Nature and Sport

Rocky crags and deep ravines

A region steeped in history and the site of numerous memorable monuments, one of Oñati's most valuable assets is its stunning natural environment. Most of the area is located on sandstone and limestone, and the landscape is filled with the formations typical of these rocks: caves, potholes, dolines and karsts, etc. Some underground complexes, such as Gesaltza-Arrikrutz, are the most important of their kind in the Basque Country, and are extraordinarily deep and long, as well as breathtakingly beautiful. Some of these cavities have been used by humans for aeons, and are linked with a wide range of different beliefs. Flocks of sheep, beech groves, limestone rock faces, cliffs and peaks together form a magnificent landscape, watched over from the skies by griffon vultures soaring majestically in circles and criss-crossed all over by the constant comings and goings of sheep and horses. By far the best way of exploring this wonderful region is to use the routes described below.

Oñati, Gipuzkoa, Euskadi

Oñati, Gipuzkoa, Euskadi

Aizkorri Nature Reserve

This Nature Reserve is one of the natural wonders of Gipuzkoa and contains the highest peak in the province. The massif, which is made up by a number of different ranges, takes its name from one of the most emblematic peaks of the highest range, Aizkorri, a rocky summit crowned by the Santo Cristo Hermitage. The old medieval road which linked Flanders and Castile runs by the range on the southern side, passing through one of the most famous passes in the territory: Saint Adrian's Tunnel. The Urbia fields, which form the heart of the Nature Reserve, have been known to mankind since prehistoric times, as is evident in the numerous dolmens scattered around this beautiful valley. The most common tree is the beech, and the area boasts one of the most important beech groves in Gipuzkoa.

Arrikrutz cave tourist project

The countryside around Oñati contains a number of elements of great interest and value. Among a number of other projects, the Oñati Town Council plans to define, create and set up a unique attraction in the Oñati-Arrikrutz Karst, located near the Arantzazu Sanctuary under the Aizkorri massif. The project is already underway, although it is not yet completed, and aims to inject new life and value into Oñati's natural, social and cultural environment by means of a highly advanced computer system which will provide internal guidance and information on a number of archaeological, ethnographical and speleological attractions.


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