Larreineta Funicular, in the Arboleda, the old mining area of Bizkaia
Up into the heart of the mines.
Less than a century ago, the Larreineta Funicular was opened, reducing a journey that used to take over an hour to just 10 minutes. Today, the mines are lakes, and the area is a vast park. Explore the old mining heritage, ride the horizontal cable car, and enjoy breathtaking views.
Inaugurated just under a century ago, the Larreineta Funicular Railway bridges in 10 minutes a difference in altitude that used to take more than an hour to complete. The upper station overlooked the mining village of La Arboleda and the iron mining operations themselves.
Today, the mines are lakes and the area is a huge park. But you can still hear the throbbing of the galleries, the wagons and the picks.
The La Arboleda Funicular still links Trapagaran with La Arboleda on its 1.2 kilometre-long track every 20 minutes or so.
t no longer carries sleepy miners, tools, ore or food. Now the carriage is occupied horizontally by people who want to walk around the unique area, do sport, visit the interpretation centres or enjoy the landscapes, the views over the Abra bay, the valleys or the city of Bilbao itself.
The Larreineta Funicular runs on an inclined plane with a continuous cable car, like those used to transport iron ore. The electric traction system was built in Switzerland in 1926 by Brown Boveri and is installed at Larreineta station.
ust over a kilometre from the top stop of the funicular lies the old mining village of La Arboleda, which has numerous restaurants where you can experience the gastronomy of the area; in particular, one of the autumn and winter delicacies, the cocido de alubias (bean stew). And 500 metres further on, the Peñas Negras Interpretation Centre.
During the walk along the signposted paths, you can see the old mines, nowadays occupied by lagoons such as El Negro and Ostion.
Ekoetxea Meatzaldea is not far away. This is an environmental information and awareness centre. The content of this expositive space revolves around iron ore as an environmental resource, the history of the mining basin of Bizkaia, its population centres, fauna, flora, etc. It has an exhibition of restored pieces from old mining operations.
The Larreineta Funicular in Trapagaran, very close to Bilbao, offers a complete experience of an activity and a way of life that has already disappeared, without which Bilbao and Bizkaia are impossible to understand. It is also a great example of the extraordinary recovery of an industrial and mining landscape.
Make sure you don’t miss it. And enjoy the day with a good bowl of beans and a good glass of wine.
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