The Green Belt of Vitoria-Gasteiz
Let us tell you that the city is surrounded by a green belt comprised of six large parks, criss-crossed by an extensive network of paths for pedestrians and cyclists and fitted with spacious leisure areas.
The Armentia forest
Is only 3 kilometres south west of the city. Here more than a hundred of hectares crossed by footpaths, cycling tracks and horse-riding trails await you.
The area connects Vitoria-Gasteiz’s Green Belt with the Mountains of Vitoria, a natural space of some 5,000 hectares, which constitutes the city’s natural lung. The 5 kilometre walk take you through a gall-oak grove towards monte Eskibel, on whose slopes you will find beech and oak trees.
You will find Zabalgana Park to the west of the city. You will encounter a natural gall-oak forest (a small kind oak tree that in old times filled the entire county), meadows, small lakes and hills.
This park -created in 1993- was formerly an abandoned gravel quarry for building material which, thanks to a hard won recovery, has become a magnificent ecological refuge for the wild flora and fauna (weasels, hares and foxes, among others). It is also home to many bird species.
You will find Olarizu some 2 kilometres from the centre of the capital of Alava, heading south.
Unlike the rest of the Green Belt areas, that of Olarizu is closer to the concept of a typical city park. This park offers you the possibility to its hilltop, from where you can see the entire city and the county’s hills and mountains. It is also has an archaeological site from the Iron Age.
In Olarizu you will find Casa de la Dehesa (the headquarters of the Environmental Studies Centre).
In Salburua, you will be able to enjoy a green area comprised of several small lakes and a small oak grove.
Today, these wetlands are included in the Ramsar list of Wetlands of International Importance. The current Park (about 200 hectares) is the result of intense regeneration work, thanks to which a wetland area that had dried out could be recovered, to transform it into agricultural land.
Now, Salburua is one of the most important places in the Basque country for the reproduction of waterfowl. Here species unique to our environment, such as herons come to breed. Moreover, the park is inhabited by close to 200 species, among which the European mink (an endangered mammal) is noteworthy.
The Zadorra River Park
To the north of the city you can stroll through 13 kilometres of river park that have been reconditioned on the shores of the Zadorra river.
This river is of vital importance for the city and thanks to its biodiversity forms a part of the European Protected Nature Parks Network (the Natura 2000 network).
On one of the reconditioned stretches of the park, that of Atxa-Landaberde, you will find 2.5 kilometres of trails through alders, willows and poplars and several leisure areas close to the river. Among these, there is a wood platform with benches and a viewing-point located over the riverbed, opposite Lopidana.
The Alegría River Park
You will find this park between the Zadorra and the Salburua wetlands.
Here you can enjoy 11 hectares of land re conditioned for strolling along the banks of the Alegría river (a tributary of the Zadorra) and a bicycle path. Here a pleasant stroll among willows and poplars awaits you.