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ST IGNATIUS WAY

The journey of Ignatius de Loiola through the Basque Country

Our 70 mile continuous journey leads us through the rugged, ever changing scenery of Spain’s Basque Country. From the Holy sanctuary in Loiola to the medieval walled town of Laguardia, in the Rioja-Alavesa wine region, history and legend follows us with every step. We traverse mountain paths through limestone landscapes to oak forests and serene meadows, navigate the Biozkonia Pass at 1200m with spectacular views and cross the green Cantabrian mountains. In pastures, the indigenous Basque sheep graze, horses roam in the natural parks and cow bells can be heard in the distance.

Ignatius came from a noble Basque family and was once a great knight. Gravely wounded in a battle with the French, defending Pamplona, he experienced a religious conversion during his recovery which led him to found the Jesuits. In order to atone for his former life, and for his life to follow a different path, he took a pilgrimage to Montserrat in Catalonia, where he lay his sword and armour at the feet of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Our journey through the Basque Country not only recreates the route, but also the spirit of that journey.

Accompanied by a specialist Basque walks guide as well as your leader, there is plenty to discover following this path from the impressive sanctuaries at Zumarraga and Arantzazu to the extensive vineyards in Rioja-Alavesa. The Basque cuisine will add to the delight of this holiday with hearty peasant stews, grilled meats and tasty cheeses.




WALKING GRADES


Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding but equally rewarding.




YOUR STORY STARTS HERE ...

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When we visit

Autumn, Spring

Length of stay

Price from

£ 1295

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  • Dates, Prices & Holiday Information Sheet (PDF)
    Quarterly Filter :
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    Date
    Nights
    Grades
    Depart From
    More Info
    Status
    Price From
    St Ignatius Way (Grade 5)
    Date
    05 Oct 2017
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    GRADE 5
    Depart From
    London (Heathrow)
    More Info
    Status
    Available
    Price From
    £1,295
    St Ignatius Way (Grade 5)
    Date
    17 May 2018
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    GRADE 5
    Depart From
    London (Heathrow)
    More Info
    Status
    Available
    Price From
    £1,320
    St Ignatius Way (Grade 5)
    Date
    13 Sep 2018
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    GRADE 5
    Depart From
    Provisional Date Only
    More Info
    Status
    Provisional
    Price From
    St Ignatius Way (Grade 5)
    Date
    04 Oct 2018
    Nights
    7
    Grades
    GRADE 5
    Depart From
    Provisional Date Only
    More Info
    Status
    Provisional
    Price From
  • Itinerary
    05 Oct 2017 - 12 Oct 2017

    Day 1 - Loiola
    On arrival at Bilbao airport, we meet our coach and make the transfer (approx. 1 hour) to Loiola, where our hotel is located very close to Loiola sanctuary. After an independent lunch, we'll make a visit to the sanctuary to discover St Ignatius' home and learn about his life and motivation for his pilgrimage.

    Day 2 - Zumarraga
    Our journey today starts directly from the sanctuary, following a footpath along the River Urola, towards Azkoitia and the start of the Via Verde. It is a comfortable day's walk, to ease us into the path. On arrival into Zumarraga, there will be time to visit the sanctuary of Antigua. Approx. 17.3kms (following GR120 route)/A 280m/D 0m

    Day 3 - Arantzazu
    Today is a more challenging day taking us over the Biozkonia Pass, and perhaps one of the most picturesque. From Zumarraga railway station we follow along side the track for the first few kms. At Legazpi we come to the Mirandaola park, historically famous for its ironworks before heading to Barrendiola reservoir at Biozkonia. This is where our challenge starts. Following the GR120 path way markers up to the Pass (at 1200m) and ends with our descent to the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, an outstanding example of Basque art. Approx. 19.3kms/A 950m/D 600m

    Day 4 - Salvatierra
    An equally challenging day today starts our towards Urbia, where we pass a place where legend tells of the appearance of Our Lady of Arantzazu to a shepherd. We now find ourselves in the Aizkorri-Aratz Nature Park, with its impressive limestone landscape. At the foot of the rocks lies Araia, our final destination for today. We meet our transfer vehicles here and are transported to Salvatierra where we spend the night. Approx. 16.5km/A 750m/D 850m

    Day 5 - Alda
    Our transport brings us back to the path after breakfast to San Roman. Our path today takes us through the province of Alava visiting San Roman de san Millan, on the route of the old Roman road from Bordeaux to Astorga. The slopes of Entzia reveal an impressive forested landscape, where we'll see livestock grazing. Coming to the end of our day's walk, in the province of Ullibarri Arana, we have the opportunity to visits the chapels of San Cristobal and Andra Mari. Approx. 18kms/A 750m/D 850m

    Day 6 - Maestu
    Today we are in the Montana Alavesa area, with the natural jewel of Izki Nature Park. Here we will discover Europe's best preserved Pyrenean oak forest. Honey is the most typical produce of this region, not forgetting potatoes, black pudding and cheese. We are met by transport in Cabredo and transferred to our accommodation in Maestu for our overnight accommodation. Approx. 20.8kms/A 180m/D 300m

    Day 7 - LaGuardia
    Taking our transport back to the path, today's more relaxed section of the path passes through a landscape dominated by cereal production, crosses the dense forests of the Cantabrian hills and finally reaches the extensive vineyards of Rioja-Alavesa. Here the south facing terrain gives the local wines their high quality. The Cantabrian hills mark the transition from the humid Cantabrian climate to the dryer Mediterranean climate, which has earned the region a place on the Natura 2000 Network list for its stunning botanical richness. Approx. 23.5kms/A 450m/D 440m Our farewell dinner this evening will be at the atmospheric Los Parajes restaurant in the heart of LaGuardia's walled town.

    Day 8 - -
    We have time to explore LaGuradia this morning with a visit to Santa Maria church to see the intricate portale and visit the Casa Primicia winery. This winery is centuries old and the building shows how wine used to be produced and stored (the winery's production is now outside the town) and of course some tasting is on the menu! After time for an independent lunch, we take our coach to Bilbao airport (approx. 1 hour 30 minutes) for our flight to London.


  • Accommodation

    We stay in a mix of hotels and pensions with en suite facilities. Breakfasts and dinners will be taken at our hotels, except in Laguardia where we have dinner at a well known local restaurant.

    A list of your hotels, together with their contact details will be sent to you with your airline tickets, shortly before departure. This holiday is on half board basis with breakfasts and dinners taken at the hotels, with the exception of the last night in LaGuardia. Here we will dine at the lovely and atmospheric Los Parajes restaurant, in the heart of the old, walled town.

  • What's Included
    • Return flights and airport transfers
    • En suite accommodation and breakfasts.
    • Dinners taken at the hotels, and the last night we have dinner in the Los Parajes hotel in Laguardia.
    • Knowledgeable Basque walks guide in addition to your leader.
    • Daily baggage transfer.
    • All local transport costs.

  • Holiday Highlights
    • Holy sanctuary in Loiola, birthplace of St Ignatius.
    • Limestone landscape of the Aizkorri-Aratz natural park, with views towards the Navarra mountains.
    • Magnificent vineyards of Rioja-Alavesa.
    • Walled town of Laguardia in the shadow of the Cantabrian mountains.

  • Travel Information & Regional Departures
    • Arrival transfer by road (c90mins).
    • Flights Heathrow-Bilbao (2hrs), British Airways.      
    • UK add-on flights from £95 return, British Airways.
    • Upgrades Business class available, please ask for a competitive quote.

  • Holiday Photo Gallery
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  • Private Group Enquiry

    Planning a holiday for a group? For a quote or to simply enquire about the possibility of booking this holiday for your Walking Group please fill out the enquiry form below and our dedicated Private Group Department will get in touch with you shortly to discuss your options.

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YOUR STORY STARTS HERE ...

Please select a departure date





When we visit

Autumn, Spring

Price from

£ 1295

Read all reviews




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