The Green Belt of Vitoria-Gasteiz - Green walks
Armentia, a walk through the Armentia forest - A forest for Vitoria-Gasteiz
This pleasant walk allows the visitor to wander through the natural forest of Armentia, the antechamber of the Mountains of Vitoria, the municipality's main mountain range.
It is recommended to access Armentia on foot or by bicycle from the La Florida Park in the city centre, and located just 3 km away, following the historical path of the Senda, which runs past Vitoria-Gasteiz's main mansions and palaces of the early 20th century and which ends at the San Prudencio Basilica in the village of Armentia.
Technical data sheet
Length: 4.5 km | Approximate time: 1 hour | Type of path: paved path | How to get there: L4, Armentia/Basilica stop
Click on the map to see a bigger PDF version.
There is an extensive network of paths that run through Armentia Forest, combining pedestrian paths, cycling lanes and equestrian tracks. The main itineraries, signposted, are: the Route around the Green Belt -which, from Zabalgana heads towards Olarizu through Armentia Park-, the Ascent to Eskibel tower and the Itinerary to the Vitoria Mountains. We propose the following route:
- The walk starts at the entrance of Armentia Park, located after leaving the city towards the south. You will find a small car park, a stone wall with the name Armentia, and an information panel.
- We cross the entrance and follow the path on the left around an extensive meadow with tables and a fountain until we reach a small square from which the three main itineraries leave. We take the one on the right, in the direction of the Eskibel Tower.
- We follow the milestones that signpost this itinerary until we reach the path that converges with the Route around the Green Belt, with which our walk will share a section. We are at a new entrance to the park, with a resting area in a large meadow, beside the A-4101 road to Eskibel.
- We continue a few metres in parallel to the road until the path going up to Eskibel tower separates turning to the right, to cross the road and further ahead, the Requera stream.
- We follow the Route around the Green Belt until we reach a new crossroads. The Route turns left but our path continues, rising up an equestrian track parallel to the road.
- At the next crossroads, we turn 180° towards the north, to start the journey back. We descend down the Itinerary of the Mountains of Vitoria in the direction of the village, through the forest. During the descent we will pass several paths to the right and left, among them the Green Belt. Following the itinerary's milestones, we will reach the starting point.
- To end the tour we can visit the Armentia Basilica.
Points of interest
- Armentia Forest
The Armentia Forest is home to a diversity of environments. Very closed, thick sections in which maple trees, hawthorns, blackthorns and blackberry bushes accompany the gall-oaks are followed by more disperse sections with large clearances, where heather, canary clover and junipers grow. In the higher areas we find beech trees, holly trees and mountain ash trees, and on the banks of the streams it is common to find maple trees, hazelnut trees and ash trees. The different environments provide shelter for a very rich and varied fauna, among which are roe deer, boars, squirrels, birds of prey and even up to thirty species of small birds such as goldfinches, finches, robins and coal tits. The environmental value of this forest lies in the fact that it is an ecological corridor between the urban and periurban green areas and the Mountains of Vitoria.
- Eskibel Tower
At the top of Eskibel Mountain (814 m), in the Mountains of Vitoria, we can find the walls of an old 19th century signal tower, popularly known as "Gometxa Castle", due to its proximity to the village of Gometxa. This tower was used to watch the position of troops in times of war and to communicate with other watchtowers, with which it formed a network of military defences that managed to keep the Alava Plains free from attacks.
- Mountains of Vitoria
A mountain range with a soft silhouette with maximum heights of around 1030 m, which extends from east to west forming the border of the municipal territory to the south. The northern slope, which belongs to the municipality, is home to a diversity of forests, from gall-oak woods on the low-lying hills to oak and beech woods in the ravines and peaks, and holm oak woods in the more stony areas exposed to the sun. The fauna associated with this variety of forests is very rich and diverse, with common species and others that are very demanding and exclusive such as the goshawk, the grey dormouse and the wildcat. The high value of this space regarding the maintenance of the municipal region's biodiversity has prompted the declaration of the eastern sector of the mountains as a Site of Community Importance (SCI) within the Natura 2000 Network.
- Armentia, San Prudencio Basilica
The San Prudencio Basilica, a 12th century Romanesque building, was built on the remains of an 8th century temple. Reformed several times, it is considered to be one of the most important examples of medieval art and has been declared a monument of the Basque Country. In its interior the image of San Prudencio, patron saint of Alava, is venerated. The festivity is celebrated on 28th April with a "romeria" (religious pilgrimage) with deep popular roots.
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