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Did you know that... the Aizkorri - Aratz Natural Park

 

Guipúzcoa and Álava, in the Basque Country, share the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park. Located to the south of Guipúzcoa and to the north of Alava, together with the Sierra de Aralar, it constitutes one of the ecological corridors that unites the Pyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains and also separates the historical territories of Alava and Gipuzkoa. This area includes a long mountain range where the highest peaks in the Basque Country are located, Aitxuri 1551 m and Aizkorri 1544 m. The Aizkorri, which has on its summit a hermitage dedicated to the Holy Christ, next to the Aratz, gives its name to the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park which extends through the Álava municipalities of Aspárrena, Zalduondo, San Millán and Barrundia and by the Guipuzcoans of Salinas de Léniz, Eskoriaza, Aretxabaleta, Oñati, Legazpia, Zerain and Zegama, as well as the land corresponding to the Parzonería General de Guipúzcoa and Álava.

Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park

A little more history

 

The abrupt limestone crests, which testify to its geological value, such as the rocky wall of the Aloña-Aizkorri-Aratz, contrast with the rounded hills and siliceous hills covered with vegetation. Ridges and hills that have a common denominator, its substratum formed by reef limestone, also known as urgoniana, whose erosion gives rise to dolinas, torcas, ravines... places as famous as the Hoya de La Lece, the tunnel of San Adrián, the depression of Urbia or the ravine of Arantzazu. This spectacular place is completed by beautiful beech and oak forests as well as extensive pasture plains, such as in the Urbia valley. Human presence also left its unchangeable mark on the megalithic monuments. Dolmens, tumuli and monoliths from thousands of years ago are intermingled with hermitages and farmhouses, resulting in an interesting historical-architectural heritage added to the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park.

Parketxe of Araia

What to see in the Aizkorri - Aratz Natural Park?

 

With a total area of 19600 hectares, the beautiful Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park is a true paradise for hikers, mountaineers and visitors wishing to enjoy the history and culture that it keeps in hidden corners while its beautiful landscapes flood its retinas. Mountain routes and hikers that hide, in their tours, places as historic as the tunnel of San Adrián, mythical passage of the ancient medieval road that linked Flanders with Castile. Themed and well signposted hiking routes that would lead the walker to follow the routes that were once made by shepherds, charcoal burners and smugglers. The mountaineers are approached to tread the highest peaks of Euskadi such as Aizkorri, Aitxuri, Aratz from where you can enjoy the characteristic landscape of the Natural Park of Aizkorri-Aratz where there are dense forests, such as the famous and monumental forest of Iturrigorri, which is the most important of all Guipúzcoa.

Environment of the Arantzazu Sanctuary in the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park

To discover

 

All of them share the limelight with the green meadows, such as the fields of Urbia, an extensive grazing area where you can find sheepfolds of shepherds and prehistoric dolmens. Enjoy such emblematic places as the Sanctuary of Arantzazu and its ravine, the Urkulu reservoir, the Hoya de la Leze, crossed by an underground river, or the Arrikrutz underground cave in Oñati, with galleries adorned with giant stalactites. Due to the great diversity of ecosystems that converge in the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, there are numerous species that have made this place their habitat, both in the woods and in the meadows or rocks, alpine newt, Egyptian vulture, chough, chough piquigualda, chough piquirroja, peregrine falcon, griffon vulture, marten, turkey, wild cat... that if you are lucky you will be seen and we will be reminded that we are in your space, that we enjoy it and take care of it as the precious jewel that it is.

Beech forest in the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park

Traditions

 

Since time immemorial, the Parzonería General de Gipuzkoa y Álava has existed in the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park. This is an uninhabited local entity whose surface area has been completely declared Public Utility Forests in which the neighbouring municipalities have the sole function of administering their territory in accordance with their statutes. For this reason, and since ancient times, grazing, charcoal and many other activities have left their peculiar stamp in the area.

 

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Curiosities

 

The declaration of Aizkorri-Aratz as a Protected Natural Area in the category of natural park was in 2006. Likewise, the European Commission included it in 2004 in the list of Sites of Community Importance (SCI) of the Natura 2000 Network. The main entrances to the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park are in Zegama and the Arantzazu Sanctuary near Oñati, in Guipúzcoa. While in the province of Alava its main accesses are in Zalduondo and Araia.

San Adrián Tunnel in the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park

Useful information for visiting the Aizkorri - Aratz Natural Park

 

  • For further information on the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, you can find the Park Houses, called Parketxe, which are located at their main access points.
  • In the province of Guipúzcoa is located in the enclave of Arantzazu, Oñati, and is known as Parketxe de Arantzazu.
  • It has different schedules depending on the months of the year.
  • The telephone number for further information is 943 782 894
  • In the town of Zegama, at the foot of the Aizkorri, the Aizkorriko Ataria interpretation centre is located in the Anduetza farmhouse.
  • The telephone number where you can get information about the opening hours is 943 802 187.
  • In the House of the Park, Parketxe, in the Alava town of Araia, access and starting point to ascend the Aratz, we can also find information about routes, places of interest, guided tours for groups.
  • Your telephone number is 945 386 964

The source of the River Zirauntza in the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park

The Legend

 

Reaching the summit of Aizkorri is a goal for mountaineers who enter the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park. This is the magical peak of a hermitage which, according to legend, houses a miraculous Christ. This Christ, no matter how much the people of the place insisted, to protect the image, in lowering it to the temple of Zegama or to that of Araia, always reappeared at the top of Mount Aizkorri.

 

 

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Get to Oñati

 

Oñati is reached by the GI-2630 road, which connects it with Legazpi and the AP-1. It also has a bus service that connects it with Mondragón, Legazpi, Bilbao, Arrasate, Bergara and Durango, as well as with the different localities along the routes. From Oñati, a winding road leads to the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, where the House of the Park, Parketxe, and spacious car parks are located. There is also a bus service that connects the Sanctuary of Arantzazu with Oñati at different times.

 

 

 

 

Get to Zegama

 

From Alsasua, take the GI-2637 road that leads to Zegama. Along this road you will find the different detours that lead into the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park.

 

 

 

 

Get to Araia

 

To get to Araia, in Alava, we have to follow the A-1, it is between the towns of Salvatierra and Alsasua where we will find the well signposted detour that will take us to the town of Araia, one of the main entrances to the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park in the province of Alava. Once there, all you have to do is follow the street that leads into Araia and will take you to the access to the House Park, Parketxe, where you will have an area set aside for parking.

 

 

 


SENDITUR is not responsible for any variation in the information described, as well as for the misuse of its guides and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to

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Listado de experiencias
Juan Fernandez
Created the 07-04-2019
(5)

Me encanta el Parque Natural de Aizkorri-Aratz, un montón de rutas de senderismo, rincones con encanto y sitios que visitar, siempre que voy me sorprende… lo recomiendo no os lo perdáis.

List of Routes
  • Closeness
  • First name
  • Difficulty
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • Assessment
MOUNTAIN PATHS CULTURAL HERITAGE
1
Difficulty-Medium

3:00 h.7.8 km.

Mount Aratz by the San Adrián Tunnel
Difficulty-MediumCategory of difficulty green, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and unevenness, not even over great distances or unevenness.
PATHS IN FAMILY
1
Difficulty-Low

1:35 h.4 km.

Path of the Source of the River Zirauntza
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little unevenness and without difficulties.
TOURISM
0
Difficulty-Low

72:00 h.340 km.

Route of the charming villages of Álava
Difficulty-LowGreen difficulty category, level 2. Short walks, with little slope and no difficulties.
MOUNTAIN
1
Difficulty-Medium

3:15 h.12.2 km.

Gorbeia from Pagomakurre
Difficulty-MediumCategory of difficulty green, level 3. Excursions of moderate distance and slope, not exceeding even great distances or slopes.
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Sanctuary of Our Lady of Arantzazu
Dolmen of Sorginetxe and Dolmen of Aizkomendi
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