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The Baztan Valley

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Valle de Baztan
Elizondo
Amaiur/Maya
Valle de Baztan
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Valle de Baztan
Ensconced in the Atlantic Pyrenees, the Baztan Valley stretches across northern Navarre between the mountain passes of Belate and Otsondo. It is the largest municipality in Navarre, covering an area of 364 square kilometres and encompassing fifteen towns: Oronoz-Mugaire, Arraioz, Irurita, Almandoz, Berroeta, Aniz, Ziga, Lekaroz, Gartzain, Elbetea, Arizkun, Azpilikueta, Erratzu, Amaiur and Elizondo, the valley's main town.

It is a valley characterised for being a land of minor nobles and indianos, people who returned from the Americas with a great fortune which they invested in the valley. The result: several noble houses and farmhouses of pinkish stone with large balconies; monasteries and mediaeval bridges over rushing rivers; haystacks spread over meadow and hills; leafy woods; megalithic monuments and caves… and pilgrims, witches and smugglers also left their mark. You can now follow their footsteps along a number of routes: the Pilgrims' Way through the Baztan valley, the route of the witches and the smugglers' path that links the nearby caves at Urdax, Zugarramurdi and Sare.

In the Baztan valley there are many things to be enjoyed. Starting with simple paths, because in this In these lands, the crests of the Navarrese Pyrenees lean down towards the sea gradually becoming gentler; museums for all tastes, mills still in operation, excellent food and traditions that have been conserved through the centuries. Furthermore, many of its farmhouses have been turned into cosy rural accommodation where you can enjoy the customs and welcoming character of the people of Baztan, forged by the temperate climate of the area.

The Baztan valley offers an outline drawn by the 1000-metre peaks that frame farmhouses and huts are dotted across the slopes where livestock grazes at leisure. The best view of the region is from the Baztan lookout in the municipality of Ziga. Or from the Otsondo pass, at an altitude of 600 metres, you can enjoy a panoramic view towards the coast. Taking a small road on the right-hand side, go up to the peak of Gorramendi, which has equally stunning views.

Once you have enjoyed the panoramic view, it is worth making an excursion into the valley to get to know its many nuances and attractions. The mark of history is evident in every corner of the valley. The dolmen station at Izpegi or the megaliths at Erratzu-Alduides tell us of prehistoric settlers and numerous fortress-towers and armouries recall the border conflicts of the Middle Ages. Outstanding because of its unique characteristics the Jaureguizar House in Arraioz, a palace-fortress of the Ursúa family in Arizkun, palaces used as armouries as Jarola and Ascoa in Elbete, the Palace of Arizkunenea> (now the culture centre), or Casa Puriosenea (now the Baztan Museum) of Elizondo.

Another important aspect of this valley is its relationship with the Pilgrims' Way to Compostela. Pilgrims coming from Bayonne (France) crossed the western Pyrenees via the Dantxarinea pass and enter the valley. Mute witnesses to that era are constructions such as the chapel of Santiago in Azpilikueta and the pilgrims' hospice in Elizondo. In general, it can be said that the religious art of the Baztan valley is characterised for its monumental nature and for some extremely valuable works, such as the early Herrerian style of the church of San Lorenzo in Ziga, dating from the 16th century.

It is a valley where legend and mythological figures quite often get mixed up with other real people, although with mysterious haloes. This is the case of the agotes., a group of uncertain origin that attract visitors to Arizkun, where you can visit the Sculpture Park of the sculptor Xabier Santxotena.

Another attraction in this Pyrenean valley is trekking. Among a host of options, we find the Abartan Way. A tour of 12,60 km witness of a thousand-year-old pastoral culture that starts from Ziga, or the beautifull path of the waterfall of Xorroxin. It gets to the stunning waterfall of Erratzu, in a setting of luxuriant vegetation.

Baztan also has a rich heritage of folklore, which materialise in the general use of the Basque language, the alboka and the txalaparta musical instruments, and in dances to the sound of the txistu and the kettle-drum. Traditions that have become festivities. You will see livestock fairs, carnivals, pelota competitions or the 'fraternity' meetings in the valley such as the well-known Baztandarren Biltzarra, which is held in July.These rich lands will stimulate the appetite of the best gourmets. In Elizondo they make the best chocolate with hazelnuts in all Navarre. As you stroll through the town's streets your sense of smell will take over, and you will surely fall into this sweet temptation.
  • Recommended route to get to know the area around the Baztan valley.
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    Did you know that...?

    The Baztan Viewpoint, located on the NA-2540 road two kilometres from Ziga, is one of the 35 resources selected in the Route of Landscape of Navarre. Water and viewpoints.

    Location

    PRICES

    Remarks: consultar

    Guided visit

    Description: visitas guiadas para particulares y grupos por el Valle de Baztan (posibilidad de realizar diferentes recorridos por el valle)

    Service provider: Baztan Tours 948 452 652 / 628 019 893 www.baztantours.com baztantours@gmail.com

    Baztantrek 696 133 686 / 948 453 276
    Navarra al Natural 628 649 249
    Jauregiarte 652 162 103

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