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The Cave of Zugarramurdi

Caves

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The Caves of Zugarramurdi
The Caves of Zugarramurdi
Preparación del zikiro-jate
Cueva de Zugarramurdi
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The Caves of Zugarramurdi
In the western Pyrenees, past Baztan and just a short distance from the French border, lies Zugarramurdi, the village of witches, where fantasy and reality blend to treat the imagination with the opportunity to take a thrilling trip back in time.

The cave, 400 metres from Zugarramurdi, can be visited from 9.00 am until nightfall. There are no stalagmites or stalactites and no cave paintings. However, it conserves an almost unique attraction: a magical halo that surrounds it because until the 17th century it was the scene of akelarres (covens), pagan rituals in which men and women escaped from daily routine through wild parties, dancing around bonfires and holding orgies by moonlight.

It is a natural enclave in which echoes of history and legend abound. It is really worth discovering, and if you are curious about the world of witchcraft, round off your visit at the museum of the witches.

Zugarramurdi, part of the Witchcraft Route, is a small village of just over 200 inhabitants located in the western Pyrenees of Navarre next to the border with France. Its streets and white houses contrast with the endless palette of greens that colour the surroundings.

On leaving the village, just 400 metres further on you will come across a natural setting of breathtaking beauty: the Olabidea stream, which originated in Hell according to its Basque name "Infernuko erreka". This stream has excavated a natural tunnel 120 metres long with walls of up to 12 metres high and two raised galleries.

There are no stalactites, stalagmites or cave paintings in the cave, but its unique appeal lies in their vastness and the legends that surround them. In it is easy to imagine the akelarres, and sense the stories that speak of witchcraft, pagan rituals and banquets presided over by the Devil. The names the cave have been called accentuate its relationship with that magical world. It is known as "Sorgin Leze" (witches' cave) on the most open side of the tunnel and as "Akelarre Leze" (covens' cave) in its narrowest part.

Myth or reality? What is true is that history linked the name of Zugarramurdi to witchcraft for ever thanks to the Auto de Fe of 1610. Constant accusations of preparation of potions, spells and witchcraft led the Inquisitor Valle-Alvarado to take 40 'suspects' to Logroño, where the Court of the Inquisition sentenced 11 people to die at the stake. Five of them, already dead, were burnt later. A plaque at the entry to the cave recalls the names of the people who died.

A celebration relives the festive use for which the caves were used each year. It takes place on 18th August, the last day of the village's festivities, which is when the traditional zikiro jate takes place, a multitudinous meal attended by 800 people at which lamb roasted on stakes is served.

A picturesque and easy walk links this cave with those at Zugarramurdi and Sare: the 6.75-kilometre-long Sendero de los Contrabandistas (smugglers' path). It is signposted with a blue horse, involves no difficulty and runs peacefully through meadows and woods.

  • Recommeded route for getting to know the area around the cave of Zugarramurdi.
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    Did you know that...?

    "Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi", película dirigida por Alex de la Iglesia y protagonizada por actores de primera fila como Carmen Maura, Terele Pávez o Hugo Silva, rodada en gran parte en este escenario, fue premiada con 8 Goyas en 2014.

    Location

    Associated path: Sendero de las cuevas.

    Opening hours

    Otoño:

    • Septiembre: de martes a domingo, de 11:00 a 19:30. Lunes, cerrado.
    • Del 1 al 28 de octubre: martes, de 11:00 a 13:30 y de 15:00 a 18:00. De miércoles a viernes, de 11:00 a 18:00. Sábados y domingos, de 11:00 a 19:00. Lunes, cerrado.
    • A partir del 29 del octubre: martes, de 11:00 a 13:30 y de 15:00 a 17:30. De miércoles a domingo, de 11:00 a 17:30. Lunes, cerrado.
    • Puente de El Pilar (del 12 al 15 de octubre): día 12 de 11:00 a 19:30. Días 13, 14 y 15, de 11:00 a 19:00.
    • Día 1 de noviembre (festivo): horarios sin cambios.
    • Puente de diciembre (del 2 al 10 de diciembre): de 11:00 a 17:30.

    Invierno:

    • Diciembre: martes, de 11:00 a 13:30 y 15:00 a 17:30. De miércoles a domingo, de 11:00 a 17:30. Lunes cerrado.
    • Del 1 al 15 de enero: de lunes a viernes, cerrado. Sábados y domingos, de 11:00 a 18:00.
    • A partir del 16 de enero y febrero: martes, de 11:00 a 13:30 y de 15:00 a 18:00. De miércoles a domingo, del 11:0 a 18:00. Lunes, cerrado.
    • Marzo: martes, de 11:00 a 13:30 y de 15:00 a 18:00.De miércoles a viernes, de 11:00 a 18:00. Sábados y domingos, de 11:00 a 19:00
    • Navidad (del 23 de diciembre al 7 de enero): horarios sin cambios, salvo los días 24 y 31 de diciembre, de 11:00 a 14:00 y el 25 de diciembre, cerrado.

    PRICES

    Precio entrada: 4,00 €

    Remarks: niños (6-12 años): 2€. Descuento de 1€ por persona si se adquire entrada para el museo de las brujas y para las cuevas.

    Opening hours, dates and guide prices. We recommend you confirm with the entity in question.