Basque country walking holiday
Description of Basque country walking holiday
Enjoy a guided walking holiday in the Basque Pyrenees. A network of pretty trails spread out into the landscape from the doorstep of your host’s private home. Every day you’ll walk in a different direction through the wooded hills, to a different Basque mountain village.
Each walk comes with a story, and you’ll find yourself following in the footsteps of shepherds and smugglers, witches and World War II resistance fighters. On the way you’ll walk stretches of the Camino de Santiago and the Comet Line, an escape network which helped airmen escape occupied territories in World War II.
Whilst you’re only an hour from San Sebastian, Pamplona and Biarritz, it’s no exaggeration to say this area of Spain is unspoilt and undiscovered. Inland, the Basque region gets very little attention from tourists and you’ll be the only visitors – a total privilege. It means that you can see how real people live, and, thanks to your host, get to know them, too.
Georgina, your host, has lived in the area for over 20 years and can give you a truly local experience. In the evenings her friends, whether they’re her shepherding neighbours, local musicians or wine experts, pop round for dinner and demonstrations. One night you could be listening to a private music recital, the next learning about local wine and sampling organic tapas. Georgina’s trips regularly feature in the national press, including the Times and the Guardian.
You’ll all stay in beautiful private home, its windows looking beyond the gardens towards the surrounding hills. On its south-facing terraces you can unwind with evening aperitifs, before retiring to the dining room for dinner from the chef. This is an all inclusive holiday, the food and drink flow freely, and there are no single supplements.
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PlanetWe have renovated a Basque farmhouse and its barn with local wood and sandstone and the help of of Basque builders from our village.
We heat the house as much as possible with wood – which often consists of fallen trees and brush from our own land. The water from the house comes from our own spring and strict instructions are given on how to economise the use of water. All clients are asked to bring their own water bottle and fill up from mountain springs during the week.
Our carbon footprint is kept low by the fact that about 80% of all our walks and activities start and finish at the front door and hence we very rarely need any form of transport.
We are adapting the woods on the land to attract birds and leave food for them in the trees. Organic rests are also used on the vegetable garden : such as egg shells, orange peels and coffee grounds.
PeopleAll our staff live here in these Basque valleys within a few kilometres of the house and are encouraged to get involved in all aspects of our work. Their families and children are all invited to join in our activities and enjoy the house culture of music recitals, wine seminars and cooking demonstrations etc. Likewise the local Basque farmers from my hamlet are invited to participate in these activities too. Naturally all free of charge.
We are cultural facilitators and linguists and an important objective of our work is to integrate our guests into the local culture and introduce them to the farming community. We teach them the values and traditions of the area and encourage them all to learn some words of Basque and Spanish as a token of respect. Many guests send presents to my neighbours on their return.
We participate in local festivals, paying into the local economy and buying artisan products. Naturally cheeses, vegetables, liqueurs and cuts of meat are all sourced locally when possible.