The Ignatian Way (GR-120) - alavaturismo
The Ignatian Way recreates the route that the knight Ignacio de Loyola travelled in 1522 from his birthplace, Azpeitia (Gipuzkoa), to the Catalonian city of Manresa.
A pilgrimage that began after his spiritual conversion in Loyola and whose final goal was to reach the holy city of Jerusalem.
This route of religious origin, has now become a long-distance walking trail (GR 120) based on the Saint’s personal notes, it is noted for its length and physical demand: it is approximately 675 kilometres long, crossing 5 autonomous communities and requires an average of 30 days hiking.
The route begins in the Basque country and crosses two of its provinces, Gipuzkoa and Álava, before continuing its course. A total of 7 stages and 150 kilometres guarantee a unique experience and allow you to discover the nature, culture and gastronomy of the six regions through which it passes; Urola Garaia, Urola Erdia, Debagoiena, Llanada Alavesa, Mountains of Álava and the Rioja Alavesa.
A truly engaging route for those pilgrims who want to find experiences similar to those offered by St. James’ Way.
The section through Álava covers about 70 kilometres to the east of the territory that can be completed in five stages over terrain marked by steep slopes and mountain passes such as Opakua. This circumstance means that those who choose to cycle the route occasionally have to dismount and walk certain parts.
The Ignatian Way, signed with orange arrows, enters Álava very close to the place that St. James’s Way does, in the town of Araia, next to the San Adrián Tunnel. The route crosses the Plains of Álava to the east until it reaches the mountain pass of Opakua and then heads towards the towns of Ullibarri, Alda and San Vicente de Arana, now being in the Mountains of Álava.
The route also crosses the towns of Antoñana and Santa Cruz de Campezo, to reach Genevilla. For several kilometres the Way passes through Navarre, via towns such as Genevilla and Cabredo, however, it then goes back into Álava at Kripán, arriving at Laguardia and continuing on to the lands of Rioja.
This stage begins at the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, running almost in its entirety through the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park along short and long distance trails and local footpaths, ending in Araia.
This stage departs from Araia, gently ascending toward the mountain range of Entzia, and after crossing it from north to south, descending to the town of Alda.
From Alda we head south to the foothills of the southern mountain ranges of Álava, sharing the route with the Basque-Navarre Greenway for a good part of the way, and finishing the stage at Genevilla in Navarre.
We continue in a south west direction through Navarre between the Sierra Cantabria and Sierra de Kodes mountains to return to Álava, finishing the stage in the town of Laguardia.
After crossing the town of Laguardia we go around the wetland lakes and continue southwards towards Lapuebla de Labarca to finish the stage in Navarrete, now finding ourselves in Rioja.
Details of all the stages (maps, slopes en route, services for pilgrims, etc.), tips, practical information and history of this pilgrimage route is available at www.caminoignaciano.org
There are Information points and Regional Tourist Offices all along the route.