The Green Belt of Vitoria-Gasteiz - Green walks
River Zadorra, in Gamarra - A river for Vitoria-Gasteiz
The first section of the River Zadorra as it passes by Vitoria-Gasteiz, from its convergence with the River Alegría to Gamarra Mayor/Gamarra Nagusia, is an ideal place for walking. With an approximate surface area of 10 ha, this space has 2700 m of pedestrian paths and cycling lanes, which can be continued along through the sports centre of Gamarra.
The proposed walk runs along the new flood channels created beside the River Zadorra to collect the overflowing water from the river during periods of strong rain, thus preventing the flooding of the industrial area of Gamarra.
Technical data sheet
Length: 3.5 km | Approximate time: 50 minutes | Type of path: paved path, pedestrian path and sidepath | Precaution: flood-prone areas | How to get there: L3, Portal de Bergara/Eskalmendi; L9, Plaza Gamarra; L9, Gamarra Mayor
Click on the map to see a bigger PDF version.
In various sections the path can be flooded, meaning that extra precaution must be taken.
- We start the path at the 1.7 km point of the Route around the Green Belt beside Gamarra Park, in Eskalmendi. It coincides with the start of the Vitoria-Gasteiz-Puerto de Arlabán section of the Greenway of the Old Basque-Navarrese Railway.
- After crossing the River Zadorra, and before reaching an orange walkway over the flood channels -through where the Greenway of the Old Basque-Navarrese Railway continues-, we descend towards the right and continue in this direction for 200 m.
- At the first fork, we cross the channel through a ford that may be blocked during periods of flooding, to reach the right bank of the river, from where we will continue, under the walkway, to the village of Gamarra Mayor/Gamarra Nagusia.
- If the channel is flooded, we would retreat, crossing the river over the orange walkway and descending again to the channel down some stairs. On the right-hand bank, we would return to the Route around the Green Belt in the direction of Gamarra Mayor/ Gamarra Nagusia.
- For a while, the path is practically isolated from the surrounding roads by a large hedge.
- Reaching the village, new information panels and posts show how to continue the Route around the Green Belt. We can continue the Route and return to the starting point through the Gamarra sports centre -these installations are open outside the swimming pool season- or we can return along the left-hand bank of the flood channel to the Green Route.
- If we choose the first option, we will have to follow the indications that take us to the N-240 road. There are two options; one is more comfortable and accessible and is the furthest away from the river, running through the village. Once the bridge over the River Zadorra has been crossed, we turn left away from the Route around the Green Belt.
- We enter the park through the west door; we go through it, exiting through the east door and we reach the starting point.
Points of interest
- River Zadorra
This is the municipality's most important river and the rest of the rivers and streams that originate in the municipality's land flow into it. It flows through the northern part of the city, acting as a boundary to the urban area. In several sections, the river and its banks host habitats of very high ecological value, where animal and vegetable species of great interest coexist; some in risk of disappearing, such as the case of the evasive European mink. Its important natural value has prompted its declaration as an SCI (Site of Community Importance) within the European Natura 2000 Network of Protected Natural Spaces.
- Flood channels
Faced with the need to prevent the regular flooding of the River Zadorra in the section between the Gamarra Bridge and the bridge of the A-1 motorway, and because of the problems caused to the industrial estate of Gamarra and the adjacent roads, several possible solutions were suggested, among them the channelling of the river. Finally it was decided to set up a flood channel that could increase the river's hydraulic capacity and avoid the risk of flooding. This channel transports the extraordinary overflows during periods of strong rain, leaving the current channel for the ordinary flow and for the overflows of the River Alegría. During dry periods, the new channel and the paths allow citizens to see the River Zadorra up close.
- Greenway of the Old Basque-Navarrese Railway. Vitoria-Gasteiz-Puerto de Arlabán section
The Basque-Navarrese railway track was inaugurated in 1927 to link the Navarrese town of Estella with Mekolalde, in Gipuzkoa. From the 1950s onwards the railway ceased to be profitable due to the competition with road transport and its closure and dismantlement was decreed in 1967. Today, its tracks are used as cyclo-tourism and natural environment viewing routes. The Greenway between Vitoria-Gasteiz and the Arlabán Pass is a slightly ascending route 13.6 km in length that connects with the circular itinerary that surrounds the Ullibarri-Gamboa Reservoir.
- The Gamarra sports centre
The Gamarra sports park, with more than 20 ha, is the largest sports and leisure complex in the city. It started out in the late 1920s with the installation of an artificial beach on the shore of the river, to avoid risks to the bathers that used the swimming holes of the River Zadorra. Today, this municipal facility has swimming pools, ball alleys, athletics tracks, a velodrome, football and rugby pitches, bowling alleys, children's games, picnic areas, a restaurant and open-air benches and tables. The woodland is comprised of more than 11,000 specimens of 70 different species, which form a green line that is almost 2 km in length.
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