When you think about the province of Álava-Araba, automatically the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz comes to your minds. However, there is much more. The difference between travelers and tourists is that the first ones look for places and things that keep the essence of the territory, in this case, the secret places in Álava, for giving it a somewhat romantic or mysterious title.
Trip in search of salt and wine
30 kilometres away from Vitoria-Gasteiz we finde the Salinas de Añana-Gesaltza Añana. It is a historic villa known for its exploitation of salt. The visit can take half day. We recommend to start it in its Interpretation Centre and then to walk through the salt mines. For hiking lovers, the trip can continuo to the the little known and enchanting Valderejo Natural Park. It is a production area of txakolí of Álava, so an option is to visit some wine cellars and to buy this product that is becoming more and more popular.
To visit a jewel of Romantic art
In the town of Argandoña, another of the secret places in Álava-Araba is situated. The Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Estíbaliz is located on a hill next to a Benedictine monastery. It is a building from the XIII century that keep the excellent Romantic sculpture of the Virgin of Estíbaliz as well as lots of Romantic capitals of great interest. To view the opening and booking information, click here. Its big day is the September 12th.
Vitoria from the Monte Olárizu
Vitoria-Gasteiz has been recognized as the European Green Capital in 2012 because of the integration of biodiversity in the city. Among the greenest secret places in Álava-Araba you can find the Monte Olárizu. It is a small hill of 709 metres of altitude from where you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city and the whole Llanada Alavesa. If you look a little further in the distance you can see the silhouettes of the peaks that flank the region, with the Gorbea as the highest point.
The chapels of the enigmatic mural paintings
Gazeo y Alaitza is one of the secret places in Álabra-Araba. They are two small towns of the Llanada Alavesa that are very close to Vitoria. In their little churches, an extraordinary and enigmatic mural art sets were discovered. They were used as canvases for the first Gothic paintings that are preserved in the Peninsula. The anonymity (in some cases) or the fact of being covered by altars (in other cases), has allowed a high level of conservation. It is a place not too much visited, you have to organize well to enjoy them.
Wine drinking is the Rioja Alavesa
Among our favorite secret places of Álava-Araba is, without doubt, the Rioja Alavesa. This place offers a Wine Route that is considered a wine tourism destination worldwide. It is an excellent option to make a ’round’ getaway to the north. It is a plan that you can carry out the whole year, and that offers much more than wine. It combines landscapes of film vineyards, traditional gastronomy, wine cellars, medieval villages … An endless number of attractive activities related to wine.