Eibar: City in the Valley
This charming city sits on the border of Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia (Biscay). Eibar, sprawls along a thin valley with the Ego River flowing through it. The city centre is not very large and you can enjoy a day wandering the kaleas (streets), and taking in the many parks Eiber provides.
Eibar is located in the county of Debabarrena and has a population of roughly 27 thousand. Located in the Deva River basin, Eibar is flanked by mountains on both sides. Once a city known for its weapon's manufacturing and being nicknamed "Gun City" (Villa Armera), it is now a city with an abundance of culture and innovation.
Eibar is roughly 55km from Donostia (San Sebastian) and can be reached by car in about 45 minutes on the AP-8. The AP-8 does have tolls however. In fact any highway that is AP stands for Auto-Pista and means it has a toll. If it only has an "A" then it is an Autovia and does not have a toll.
If you want to avoid paying a toll the journey is roughly 80km and will take you about 75 minutes. The toll for this trip is less than ten Euros so, depending on how much time you want to spend on the road, paying the toll might be worth it.
The other option is to take the Euskotren to Eibar. The cost of a general admittance ticket from San Sebastian is 5.10 Euros per person each way. The train will take about 90 minutes. The best feature when taking the train is that you can just sit back and enjoy the views. The Eukotren permits bikes and pets, with some restrictions.
Escalators and Elevators
There are very few streets in Eibar that are flat. There are the two main streets Isasi Kalea and Barria Kalea that go through the relatively flat downtown. The rest of the city's streets go up and down the sides of the valley.
To deal with this, Eibar has installed plenty of outdoor elevators and escalators. So if you are not interested in hiking, not to worry, there are other options. Not only has Eibar made it easy to navigate the hillsides, it is generally faster as well.
The city center is a plaza called Untzaga Plaza. It is an open concrete park with restaurants on multiple sides. This plaza often has people socializing and tourists taking photos in front of the City Hall.
The City Hall is a large imperial building that dominates the far side of the square. Though large, its red and yellow colouring make it warm and welcoming. The Ego River was diverted underneath it and can no longer be seen in this part of town. This concrete structure was opened in 1901 and has been in operation ever since.
Across the street from the City Hall there is a continuation of the plaza with a large area for people to sit and relax. To the right of this sitting area is an escalator that takes you up to another plaza and a children's playground called Parque Txaltxa Zelai.
Eibar is full of small parks and playgrounds. One of the nicest playgrounds can be found next to the San Andres Catholic Church. It has a play structure for the kids and the architecture of the church goes back to the 16th century. It is of the Gothic style but does have some other architectural elements as well.
When wandering the streets of Eibar you will see many different parks that are tucked between apartment buildings. These parks all have slightly different elements to them but are all welcoming and have many places to sit and relax.
SD Eibar is the city's Soccer team. The team's colors are blue and carmine (a deep red with a slight purple tinge). They are a team that is often punching above its weight class. SD Eibar is considered to have one of the smallest soccer clubs to ever play in La Liga (the top soccer league in Spain). This team is beloved by the city and when you walk around town it is evident. It is very common to see SD Eibar flags hanging from balconies or windows.
Originally built in 1947, Ipurua Futbol Zelaia stadium has experienced several renovations, with the last one being in 2019. The silver metallic exterior has an industrial look to it. Having a capacity of just over eight thousand, you can walk around the stadium to ponder its design in less than ten minutes. The Ipurua is one of the smallest stadiums in the highest levels of the Spanish soccer pyramid.
Eibar is a wonderful city that is worth spending a day to explore. Take some time to enjoy the parks and eat at one of the restaurants near the Untzaga Plaza. If it is soccer season maybe even take in a La Liga game with SD Eibar. This unique city hidden within a small Basque valley is definitely worth experiencing.
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