Self-Guided Walking Holidays in the Pyrenees
Holiday Highlights

Self guided walks icon Pyrenean Experience

Documented Trails

Detailed maps of 15 circular walks from the front door. 200 km of beautiful walking trails

Self guided walks - Pyrenean Experience

Diversity

Villages, farms, rivers and mountains. Easy day trips to Pamplona & San Sebastian.

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All-inclusive

Inclusive 'open-house' holidays. Cultural activities unavailable to the general public

Exclusive Events

Informal dinner parties, private chef, wine tastings and Basque music concerts

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Tradition

Family business with 20 years of experience. Reviews in the Observer, Guardian and Times

The Total Basque Mountain Experience

Self-guided walking holidays in the Basque Pyrenees from our mountain farmhouse

Circular self-guided walks from the house

A Different Landscape at Every Turn

Our self-guided walking holidays in the Pyrenees take place in a region that few people know. We live in the traditional Basque farmlands of the western Pyrenees which offer a very different walking experience from the glaciated valleys of the high Pyrenees or the Alps. These landscapes are softer, dissected by hundreds of mountain streams and river valleys and dotted with tiny medieval villages and isolated homesteads. Each turn of the path reveals another landscape and breathtaking views - Griffon vultures flying high in the sky above us (the focus of some of our walks on our guided walking holidays). These self-guided walking weeks in Spain zigzag in and out of wooded glades of chestnut, oak and beech trees which change with the seasons and offer a photographer's paradise!

Walking in the Pyrenees sound-of-music trail
Autumn colours on our self-guided walking holidays in the Pyrenees

There is ABSOLUTELY no need to change accommodation every night when there are so many varied walking trails from just one door!

mountain farms in the Bidasoa Valley
Mists in the Baztan Valley near Amaiur
basque bracken stacks

The Basque Pyrenees Revealed

Guests joining our self-guided walking weeks in the Pyrenees are provided with 14 detailed maps and extensive walking notes which are up-dated weekly. Each walking kit also comes with a booklet on the history and culture of the Basque mountain farmers of the Pyrenees,  giving an important dimension to each of the walks. But how could I invite guests into my home without giving them a personal introduction to my area? So, naturally, on the first days, I  offer you a couple of guided orientation walks too, making sure that you are happy using the maps and have a feel for the lie of the land. These self-guided walks also offer an introduction to the history of Basque mountain and village life.

Decide over breakfast on our terrace which landscape or village to visit each day. No rush. No timetables. There are walks for most levels (see below).

These fully-supported, hand-held walking holidays are also perfect for walkers embarking on a self-guided walking holiday for their first time.

kitten hitching lift on rucksack

Local Gastronomy and Basque Secrets

Basque music and tapas on the terrace

Yet there is another important dimension to our self-guided walking holidays in the Pyrenees. Each evening all our guests enjoy an informal dinner party around the farmhouse table facilitated by our private chef who cooks freshly-prepared 3-course meals each evening, accompanied by unlimited local wines and beers. Throughout the week we also organise a programme of cultural events: wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and Basque music recitals so that guests on these self-guided walking weeks in the Pyrenees experience the landscapes not only in distance but in depth.

Inevitably, conversations turn to tales of the Basque shepherds, smugglers and witches and also the World War II COMET escape lines that crossed these mysterious borderlands of the Basque Pyrenees - the theme of some of the walks on our guided walking holidays.

pyrenean experience views of the Pyrenees
Pyrenean Experience outside terrace and sofa area
Views from the Pyrenean Experience dining room

The Total Basque Mountain Experience

Self-guided walking weeks in the Pyrenees for all levels

easy walk icon

Gentle

These walks follow gentle country paths around our hamlet and along grassy ridge tops without descending to the valley floor. Our 4.2 km farm walk weaves between farmsteads and meadows giving walkers the chance to observe the shepherds at work on their farms. There are other gentle walks around the 17th century villages on the valley floor.

Moderate

The majority of the walks are of moderate difficulty and link one or several of the 10 villages surrounding our farmhouse. These 8 km – 15 km village-to-village river walks (with 300 – 500m ascents) pass through quintessential Basque villages such as Ituren, Zubieta, Elgorriaga, Donestebe, Donamaria and Saldias. Here you can stop for a drink or a Basque lunch in the bar and observe village life.

Challenging

For more advanced walkers we have multiple 18km plus crest top and summit walks. The higher peaks of Mendaur to the north and Muñazorrotz to the south (both over 1000 m) can be reached by a 5 – 7hr mountain walk with a 800 – 1000 m altitude gain with views of the Atlantic and the Central Pyrenees. From here there are long ridgetop walks before descending again to the valley floor.

To see examples of a couple of our self-guided walks in the Pyrenees such as the gentle Ameztia Farm and Meadow Walk 4.2 km (Ituren) or the high-level mountain walk Ituren -Mt. Mendaur - Elgorriaga Walk 17.8km click here.

Further information on our self-guided walking weeks in the Pyrenees

Baztan Valley at Dawn - pyreneanexperience.com

Our family farmhouse and walking centre in the Basque Pyrenees

Spanish Dinner party in Navarre

Meals

Guests are invited to help themselves to coffee, tea, beer, wine and biscuits etc.  The house is always full of bread, cheeses, fruits, salad and wine and so no one ever need go hungry! We provide:

  • Full continental breakfasts
  • A sandwich service is provided for our guests on the self-guided walking holidays
  • Full three-course evening meals with wine and a private chef as well as a full cultural and gastronomy 'house-party' programme
paella at the Pyrenean Experience
fresh basque produce
warm tossed salad in the Basque Country

There are many great, family-run restaurants in the villages, and walkers joining one of our self-guided walking weeks in the Pyrenees often opt to have lunch in one of the villages that lie on their walks. These moments in village inns also offer a fascinating window on local village life.

One of our favourite Basque restaurants in Donamaria even turned down a Michelin star! With wonderful gardens leading down to the river, this is one of our most beloved places on a sunny afternoon!

pyrenean experience ituren in the Pyrenees

Ituren - our local village

Farmhouse

Guests on both our guided and self-guided walking weeks are lodged in a separate wing of our home in one of our 5 en-suite double rooms, each with a view over the Pyrenees and morning mists in the valleys below. These rooms are also suitable for single and solo travellers and there is no single supplement. 

Here you can breakfast on our sunny south-facing terraces or enjoy evening aperitifs in our landscaped gardens. Our guests have full use of our open-plan kitchen, library, living and dining spaces and a free self-service bar of tea, coffee, wine and beers. There is WIFI, central heating and a log fire.

Read more about our Farmhouse Accommodation.

Guesthouse gardens in the Pyrenees
Pyrenean Experience bedroom with garden terrace in the Baztan Valley
Pyrenean Experience B & B in Ituren views of our terrace

Basque Mountain Experience Self-Guided Walking Weeks
Price 2022: €1100 Euros (based on two people sharing)

* Welcome reception * Introductory guided history & culture walk * Orientation walk * Full board accommodation in ensuite rooms * Three-course evening meal with wine * Lunchtime sandwich bar * 14 local maps & detailed nalking notes * Private evening cultural & gastronomy programme

Spanish Lessons: Guests on our self-guided walking weeks can choose a 10 hour package of formal Spanish lessons and informal conversation at beginners/elementary level with a professional Spanish teacher. These 10 hrs of Spanish lessons cost an additional 250 Euros per booking.

Self-Guided Walking Holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees 2022

DATES 2022: Friday 29th April - 6th May / Wednesday 8th - 15th June / Tuesday 21st - 28th June / Friday 29th July - 5th August / Tuesday 9th - 16th August / Monday 12th - 19th September / Monday 26th September - 3rd October / Thursday 6th - 13th October / Thursday 27th October - 3rd November 2022

Further information

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.

Press Releases

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