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Did you know that... Areatza

It is a municipality of Vizcaya-Bizkaia, located in the valley of Arratia and under the protection of the charismatic mountain Gorbeia. Areatza, its name derives from the uninhabited Arenaza, a sandy place, where the Lord of Vizcaya, Juan Núñez de Lara, in the year 1338 founded it giving it the name of Villa de Haro in honour of his wife María Díaz de Haro.


A little more history

Villaro was born with the aim of consolidating and giving impulse to the new commercial route that linked the Biscayan ports, crossing the port of Barazar, with the lands of Alava. The town centre of this walled town had just two streets, Bekokalea and Goikokalea and a bridge over the River Arratia. In the 16th century Areatza saw its urban nucleus expand, to the south of its wall and along the road that led to Vitoria, with a group of houses that made up what is now Errukiñe Street. However, the town continued to be a small town of craftsmen and merchants.

Aska Fountain in Areatza

What to see in Areatza?

When we walk through the town centre, declared a Cultural Asset in the category of Monumental Ensemble, of the medieval town of Areatza, we can appreciate the singular houses that preserve the Basque construction typism. The Tower of Ugunaga or Huegonaga from the 16th century over a late medieval tower and reformed in the 18th century. Gorordo's house, dated 1675 and built by Juan Abad de Axpe, according to an inscription on the façade. The Mudejar House, dating from 1525, is the only one of its kind in Vizcaya. The Gothic House, built in 1490, one of the first constructions in the town. Or the Baroque Houses, palaces from the 17th century. The convent of Santa Isabel, originally built within the wall and whose building of the year 1643 only part of the façade is preserved. The Gortázar or Riscal palace, from the 15th century and built on top of an old palatial tower. The Town Hall, a building that was designed in 1862 to be municipal schools. The parish church of San Bartolomé from the mid-14th century. The fountain of the Aska, known as the fountain of the artichoke for the ornament that tops the column, was built in the nineteenth century and had double use, public fountain and watering place for livestock, aska. They are some of the constructions that we can admire in our peaceful walk through the narrow streets of Areatza.

Parish Church of San Bartolomé in Areatza

To discover

Bilaro and officially Areatza, at the foot of the Gorbeia, is a good starting point for our hiking and mountaineering activities. The Gorbeia Natural Park offers us the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful area with an incalculable landscape, cultural and natural value. In Areatza we can approach the Parketxea located in Gudairen Plaza, 1 with the telephone number 946 739 279. In this Interpretation Centre of the Natural Park of Gorbeia, corresponding to the Territory of Bizkaia, and from 10 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 6 pm we will extend our knowledge at the same time as our interest and curiosity for this emblematic and mythical place as the Natural Park of Gorbeia.

Palace of Gortazar or of Riscal in Areatza


Areatza celebrates its patron saint festivities in honour of San Bartolomé on 24 August. The festivities of Karpo, the Areatza neighbourhood, and Santa Cruz are celebrated on the first weekend in May.


It is a tradition that on July 31st the feast of San Ignacio is climbed to Mount Gorbea to celebrate this feast. One climbs to the top, one hears mass in Pagomakurre in the hermitage dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Paz or in another hermitage located in Egiriña and also for this date it is allowed to camp in Pagomakurre. Permission that many, especially the youngest, take the opportunity to enjoy a few days in this spectacular environment.


The town of Areatza has two traditional names, with different origins, one romance and the other Basque, and both have been used in both languages. The name Villaro, Bilaro in Basque, is a contraction of "Villa de Haro". This was the official name of the municipality until 1980. One of the existing names for the inhabitants of the village is billiards. On the other hand there is another historical-popular name for the town, which was not official until 1980. Arenaza-Areatza. Known as Arenaza-Areatza because it was founded in an unpopulated area that was previously known as Arenaza. For that reason the population ended up being known also under this name. In euskera Areatza for which its gentilicio is the one of areatzarra. In 1979 the town council decided to change its official name from Villaro to Areatza. This new official denomination was adopted on February 11, 1980.

Convent of Santa Isabel in Areatza

The Legend

The Arratia tramway. At the beginning of the 20th century, numerous tram lines ran through the territory, linking the centre of Bilbao with peripheral neighbourhoods and towns. Of all these, the most famous tram was the Arratia Tram, which left from the Arriaga Theatre Square in Bilbao and headed for Lemona. From here it forked to Durango on one side and to Zeanuri on the other. They circulated during many years without suffering hardly modifications or improvements of importance. After the Civil War it began to fall little by little into disuse and a gradual suppression of sections of the lines began until in 1964 the last section between the station of the Basque Railways in Lemoa and Zeanuri was suppressed. There was no trace of their beautiful trams when they were scrapped shortly after their retirement.


Ico_senderosIco rutas flora y faunaIco rutas senderismo con niños en familia



Ico rutas patrimonio culturalIco rutas turismoIco rutas patrimonio natural



Ico monumentoIco lugar de interés turísticoIco pueblo con encanto


Get to Areatza by car

The N 240 that links Bilbao-Bilbo and Vitoria-Gasteiz takes us to Areatza.

By bus

Areatza has a bus stop of different lines and services, daily and at different times cover the route Bilbao - Lemoa - Zeanuri.

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 .

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List of Routes
  • Closeness
  • First name
  • Difficulty
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Assessment

3:25 h.9.4 km.

Circular Route through the Itxina Massif
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding routes, either because they are longer, with greater slope or present some specific difficulty.

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.

0:35 h.2.2 km.

Wetland of Saldropo
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little unevenness and without difficulties.
Gorbea Natural Park
Areatza, Vizcaya - Bizkaia
Gorbea Natural Park

The largest Natural Park in the País Vasco

Otzarreta Beech Forest
Zeanuri, Vizcaya - Bizkaia
Otzarreta Beech Forest
Sanctuary of Urkiola
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Sanctuary of Urkiola

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

Necropolis of Argiñeta
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Necropolis of Argiñeta

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Sanctuary of Loyola
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Tower-Palace of the Varona family

According to historians, Alava's best-preserved fortified complex

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