Route 12: Circular route via Gandia and the Plentzia estuary, with two variants, going up to Andraka and returning to Gorliz via Orbeta Bidea

Route 12

Route published by Pedro Pablo Uriarte ”24 circular walking routes around Gorliz”

See the route map on Wikiloc


Duration of the longer route: 2 hours 15 minutes
Distance: 11.76 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 294 m
Difficulty: Low

This is a relatively short and very easy route, as there are no physically demanding sections. The first part is almost the same as the final stretch on Route 5 from Andraka to Gorliz. Nevertheless, we are going to describe it, this time as part of an outward route.

Leave Gorliz at the roundabout by the little boat and go down the Andra Mari Bidea cycle path, passing the cemetery, the old abattoir and the Sagastikoetxe industrial estate. Go up to the next roundabout and continue along Mungia Bidea, walking down Kautela Aldapa to the roundabout at the entrance to Plentzia. We are in the Gandia neighbourhood, which is largely part of the municipality of Gorliz.

At this roundabout, turn left and continue along Gandia Bidea for at least 10 minutes until you leave the neighbourhood past a stone fountain on the left as the road starts to climb. The road, called Mandaño Bidea, runs uphill between vegetable gardens, orchards, farmhouses and chalets. Go past some workshops and soon you will reach the top of this stretch of road, where it turns towards the Koala nurseries (33 min.). At the junction there are signs for the GR 280 Trail, which you will follow for a stretch.

As soon as we turn left at the top of the road, turn immediately right onto a gravel track that is flat at first, but then descends and enters the trees until it reaches the banks of the Plentzia estuary. This track is called Butroi Bidea, as it is the path that takes you along the Plentzia estuary to Butrón Castle, still following the GR Trail.

The path is now unmistakable, very beautiful, and flat and runs for a good stretch under the shade of the holm oaks. On the other side of the estuary, you can see some houses in the lower part of the Abanico de Plentzia residential estate. To your left you can often see, sometimes half-covered by the undergrowth, thick, eye-catching rubber tubes which are broken in some sections, the use of which is unknown.

You will come to a junction marked with a GR Trail sign showing the direction of Butrón Castle, 3.5 km away (53 min.).

Here you have two choices, which are the two variants of today’s route.

Choice 1: Turn left at the junction onto a path that will take you to Andraka along a shorter route, but which is a little harder, as it has a greater cumulative elevation gain over a shorter distance.

Choice 2: You can carry straight on towards Butrón castle, although you will soon turn off towards Andraka along another path. Let’s discuss the two alternatives.

Short variant of the ascent to Andraka

As we said, turn left at this junction. The section is a bit messy with undergrowth in some areas and the ground is quite rough, and it keeps going uphill, although there is plenty of shade.

When you get to the highest point, the path clears somewhat, and you turn left and immediately come out onto a road. Follow this road uphill for a while. The road passes through pastureland and past a few charming farmhouses just before reaching Andraka.

Once in Andraka, on your right you will see the square named after a former local trikitilari (Basque accordion player), Rufino Arrola, with a chapel, probadero (area for traditional Basque sports), and some huge stones for idi probak (pulling tests for oxen). This is where the two alternatives for today’s route come together. From here on there is only one route back to Gorliz.

Longer variant to Andraka

In reality, this variant is a bit longer more, but not much. This is simply an interesting alternative, a sort of detour that, if you’ve got a bit more time, will extend the excursion through some interesting landscapes.

As mentioned above, the route begins at the turn-off to Andraka from the Plentzia estuary, by the signpost. But this time you need to keep going forward as if you were heading for Butron Castle, although you won’t get that far.

To start with, there is a rocky slope that is a little bit rough. Soon the route goes through pine trees as if it were going into a tunnel, with a wire fence and a row of overgrown Lawson pines on your right, marking out the path.

The walk is sometimes in the shade of the pine forest and at other times on somewhat clearer ground. After about ten minutes, on a steep descent, very close to the junction where the track meets the track that leads to Butrón, you will come to a turn-off marked with GR 280 Trail signs (1 hour 3 min.). One of them shows Andraka (Atxutegi bidetik), 2 km. That is the path you want.

The wide path starts with a steep slope and then leads into the forest, where you walk for another ten minutes or so. It is a beautiful Cantabrian forest with a small stream burbling below to your right, particularly towards the end of this stretch. It is certainly a relaxing and enjoyable walk, which is enhanced by the birdsong, although it must also be said that there are some large puddles where you will need to sidle along the sides of the path.

The path leads to a very little-used dead-end road with a clearly visible sign that expressly forbids you to go down this road: “Terreno particular. Prohibido el paso” (Private land. No trespassing) So, turn left and go up the road through the peaceful shade of the forest and, once you have passed some farmhouses, you will come to the top of the Andraka neighbourhood, in an area with a housing development (1 hour 30 min.).

In the short variant, you reach Andraka via the probadero and the chapel, but this time you reach it from higher up. Go a hundred metres further down the road that leads to the houses, and you will reach the neighbourhood’s square-probadero, as we have already mentioned.

From here on there is only one route back to Gorliz. Cross the main Mungia-Gorliz road by the restaurant and on the other side, to the left of a house with a bench that stops vehicles from entering, you will see a street that links up with the road that goes from Andraka to Orabille. Take this road and continue to the left.

This quiet road, which climbs gently at first, runs between fields, and goes past the entrance to the Goikomendi Equestrian Centre and Riding School on your right. Carry on along the road until you reach its highest point, after which it starts to descend gently. On the right is the upper entrance to the Equestrian Centre. The road will now get a bit of shade from tall eucalyptus trees until it reaches the start of a fence that marks the boundary of the Larrakoetxea restaurant and country house a few minutes further along the road (1 hour 55 min.).

At this point I think it is worth mentioning that there is another way to return to Gorliz by a different and very interesting route. It is just a section of Route 14, as we will see in due course, but in reverse, this time going downhill instead of uphill. I will describe it, although you are going to take the route we planned from the beginning.

Once you enter the eucalyptus grove that provides shade for this stretch of road that is now descending slightly, more or less halfway down you will see a clearly visible path to your left that descends into the forest. It is easy to follow, and in about five or six minutes, still descending, you will come to a perpendicular track to the one you were on. Just cross it and you will see that almost opposite you there is another track that leads downhill. You need to take this path. The track immediately passes a farmhouse with a wire fence and a few barking dogs on your left. Keep on going and you will pass another wire fence that separates you from another chalet or farmhouse with some outhouses. Carry on down the track and you will see some cemented tracks for the few vehicles that pass this way. The track goes almost all the way down and becomes fully cemented. Keep going downhill and you will pass another chalet with some well-tended vines on the right hand side of the road.

When the track reaches its lowest point, it turns sharply to the right. You will then enter a wood with good sized trees and soon come to a clearing where there is a building on your right, already finished but apparently still uninhabited, where the path turns to the left. Follow this lane between well-maintained chalets and farmhouses until you reach the Saratxaga bar/restaurant, which has been closed for a couple of years now.

From Saratxaga, just cross the road and take the beautiful path in front of you, which will take you to the upper part of Ageo Bidea and then to Tribiñu Kalea. Turn right on this street and you will reach the roundabout with the small boat at the entrance to Gorliz. You are now at Plaza Ibarreta (Plaza Iberrebarri) and have completed the route.

But as I said, this is an interesting alternative to get back to Gorliz. You, however, will complete the route as planned. To do this, keep going along the Andraka-Orabille road. The road still has a bit of shade from the eucalyptus trees until it reaches the start of a fence that marks the boundary of the Larrakoetxea restaurant and country house a few minutes further along the road (1 hour 55 min.).

Shortly before you reach the fence, you will see a small path on the side of the road that goes off to your left and is soon hidden in the undergrowth. This is the path that you have walked up and down several times on some of the other routes, but, in this case, you will not go as far as Saratxaga. In other words, when the path makes a sharp turn to the left to head towards Saratxaga, you will carry on along a small path that, although very hemmed in by the undergrowth, will arrive at a house still under construction in just a few minutes.

From here, continue along the road. After going under some enormous holm oaks, you will pass the wall of the Alegría farmhouse on your right and start to descend steeply to Orbeta Bidea. There are chalets on both sides of the road, which eventually comes out at the top of Tribiñu Kalea. The final part of this route is the same as Route 4.

Just go towards Itsasbide Kalea on your right, the town’s main street, and then walk past the church and down to the area of the small square of San Pedro and Plaza Ibarreta (Plaza Iberrebarri), from where you set off about two and a quarter hours earlier (2 hours 15 min.).

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