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The valley of Karrantza, the largest municipality in Biscay, covers an area of 137 square kilometres (85 square miles) divided into 16 parishes – although no more than 3 000 neighbours live in town, amid the grandeur of nature.
Nature is indeed the greatest treasure Karrantza has to offer. El Suceso Hill gives the observer a captivating view of the surrounding mountains and life down in the valley. This is perhaps one of the best-loved spots in town, presided over by a monument devoted to la Virgen del Buen Suceso, or the Virgin of the Good Happening. A shrine and a bull ring can be seen from the lookout as well, a typical oddity of this western part of the region tracing back to the amateur bullfights that used to be held after mass in the summer months.
There are many trails and routes for the sightseer to walk around every corner of the town. Armañón Natural Park is home to a variety of tree species that compose a bucolic landscape of limestone caves with over 200 chasms. Pozalagua Cave enjoys an extraordinary setting within the park and boasts some very eccentric stalactites. Close to it the visitor will find Del Carlista Sinkhole, maybe the biggest in Europe, access to which is restricted to professional speleologists only – a fact that conveys a sense of its vastness and dangers.
Armañón Natural Park houses an interpretation centre that will allow for a better understanding of the region and the adjoining Ordunte Mountains’ wildlife. Anyone willing to go in-depth into local wildlife should not miss a visit to Karpin Abentura, a refuge for feral and injured animals that seeks to raise awareness about cruelty to animals.
The nearby San Andrés de Biáñez Church, now turned into a museum, hosts a great collection of Renaissance paintings found by chance, along with some Masonic symbols. Plenty of routes stemming from Concha district – Karrantza’s administrative centre – will take the stroller throughout the municipality.
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What to see
- Pozalagua caves
- Karpin Abentura
- San Andrés de Biañez paintings
- Indiano mansions
- Armañón Natural Park
- Mendi Alai Rural house
- Gailurretan Holiday Cottage
- Aingeru Holiday Cottage
- Vicente Pallotti House – El Molinar Thermal Baths
Where to eat