A journey spanning millions of years – all in just 20 kilometres

Jun 22, 2021

Dinosaurs, the first humans, saints, trains, palaces... discover them all as you travel along the Urola river and valley. This is what’s on offer with the "5 Stops through History" programme. On this route, from Azpeitia to Zumaia, you’ll find five sights: the Sanctuary of Loyola and the Basque Railway Museum in Azpeitia, Ekainberri and Palacio Lili in Zestoa, and the Natural Resources Interpretation Centre in Zumaia. This makes "5 Stops through History" a great option for travelling through the whole valley, following the route of the River Urola and visiting five museums and attractions along the way.

Visiting these five stops or centres, all located within a radius of 20 kilometres, gives the public the opportunity to take a journey in a double sense; a geographical journey from Azpeitia to Zumaia on the one hand, and on the other a historical journey where you can understand and learn about different eras, characters and key moments first-hand .

These are the five stops:

  • Sanctuary of Loyola. In addition to the architectural and historical value of the Sanctuary of Loyola, you can discover the birthplace of Saint Ignatius and its natural surroundings. The parks of Xaguxatar and Izarraizko Atea are close by: with a labyrinth, a climbing area, water jets, trees and seats, they’re the perfect spot for little ones to play. They’ve got everything you need! Take your car or bicycle, and in the town of Azkoitia, just 4 kilometres away, you’ll find a multitude of sights and hidden corners to visit.
  • Basque Railway Museum. Beautiful and unusual, this museum offers an opportunity to journey through the history of railways in the Basque Country, as well as a chance to travel on an old steam train. It is also home to one of the best train collections in Europe. You can also make the most of the chance to visit the town square and centre of Azpeitia, or to go along the Urola cycle path.
  • Ekainberri. You’ll learn all about how early humans lived 14,000 years ago, with the opportunity to relive it in Ekainberri: making fire, hunting... Don’t miss the chance to discover the town square in Zestoa – it’s full of curiosities!
  • Palacio Lili. The palace, which is more than 500 years old, has a long history. Many characters have lived there, but you’ll get to know Andre Madalen, who will tell you his story as you visit the palace. Then you can stop in the Iraeta neighbourhood, which is a couple of kilometres away, and enjoy the ‘Pequeño Tren’ (Little Train).
  • Algorri. Discover the treasures of the Geopark at the Algorri Interpretation Centre, and visit nearby Itzurun Beach and the hermitage of San Telmo, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the flysch. What a plan! Moreover, if you lose yourself in the old quarter of Zumaia you will discover many special places, such as the fountain of San Juan.

This makes it a good option for families with children. And to make the plan even more appealing, we also have a surprise. At each of the stations you’ll find leaflets with riddles, games and activities for little ones. Those under 12 years only pay for entrance to the first museum; once they have obtained the first stamp, entry to the following museums is free.

And if that weren’t enough, you could also win a free weekend! How? When you participate in the 5 Stops through History initiative, take a selfie or family photo and send it to 5geltoki@urolaturismo.eus. You’ll be entered into a draw to win a weekend in the Urola Valley for the whole family!

Do you want to journey through millions of years? Hop on the train for an adventure through history!