Aizarnazabal is a town in the region located closer to the sea. It is bordered to the north by Zumaia, to the southeast by Zestoa and to the east by Aia. This small village of 800 inhabitants is located about 29 kilometres from Donostia. Aizarnazabal has gone from being a rural town to one having a very strong industrial network. Even so, it is surrounded by a stunning landscape and it has managed to maintain its personality for centuries in its history. In terms of its cultural heritage, its bridges stand out, above all, the only Old Bridge with six arches in Gipuzkoa. Moreover, it has a great historical importance, as in the olden days it served as a nexus between the country houses of Aizarnazabal and Zestoa. The San Miguel church, Etxabe Palace and Etxabe Goikoa country house are other buildings which are well worth a visit.
Towns and neighbourhoods
Azkoitia is a town which is nestled in the Izarraitz mountain range. It was founded in 1324 under the name San Martin de Iraurgi. It currently has 11,000 inhabitants.
The municipality has an important monumental site in its historical centre which in 2005 was declared as a Cultural Heritage site by the Basque Government. This site is comprises of among others Intsausti and Floreaga palaces, tower-houses of Idiakez, Etxe Beltza, Balda and the parish church of Santa Maria la Real. The latter houses the last romantic organ made by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1898.
Azpeitia is located in the foothills of the Izarraitz range. It has 14,000 inhabitants and it is one of the biggest municipalities of Gipuzkoa (69.2 km2). The town was founded by Fernando IV of Castile in 1310 under the name Garmendia de Iraurgi. The village is well known for the Shrine of Loyola as the birthplace of San Ignacio and the basilica erected in the neighbourhood of Loiola are visited by thousands of people every year.
With an elevation of 485 meters, it is the highest-lying municipality of the region. Its 175 inhabitants live surrounded by forests and mountains. It borders with Beasain, Albistur, Bidegoian, Errezil and Azpeitia. Nuarbe is the most important neighbourhood and is known to be the geographical centre of the province.
A mountainous municipality located in the valley of the river from which town draws its name placed in the lap of the Hernio massif (1075 m). It borders with Zestoa, Aia, Asteasu, Larraul, Bidegoian, Albiztur, Beizama and Azpeitia and also has a small enclave to the south, in the neighbourhood of Santa Marina. It has a population of more than 600 people spread between the urban town and the neighbourhoods of Santa Marina, Arzallus, Erdoizta, Ezama, Ibarbia, Letea and Argisain. The first written records date back to 1027, although the earliest reference of the presence of settlers in the territory can be traced back to the Upper Palaeolithic period.
The town of Zestoa was founded in the last years of the 14th-century under the Izarraitz massif, just a few kilometres from Azpeitia and Zumaia. It is a village with a long spring water tradition from the time its famous spa was founded in 1804. The Zestoa Wellness Resort and Spa is a pioneer of spa tourism in Gipuzkoa and currently it is the only one in use in the Basque Autonomous Community.
Located in the bay at the confluence of the Urola and Narrondo rivers, Zumaia has a population of 9,400 inhabitants. In its Old Quarter filled with history one can see interesting buildings such as the Parish Church of San Pedro, Zumaia and Ubillos palaces, Olazabal and Goikotorre houses. Zumaia has several neighbourhoods of which San Miguel de Artadi and Oikia are worth to see.