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Did you know that... the el Salted Valley of Añana

 

It is located in Salinas de Añana, just 30 kilometres from Vitoria. Everything seems to indicate that the Salted Valley of Añana is more than 6500 years old, being a large part of it an interesting archaeological site that turns it into a real historical archive where you can study how and when these salt springs began to be exploited and how the salt miners lived in each era. 200 million years ago the whole of the east of the peninsula was sea, but when the tectonic plates moved, leaving large extensions of salt water trapped, it evaporated and retreated and all the salt it contained remained at the bottom, more or less two thousand metres deep, forming a layer or crust that extends from the Atlantic to the Cantabrian Sea and from the plateau to the Mediterranean. Gradually layers of other materials settled, but the salt is less dense and more plastic and tends to filter and rise above them creating salt bubbles called diapiro.

 Salted Valley of Añana

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A little more history

 

The Díapiro of the Salted Valley has good measures, 6 kilometers long by 3.5 wide. When it rains the water filters into the ground and reaches the Subijana aquifer, then returns to the surface crossing the saline deposits and thus converted into brine through the four springs that supply with their waters the eras of the Valley, although two fresh water springs that pour into the river that crosses the Salt Valley. The salt flats that make up the Salted Valley are simple constructions made of stone, pine wood and clay. The brine reaches them through channels through which water flows from the wells where it is collected from the four springs. Each salinero filled his well in turns, only when it corresponded to him and in the amount he had allocated. The rules that governed the Salted Valley were transmitted orally from parents to children until the 16th century when the master or shift book was written. In prehistoric times the salt mines had a very different shape and the preparation of salt was done by forced evaporation, making the water consumed by cooking and it was not until the time of the Romans, around the first century BC when they settled in the area, and began to be achieved by natural evaporation, in which the maximum role played the atmospheric factors.

 Salinero stirring the brine in the Añana Salt Valley

Discover more

 

There are documents from the beginning of the 9th century which mention the exploitation and production of salt in this valley. The white gold that was obtained did not have such a colour, rather it was brown, this was so because the base of the land where the brine was placed coloured the salt, white salt being an expensive exception, until in the 19th century Charles IV decided that the salt produced in all the salt mines of his kingdom should be white, sending experts and architects to study how to achieve it on the land. The current Santa Engracia spring, the main salt fountain, owes its shape to the salt workers who rebuilt it after the flood at the end of the seventeenth century, which destroyed the two primitive springs and a hermitage here located, which was dedicated to Santa Engracia. The salt mines ceased to be profitable and little by little, between the 50s and 60s of the last century they were abandoned and deteriorated rapidly until in the year 2000 the owners, in a desire to reconvert and restore this valley of great ethnographic, historical and cultural value, put it back into operation but already declared a Historical Monument. The landscape, which the curious visitor finds in the Salted Valley Añana, creates the sensation of walking through a village in which all its constructions are made of zoquin, salt crust.

The Eras of the Salted Valley of Añana

Curiosities of the Salted Valley of Añana

 

The waters of the Salt Valley have their specific flora and fauna, as they have to live in a saline environment. There are species that can live with salt, Halophytes, like some of the plants that exist here, and others that need it for their subsistence, Holobiontes. The Artemias can be seen in the water wells of the Valley, they are Holobiontes, it is a species that is more than 300 million years old and they reproduce by eggs that the female generates by herself, depositing them in the water where she lives and hatching in the months of heat. When the water cools these microscopic bugs, which at most reach one centimeter in size, they die. The eggs only hatch if the temperature and the saline concentration of the water is beneficial for them, and can remain in the form of an egg for up to ten years. It should be noted that the sea water on average are obtained 25 grams of salt per liter and here are 250 grams that are taken from a liter. The Salted Valley of Añana is of Cultural Interest and is included in the list of wetlands of international importance of the Ramsar Convention.

 

Useful information for visiting the Salted Valley of Añana

 

  • The Salted Valley of Añana Visitors Centre is located at Calle Real, 32. Salinas de Añana / Gesaltza Añana.
  • The information telephone number for timetables and different modes of visit is 945 351 111.
  • It is advisable to book the visit and be at the Visitors Centre, where tickets are collected, 15 minutes before the reserved time.
  • To make the visit, it is a good idea to wear comfortable footwear in summer, protection against the sun and water to hydrate and in winter in addition to comfortable footwear, protection against water and cold, because we must not forget that the route is to the air.
  • Except for the visit adapted for chairs, babies should go in arms or backpacks..
  • Pets are not allowed except guide dogs.

The spring water reaches the threshing floors following a peculiar system of channelling in the Salted Valley of Añana.

The Legend

 

Legend has it that many years ago a cow was grazing in the place and noticed that the land was salty. He began to dig with his foot until the source of Santa Engracia sprang up. 

 

 

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Get to Salinas de Añana

 

The A-2622 crosses the town coming from the N-I, reaching it after passing through Pobes and Subijana, the detour for this road is at the height of Nanclares de Oca. We can also connect with the A-2622 in Pobes following the A-3322 from La Puebla de Arganzón or the A-3310 in Manzanos, both accesses also located on the N-I. By the A-2622 but in opposite direction we will arrive coming from the A-2625, more concretely from the locality of Espejo where we will find the detour towards the Salinas de Añana. The town also has a bus service that connects it with Vitoria.

 

Once there

 

The  Salted Valley of Añana visitor reception centre can be found at the entrance to the locality as we arrive from Pobes. If on the contrary we do it from Espejo we will have to cross the population to arrive to him. In the proximities of the center we will find the enabled zones to be able to park our vehicle.

 

 

 


SENDITUR is not responsible for any variation in the information described, as well as for the misuse of its guides and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to .

 Salted Valley of Añana
Eras and warehouses
Salt crust surrounding the carcasses
saline
Salt as the main protagonist
Filling system for the threshing floors
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List of Routes
  • Closeness
  • First name
  • Difficulty
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Assessment
FLORA AND FAUNA IN FAMILY NATURAL HERITAGE
2
Difficulty-Low

1:50 h.6.7 km.

Jump of the Nervión
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little slope and without difficulties.
IN FAMILY NATURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Adapted

0:20 h.0.9 km.

Waterfall of Gujuli or Goiuri
Difficulty-AdaptedGreen difficulty category, level 1. Itineraries conditioned and prepared for the use and enjoyment of people with reduced mobility.
MOUNTAIN CULTURAL HERITAGE NATURAL HERITAGE
2
Difficulty-Moderate

3:10 h.10.4 km.

Gorge of the Purón River
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding courses, either because they are longer, more uneven or have a specific difficulty.
FLORA AND FAUNA PATHS
0
Difficulty-Medium

2:50 h.10.6 km.

Path Portilla
Difficulty-MediumCategory of difficulty green, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and level difference, not overcoming even large distances or slopes.
PATHS IN FAMILY NATURAL HERITAGE
2
Difficulty-Medium

2:45 h.8.8 km.

Route of the Water of Berganzo
Difficulty-MediumCategory of difficulty green, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and level difference, not overcoming even large distances or slopes.
TOURISM
0
Difficulty-Low

72:00 h.340 km.

Route of the charming villages of Álava
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little slope and no difficulties.
0
Difficulty-Medium

5:50 h.24.3 km.

Stage Briñas-Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Difficulty-MediumGreen difficulty category, level 3. Stages of moderate distance and unevenness, not overcoming either great distances or unevenness.
IN FAMILY CULTURAL HERITAGE NATURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Low

0:30 h.1.5 km.

Walk of the Molinar
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little slope and without difficulties.
MOUNTAIN CULTURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Moderate

3:10 h.9 km.

Ascent to Toloño from San Ginés
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding routes, either because they are longer, with greater slope or present some specific difficulty.
PATHS CULTURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Moderate

3:35 h.13.8 km.

Green Route of the Oja Tirón
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding courses, either because they are longer, more uneven or have a specific difficulty.
PATHS
0
Difficulty-Moderate

6:45 h.23 km.

GR 38 Route of the wine and of the fish Section 3 Albaina-Estíbaliz
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding routes, either because they are longer, with greater slope or present some specific difficulty.
MOUNTAIN
1
Difficulty-Medium

3:15 h.12.2 km.

Gorbeia from Pagomakurre
Difficulty-MediumCategory of difficulty green, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and slope, not exceeding even great distances or slopes.
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Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio
Haro, La Rioja
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Gorbea Natural Park
Areatza, Vizcaya - Bizkaia
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Las Gobas Archaeological Site
Laño, Burgos
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San Vicente de la Sonsierra, La Rioja
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Briones, La Rioja
Wine Culture Museum

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Sanctuary of Our Lady of Estíbaliz
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Artziniega, Álava - Araba
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Village of La Hoya
Laguardia, Álava - Araba
Village of La Hoya

Traveling to pre-Roman protohistory

Sanctuary of Urkiola
Abadiño/Zelaieta, Vizcaya - Bizkaia
Sanctuary of Urkiola

Sanctuary of the Santos Antonios, one of the oldest and most venerated in Vizcaya

The Salt Flats of Poza de la Sal
Poza de la Sal, Burgos
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