Self-Guided Walking Holidays in the Pyrenees
Holiday Highlights

Self guided walks icon Pyrenean Experience

Documented Trails

Detailed maps of 10 circular walks from the front door. 200 km of walking trails. Free guided walks offered. No need for a car.

Self guided walks - Pyrenean Experience

Diversity

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

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All-inclusive

Inclusive 'open-house' holidays for individuals, couples and small groups. Cultural activities unavailable to the general public

Exclusive Events

Informal dinner parties, personal chef and private gastronomy and cultural programme

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Tradition

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

The Total Basque Mountain Experience

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

Circular self-guided walks from the house

Our self-guided walking holidays in the Pyrenees offer full logistic support and are perfect for discerning, independent travellers, curious to learn more about the landscapes through which they walk.

Situated in a magical region of the Basque Country, far off the beaten tourist trail, our Total Basque Mountain Experience Walking Weeks offer at least 10 self-guided circular walks from my farmhouse door. No car is needed.

On the first day we offer a fully guided orientation walk to help our guests understand the lie of the land. During the week we also offer - free of charge - a couple of optional guided, behind-the scenes forays into the culture, history and traditions of the Basque mountain people. 

 

You need not simply follow your maps from one 'picture postcard' village to the next. These holidays also give you the opportunity to understand these landscapes in more depth and to appreciate the culture and values of the people that you meet en route.

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! Midweek, day trips to San Sebastian, Pamplona and Biarritz are also easily organised from the house.

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

The Basque Pyrenees Revealed

A different view at every turn

We are situated 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 while Griffon vultures fly high in the sky above us.

These personal, self-guided walking weeks from my home in the Spanish Pyrenees, zigzag in and out of wooded glades of chestnut, oak and beech trees that change with the seasons, offering a photographer's paradise! 

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). And I am here too to kidnap you from time to time and to entertain you with the legends and stories of the paths you walk.

These fully-supported 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

People need people

Basque music and tapas on the terrace

The last few years in tourism have reinforced my thinking on many subjects but, primarily, that people need people.

Firstly, although during the day you may be exploring the area on your own, in the evenings join us around the dinner table for an informal, international meeting of minds.  

On several evenings during the week, our cook freshly prepares delicious three-course evening meals, while on other evenings dinners are a simpler buffet affair. On these days we encourage our guests to make the most of the wonderful 'Menú del Día' lunches served at local village restaurants. There are many great opportunities to enjoy traditional Basque cuisine  - one of them even turning down a Michelin star! People need people and supporting our local community is also a vital part of our philosopy. 

Private Culinary and Cultural Programme

In addition to our house-party meals, we also organise a couple of private cultural and gastronomy events (which may change each week so I will keep them a secret for now). However, our aim is for our guests on these eclectic self-guided walking weeks in the Pyrenees to experience these landscapes not only in distance but also in as much depth as possible.

And inevitably, as the evening grows long and the sun sets on the valley, our conversations around the terrace table 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 Spanish/French Basque Pyrenees.

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 – 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

Open-house Policy

During the week we offer: 

  • Full continental breakfasts
  • A lunchtime sandwich/buffet service
  • Four three-course evening meals and three light buffet suppers with wine.
  • Privately arranged culinary and cultural events
  • An open-house for guests to help themselves freely to breads, cheeses, hams, salad, wine, coffee, tea, etc.  The house is always stocked and no one ever need go hungry! 
paella at the Pyrenean Experience
fresh basque produce
warm tossed salad in the Basque Country
pyrenean experience ituren in the Pyrenees

Ituren - our local village

Farmhouse

Guests on both these luxuary self-guided walking weeks are lodged in a separate wing of our home in one of our 5 en-suite double/twin rooms, each with a view over the Pyrenees and morning mists in the valleys below. These rooms can also be adapted for single and solo travellers.

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

* Welcome reception * Introductory guided history & culture walks * Orientation walk * Accommodation in ensuite rooms with mountain views * Three-course evening meals with wine * Lunchtime sandwich bar * 14 local maps & detailed walking notes * Private culinary & cultural programme

Spanish Lessons: Guests on our self-guided walking weeks can choose a 10-hour package of formal Spanish lessons and informal conversation with a professional Spanish teacher. These 10 hrs of Spanish lessons cost an additional 300 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 / 17th - 24th October 2022. PRICE 2022: 1100€ (per person sharing).

Self-Guided Walking Holidays in the Spanish Pyrenees 2023

DATES 2023: Thursday 1st - 8th June, Monday 12th - 19th June, Thursday 22nd - 29th June, Monday 3rd - 10th July 2023. Monday 4th - 11th September, Thursday 14th - 21st September, Monday 25th September - 2nd October, Thursday 5th - 12th October 2023. PRICE 2023: 1550€ (per person sharing).

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.

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