Leitzaran Valley and Its Visitor Centre

Immerse yourself in a protected Gipuzkoa biotope by means of the Plazaola Greenway.

By Spanish Railways Foundation

Privileged environment at any time of the year (2016)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

The Leitzaran Valley is a privileged setting at any time of year. Travelling along the Plazaola Greenway, on foot or by bike, is the best way of discovering this almost virgin natural sanctuary that extends for 20 km between Navarre and Gipuzkoa.

Leitzaran Valley, Protected Biotope (2016)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

Leitzaran Valley

The protected biotope of the Leitzaran Valley encompasses the river and its surroundings, from Navarre to the Gipuzkoa municipality of Andoain. A singular space due to the quality of the Leitzaran River’s water, and its great variety of flora and fauna, as well as its rich cultural heritage.

The fauna of the river Leitzaran (2014-05-03)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

The river, which dominates the landscape, features rapids, weirs and meanders, in the shadow of a beech grove in a narrow, unpopulated valley, until it flows into the Oria River, at Andoain, Gipuzkoa.

The humid mountains of the Leitzaran (2016)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

There is a great difference in height from the bottom of the valley to the mountains enclosing it (Mandoegi, 1,043 m). The numerous streams flowing down the mountain slopes make the valley a well-watered space with a predominance of green all year round.

Winter in the Leitzaran (2016)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

Trout fishing is a regular activity in the basin of the Leitzaran River, in the area of the biotope. There are three fishing preserves, two for catch-and-release fishing and another for intensive fishing, located at the entrance to the valley in the municipality of Andoain.

Autumn in the Leitzaran (2016)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

Ninety per cent of the valley is covered by different types of tree species. The pine groves on the slopes, which are used for forestry purposes, gradually give way to plantations of leafy species such as beeches, oaks and chestnut trees. In autumn, the landscape features striking colours.

The riverside forests of the Leitzaran (2016)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

The surrounding vegetation mainly includes riverside forests made up of alder and ash groves, which contribute to the composition of habitats for species present in the valley. This makes this area one of the most virgin and best-preserved in all the Basque Country.

The river, protagonist of the landscape (2016)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

The surrounding area of this protected biotope is home to species such as the Pyrenean desman, the European mink, the Pyrenean newt or fish species such as common trout, eels and minnows. Bridges, aqueducts, canals and other constructions also form part of the Leitzaran landscape.

“Las Brujas” Bridge

Unanibia Bridge over the Leitzaran River, known as the “Puente de Las Brujas” (Bridge of the Witches), in the Otieta area, very close to the Plazaola Greenway and the Leitzaran Visitor Centre. Made of stone, it is 31 metres long and features 3 spans on rounded pillars.

Exterior of the Leitzaran Visitor Center 1 (2008-08-04)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

Visitor Centre

The entrance to Otieta Park is 2 km from Andoain. At this point, near the river, the road and Plazaola Greenway merge together. The park has been equipped as a leisure area and houses the Leitzaran Visitor Centre that caters to those who come here.

Logo of the Visitor Centre of Leitzaran (1987) by Eduardo ChillidaOriginal Source: Chillida-Leku Museum

One of the renowned artist Eduardo Chillida’s engravings, entitled "Leitzaran" (1987) and dedicated to the valley of the same name, was ceded by Andoain Town Council (2008) to be used as the Visitor Centre’s logotype and image.

Inside of the Letizaran Visitor Center (2016)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

The Visitor Centre, which is managed by Andoain Town Council, provides information and ecotourism services in order to explore Leitzaran Valley in an environmentally friendly way. Inside, interpretation panels, audio-visual presentations and models give visitors their first contact with the surroundings.

Exterior of the Leitzaran Visitor Center 2 (2020-08-11)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

The Visitor Centre is a simple, single-storey building that is accessible to everyone, including those with impaired mobility. It is made of wood and perfectly integrated into this sensitive and valuable nature site where it is located.

Leitzaran Visitor Centre

Know, Learn, Experiment, Feel, Have Fun, Fish, Discover, Relax, Walk… and Enjoy!

Exterior of the Leitzaran Visitor Center 3 (2020-08-11)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

The Visitor Centre also provides information, bike rental, guided services, transfer services, and different trekking options in the area. It organises a programme of activities, caters to school groups and hosts a fishing school.

Exterior of the Leitzaran Visitor Center 4 (2009-01-09)Original Source: Andoain Town Council

The Leitzaran Valley receives abundant snowfalls. The Visitor Centre is closed in winter, resuming its activity from April to November at weekends and on public holidays; in the summer, it is open every day in July and August.

Leitzaran Visitor Centre

Andoain stands out due to its valuable natural surroundings and cultural activities. It is located in the Leitzaran Valley, through which the Plazaola railway runs, at one of the ends of the greenway. Its town centre features San Martín de Tours Church. It can be accessed by train from Donostia/San Sebastián.

Credits: Story

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the TrailGazers project. It is funded by the Navarre Government’s Directorate General for Tourism, Commerce and Consumption, Nasuvinsa, Basquetour, Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and Plazaola Tourist Consortium. It forms part of the “Plazaola Digital” project, organised by the Spanish Railway Foundation (FFE). 

All pictures and videos have been provided by Andoain Town Council, except the video on Andoain, which belongs to the “Vive la Vía” (Live the Tracks) series (FFE). The 360o recordings form part of the “Plazaola Digital” project. 

We would also like to thank Xabier Cabezón for his inspiring website web www.leitzaran.net (CC-BY-NC-SA). 

More information: visitnavarra.es / turismo.euskadi.eus / plazaola.org / trailgazers.eu / viasverdes.com / navarra.viasverdes.com 

#VVPlazaolaDigital 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps