The Basque Country offers an interesting selection of architectural styles in its churches and sanctuaries. Fine examples of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque can be found in abundance throughout the region.
Arrive in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Enjoy a panoramic walking tour of the city including the medieval quarter which takes approximately two and half hours. Begin walking from the Virgin Blanca Plaza. See Stately homes and Renaissance palaces such as Villa Suso, Casa del Cordón (15th centruy Gothic), Escoriaza-Esquival (16th century with beautiful Plateresque portal and a courtyard, El Portalón (late 15th century) and Montehermoso. Visit also the unique Fournier Playing Card Museum, which holds one of the most important collections of playing cards in the world. See also parts of the medieval wall that once surrounded the original village of Gasteiz.
Tour the Santa María Cathedral (Gothic, late 13th century) where a very important restoration and excavation project is taking place. See also the Church of San Miguel (Gothic & Renaissance, late 14th century), the Church of San Pedro (late 13th century Gothic), the Plaza del Machete, the Plaza de Esoaña and the Doña Ochanda Tower, with its fine Gothic portal and now home to Vitoria’s Natural Science Museum. Finally return to the Plaza de la Virgin Blanca. Accommodation of your choice in Vitoria.
Today enjoy an excursion around Vitoria heading first to the Monastery of Estíbaliz, a treasure of Romanic style in Alava. Continue to the village of Alaiza where you can see the Church of Asunción dating from the 13th century. Its wall murals depict scenes of everyday life in medieval times.
Next to Gaceo to admire the 13th century murals in the Romanic church of San Martin de Tours. Then onto Salvatierra-Agurain to visit the very well preserved Old Quarter.
Founded in 1256, it has three main streets which still preserve their medieval layout. In addition, there are the remains of its walls, several palaces, and it has some very beautiful squares. There are two fortified Gothic churches that can also be visited: San Juan and Santa María. Outside Salvatierra, and up in the Iturrieta hills, you can find the Arrizala and Equilaz dolmens. Return to Vitoria and overnight.
Drive northeast of Vitoria to Aranzazu. Here you can visit the unique Basilica of Aranzazu, a fine example of Contemporary art created by several architects and artists. Admire Eduardo Chillida’s doorway, Nestor Basterrechea’s altarpieces and Jorge de Oteiza’s paintings.
Continue to Zumarraga in order to visit the Roman hermitage, La Antigua, a magnificent construction from the 12th century where stone and wood have been combined in an extraordinary form. Afterwards make your way to Loyola to visit the Basilica of Loyola and birthplace of San Ignacio de Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.
Return to Vitoria and overnight.
Travel south to Rioja and San Millan de la Cogolla where you can visit the monasteries Yuso and Suso, regarded as Art Heritage of Humanity. Suso Monastery was built between the 6th and 9th Centuries, with Visigothic and Mozarabic remains. Yuso Monastery is further down the valley, founded in the 11th Century and refounded between the 16th and 18th Centuries. Its interior is a museum: the valuable library houses codeces and old parchments from the 11th to the 15th Centuries as well as the San Millán and San Felices arks.
Travelling north to Rioja Alavesa, this area has a large number of prehistoric remains and settlements, including the 'Dolmens of El Sotillo', 'San Martín', 'La Choza de la Hechicera' and the protohistoric settlement of 'La Hoya'. Naturally enough, one of the other big attractions of this area is a visit to its wineries. The towns and villages in this area are surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and vegetable farmlands which provide excellent wines and fine local cooking. Of particular interest is Labastida, which has a Baroque Town Hall and a parish church dating from the 17th century. Several other interesting parish churches can be found in Samaniego, Leza, Elciego and Oyón. Laguardia preserves the medieval layout of its ‘old town' and has two magnificent churches: San Juan and Santa María de los Reyes, famous for its colourful portico.
Later return to Vitoria and overnight.
If you like the look of the above Suggested Tour we will gladly prepare a quote for you. The itinerary is not rigid and can be modified to suit your needs.
Below is a selection of the accommodation we would recommend for this tour. Click on the Hotel Code or symbol for photographs and detailed information about each property. If you have registered to use our Spain Travel & Holiday Planner, you need only click on to insert it into your itinerary.
|Churches & Sanctuaries of the Basque Country||Hotel Code||Classification||Information|
|5 nights in Vitoria||TBC42||Central Hotel|