Four itineraries designed for and by bikers invite you to discover the best attractions in Alava.
Alava offers motorcycle enthusiasts the perfect place to indulge in their passion for two wheels while also discovering the local heritage, stunning scenery and renowned regional cuisine.
The Provincial Council of Alava has put together a publication featuring four tours designed for and by bikers. Each itinerary offers curves, scenery and easy access to the region’s best natural attractions and heritage sites.
These four itineraries are mainly along well-paved secondary roads with low traffic and impressive scenery. The four routes – featuring nearly 700 kilometres and plenty of twists and turns – are called ‘Hacia el sur sin prisa’ (leisurely southbound), ‘Hacia el norte sin prisa’ (leisurely northbound), ‘Valles, Llanada y Montaña’ (valleys, plains and mountains) and ‘Castillos y vino’ (castles and wine).
‘Leisurely Southbound’ starts out from the town of Egino and ends at the border with the province of Burgos near Miranda de Ebro. The route takes you along 104 kilometres of brilliant scenery, passing through Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, with its impressive old-growth beech and oak forests; the Ullibarri-Gamboa reservoir with its eco-friendly ‘blue flag’ inland beaches, the perfect place to soak up some sun or simply enjoy a peaceful sunset; and the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, with its almond-shaped medieval town centre, the Santa María Cathedral, and the parks and gardens that circle the city. For anyone interested in local plants and animals, several signposted walking trails lead into this green belt.
You may also want to stop at one of Vitoria-Gasteiz’s many bars or restaurants before continuing to Valle Salado de Añana. A unique experience awaits. The Salt Valley of Añana, one of the world’s oldest ‘salt factories’, offers a curious combination of scenery, geology, architecture, archaeology and over 6500 years of history.
‘Leisurely Northbound’ is 152 kilometres long, starting in southern Alava and ending in Llodio in the northernmost part of the province. The first bends in the road are in the Rioja Alavesa region, where you’ll ride past some of the region’s highlights, including Frank Gehry’s city of wine complex in Elciego designed for the Marqués de Riscal winery, the medieval town of Laguardia with its labyrinth of underground cellars, and the town of Lapuebla de Labarca. All surrounded by vineyards that blanket the countryside with colours that change with the season.
Don’t miss out on the food and wine in Rioja Alavesa, and a guided tour of one of the wineries to see how the wine-making process unfolds.
Just before the 1100 metres elevation mark, be sure to pull off to the left at the Balcón de La Rioja scenic overview for some of the best views of the region.
The road weaves its way through forests and awe-inspiring views to Peñacerrada, a walled town with an impressive south gateway.
This route also takes you to Vitoria-Gasteiz, a good place to stretch your legs and see the sights before getting back on your bike. Head north past Murgia through the Ayala Valley to Amurrio and then on to Llodio where the route ends.
‘Valleys, Plains and Mountains’ is the longest route, with a total of 261 kilometres. This loop ride starts and ends in Vitoria-Gasteiz. The first stop on this itinerary is the Santa Catalina Botanical Garden in Trespuentes. The site features nearly one thousand plant species and the ruins of a 13th century monastery. Next is the Salt Valley of Añana, where salt has been produced in salt-pans for thousands of years. Then on to the Varona tower-house, a fortified palace with a 14th century moat and a fascinating history.
The route continues to Salto del Nervión falls, located on the border between Castilla and the Basque Country. The water plunges 270 metres, making it one of the longest and most beautiful natural waterfalls in Western Europe.
The journey continues through Gorbeia and Izki Natural Parks, with their rich habitats and infinite shades of green. The last two stops are in Alava’s ‘Montaña Alavesa’ region. The first is San Vicente de Arana, and the last is Agurain, also known as Salvatierra, with its delightful medieval town centre. Here you’ll want to get off your bike and explore the historic streets and buildings.
The last route, ‘Castles and Wine’ is also a loop ride beginning and ending in Victoria-Gasteiz, covering a distance of 181 kilometres. This route take you into the Montes de Vitoria range to see the castles of Ocio and Portilla, both perched on hills that afford sweeping views. Very near here, you can stretch your legs on a footpath that follows the Inglares River to the Herrerías waterfall. Then it’s time for the wineries and vineyards of the Rioja Alavesa region.
The way back to Vitoria-Gasteiz takes you over Bernedo pass and on to the hilltop town of Labraza (elevation 677 metres). Stop here to check out the smallest walled town in the Basque Country and, according to some experts, one of the world’s best preserved. Built in the Middle Ages, the town also boasts four towers, a fortress, battlements, secret passageways and tunnels, loopholes and wall walks.
The first two linear rides are designed to traverse Alava, with the idea of spending the night in one of the many hotels en route. The last two loop rides are for visitors who decide to base their holiday in Alava.
The publication ‘Rutas en moto por Álava’ is available in paper at tourism offices or can be downloaded at www.alavaturismo.eus