Rural Paradise is the heart of Gipuzkoa, a landscape of green fields and mountains that captures the purest essence of Basque culture, together with its age-old customs and ancient language, Euskera. The fertile narrow valleys of Gipuzkoa's hinterland are dotted with unique places to visit, all with an authentic rural flavour and welcoming atmosphere that will make you want to stay a while.
That is Rural Paradise: meadows, forests, hills, peaks, rocks, valleys, tablelands and mountain ranges stretching across two spectacular natural parks. Aizkorri-Aratz, the roof of Euskadi, is accessible from the town of Zegama. Here is where you'll find the highest peak in the Basque Country, Aizkorri (1525 metres), and the best vantage point with views over the entire territory. The other park is Aralar, with the majestic Mt Txindoki (1033 metres), the most recognized mountain in Gipuzkoa.
Rural Paradise is probably the area where the essence of Basque culture has been best preserved. It's most likely the mountainous terrain that has kept the Basque language (Euskera, the oldest in Europe), customs and rural lifestyle strong generation after generation. This is the perfect destination to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of modern-day life, a chance to settle into a green paradise where you watch the sheep grazing, chat with the local farmers or get your hands dirty making bread or cheese.
This area is like a giant supermarket of season-fresh ingredients. The fertile gardens around every corner provide the highest quality fruits and vegetables, the livestock that graze peacefully in the fields make for the tastiest meat, and the farmhouses have used the same recipes for centuries to give us traditional cheese, desserts, bread, cider, paté, honey and other natural products. The best way to see it all in one place is at the Tolosa market (Saturdays) and the Ordizia market (Wednesdays). And for the more curious visitor, several food-related museums are also located in the area, including D'elikatuz, the Idiazabal Cheese Interpretation Centre and in Tolosa, the Gorrotxategi Museum.
Stroll, walk or run – take your choice, as long as it's in the mountains! You're in the perfect place. There's an endless number of well-signposted trails leading from one mountain range to another, as well as long-distance trails for the more ambitious trekker. There are also several flatter more accessible walks that skirt the mountains. The area even has the first mountain bike trail station in Spain. You'll find trails for every level, so lace up your boots and head to the hills!Iron and concrete were the main elements used by these two universal figures in a region where industry and machine tooling have been the economic bedrock for centuries.
Iron mining has played a very important part in the history of Gipuzkoa. The landscape of the Zerain area, in particular, has been marked by the local iron and coal mines.
In ancient times, this mythical site was believed to be the entrance to the underworld. As well as funerary remains, evidence has been found of prehistoric occupation.
The Larraitz district in Abaltzisketa is the natural gateway to the Aralar Nature Park.
Markets & local products
Xaxu, the Gorrotxategi confectionery museum in Tolosa, invites you to take a sweet tour of confectionery-making from the 14th to the 19th centuries.
The Tolosa International Puppet Centre is the only one of its kind in Europe.
Ormaiztegi is the setting for the Zumalakarregi Museum, a journey back to the Basque Country of the 19th century, a period of enormous social, cultural, economic and political upheaval.
Idiazabal cheese is one of the Gipuzkoa’s most authentic flavours, a gastronomic gem.
The Larruntza Mill, in the San Gregorio neighbourhood of Ataun, looks at the life and work of the prestigious anthropologist and ethnographer Joxemiel Barandiaran.
Ur Mara is the ideal spot to enjoy the essence of natural beauty and its relationship with art.
The D’Elikatuz food and gastronomy interpretation centre in Ordizia is the perfect place to learn about the textures and flavours of the land.
A new museum concept born from local initiative
Rural Paradise | Reservation Center
Nature and Gastronomy are the hallmarks of this area in the interior with its high mountains and hidden valleys. The traditional markets are well worth visiting: Tolosa Market (Saturdays) and Ordizia Market (Wednesdays), where we will be able to enjoy local products in an extraordinary setting.