Can easily be done in a day
This motoring route takes in all the ‘must sees’ in the Durangaldea area. Starting from the Urkiola Nature Reserve, it heads down the mountain pass to Mañaria and Izurtza, before continuing on to Durango via Tabira. Here, it is worth stopping to visit the well-preserved old quarter and the Museum of History and Art. After climbing up to the so-called balconies of Durangaldea (Goiuria, Momoitio and Garai), the route heads down again through Gerediaga towards Berriz, where you can visit the Berriz Palace historical-botanical gardens, located right next to the town hall.
The route continues on towards Elorrio, although before arriving at the historic quarter of this town, we recommend you stop to visit the Argineta cemetery. After visiting Elorrio, the route takes you to Muntsaratz Tower in Abadiño, although before arriving, it is well worth taking a short detour to the left to see the Urkiola Nature Reserve from a different perspective. The view from here is from the north and affords an amazing vista of the farmhouses of the green Atxondo Valley, scattered around the foot of the rocky summit of Mount Anboto, along the route of the Arrazola cycling and walking trail.
Elements of botanical interest
The easiest way to learn more about pollarded beech trees is to visit the pollarded beech groves, birch trees and the descendant of the Tree of Gernika in the area around the Urkiola Sanctuary. Pollarding is a specific method of pruning trees that results in the characteristic candelabra shape of these beeches. In addition to pollarded beeches, this area also contains a very special oak tree, a descendant of the Tree of Gernika, as well as several birches. There have always been many birch groves in this area, and indeed, the name Urkiola comes from the Basque name for this tree: urki.
The amazing trees in Pinondo Square were once part of a private garden belonging to a local resident who made his fortune in the Americas. Today, the area is a public park. Some of the ‘green giants’ it contains include a Lebanon cedar, an Atlas cedar and a huge sequoia.
The Garai holm oak
This monumental holm oak is located next to a farmhouse just off the BI-3341, between Goiuria and Garai. It has been catalogued by the Basque Government as a tree of ‘exceptional value’.
As well as a chapel, viewing point and oaks and holm oaks that are over one hundred years old, in Momoitio you will also find a collection of large oak trees that give the area a special charm. It is well worth stopping to take a closer look at the old holm oaks standing in the nearby meadows.
Berriz Palace historical-botanical gardens
This is an area that used to form part of a palace estate. The palace itself is now the Berriz Town Hall. As well as a collection of large trees, both native and exotic, these amazing gardens also contain other important elements that are closely linked to the town’s history.
One-hundred-year-old oak trees in Argiñeta
Anyone who visits Argiñeta probably does so in order to see its famous cemetery, but its stone steles would not have the same charm if they were not located in this magical place, surrounded by a small forest of ancient oak trees.
Elorrio Palace gardens
Elorrio has many palaces and stately homes, and as we all know, no palace is complete without its gardens. As you wander round the town’s old quarter, you will be able to visit some of these gardens, now public parks, and glimpse from outside others that are still private property.