Hiking routes in the Basque Country

Rutas de senderismo en el País Vasco
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Summer is coming to an end and leading to the beautiful autumn… So these dates are ideal for hiking routes. The Basque Country is an ideal destination for hiking lovers, and the end of summer and the beginning of autumn are ideal dates to discover the trails and paths of this region. With nine natural parks, the Basque Country offers a wide variety of hiking routes for all levels, from gentle walks to ascents of impressive peaks.

Okina-Sáseta Route: At the eastern end of Condado de Treviño, an enclave located in the heart of Álava, Euskadi, between the Llanada alavesa to the north and the foothills of the Sierra de Cantabria to the south, lies an impressive gorge that has been sculpted over the centuries by the river Ayuda. This gorge, approximately 5 km long, stretches from the town of Okina in Álava to the town of Sáseta in Burgos. With its spectacular natural beauty, this gorge is a perfect place to explore during this time of year.

Ascent to Mount Hernio: The ascent to Mount Hernio from the hermitage of San Juan Bautista de Iturrioz is a very popular hiking route in the Basque Country. This route crosses the pass of Zelatun, known for the pilgrimage that is held on the last Sunday in September. To start the route, take the path that passes to the right of the hermitage. After reaching an open field, turn right and climb a small slope. Then, turn right and go up a small slope.

Climbing Anboto from the Urkiola Sanctuary: According to popular Basque legends, Mount Anboto is the abode of Mari, Lady of Anboto and the main goddess of pre-Christian Basque mythology. This deity is the personification of Mother Earth and is said to have lived in the cave on this mountain. This large area has many car parks available and several picnic areas. To begin the hiking route, follow the road and you will quickly see a signpost that starts a path. Turn left at this point and after crossing the fence, you will find a beautiful meadow where you will have to continue straight ahead, climbing steadily. At a small fork in the path, continue straight on, following a slightly steeper slope that will take you to Urkiolagirre. You can consult the complete route here.

Otzarreta Beech Forest Route: This route is located in the Gorbeia Natural Park and is known for its impressive landscape of beech forests and its waterfall. The route starts at the Barazar pass and crosses a flat stretch at the foot of Gorbea mountain until it reaches the Otzarreta beech forest. After a walk among beech trees, the route climbs up to the Arimekorta fields next to Atxuri. To finish, the route descends to the Saldropo Wetland and returns to the Barazar pass.

Plazaola Greenway Route: The Plazaola Greenway is a route for walkers and cyclists along the old railway line that connected Pamplona and San Sebastián between 191 and 193 BC.

It stands out for its impressive scenery, uniform gradients and the large number of tunnels it passes through. From the Navarre basin in Pamplona to the most pristine spots of Leitzaran in Gipuzkoa, following the trail of the Plazaola Railway, this greenway is a true natural sanctuary. Among its lush beech and oak hillsides, a small narrow-gauge railway used to meander tirelessly until its closure in the mid-20th century. Today, its spectacular route is open for cyclists and walkers to enjoy almost unaltered natural spaces.

El Pobal Ironworks Route: This route runs from Muskiz (Vizcaya) to the El Pobal ironworks and follows the banks of the Barbadún River. It is a beautiful linear route that is practically flat, with abundant vegetation and numerous points of interest. To return, the easiest way is to take the same path, but you can also connect with other routes in the area. The route starts at the Church of San Juan, crossing the river and then going along a yellow path. Following this path along the river, we will reach an unmistakable green bridge where we must turn left and follow a path between houses to rejoin the yellow path.

Postman’s Path: The route starts from Maeztu and heads towards Apellaniz along a path. In Apellaniz, it climbs along a track, first compact and then stony, with some steep sections, until it reaches the “postman’s path”. From here, you can admire the most impressive panoramic views of the leafy Izki forest. Continuing along this path, you reach a crossroads that leads to a descent along a wide track until you reach Arlucea. The route then skirts Markinez and continues through the forest almost to the finishing point in Urturi. The route continues along paths that pass through Quintana, San Román and Bujanda, before descending towards the Vasco Navarro greenway, which leads to Antoñana and finally back to Maeztu.

In short, this moment of transition between seasons is a gift for lovers of hiking in the Basque Country. The natural environment becomes a perfect setting for exploring, enjoying and disconnecting from the daily hustle and bustle. So, if you are looking for an enriching outdoor experience, there is no better time than now to immerse yourself in the hiking routes that this region has to offer. Get ready to walk, admire and experience the magic of the arrival of autumn in the Basque Country!