Hikers and nature lovers alike feel an affinity for our territory and rightly so.
The Green Route Network of Álava offers those who walk and cycle for fun and tourism an excellent means of enjoying and discovering the natural heritage, landscapes and biodiversity of our various municipalities and regions.
This network currently consists of 978 kilometres of restored pathways suitable for walking and cycling, and to which an additional 200 kilometres will be added in the not so distant future. These are signposted routes that provide direct contact with the natural and rural environment of Álava, as well as the opportunity to enjoy its rich landscapes and natural and cultural assets.
And these pathways visit different regions and villages, and pass through protected natural spaces. This is hardly surprising, considering that 68% of the surface of Álava is under some type of protection scheme (Natura 2000 Network, Natural Parks, Protected Biotopes, Ramsar Wetlands, Outstanding and Unique Landscapes, and Wildlife Corridors).
Some of these routes are notable for their uniqueness, for example Vasco-Navarro Greenway. The Vasco-Navarro railway ran from 1889 up until 1967, nowadays a stretch has been converted for the enjoyment of ramblers and hikers, starting in Alto Deba (Guipúzcoa), crossing through Álava and ending in Estella (Navarre).
The converted section is 85 kilometres long and links the mountain pass of Arlaban, on the border between Gipuzkoa and Álava, with Vitoria-Gasteiz, finishing in Murieta (Navarra). The Vasco-Navarro Greenway Interpretation Centre, in the village of Antoñana, provides information about the different stages of the route and offers a bicycle rental service.
Nature, culture, history and religious devotion are mixed along the stretch though Álava with Saint James’s Way and the Ignatian Way.
The inland Basque section of St. James’s Way crosses the Aizkorri-Aratz mountains from Gipuzkoa via the San Adrián tunnel going down in through Álava on its journey from the French Way. The Ignatian Way recreates the route travelled by Ignacio de Loyola in 1522 from his home in Loyola to the Cova de Manresa, a route that crosses the most eastern lands of Álava.
History and culture are also very present on the GR 38 “Route of Wine and Fish” long-distance footpath. Not by chance does it bear this name, as its roads have been travelled by muleteers for centuries, taking fine Rioja Alavesa wine to the north and returning with fish in brine from the ports of Bizkaia.
The Route of Wine and Fish Interpretation Centre, in the village of Lagrán, includes projections and informative panels allowing the visitor to learn more about the history of a path that crosses spectacular places such as the Toloño Mountain Range, the gorge of the Ajuda River, the high mountains of Vitoria and the Ullíbarri-Gamboa reservoir.
The Camino Real de las Postas is another interesting option. The route was used during the 15th to 17th centuries by the mail service for post to France: it starts in Zalduondo and provides an opportunity to admire the hermitage of San Martin de Ania, discover the small hamlets of Galarreta or Luzuriaga and see features that bear witness to their past, such as the cross of Berokia or the bridge of Zubibarri.
Whoever travels this route will enjoy the natural wealth of an environment marked by the Aldaia mountains and the ends of the Ullíbarri Gamboa reservoir.
Full information about the Green Route Network of Álava can be found at this link.