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
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.