If you were a local mountain guide and had a deep knowledge of this territory, you would probably design a hiking tour like the one we propose here. This trip covers the northwest of Navarra, a beautiful area of the western Pyrenees with a large concentration of beautiful villages in a very small area. The route crosses, one by one, most of these villages.
All the stages are very pleasant to walk because they cross a territory of beautiful landscapes that seem to be anchored in time. The inhabitants of these beautiful hamlets and villages continue to live mainly on agriculture, livestock and timber, and their lifestyles do not differ much from those that existed here in the past centuries. Obviously, other things such as, for example, communications and social services have improved a lot in recent years, but when you will be walking through these places you will be able to perceive how the way of life in this eminently rural environment used to be and in many ways still is.
Not long ago, another of the most important economic activities in this area was the illegal smuggling between France and Spain, which was pursued for many years. Obviously, the local smugglers knew the many secret trails and mountain passes perfectly well, so it was very difficult to stop them when they were operating in the middle of the night. As you make this route, you will travel part of these secret paths full of stories and mysteries. Today, smuggling has been replaced by a tourist offer that, due to the enormous interest and attractiveness of this area, attracts more people each year. But don't worry, today the number of visitors is still very low and you will be able to enjoy walking around the mountain in solitude and, when you reach the next village, you will receive a friendly welcome from its inhabitants.
This route runs, from village to village, the northwest of the province of Navarra, in an eminently rural environment. The villages are not very large and there are not as many lodgings as we can find in the cities. Despite this limitation, there is a network of rural houses and rustic lodgings that, although they do not have the luxury or size of large hotels, do offer all the comfort and amenities that the hiker needs for a good rest. Sometimes their rooms can be simple, but they are always comfortable and clean. In general, they have a rustic decoration typical of the mountainous area in which they are located, offering guests the charm of the authentic.
The fact that we are a local travel agency has allowed us to directly select the best establishments in the area. We have been able to choose them in person, visit them frequently and have direct contact with the owners. All this guarantees us that they are the perfect places for our customers to have a rest after a beautiful day of walking, recharge their batteries with a good dinner and a good breakfast, in order to they can enjoy the next stage.
The Enchanted Villages route can be done at any time of the year, except from 16 December to the end of February. For the rest of the year, you can arrive and start the route on the day of the week of your choice.
(*) Possibility of organizing additional nights of accommodation along the route to have extra rest days and more time to visit the interesting cities and places of the area. Please check with us if you are interested.
(**) Possibility to order private transfers from/to Biarritz, San Sebastián, Pamplona or Bilbao, at an additional charge.
How can I get to the area?
To start this trip, you must first arrive in San Sebastian or go directly to Bera, where you will stay the first night. You can get there by plane, either to the San Sebastian airport, or to the nearby airports of Biarritz or Bilbao, from where there are bus lines that connect quickly with San Sebastian. From these airports you can also come by taxi or request a private transfer (additional charge). Of course, you can also come in your own vehicle or use the existing train and bus lines from Madrid or Barcelona. For more information, see the "How to get here" section of the "Information" tab.
What currency and language is used in the area?
Both in France and Spain, the currency used is the euro. With regard to languages, of course, French is spoken in France and Spanish in Spain, but throughout this area, Euskera, the language of the Basque people is also spoken, one of the oldest and most mysterious languages in the world. While you are here, you will often hear and read it many times and we will tell you some curious facts about this ancient language on your arrival. English is not spoken in every accommodation, nor in every town and the level may be basic at times.
Will there be many hikers along this route?
Logically, at some times of the year, during the weekends and in the vicinity of the villages it is more feasible to find other people walking along these paths but, as it is a very little traveled route, most of the time you will walk in solitude, enjoying the peace and quiet of these mountains.
Is it easy to find your way around or follow the route?
On many occasions, the path runs through usual hiking trails that are well marked with signs and wooden signposts. In those places where these signs do not exist, we have put our own marks so, in general, the route is easy to follow. Also, remember that we will provide you with detailed information in our route cards. However, it should not be forgotten that a large part of the route is done in a mountain environment, so in the event of fog or bad weather, you should exercise extreme caution.
Is it a safe route?
Yes, fortunately this area is very safe and hikers do not usually have any problems on their way, even if they are walking alone. In addition, the routes all pass through inhabited villages and hamlets and always begin and end in important centres of population. Also, remember that our agency is located in San Sebastian and that you can contact us at any time, either through the accommodation where you are staying, or directly to the contact telephone number that we will give you on your arrival.
Can I book a one-person trip?
Although it is ideal to be able to share the experiences of this route with other people, it is possible to book this trip for individuals, with an additional supplement (please consult prices in the Dates/Prices tab).
What is the best time of year to make this trip?
Probably the best time to travel this route would be the central months of the year: April, May, June, July, September and October. August can also be a good time, but it is high season and some days the temperature can be a little high.
Is it possible to shorten some stages?
Yes, if you don't want to walk all or part of any of the stages, you can shorten them by hiring a private taxi service, which you should pay directly to the driver. This taxi can be hired the day before, either directly in the accommodation where you are or by contacting us.
I have some kind of dietary restriction, is it possible to take this into account?
Of course, in that case we will notify this circumstance to all the accommodations and restaurants we work with. However, it should be borne in mind that the route crosses rural areas and, in some cases, there may be some limitation on the choice of menus of restaurants because, as they are in small villages, they may not have as wide an offer as restaurants in larger towns usually have.
Is it possible to spend the last night in Bilbao instead of San Sebastian?
Yes, no problem. In this case, we will book a hotel room for you in Bilbao instead of San Sebastian. At the end of the last stage, the taxi will take you directly to Bilbao but you will have to pay a supplement directly to the taxi driver, because this city is further away than San Sebastian.
Is it possible to book any additional nights in Bilbao or San Sebastian, at the beginning or end of the trip?
Yes, of course. In this case, at the time of making your reservation, let us know where and how many days you want and we will arrange your reservation free of charge, but with the corresponding additional cost for these extra hotel nights.
If you have any other questions, please click here and send us an email. Thank you very much.