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Álava (Basque: Araba and officially Álava-Araba) is a province of northern Spain in the southern part of the Basque Autonomous Community. It is bordered by the provinces of Burgos (W), La Rioja (S), Navarre (E), Gipuzkoa (NE) and Biscay (NW). The County of Treviño is an exclave of the province of Burgos (Castile and León) surrounded by Alavese land, although there is strong local support for Treviño's incorporation into Álava and the Basque Autonomous Community.


Demography and rural landscape

The province numbers 51 municipalities, a population of 315,5256 inhabitants in an area of 3,037 km2 (1,173 sq mi), with an average of 104,50 inhab/km².[1] The vast majority of the population clusters in the capital city of Álava Vitoria-Gasteiz (Vitoria is the Spanish name, Gasteiz the Basque name), which also serves as the capital of the Autonomous Community, but the remainder of the territory is sparsely inhabited with population nuclei distributed into seven counties (cuadrillas): Añana; Ayala; Campezo; Laguardia; Salvatierra; Vitoria-Gasteiz; Zuya.

Physical and human geography

Álava is an inland territory and features a largely transitional climate between the humid, Atlantic neighbouring northern provinces and the dry and warmer lands south of the Ebro River. According to the relief and landscape characteristics, the territory is divided into five main zones:

  • The Gorbea Foothills: Green hilly landscape.
  • The Valleys: Low valleys, drier, sparsely populated.
  • The Plains: Heartland of Álava comprising Vitoria and Salvatierra-Agurain, with a central urban area and crop landscape prevailing around and bounded south and north by the Basque Mountains.
  • The Alavese Mountains: Higher forest lands.
  • The Alavese Rioja: Oriented to the south on the left bank of the Ebro River, perfect for vineyards.
  • Ayala: The area clustering around the Nervión River, with Amurrio and Laudio as its major towns. The region shows close bonds with Bilbao and Biscaye and an industrial landscape.

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