Take a walk in the “Basque Highlands” and fill your lungs with pure mountain air

Take a walk in the “Basque Highlands” and fill your lungs with pure mountain air

Take a walk in the “Basque Highlands” and fill your lungs with pure mountain air

Goierri is the ideal place for anyone who enjoys the authentic things in life. This almost magical mountain territory in Gipuzkoa’s hinterland is relatively undiscovered. It’s an ideal place for a trek or a chance to enjoy traditional cuisine.

Friday Peace and quiet or a bit of atmosphere? You choose.

If you get to Goierri on a Friday afternoon, you have at least two choices.


  • You can head straight for your accommodation and revel in the calm, the landscape, the warm welcome and the family cooking. There are some beautiful farmhouses in any of the small villages in the region where you’ll get a wonderful night’s sleep. Some of them also offer meals and make their own cider.
  • Or you can soak up the atmosphere of one of the more lively towns — Beasain, Ordizia or Segura: all great for a few drinks. And if you pick Beasain, there’s a marvellous hotel at the Igartza historical monument. By day, it’s wonderful. By night, it is truly entrancing! Segura is the best-preserved medieval town in the Basque Country. It also hosts some great places to stay. Stroll the streets and visit the bustling town square. And if you decide to visit Ordizia, in the area around the well-known market you’ll find the best places to have a drink accompanied by something from the market. Talk about local!

Saturday Idiazabal Cheese and the San Adrián Tunnel, an unbeatable combination.

If you like good cheese, drop in to the Interpretation Centre for Idiazabal Cheese, one of the best cheeses in the world. You can also arrange a visit to a cheese dairy. In season, children will love playing with the lambs and you can learn all the secrets of cheesemaking, with tasting sessions of cider and txakoli wine. And you can follow in the footsteps of Emperor Charles V and visit the remarkable San Adrián Tunnel. The well-signposted ascent is very easy and takes about 2 hours, and there are some wonderful views to be had along the way. Set out from Zegama and the Aizkorri-Aratz Nature Park. You can do the entire walk or leave your car in the Aldaola car park and take the shorter 20-minute walk. And if you’ve worked up an appetite, may we recommend a typical place to eat: at the pass in Otzaurte, you can enjoy some exquisite pintxos of chorizo, morcilla black pudding and boiled meat. And if that isn’t enough, why not tuck into a delicious plate of beans?


Saturday In the afternoon, fun for all the family

Try some orienteering at the Anduetza Park Lodge (from July). You can choose from three different circuits with varying degrees of difficulty. The enclosed space is ideal for children aged 7+ to enjoy all the fun of orienteering and for parents to supervise them... or join in the fun. And when the sun goes down, once again you can choose between tranquillity or a bit of atmosphere. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy yourself.

Sunday Aralar Nature Park: a land of shepherds and mythological beings

The heart of Goierri is the Aralar Nature Park, a fantastic place for a Sunday visit. This land of shepherds and mythological beings is home to some beautiful mountains (including Mount Txindoki, which we call the Basque Matterhorn), megalithic monuments, one of the largest beech forests in the Basque Country and extensive mountain pasture land where you’ll find the local latxa breed of sheep… And it’s all within easy reach of the Lizarrusti Park Lodge (parketxe) (open from July), where you’ll get a warm welcome from José Ramón Aguirre (everyone calls him Marron), a top-class mountaineer who has made expeditions to Mongolia, Pakistan and Nepal.

Sunday The home of the “Father of Mythology”

Before you head up to the park lodge at Lizarrusti, we recommend a stop off in Ataun. The Sara farmstead —or Sara Etxea— was the last home of José Miguel de Barandiaran, a towering figure of Basque culture. This priest and scholar completely transformed our understanding of Basque prehistory and made an important collection of Basque myths and legends. From Sara Etxea, a short but beautiful stroll through the village of Ataun will take you to the Barandiaran Museum, where you can learn more about the magical universe of the Basques. With all the charm and grace of a typical house in the French Basque Country, this sixteenth-century mill is one of those hidden gems, like something from a fairy-tale, and it is open to the public. Many Basques from outside the Goierri area don’t even know of its existence.

Sunday The classic walk to Lareo

This magnificent walk, 6.7 kilometres (4.1 miles) long, starts at the park lodge (parketxe) in Lizarrusti: an almost level trail through a beech wood, a beautiful path, the river, the ravine and finally the picturesque reservoir of Lareo. And that’s just one of the options available: Aralar boasts 260-kilometres (160 miles) of paths and six trails, starting from the Aralar park lodge. It’s one of the best venues in the Basque Country for trekkers: this mountain range is home to 117 species and 11 protected habitats. And Navarre is just a stone’s throw away!


Sunday Zip-lines to work up an appetite

The adventure park beside the park lodge at Lizarrusti is a blast! Monitors are on hand to help you use the zip-lines and cross the rope bridge. Later, enjoy some homemade food at the lodge, made from seasonal produce: beans in winter, artichokes and mushrooms in spring or “a plate of beans: with local beans and craft morcilla (black pudding) from the village butcher”. In summer, salads with local tomatoes, fresh green beans and a delicious Russian salad. And there’s always plenty of lamb in a tomato and pepper sauce, beef cheek and ribs. And to finish off, don’t forget to try the junket dessert. The restaurant is open every day except Monday from July to October).