Breakfast in the Baztan Valley

Our Farmhouse
A home-from-home

Mists in the Baztan Valley near Amaiur

Experience the Basque Pyrenees

Guided & Self-Guided Walks from the Door

basque market produce

Superb Basque Food & Wine

English lessons over lunch in Ituren

Spanish Language & Walking Holidays

Wild horses in the Spanish Pyrenees

Tourist-Free Landscapes

Edorta singing Basque Ballads at Pyrenean Experience guesthouse

Guitar Recitals & History Talks

Ituren Joaldunak in Ameztia

Basque Traditions & Mythology

lunch with friends after a day's walking in the Spanish Pyrenees

A Relaxed & Convivial Meeting of Minds

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Pyrenean Experience
Unique 'House Party' Walking Holidays in the Pyrenees

"Profiled in the 2022 Channel 5 documentary 'The Pyrenees with Michael Portillo".

The Basque Pyrenees

In a no-man’s land between Spanish Navarre and the Basque Country lie the ‘hobbit-like’ farmlands of the Basque Pyrenees. These tourist-free lands, often known as the ‘Basque Bermuda Triangle’, offer magical walking terrain. Our Pyrenean farmhouse lies at the heart of these landscapes, surrounded by white villages with medieval church spires and terraced fields; you will think you have stumbled onto a Tolkien screen set! Privately guided and self-guided walking holidays in the Pyrenees, Spanish immersion courses, WW2 resistance walks, history talks, great local wines and Basque music enter the plot - perhaps a pagan festival or disorientated smuggler or two. So join us backstage to experience a fairytale landscape that you - like myself some 20 years ago - probably never knew was here!

inspirational views from our walking centre in the Pyrenees
Autumn landscapes of the Pyrenees

All walks start at the door

In a no-man’s land between Spanish Navarre and the Basque Country lie the ‘hobbit-like’ farmlands of the Basque Pyrenees. These tourist-free lands, often known as the ‘Basque Bermuda Triangle’, offer magical walking terrain. Our Pyrenean farmhouse lies at the heart of these landscapes, surrounded by white villages with medieval church spires and terraced fields; you will think you have stumbled onto a Tolkien screen set! Privately guided and self-guided walking holidays in the Pyrenees, Spanish immersion courses, WW2 resistance walks, history talks, great local wines and Basque music enter the plot - perhaps a pagan festival or disorientated smuggler or two. So join us backstage to experience a fairytale landscape that you - like myself some 20 years ago - probably never knew was here!

Our Exclusive Products

* Total Basque Mountain Experience Guided & Self-Guided Walking Holidays * Spanish Immersion & Walking Holidays * WW2 Comet Line Tours * One Day Basque Experience Tours

Walking holidays in the Pyrenees

'Total Basque Mountain Experience' Walking Holidays in the Pyrenees

In the Channel 5 documentary, 'The Pyrenees with Michael Portillo', I introduce Michael to the fairytale landscapes of the Pyrenees. My home lies in the hills above the mountain villages of Ituren and Zubieta (where we flimed). The Basques love their land, and these traditional - almost medieval - landscapes, offer a walkers' paradise and fascinating vignettes of Basque daily life. Our Total Basque Mountain Experience Walking Weeks are perfect for walkers of most levels. They offer guests access to over 10 self-guided circular walks, mapped from the farmhouse door and are studded with cultural events, stories and guided expeditions backstage into all things Basque

Spanish Immersion Courses for Adults

Voted one of the 'top ten learning holidays worldwide' by the Sunday Times (2021) our Spanish immersion courses have been welcoming guests for the past 20 years. These total immersion Spanish courses combine beautiful, relaxed walks through this ideal countryside with round-the-clock Spanish conversation with locals, friends, teachers and neighbours. There is also daily formal tuition every afternoon on the terrace. These eclectic, lively 'house-party' styled Spanish immersion weeks combine behind-the-scenes forays into the local culture and gastronomy, and unite intriguing local characters with their stories. With just 5 bedrooms at our farmhouse, these small, personal and relaxed weeks are ideal for discerning adults who love languages, people and landscapes. 

Spanish Immersion courses in the Pyrenees
medieval bridge Sunbilla
Comet Line walk and views from the Carlist towers en route

Smuggling & Resistance One-day Tours
The World War II COMET Line

The Comet Line was a famous resistance network operating between 1941 and 1944 during World War II.  It was the brainchild of a Belgian nurse, André de Jong (Dédée) who cared for Allied soldiers and pilots stranded behind enemy lines. In total about 800 pilots, soldiers and resistance workers were guided to safety over the Basque Pyrenees with the help of the local Basque farmers, smugglers and guides on both sides of the border - many of them women and children. Help us keep this amazing story of human bravery alive by joining one of our tours to visit the safe houses, ravines and border crossings.

Basque Mountain Experience - One-day Tour for Groups

This one-day immersion programme on the Basque Culture picks up the thread of the recent Channel 5 documentary 'In the Pyrenees with Michael Portillo' - where I acted as his guide to the Basque mountain culture of the Pyrenees.

During this tour, we visit the traditional Basque village of Zubieta (which featured in episode one), and explore the culture, history, pagan mythology and identity of these enigmatic Basque mountain people: lovers of their land, and guardians of their unique and fascinating language, Euskara (Basque). 

Through a series of gentle village and mountain walks into the foothills of the Basque Pyrenees, we explore the landscapes and villages of this extremely traditional area, and complete the day sampling their world-famous Basque cuisine and wines in a little-known Michelin-recommended restaurant hidden in the hills.

Winter in the Pyrenees and bringing in the ferns

Press Releases

Hikers enjoy life back at our farm in the Pyrenees

Exclusive, Unique, Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

NONE of our holidays is a Lego-like package of walks + food + accommodation, but rather a totally integrated ‘experience’ of this amazing area. We run informal, open-house, personal (and personable) holidays where all our guests are made to feel part of the family. We like it this way.

We draw our support from a local team of cooks, historians, musicians, shepherds, teachers and guides who bring life, humour and integrity to every day, and stories and anecdotes to every path we walk. Here we travel in both distance and in depth. 

paella at the Pyrenean Experience
fresh basque produce
warm tossed salad in the Basque Country

Passion & Dedication

We love our work and are acutely aware that these cultural exchanges with our guests vastly enrich our lives.

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, we are also a team of highly-focused professionals, passionately dedicated to all we do. Is there any reason why the two should not go hand in hand?

Georgina guiding her private walking holidays in the Pyrenees
bee on flowers

A friendly farmhouse in the Pyrenees and a relaxed home-from-home

Farmhouse Life

The farmhouse is situated in a tiny hamlet above the 'rival' villages of Ituren and Zubieta. It has just 5 en-suite guest rooms, each one with awe-inspiring views.

It is a relaxed and friendly place set amid landscaped gardens with comfy sofas, libraries of books and a fully-stocked kitchen, and our guests are invited to feel at home as soon as they arrive.

Lazy conversations on the terrace or over dinner are a constant source of inspiration and bonhomie.

See reviews in Tripadvisor, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Observer, Guardian and Daily Mail.

pyrenean experience welcome tapas on the terrace at our farmhouse walking centre in the Pyrenees
Pyrenean Experience bedroom with garden terrace in the Baztan Valley
Pyrenean Experience B & B in Ituren views of our terrace

Last Opportunity Tourism

Despite the Basques’ umbilical attachment to their land, this patchwork of neatly-tended fields and chestnut groves is slowly changing as younger generations look for more modern and less time-consuming occupations. We are lucky in my hamlet of Ameztia, (Ituren), that my neighbour’s son, Iñaki, has taken over the sheep farm and our lands remain in competent hands for the time being.

Nevertheless, there is no better time than now to experience these immaculately beautiful – Tolkienesque – landscapes of the Basque Pyrenees.

Our Team

Georgina Howard

A language lover, teacher and writer, I first discovered the Basque Country with the help of an old Ford Escort called Fred, a Spanish-English dictionary, a pair of walking boots and a box of English tea bags. I grew up near Birmingham but spent many years in Copenhagen where finally my passion for languages, maps and mountains rebelled and drove me south! Just before leaving Denmark, I published my first book, 'Freedom to Choose' and - in many respects - the Pyrenean Experience put theory to practice. My memoir, 'In the Footsteps of Smugglers - My Life on a Basque Mountain', to be published in the UK and US by Bradt in summer 2024, pays homage to the amazing shepherds who have stood by me through thick and thin, dug my car out of ditches and helped me raise, simultaneously, my fledgling business and my (bossy) Basque daughter, Marion.

Today we host our house parties together with an amazing team of Spanish-Basque family and friends. Our lives here are closely entwined with the local population, and my neighbours are proud to share their culture with our guests.

A WORD OF WARNING: These holidays are not for everyone! I believe very much in carpa diem. These walking holidays in the Pyrenees are vaguely idiosyncratic - no day is ever the same. I prefer NOT to tie up the week with unnecessary timetables and schedules but to work spontaneously, deciding on the activities according to the weather, my guests' interests, and the friends, locals and festivals we encounter en route.

Georgina Howard founder of Pyrenean Experience

Blog

Articles on the culture, languages, traditions and values of the Basque Pyrenees as well as stories taken from over two decades of our own, personal Pyrenean Experience.

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