"Tour the Province of Alava" Basque Country Things to Do Tip by DanielF

Basque Country Things to Do: 21 reviews and 26 photos


Alava, even if small by Spanish standards, is the largest of the three Basque Provinces, similar in size to the State of Rhode Island. It is, however, the least populated of them, with less than half the population of Gipuzkoa. In addition, most of the population lives in the capital, Vitoria, which also happens to be the administrative capital of the entire Basque Country.

In spite of its small size, Alava is a very diverse territory, although it is the only Basque province which does not have a sea coast. The Mediterranean influence is clearly palpable, with a much more arid climate than the Northern areas. It is, in truth, a transition territory between Castile and Navarre, between the Atlantic and the Spanish Central Plateau.

The Northern regions are very similar to the neighbouring provinces, mountainous and wet. In the capital and the flat central and southern regions, where the Basque language has not been spoken for centuries, the Castilian influence is much stronger than in the rest of the country. The south border is marked by the river Ebro, which flows through the famous wine growing region of Rioja (North of the river belonging to Alava and south of the river a different Autonomous Community).

Historically, Alava has been a County and then a Lordship closely linked to the Kingdom of Navarre, until it was annexed by Castile in the XIV century, together with Gipuzkoa and the Duranguesado region.

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  • Updated Jun 23, 2008
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