’s surrounding hills.
Later, as you meander through the medieval core of the city, your steps will lead you down part of the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James), which passes through the city. Thus, you will reach our second encounter with history, the City Walls dating from the eleventh century (2) which surrounded the old village of Gasteiz. Whether you approach it from the old section, from Cantón de Las Carnicerías (The Butchers’ Neighbourhood), or from the new section, on the street called calle Fray Zacarías Martínez, where La Nevera is located, its walls hark back to times of yore.
After enjoying the walls, it is time to replenish and rest for the surprises we shall encounter the next day. You will certainly find an option suited to your tastes and budget among the wide selection of restaurants and entertainment in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
The next day, our first destination will lead you to Alaitza, located in the cuadrilla (district) of Llanada Alavesa. Heading east from Gastiez, take a dip into history at the Termas de Arkaia, the remains of a Roman bathhouse in the village of Arkaia, which is on the way. Once you arrive in Alaitza, you will come face-to-face with one of the treasures of Llanada, the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (4) , which dates back to the thirteenth century. When taking in the valuable reddish paintings on the walls of the apse, where battle scenes take precedence, you will immerse yourself in a range of fascinating tales about the tales about the region’s history.
Four kilometres away in Gazeo, the interior of a small Romanesque temple, San Martin de Tours (3) , jealously guards another of Llanada’s treasures. Its splendid fourteenth-century mural paintings endow each wall and space with new and infinite meanings.
This short trip to the Iglesias Pinceladas (Painted Churches) will be the perfect segue to a stop in the town of Agurain to eat and check into your hotel. Founded in 1256 by the Castilian King Alfonso X, ‘The Wise’ on top of the village of ‘hagurahin,’ historically, the village has been a strategic border enclave in the disputes between the kingdoms of Navarra and Castilla. The fine walls and medieval core of Agurain, (5) interspersed with emblazoned buildings, bear witness to a way of life respectful of the history and culture that will captivate you.
To wrap up the day, head to the neighbouring town of Zalduondo for a visit to the Renaissance palace of the Lazarraga-Amézaga’s, home to the town’s Ethnographic Museum (6) . A unique building in the eastern part of Llanada Alavesa for a museum housing many contents, where you can learn everything about the Way of Saint James in this region, as well as new perspectives on the history, geography, ethnography, folklore and art of Álava.
The next morning, you will head out towards the district of Montaña Alavesa. Halfway there, in the port of OPAKUA, give yourself the gift of the wonderful show of overlapping shapes and colours seen from its scenic viewpoint. Following the path of Saint Ignatius, you will encounter memorable places such as the Ermita de Elizmendi, in Kontrasta (7) , the Church of San Vicente de Arana (8) , an example of the Basque plateresque style with two superimposed reredos, or ornamental screens behind the altar, or the unique town of Santa Cruz de Campezo (9) . In a blink of an eye, with the image of what you have just seen still fresh in your mind, you will reach the last milestone of our route, the medieval village of Antoñana (10) , a prominent enclave on the Camino Ignaciano.
Established in 1182 by Sancho the Wise, king of Navarra, to this day maintains part of its walls, strongholds and entryway arches. Buildings with coats of arms point to a noble past, among which stand out the Church of San Vicente Mártir, a former fortress temple.
It is time to bid you farewell. If on your return you notice a smile on your face, it means we will see each other again. See you soon..