The inland Basque section of the St. James’s Way crosses the Aizkorri-Aratz mountains from Gipuzkoa via the San Adrián tunnel going down in through Álava and crossing it from north to south on its way from the French route.
Due to its safety the stretch through Álava was once an important communication route for pilgrims, travellers and merchants.
Consequently at the beginning of the 13th century it underwent a major boom that lasted until the 19th century, when its use finally began to flag. The route makes it possible to discover features and vestiges of its golden age, offering the opportunity to view the territory of Álava in a different way, full of contrasts and nuances, with long-standing communities of remarkable character.
Travelling along this route entails crossing mountains and settings full of history, rambling alongside megalithic monuments, discovering the jewels of Romanesque Álava, delighting in natural treasures and dreamlike landscapes, and strolling past centuries-old vineyards. Naturally, it is also possible to enjoy the renowned gastronomy, as well as sociocultural activities.
The route begins in the historic tunnel of San Adrián, which has been inhabited since time immemorial, it then enters the Cuadrilla de Salvatierra and by following the path of the old Roman road Iter XXXIV crosses the towns of Zalduondo, Ordoñana, Salvatierra, Gazeo, Ezkerekotxa and Elburgo before reaching the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
From the capital of Álava, pilgrims travel through the region of Añana and Rioja Alavesa before reaching Rioja itself.
There are hostels available to walkers in Salvatierra (945 30 29 31, Alegría-Dulantzi (635 71 11 73/620 53 20 36), Vitoria-Gasteiz (945 27 59 55), Lapuebla de Arganzón (945 37 30 06) and Salinillas de Buradón (657 735 034).
From the municipality of Zegama in Gipuzkoa we enter the lands of Álava through the San Adrian tunnel, an historic stage for merchants and travellers and where in times past gangs of robbers would roam, then little by little we approach Zalduondo and Salvatierra.
The Romanesque hermitage of San Julián, the Palace of Lazarraga-Amezaga in Zalduondo and the Ethnographic Museum, and the historic centre of Salvatierra are just some of the interesting points of this stage.
This stage starts from the town of Salvatierra and crosses the Plains of Álava until we reach Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Along the way the pilgrim sees the town of Gazeo and the Gothic paintings of the Romanesque church of San Martín de Tours, Alegria-Dulantzi and the 12th century Romanesque hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Ayala, Elburgo, the Sanctuary of Estíbaliz and the Roman therms of Arkaia before reaching the capital of Álava.
Vitoria-La Puebla de Arganzón
Starting from Vitoria-Gasteiz and heading towards the County of Treviño (Burgos) crossing the Portillo de San Miguel along the way.
You cannot leave the capital of Euskadi without wandering through the streets and passages of its almond-shaped medieval centre and visiting the old Cathedral of Santa Maria. Another landmark on this stage is the Basilica of San Prudencio in Armentia.
La Puebla de Arganzón-Briñas
This stage starts in the county of Treviño, heading south to reachi the Rioja village of Briñas, next to the river Ebro. The castles of Portilla and Ocio, and the medieval village of Salinillas de Buradón will attract the walker’s attention and invite them to take a break.
La Puebla de Arganzón-Miranda de Ebro
Leaving the county of Treviño, we head south west to reach the town of Miranda de Ebro, in Burgos.
There are Information points and Regional Tourist Offices all along the route.
Details of all the stages (maps, slopes en route, services for pilgrims, etc.) are available at the following link: