Running in Alava

Are you passionate about hiking and running? Do you like to practice your favourite sport while enjoying the beauty of nature? Then Alava’s the place for you.

Excellent infrastructure, sports clubs and top-notch professional athletes make Alava a gold standard for active tourism. The region has demonstrated its capacity to host national and international competitions and boasts a high percentage of residents who regularly practise some type of sport.

The passion for sport is part of Alava’s 21st-century DNA.

It comes as no surprise.

Alava is the perfect place for professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike, offering a fantastic setting for a wide variety of sports, especially, road running, trail-running and hiking.

Five natural parks, hundreds of miles of hiking and walking trails, lakes, inland beaches, impressive waterfalls, age-old salt flats, archaeological ruins and legendary mountains.

And let’s not forget about the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz itself with its urban ‘Green Belt’ and the Montes de Vitoria range just south of the city.

When it comes to running and hiking, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Route in the vicinity of Labastida, Rioja Alavesa.

 

Walking&Running Araba-Alava” is a tool designed to help hiking, road and trail-running enthusiasts discover the nature and heritage of the different regions of Alava while practising their favourite sport.

“Walking&Running Araba-Alava” consists of seven walking and running routes with varying degrees of length and difficulty. All of them are designed to highlight the best that Alava has to offer in terms of nature, scenery and culture.

Options range from a simple route of just over five kilometres in Montes de Vitoria to a 16-kilometre, 900-metre climb to the cross atop the mythical Mount Gorbea.

Walking&Running Araba-Alava also recommends routes in other Alava municipalities, including Rioja Alavesa, Montaña Alavesa, Llanada Alavesa, Añana and Ayala.

Hike, run or walk up to the Monastery of Toloño from Labastida, follow an impressive loop route in Izki Natural Park, discover the surprising thousand-year-old salt flats on a route through the Salt Valley of Añana, make your way to Yuso Caicedo lake, explore the Sierra de Entzia range with its  spectacular views, or hike to the top of Tologorri. These are just some of our suggestions.

You can find out more about these itineraries in a free brochure available at tourist offices and other points of interest. And now there is an online version of the brochure at alavaturismo.eus, where you’ll also find details about each route.

Each itinerary provides detailed information: how to reach the starting point, in-depth description of the route, walking and running times, images of key points along the route, and places of interest to visit in the region.

You can also download the GPS tracks to your electronic device in GPX format.

Route starting at Opakua pass in the heart of the Entzia range, with views over the Llanada Alavesa
Route starting at Opakua pass in the heart of the Entzia range, with views over the Llanada Alavesa

 

Ruta 1 – Ayala-Aiara

14 km | Loop route, moderate | 3h 30′ Walking | 2h 10′ Running

This route runs through the heart of the Sierra Salvada range, an impressive 20-kilometre-long rock wall 600 metres high at the confluence of Alava, Bizkaia and Burgos. The route takes you up Mount Tologorri and Mount. Iturrigorri, one of the area’s most iconic peaks. Mt. Tologorri is the prow of the great rocky wall of the sierra, an extraordinary geological formation rising out of the cattle-grazing and farming land of the Orduña valley and the mountains of Aiara.

This hike is best to do in dry weather with clear skies.

 

Route 2 – Campezo – Alava Mountains

10.8 km | Loop route, easy | 2h 15′ Walking | 1h 20′ Running

This beautiful route through the heart of Izki Natural Park starts in the lovely town of Apellániz in the Alava Mountains. Leaving the houses behind, follow the signs for the ‘El Cartero’ path. The pleasant path goes up to the Karrantan dam and small fountain. Continue straight on to El Raso pass, where you follow the path that leads to the turn-off to San Cristóbal. After a short climb up the slope, you’ll reach the summit. Continue from San Cristóbal to San Justi, where you’ll enjoy views of Izki Natural Park in all its panoramic nuances.

 

Route 3 – Gorbeialdea

16.6 km | Out and back, moderate | 2h 30′ Walking | 1h 40′ Running

This is an ascent to the mythical Gorbea with its characteristic iron cross, on the border between Alava and Bizkaia. There are various routes to the summit, but this one starts from the town of Murua. This is the heart of Gorbea Natural Park with its extensive network of trails and other attractions, such as the caves of Mairuelegorreta. You can also hear the rut, or bellowing, of deer in the mating season. The expansive views from the top of Gorbea stretch from the nearby mountains of Gipuzkoa, Navarra and Biscay, to the Sierra de la Demanda and even Picos de Europa.

 

Route 4 – La Guardia – Rioja Alavesa

9.6 km | Out and back, moderate | 1h 55′ Walking | 1h 35′ Running

Classic route starting point at San Ginés, a park just outside Labastida, equipped with barbecue pits, tables and playground. Between vines and holm oaks the route skirts Peña de la Cruz and continues to the ruins of Nuestra Señora del Toloño, inhabited by monks in the Middle Ages and abandoned in the 15th century. From here there are wonderful views over the Ebro river as it meanders through the fields. After a short stretch of level ground, the trail leads to the summit of Mount Toloño. On clear days, the 360-degree view from the summit is unforgettable.

 

Route 5 – Vitoria – Gasteiz

5.2 km | Out and back, moderate | 1h 10′ Walking | 45′ Running

This route through the Montes de Vitoria, to the south of Vitoria, is very popular among running and hiking enthusiasts. There are a number of options in the area and several paths starting from the towns of Berrosteguieta, Armentia or Eskibel. Route 5 begins at Zaldiaran pass (978 m), and follows the A-3102 toward Berrosteguieta. The route is clearly marked with red and white stripes, part of the GR-282 ‘Senda del Pastoreo’ (Shepherds route), a long-distance trail that covers 485 kilometres through unique areas of Alava, Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia, Burgos and Navarra. Between beech woods and panoramic views, this route includes a gentle climb to the top of Mts. Zaldiaran and Busto.

 

Route 6 – Añana

9.4 km | Out and back, easy | 1h 15′ Walking | 45′ Running

This route starts from the Church of Santa María de Villacones, in Salinas de Añana, and goes to Caicedo-Yuso lake. The first part borders the salt pans of Añana and the Muera river. The pleasant itinerary is a gentle affair with easy terrain to Caicedo-Yuso, the largest natural lake in the Basque Country. The wetland is included in the Natura 2000 Network and is considered a Wetland of International Importance, as it is home to a rich biodiversity, including waterfowl and migratory birds.

 

Route 7 – Salvatierra-Llanada Alavesa

11.5 km | Loop route, easy | 2h Walking | 1h 10′ Running

This route introduces visitors to the Sierra de Enzia, a geological and biological extension of the Sierra de Urbasa in Navarra, and to the meadows of Legaire. The route starts at Opakua pass and follows a stretch of the GR-282 ‘Senda del Pastoreo’ (Shepherds route). The trail is marked with posts and offers fantastic views of the Llanada Alavesa from a number of look-out points including Peñarroya, Bayo and Mirutegi. On this route you’ll see sheep grazing freely, splendid examples of beech trees, and ancient dolmens and menhirs that date back to prehistoric times. Easy access to the plateau and spectacular views attract a great number of mountaineers.

 

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