The Wine and Fish Route: from Laguardia to Lekeitio

Euskadi from South to North crossing all its landscapes

  • Where

    From Laguardia (Alava) to Lekeitio (Bizkaia)

  • Duration

    7 days / 6 nights

  • Prices

    €795pp

Day 1: Welcome to Laguardia

Laguardia is a historical walled city with a beautiful medieval urban centre. Located at the foot of the Toloño Mountain Range or Cantabria, it is the capital of the Rioja Alavesa region. Nowadays it is a bustling gastronomic, cultural and nature tourism centre.

We will welcome the travellers from 17:00. Depending on the arrival time we might be able to visit a wine interpretation centre. The dinner will be a typical dinner from Rioja after it there will be a briefing and route presentation.

Day 2: From Laguardia to Albaina

The first stage of the Wine and Fish route crosses vineyards and heads towards the mountain pass of El Toro, one of the natural mountain passes of the Toloño Mountain range. In a few metres we will witness one of the most abrupt biogeographical changes found in the European continent: from the Mediterranean landscape to a shaded beech grove. Following the coal heaps we arrive to the Wine and Fish Route Interpretation Centre. The path follows north entering Treviño County, crossing beech groves and farm land and passing the famous border of the Mojón del Avellano (the Hazelnut Boundary Stone). Before reaching Albaina, our destination today, we will see the unique caves of Laño.

  • Distance: 22,29 km
  • Hours: 6 hours
  • Climbing slope: 881 m.
  • Descent slope: 901 m.
  • Maximum height: 1.215 m.
  • Minimum height: 590 m.

Day 3: From Albaina to Oreitia

This is the most unknown, and at the same time, the most diverse stage of all the GR38. Between the cosy little towns of Albaina and Sáseta we will cross the most arid land in our way before entering the gorge of the river Ayuda, one the most astonishing natural spots in Alava. We can swim in some of the natural pools of the river. Once in Okina, where we will enjoy an outdoor picnic, we will go back to the beech and oak groves of the high lands of Vitoria and reach the cereal farm lands of the plains of Alava. The Sanctuary of Estibaliz, located at the top of a small and strategic peak, is one of the jewels of the Romanesque in this region. From this point there is only a short descent to Oreitia, end of the stage.

  • Distance: 24 km.
  • Hours: 6 hours.
  • Climbing slope: 477 m.
  • Descent slope: 554 m.
  • Maximum height: 849 m.
  • Minimum height: 512 m.

Day 4: From Oreitia to Otxandio.

This is the longest day of the trip. As in any of the Wine and Fish Route stages, the landscape and the settlement change progressively. From the extensive lands of the plains, or as they are known here, la Llanada, where cereals and potatoes are grown, with plenty of little towns scattered around, to the Atlantic fields of Otxandio, which boasts the first typical caserios or farm houses, the landscape shows its great diversity. With our back to the Vitoria-Gazteiz skyline, we will cross little towns like Mendibil or Amanta and we will walk along the old Vasco-Navarro railway track to arrive in Legutio, the last town of our route located in the province of Alava. We will still have to walk a bit across coppiced beech groves and conifer forests along the bank of the Albina reservoir, where we can stop for a swim, to reach the monumental town of Otxandio.

  • Distance: 29,9 km, reducibles a 22 kms
  • Hours: 7h30 hours, reducibles a 5h30
  • Climbing slope: 319 m
  • Descent slope: 298 m
  • Maximum height: 698 m
  • Minimum height: 505 m

Day 5: From Otxandio to Durango.

After the longest stage we will begin the shortest one. From Otxandio we will gently ascend along forest tracks and visit the Sanctuary of Urkiola, located in the Natural Park of the same name and around which will be able to see flocks of sheep grazing peacefully. This is an important landmark in our route since we are now exactly on the line that divides the Mediterranean and Cantabrian sea waters. Until now, all the rivers we had walked along on our way joined the Ebro River on their way to the Mediterranean Sea. From now on, it is the Cantabrian Sea the destination of the water of the rivers.

From Urkiola the GR38 heads Durango via Mallabia and Izartza, but in our opinion this route becomes too urban so we have changed the itinerary and we will follow a route which goes down towards the Atxarte gorge at the foot of soaring limestone mountains and crosses little rural municipalities sparkled with grazing fields and caserios.

  • Distance: 18,23 km
  • Hours: 4,00 hours
  • Climbing slope: 430 m
  • Descent slope: 856 m
  • Maximum height: 814 m
  • Minimum height: 120 m

Day 6: From Durango to Aulesti.

This is the day when we will finally see the sea, our final destination. We leave Durango and cross the nearby Iurreta and immediately enter the rural environment leaving behind the busy town that welcomed us the previous night. Climbing gently we cross the typical Basque landscape full of caserios and fields and we get into the pine and eucalypt plantations that cover the slopes of Mount Oiz. After reaching the small mountain village of Mauma, we climb up to a hill from which we will enjoy the views of the sea. From here we start a quick descent to Munibar along a centuries-old paved road.

Now we just have to enjoy a pleasant easy walk along the banks of River Lea before reaching Aulestia.

  • Distance: 24,00 km
  • Hours: 6,00 hours
  • Climbing slope: 740m
  • Descent slope: 787 m
  • Maximum height: 590 m
  • Minimum height: 73 m

Day 7: From Aulesti to Lekeitio.

This is the last stage, a short stage that ends in Karraspio beach, one of the most impressive spots in Euskadi, where we will conclude the Wine and Fish Route with a swim in the sea. As a tradition and symbolic gesture we will open the water canteen we have carried with us from Laguardia and pour its water into the sea.

The route crosses the river Lena valley along a very comfortable path. We will have the opportunity to observe a very rich preindustrial heritage: bridges, dams, iron mills that tell us about the rich iron industry of this valley, one of the main centres of the European iron industry.

Walking along the river surrounded by lush vegetation, we unexpectedly arrive to the beautiful beach of Karraspio where our walk across the Basque geography comes to an end. To conclude we will taste a marmitako (typical Basque fishermen fresh tuna stew). .

What should you take with you when walking?

  • A small backpack.
  • A light folding umbrella.
  • A baseball type cap.
  • A pair of shorts and a pair of long trousers, one to be worn and the other one in the backpack.
  • Sunglasses, even in the winter.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Canteen.
  • Light polar jacket.
  • Anorak or rain coat.
  • Band-aids for blisters.
  • Telescopic walking sticks (highly recommended).
  • Mobile Phone.
  • Personal documentation.

And in the suitcase that will wait for you in your room every afternoon....

  • Spare underwear.
  • Special walking socks, at least three pairs.
  • 2 shorts (you’ll wear one, the other one will go in the small backpack).
  • 2 pairs of long trousers (you’ll wear one, the other will go in the small backpack).
  • Sunscreen, even in the winter.
  • Items of personal hygiene.
  • Casual clothes to be at home or in the hotel.
  • Comfortable footwear, for the hotel or to go on a town visit or dinner in the evening.
  • Pyjama or sleep wear.
  • Swimming suit and towel.

What else?

  • Wear a pair of good walking boots. If you are inexperienced, ask for advice at a specialist retailer. Make sure you “break in” new walking boots before you start the Way. Use them as much as you can before starting your route. Make them yours. Get used to them.
  • Do not take with you unnecessary things “just in case”, you will be able to buy whatever you need along the way if you need something you have forgotten.
  • At the end of the fall, winter and early spring you will need to take with you enough warm clothes (woollen hat, thermal underwear, gloves..).

 

All the accommodations as well as the restaurants have been chosen by us after interviewing their owners. Along the Way you will find very different types of accommodation: hostels, rural houses or pensions which will always meet our quality and comfort standards. For those who would rather stay in a different type of accommodation we can offer the possibility, unfortunately not in all the stages, to choose a higher standard accommodation which will require a small surcharge.

The restaurants and the menus have been personally chosen by us with the intention to provide an added value to the travelling experience. We will eat local products and will learn about the local gastronomy while, step by step, we reach the sea.

At noon or early afternoon, we will always enjoy a lunch around a table to relax and enjoy fresh local products or high quality canned fish and vegetables made by local canneries with local products.

Base price: 795 euros/person.

Single supplement: 95 euros/person.

What is included in the price?

  • Accommodation as specified.
  • Full board, except for the self-guided tour.
  • Water and wine in all the dinners.
  • Guide Assistance, except for the self-guided tour.
  • Support vehicle, except for the self-guided tour .
  • Luggage transport from lodging to lodging, except for the self-guided tour .

What is not included in the price?

  • Transfer the first day to Laguardia*.
  • Transfer the last day from Lekeitio*.
  • Drinks, except water, for lunch **.
  • Travel Assistance Insurance (optional).

* This service has a surcharge based on the departure and/or destination place.
** If you wish to have a drink for your lunch, for instance a cold beer, let us know and we will provide it at cost price

First service: Dinner in Laguardia

Last service: Lunch in Lekeitio