“I never go anywhere twice but … I have been on Georgina’s walking holidays in the Pyrenees four times now. The area is beautiful and Georgina creates a house party atmosphere which is so much better than other well-know holiday companies!” Chris, lawyer from Norfolk. See guest reviews .
Experience the life, landscapes, languages and food of the Basque Pyrenees
For almost two decades our Basque farmhouse on the outskirts of the Baztan Valley in the Spanish Pyrenees has run international house parties for walkers and linguists from all over the world.
Each week we invite guests into our home to join us for either guided walking or self-guided walking holidays in the Pyrenees and on a few select dates a year we also run our celebrated total immersion Spanish language holidays – made famous by reports in the Guardian, Observer and The Times.
Each holiday is unique; no week has ever been the same as we draw on the personal experiences of friends, neighbours and Spanish / Basque / English family to take our guests behind the scenes.
Basque shepherds, millers, smugglers, chefs and musicians offer us their backstage knowledge and a privileged insight into the culture and gastronomy of the wildly beautiful, medieval landscapes of the Baztan Valley and the Basque Pyrenees. Whether you are an independent walker exploring the 200 kms of documented walks that start at our farmhouse door, or guests on our guided Walking and Basque Culture Holidays or Spanish and Walking house parties, every path offers its own personal story and a unique window on the little-known (and often misunderstood) lives of the mountain Basque people.
Our exclusive Spanish language house parties offer the additional element of language and a dynamic total immersion Spanish language and walking holiday for enthusiastic adult learners. Hosted by native Spanish teachers and guides, they are open to a limited number of guests.
The weeks which offer guided walking and self-guided walking holidays in the Pyrenees are woven around a personally chosen potpourri of Basque fiestas and gourmet restaurants. Vultures, watermills and pagan Basque rituals (whips and lace petticoats!) all play their part!
An intercultural – often multilingual – meeting of minds at our mountain farm in the Pyrenees
However, all weeks are run in our unique open-house house-party style, offering our guests more than just walking holidays in the Pyrenees but a relaxed home-from-home, dinners on the terrace and a lively, intercultural (often multi-lingual) meeting of minds.
We welcome people of all ages and walks of life, embracing solo travellers with NO single supplements!
See reviews in THE TIMES, THE OBSERVER, THE GUARDIAN and THE DAILY MAIL or see over 80 guests’ COMMENTS on their experiences during their stay.
Who are we?
We are a small family company totally integrated into the traditional farming community of Ameztia, Ituren, a tiny hamlet in the Pyrenees in the Basque Country. I am English, a linguist, mountain guide and mother!. My Basque/Spanish partner, Iñaki, is a lawyer and Spanish teacher and Marion is my young shepherdess-of-a-daughter and an aspiring ballet dancer! We support the local community and work closely with our neighbours who genuinely welcome people onto their farms.
(Sagrario is amazed that the home-made sheep´s cheese she makes on the farm next door has travelled as far as Australia!).
We love our work, which has allowed us all to meet wonderful people. Almost two decades on, the cultural exchanges in Ameztia still excite and enrich us all.
Where are we?
Ameztia is a picturesque farming hamlet in the Pyrenees. It lies within the jurisdiction of the Basque village of Ituren, which has a population of over 500 people and a lively cultural life. Circled by river valleys and green mountain ranges, Ituren makes an idyllic base for walking holidays in the Pyrenees. It lies on the outskirts of the famous Baztan Valley which, despite its ‘official’ location in the north of Navarre, offers a unique insight into the cultural soul of the Basque Country. We are situated less than an hour north of the medieval city of Pamplona and an hour south of the glorious beaches of Biarritz and lively tapas bars of San Sebastian.
Although most of Ituren’s buildings date back to the 16th -17th centuries, people have lived here since time immemorial and the village is acknowledged internationally for its Basque cultural roots.
The pagan carnivals held in January are now protected by UNESCO as part of Spain’s intangible cultural heritage and are hailed as possibly the oldest carnival rites in Europe. In September the villages holds its own private pagan ceremonies with the same Joaldunak carnival characters (the focal point of our own Guided Walking Holidays in the Pyrenees).
How do we do it?
Our ethos is relaxed and informal, the international house-party spirit is dynamic and fun and every meal and glass of wine is on the house (which seems the only civilised way to run a holiday!).
But do not be deceived by the lazy lunches on the terrace and the views of vultures circling below, for we are also a team of highly-focused professionals passionately dedicated to all that we do. We see absolutely no reason why the two should not go hand in hand!
Georgina Howard (Author: Freedom to Choose (1996). Breaking the Language Barrier (2001))
P.S. To get a closer idea of what we do, please check out the personal comments of over 80 guests or play the short videos we have prepared; we have thousands of photos and its seems the quickest way to give you a general overview of who we are and what we do. THANKS!
E-mail us or phone us on + 44 (0) 121 711 3428 or + 34 650 713 759 for further information.