The second trip that I went on this semester was to go see the Salto del Nervion and the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Both are staple sites of the Basque Country. We (I went with a group) left Bilbao and traveled for about and hour and a half from Bizkaia to Castilla y Leon.
When we parked, I had pretty low expectations, even though I had been told about the beauty of the area. There was just a small parking lot in a clearing with a public bathrooms and a trail that led to our destination. We walked the trail for a few kilometers and then we reached what we were looking for.
Salto del Nervion is the largest waterfall in the Iberian Peninsula, dropping 222 meters into a canyon. With a group as large as ours, we weren’t able to go to the waterfall itself, but the canyon, reminiscent of the Grand Canyon just with more greenery, was absolutely breathtaking.
(Sidenote: I apologize for the lack of personal photos from here on out, but the file used by my phone’s camera isn’t accepted by WordPress; check out my Instagram @kinggeorge199 for photos taken by me)
From the beautiful landscape, we go to to one of the biggest cities in Bizkaia. Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of both the autonomous community of the Basque Country and the province of Alaves. The choice of capital is interesting for the Basque Country for two main reasons.
When it comes to overall size, Bilbao is the biggest city in the Basque Country, not including the municipality. Bilbao is also a world-recognized city in terms of architecture, culture, and business. Furthermore, historically, Vitoria-Gasteiz hasn’t been the lawmaking center of the Basque Country; that title goes to Gernika. Truth be told, even after some extra research, I’m not sure why the Basque Parliament chose Vitoria-Gasteiz. Nevertheless, the city is gorgeous.
Marked by both old and new, Vitoria-Gasteiz is a city that spans centuries. There you can see sights as old as the Middle Ages or as new as the 2000’s. Some of my favorite sights were the extensive, elaborate murals that polka-dotted the city.
These two areas of the Basque Country are some of my favorites, both teeming with an aura of natural beauty, cultivated by years of preservation and growth. As with all of my travels, I would highly recommend going if given the chance.