Zumárraga Arantzazu

21,4 Kms

You must strive much harder to tame the inner than the outer man, to break the spirit than the bones.

We get up intending to climb the mountain, and we leave town from the train station. Facing the facade of the station building, we take the road to our right, looking for the GI-3771 road or Ipeñarrieta Street. We follow this street to the end of town. We pass under the bridge that crosses over the railroad tracks. We continue walking parallel to the railway, which is on our left.

We pass a bridge over the River Urola and we continue along the railway tracks. At 1.5 km the asphalt road ends and we turn right, at right angles, to reach the GI-2630 road. When we get there, we turn left to enter the town of Legazpi. We continue to follow the same street, lined with factories and further on with houses that have gardens. We come to a fork where we go right, down Nagusia Street toward Legazpi parish church.

We head down Aizkorri Street and leave the village. The football field and sports facilities are on our right. We come to a roundabout that we go straight over and we takethe paved road that runs parallel to the tracks, which continue on our left. Our road runs between the river and railroad tracks. We pass factories and homes, going straight ahead, without crossing the river by means of the bridges that we pass.

We arrive at a sports area with a court on which the Spanish game of pelota is played. It is an unusual “Fronton” because it has walls made of iron rather than concrete. We are at Mirandaola Park, where in 1580, those working in the foundry experienced a miracle: the iron they were smelting transformed itself into a cross. This miraculous event is still celebrated every May 3 in this same place. A signpost indicates the way to Telleriarte, to our left. The trail leads to the GI-2630 road which we don’t take but, instead, we follow the paved road that begins to our left and leads us into the small town of Telleriarte.

We follow the paved road straight ahead that runs parallel to the railroad tracks and leads to Brinkola. Passing under the bridge leading to the train station, we continue straight ahead and go through the town along the same street, before going onto the GI-3511 road. A GR-120 signpost indicates the ascent to the Barrendiola Dam (Barrendiola – Aizkorri).

Once we reach the dam, we cross it. On the other side a dirt road starts that runs along the reservoir and we follow it. The road is marked by red and white GR-120 signs. We reach a fork and we take the path to the right, which brings us very close to the trees, almost hiding itself among them. We continue to follow the GR-120 signs. We arrive at a barn which houses sheep and pass with it on our right. We continue our ascent, following the signs that lead us zigzag fashion up the slope. We have already passed the trees and in winter, snow will undoubtedly cover the area.

We arrive at the port of Biozkornia and Arriurdin Mountain (1,273 m) greets us. We thank the mountain for the good climb it has provided for us. A signpost indicates the direction of Arantzazu. We continue to follow the signs which in the winter snow can be somewhat difficult to find. The road is blurred, as is usual in the mountains. Once we have passed the port, we take a little break and begin our descent towards the sanctuary. We come to a cylindrical mountain lodge.

We allow ourselves to get carried away by the descent. If we follow the dirt road on leaving the shelter, we will arrive at Arantzazu. In any event, if we go a little faster and avoid making a rather long detour, on reaching a bend of 90 degrees to our right, we go straight ahead and take the path (GR signs) that heads towards a wooded area with a few houses on the other side of it. On our arrival at the houses, we turn right to approach other houses about 150 m away and, once there, we take the roads that head towards our left. We descend towards Arantzazu, which by now is just 1 km away. We always follow the GR-120 signs.


Hostal “Goiko Benta Ostatua” . Tel: 943 781 305
Hotel Santuario de Arantzazu*** . Tel: 943 781 313
Hotel Sindika* . Tel: 943 781 303
Oficina de Turismo . Tel.: 943718911 / 943796463 turismo@debagoiena.eus
Refugio de Peregrinos . (56 camas) Tel: 943 780 500 / 656 743 148

Taxi Berasategui. Tel: 699 445 403


Hotel Mauleon** . C/ Nafarroa, 16. Tel: 943 730 870
Oficina de Turismo del Alto Urola (Lenbur) . Tel: 943 730 428 Ayuntamiento Tel: 943 737030
Taxis . Tel: 943 73 00 21


Casa rural Pastain . Tel: 943 730 672 (capacidad 12 personas)


Taxi Ivan Molina . Tel: 620 511 533
Taxi X. Gaztañaga . 679 443 483 / 943 725 912

A tough stage due to the steep climb above Brinkola. In winter you have to be extremely careful because of the snow and the intense cold.


Population more than 8,700 inhabitants. Life here revolves around iron and its manufacture. It has an Iron Museum. Near there is the beautiful church of Our Lady of the Assumption dating from the 14th century, and the Bikuña Palace, built in the 16th century. There are restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies and banks.


A village of scattered houses. It does not offer services to pilgrims. Past the village, next to the River Urola we find the tower-house “Elorregi Palace”. The chapel and the palace date from the 16th century but the smithy dates from 1384.


A village of scattered houses. It does not offer services to pilgrims.


One of the main spiritual centres of Euskadi and a reference point for our Ignatian pilgrimage. The Franciscans have for centuries preserved the tradition that the Virgin, standing on a hawthorn bush, appeared to a shepherd in this place, something that amazed the pastor who said: “Arantzan zu?” (“You on a thorn?”). From this experience the place became a centre of Marian devotion and pilgrimage, as Ignacio de Loyola stated in his autobiography. Between the 16th and 19th centuries the shrine was rebuilt three times due to multiple fires. In 1959 it was decided to build a new basilica. The iron gates are the work of the sculptor Eduardo Chillida. For more information go to the sanctuary website. The Hostel Goiko Benta Ostatua was already an inn in Saint Ignatius’ time (the building dates from 1500) and elders say it was in this same inn that Ignatius stayed during his visit to Arantzazu. We can find restaurants and hotels here.


We insist that it is very useful to devote some time to the introductory prayer, which expresses the fundamental objective of our inner pilgrimage. Remember that if you find “depth” in some word or idea, it is better not to go further, but to remain there, allowing it to talk to us in depth. Today you are recommended to spend a long time in prayer on arrival at Aranzazu sanctuary, just as Ignatius did. Pray with gratitude for everything in your life, for the gifts that you have received up to now and, last but not least, for being here!


Lord, grant me the grace to feel your love interiorly in my life, with profound thanksgiving.


As we approach the sanctuary of our Lady of Aranzazu, we devote a second day to delving prayerfully into the happy points in our life’s story. as you walk and pray recall moments of happiness and grace, especially those you now see as turning points in your life. Were there moments when you particularly felt God’s presence as you made a major choice, or moments in which you endured a major tribulation that you overcame with the help of God? Were there moments when you felt God was absent, times when you could not believe that God could be with you? Nonetheless, He was always there, as your best friend, as a tender Father, as a nurturing Mother. Take into your heart all those moments and feel filled with great gratitude for the persons and events in your past life: God is always at work in our surroundings. Why not present those moments and all those people to God and give thanks that they were His hands and His arms that held you?


Luke 1, 46-55 With Mary, my soul glorifies the Lord.

Luke 12: 22-34 Lord, You know all my needs. I am not to worry.

Final Colloquy:

Sum up your meditation in a spirit of prayer, talking to Mary as a son or daughter does to her or his mother. Now that you are close to her shrine, be open with her about what you have discovered during this stage of your journey.

Ignatius did not want to hurt his family since they were so concerned about his future, yet knew he must begin his new life. This was confirmed during his very first stop in the chapel of Aranzazu.

«Ignatius left his father’s house and set out upon his journey on horseback. His brother wanted to accompany him as far as Onate, but during the journey Ignatius persuaded him to spend one night in vigil at the shrine of Our Blessed Lady at Aranzazu. Then, after praying for some time at the shrine for strength for the journey, he left his brother in Onate at the house of their sister. After paying her a short visit, Ignatius journeyed on to Navarrete (to visit the Duke of Najera).»

What did his brother think about being separate from Ignatius at Onate? What did Ignatius speak about with Our Lady of Aranzazu during that night in prayer? A new road opened before him, guided only by his desire for greater service to our Lord. We also ask Our Lady to became a sure guide for our own pilgrimage, and to protect us as we discover the presence of God who also accompanies us on pilgrimage. We ask protection for all whom we love as Ignatius certainly did, entrusting his entire family to the Virgin Mary.

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Cyclists will experience extreme difficulty.

The climb is very steep and you have to push the bike most of the time. It may be preferable to reach Arantzazu via the road by cycling first to Onate; this is a longer route but the climb is less steep. Furthermore it is not clear if cyclists are permitted through the Natural Park, where motor vehicles are not allowed.

For pilgrims on foot, in winter precautions are strongly advised and this route is not recommended at all during snow (December – March).

Zumárraga: Km 0.
Church of Legazpi: Km 5,1.
Telleriarte: 8,3.
Brinkola: Km 9,7.
Reservoir: Km 11,2.
Biozkornia Port: Km 16,6.
Arantzazu: Km 21,4.


Step's sketch


The weather in Arantzazu