Route 7: Enkarterri: Viticulture and cultural tradition

Today we will dive into the fascinating world of txakoli in Enkarterri. This administrative region is a true gem for txakoli wine production, competing with the most famous coastal areas such as Bakio.

In its golden age during the 18th-19th centuries, around 90,000 pitchers of txakoli were grown in this region, equal to a staggering 1,400,000 litres! This stands as a clear example of a passion for txakoli in Zalla dating back to the Middle Ages, where more than thirty wine producers dedicate themselves whole-heartedly to growing this viticultural gem. However, this region is also home to many other treasures besides txakoli. This route through the Encartaciones will help you discover the wine-making tradition, in addition to this region’s rich cultural and historical legacy.

Route map

Route 7: Enkarterri: Viticulture and cultural tradition

Today we will dive into the fascinating world of txakoli in Enkarterri. This administrative region is a true gem for txakoli wine production, competing with the most famous coastal areas such as Bakio.

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Stages of the route

  • Stage 1 Loizaga Tower

    The route begins with a visit to Loizaga Tower in a spectacular location surrounding by beautiful vineyards.
    The tower is an impressive medieval fortress that hides very special treasures: a magnificent collection of antique and classic cars. Most surprising is the most complete Rolls-Royce collection in all of Europe, with all models produced between 1910 and 1990.
    If you’re a motorhead, you can’t miss it.

  • Stage 2 Visit to a Txakoli winery (Multiple options to choose from)

    Nearby there is a bodega that produces a txakoli bearing the tower’s name, Bodegas Galdames. This is one of the bodegas you can visit today, and makes for perfect stop after visiting the Loizaga Tower. You can take a guided tour and enjoy a tasting of various wines with an aperitif. They often offer meals as well, so we recommend you visit their website to browse their options. More info:

    Another bodega option if travelling in a large group is Bodegas Virgen de Lorea in Zalla. This history-rich bodega dates back to the late 17th century, and is located in an indiano house among breathtaking surroundings, with the Basque Country’s largest txakoli vineyard. More info:

  • Stage 3 Balmaseda - lunch

    After tasting txakoli flavours, head towards Balmaseda for a delicious lunch.

    Balmaseda also has a deep-rooted txakolinera tradition. In the 15th century, nearly 50% of its cultivated land was vineyards.

    We recommend you try the most noteworthy dish of the local gastronomy: the "Putxeras". This satisfying, traditional stew made from beans, bacon, blood sausage, and chorizo dates back to the 19th century, when Bilbao-La Robla railway engine drivers cooked it in a metal pot using the heat of the train’s coal furnace. There is a decades-old, popular Putxeras competition that is held on 23 October.

  • Stage 4 Balmaseda - Historic Quarter

    After lunch, take a moment to explore Balmaseda. This was the first town in Bizkaia.

    Stroll through the historic district of this charming medieval town, which was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. While exploring its streets, marvel at the town’s beautiful churches, palazzos, the Santa Clara Convent, and the emblematic Old Bridge.

    Balmaseda celebrates numerous traditions and festivities that reflect its rich historical and cultural legacy, including the lively medieval market, the striking Living Passion at Easter, and festivities in honour of San Severino.

    If you want to dive even deeper into Balmaseda’s medieval atmosphere, we recommend you try out a virtual reality experience. This fascinating experience will take you back in time to see what the city was like in the past. You can check this out by downloading the App, or add to the experience by a reserving a virtual reality headset from the Tourism Office. More info:

  • Stage 5 La Encartada Fabrika-Museoa

    While in Balmaseda, don’t miss a visit to La Encartada Fabrika-Museoa at less than 2 km from the Historic District. This is an old textile factory from the 19th century that produced different wool products for a century, with its best-selling product being the traditional Basque beret.

    Today, the factory serves as an interesting Museum where you can travel back to the early days of Basque Country industrialisation during your visit.

    In addition to the traditional Basque berets, called boinas, the factory owners were also known to produce txakoli. A testament to this is the old press found in the area.

  • Stage 6 Indianos’ house in Gueñes

    To close out the route, we suggest discovering the civil architecture of the local emigrants known as Indianos.

    The mansions of these emigrants are found throughout the entire region, but on this occasion we suggest visiting the house in Güeñes, quite close to Balmaseda.

    These impressive residencies are a living testament to the history and influence of the local Indianos, which were emigrants from Bizkaia that returned to their homeland after having made their fortunes in the Americas, leaving behind a unique architectural legacy in the region.

    Their colourful façades, ornamental details, and beautiful gardens will transport you to another era and let you appreciate the opulence and taste for luxury that was typical of these wealthy emigrants.


Head to Gordexola and Karrantza if you would like to see more Indiano homes.

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Curiosity: ¿Sabes qué es lo que hace que los txakolis de esta comarca sean tan especiales? Su ubicación en el interior de Bizkaia. Esta situación les otorga características climáticas únicas, lo que se traduce en vinos más estructurados y de una calidad excepcional.