The Plazaola Green Route gives visitors the opportunity to get to know the beautiful countryside of the Larraun and Leitzaran valleys. Inaugurated in 2000, it connects the town of Latasa in Navarre with Andoain in Guipúzcoa, following the now disappeared Plazaola railway line. The total distance covered by this railway was 84 kilometres (56 km in Navarre and the rest in Guipúzcoa) and had two stations in Pamplona
and several others along the length of its route.
The present course of the Green Route runs for 54 kilometres through woods and meadows, 32 kilometres in Navarre and 22 in Guipúzcoa.
Although the Green Route starts close to the dam at Irurtzun, it is accessible from Lekunberri. The railway station for this town was refurbished in 1998 and serves as home to the Plazaola Tourist Association and the local Tourist Office. There is a craft shop on the ground floor and on the first floor there is a projection room in which you can see an exhibition on the history of the railway station.
The 2 kilometres that separate the station from the Mugiro dam form a short track that runs next to the Larraun river. At the northern, , towards Leitza, it gradually ascends between trees, under low bridges, and is interrupted by two short tunnels. It is recommended to carry a torch, even though the longest tunnel (Bartolo) is lit.
If one is travelling by bike, for the short distance for which the Green Route joins the motorway, the cyclist can emulate the passengers in the last century who travelled at 10 kilometres per hour. Now, but soot-free, you can let yourself be caressed by the gentle breeze whilst glimpsing the peaks of the mountains known as the Malloas
This stretch finishes in front of Uitzi station. A few metres further on is the entrance to the Uitzi tunnel
, which, at 2,700 metres, was for many years the longest in Spain.
you can make the trip in the direction of Lekunberri or one of 5 kilometres that takes you to Guipúzcoa.
If you have chosen to walk in the direction of San Sebastian, you start from the old station at Leitza and, after 5 kilometres of the Navarre section, the Green Way continues for another 21 kilometres to Andoáin, gradually descending all the time.
Besides being able to enjoy nature, the Green Route allows the visitor to become acquainted with places like Lekunberri
, the centre for local services, with its handsome large houses and the Gothic church of San Juan Bautista.
Of particular interest are visits to the sanctuary of San Miguel de Aralar
, the caves of Astitz, the acanthus bushes of Larraun and Ertzilla, in Iribas, or the ironworks of Betelu. In Leitza
, home of rural sports, the huge town hall and the church with its porticos stand out particularly. Leitzalarrea
is very close by, an exceptional forest with 37 distinct species of trees.