Breakfast in the Baztan Valley

Our Farmhouse
A home-from-home

A Spanish guesthouse with a view above the Baztan Valley le of the Pyrenees

Experience the Basque Pyrenees

Guided & Self-Guided Walking Weeks

basque market produce

Cooking Demonstrations & Wine Tastings

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".

Award-winning Walking Holidays in the Pyrenees - Pyrenean Experience

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! (Well, not until Michael Portillo turned up on my doorstep to film the Channel 5  'The Pyrenees with Michael Portillo' documentary in April 2022!)

Walking Experiences Straight from the Farmhouse Door

There is virtually no need for a car on any of our holidays. Some two hundred kilometres of idyllic, circular walks step out straight from our door, following the dry-stone walls and cobbled bridges built by the shepherds, millers, peddlers and smugglers of the Basque Pyrenees. Just put on your boots after breakfast and head off north, south, east or west. Within an hour or two's walk, you can reach many of the ten traditional Basque villages that lie along the river valleys that surround the house. Most of them have charming family-run bars and restaurants, providing great Basque food and tapas but also a privileged vantage point on local village life. 

inspirational views from our walking centre in the Pyrenees

Press Releases

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 in the Pyrenees sound-of-music trail

'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 Basque Pyrenees. My home is set in the hills high above the mountain villages of Zubieta, (where we filmed - and famous for its pagan festivals), and Ituren (Zubieta's arch rival!). Lived in and loved by the Basque farmers, these traditional - almost medieval - landscapes, not only offer a walkers paradise but also fascinating vignettes of Basque daily life. Our Total Basque Mountain Experience Walking Weeks are either 'fully guided' or 'self-guided' - (the latter being perfect for walkers of most levels, coming with maps, notes, orientation walks, talks and full logistic support). 

Spanish Language Immersion Holidays with Gentle Country Walks

In 2021, The Times voted our Total Immersion Spanish Language and Walking Holidays in the Pyrenees as one of the 'Top Ten Learning Holidays Worldwide'.  Run in our inimitable 'open-house' style - and with just 5 guest bedrooms at the house - these personable language holidays combine relaxed country walks, great food, wine, Spanish lessons and round-the-clock Spanish conversation. We are a highly-trained team of professionals integrating our teaching into every walk, lunch, lesson and activity. With the help of friends, neighbours and local experts we focus on friendly and authentic dialogue with Spanish speakers - perfect for discerning adult students of Spanish wanting to avoid impersonal city language schools.

English lessons over lunch in Ituren
medieval bridge Sunbilla
Comet Line walk and views from the Carlist towers en route

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 young Belgian woman, André de Jong (Dédée) who nursed Allied soldiers and pilots stranded behind enemy lines. Approximately 800 pilots were saved by the Comet Line and about 1200 people were involved in guiding, lodging, feeding and clothing the pilots along the way - many of them being women and children. If you are interested in walking the final stretches of the Comet Line, visiting the ravines of the Bidasoa river, the safe houses and mountain passes please get in touch. I can sometimes organise small, private organised tours.

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 - noble 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 pretty area, and finish the day sampling their world-famous Basque cuisine and wines.

This programme can be tailor-made to include walks of varying levels depending on our guests' interests and abilities.

tailor made walking groups in the Pyrenees
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 recent manuscript, Life on a Basque Mountain', 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: I believe very much in 'Carpa Diem'. Our walking holidays in the Pyrenees are vaguely idiosyncratic - no day is ever the same. I don't like to tie up the week with unnecessary timetables and prefer to work spontaneously, deciding on the activities depending on the weather, my guests' interests, and the local people and festivals we meet 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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