Holiday Highlights . . .

• Stunning Basque guesthouse with guided walks from the door
• Dinner parties with private cook, wine seminars and music concerts
• Meet mountain shepherds and join ancient Basque festivals
• Explore Basque history, traditions and WW2 escape lines.
• Family business with over 20 years of experience

The Basque Mountain Experience (expert-led guided walking weeks)

Clandistine Pathways of the Pyrenees
The paths of the Basque Pyrenees echo with the footsteps of pilgrims, smugglers, witches, allied pilots and political refugees. But NOT with the sound of tourists. Due to previous political tensions (and the reserved nature of the Basque people) walkers find the hills to themselves and a living mountain culture of ancient traditions and human integrity.

Walking with Ancient Basque Culture and Gastronomy in the Pyrenees

Our relaxed guided walking weeks are run in English and offer a unique experience of the beautiful, fairytale landscapes of the Basque Pyrenees which still escape the main tourist trail. We walk the hills and celebrate feasts and fiestas with locals, shepherds and personal friends.

Each evening we run private dinner parties 'en famile' and organise an exclusive programme of cultural events; wine seminars, cooking demonstrations and music concerts. And as the evening unwinds we reveal the history, traditions and secrets of these Basques medieval landscapes (and - at times - other secrets too!).

Putting my hand in the fire (and there are fires to put hands in!) I promise guests some of the most charming and uncharted walks in Western Europe.

Walks

Basque Walks

Views from our Basque guesthouse in the Pyrenees.

Views from our Basque guesthouse in the Pyrenees.

The guided walks on our Total Basque Mountain Experience weeks cover between 12 – 16 kms a day (some 4 – 5 hrs) with ascents / descents ranging from between 300 – 500 metres. However, this is not dangerous walking terrain and the walks are taken at a very relaxed pace with never an opportunity missed to stop for a cool beer in a village bar. During the walks we explore the history, culture and folklore of these mysterious mountain villages and offer our guests an array of personal anecdotes taken from our lives in the Basque Pyrenees: an area hailed as the cradle of Basque culture; one of the oldest cultures alive in Europe today.

Smugglers and shepherds have donated a labyrinth of paths to the Basque borderlands of the Spanish Pyrenees.   Each morning - to the sound of sheep's bells and the cries of vultures - we step out from the door over mountain streams and onto the grassy ridge tops that lead away from the house. These walks wind their way over hill and dale, past crumbling barns in chestnut groves, curling their way around fields and vegetable gardens, water mills and washing stones. and on towards the medieval villages along the valley floor.

To see examples of a couple of our 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.

Independent walkers may be interested in exploring the 200 km of circular walks documented from the farmhouse door on one of our Self-Guided Walking & Basque Culture Holidays. 

Delicious!

Basque Gastronomy

Edorta joins us for tapas before an evening of Basque ballads

Edorta joins us for tapas before an evening of Basque ballads

Each guided walk draws up for lunch at a local family restaurant / tapas bar or watermill and - of-course - our favourite restaurant in the village of Donamaria (which actually turned down a Michelin star!). Each walk comes with a different 'off-the-beaten' track gastronomy experience - and each culinary experience offers us a different insight into the local culture and traditions.

When there are local festivals we often sit down at the table with the villagers and shepherds and share their celebrations side-by-side.

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
  • Lunchtime meals and wine in a variety of hand-picked local inns and restaurants
  • Full three-course evening meals with wine and a private chef.

Cooking demonstrations / wine seminars and a cultural programme of talks and Basque music are part of our house-party programme.

Views from Pyrenean Experience guesthouse in Ituren

Read more about our House Party Ethos.

Accommodation

Guests are lodged in a separate wing of our home in one of our 5 en-suite double rooms, each with a view over the valley. 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.

 

Magic!

Basque Culture and Pagan Festivals

Pagan Basque Festival in Zubieta

Pagan Basque Festival in Zubieta

The pagan origins of our festivals in our mountain hamlet of Ituren, on the outskirts of the Baztan Valley, are the subject of many anthropological studies and lie at the very core of our village identity. The solemn rituals of the Joaldunak, (Guardian photo report 2018), with their whips, bells and lace petticoats are said to be some of the oldest pre-christian rites in Europe.

The Joaldunak can be witnessed on several occasions during the year and - where possible - we join the locals at these fiestas. Village banquets, midsummer bonfires, Autumn festivals, mushroom hunts and apple-blessing ceremonies may also enter the plot. Due to the vagaries of village life, fiesta dates do sometimes change, new festivals appear and the ever-changing social calendar is a constant source of surprise!

Walking with Basque Culture and Gastronomy House Parties

2019

Walking & Ancient Basque Traditions

Wednesday 18th - 25th September 2019

This week coincides with the ancient Basque festival in my village of the Joaldunak - a festival dating back to pre-christian times, studied by anthropologists worldwide. This is NOT a tourist affair and we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to integrate and mix with the Basque mountain community.

Walking & Ancient Midsummer's Festivals

Friday 21st - 28th June 2019

The nights are long and we can dine out on the terrace watching the sun set on the valley below our house. On the 23rd June, the eve of San Juan, the Basque mountain villages erupt with pagan fire festivals and dance offering us an opportunity of joining in.

Walking & Autumn Colours

Monday 30th September - 7th October & Thursday 10th - 17th October 2019

In autumn the deciduous trees of oak, chestnut, walnut, ash and beech transform into a kaleidoscope of golds, reds and tangerines. Add the lively village calendar of harvest and mushroom festivals, and the opening of the cider houses, and this is a spectacular time to explore the Basque Pyrenees.

Price

1300 € OR £950 plus 250€ (per person due on arrival).

Price includes ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING and there are NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS. Price includes full-board accommodation with en-suite bathrooms at our family farmhouse. (We have just 5 / 6 rooms meaning these are very personal and exclusive holidays). All food, all wine, all restaurant meals. A unique 5 1/2 day walking/cultural/gastronomy programme. We also provide a free pick-up travel service at specific times.

Visit!

Location

Ituren is a small village in the western Pyrenees in northern Navarra. We are situated just 30 minutes south of the French border, an hour south-west of Biarritz, an hour south-east of the glorious seaside town of San Sebastian and an hour north of the medieval town of Pamplona.

You can arrive to our farmhouse by car, by public transportation from San Sebastian or Pamplona to our local village of Santesteban/Doneztebe (where we can meet you) and we also offer a free shuttle service from Biarritz airport at specific times. PLEASE ASK FOR TRAVEL DETAILS.

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