Basque Country is the gem of northern Spain, but the tourists that come to visit this incredible green area doesn’t know too much about the best places to sleep in. Because of this needing of the tourism in the north of Spain, last month I was travelling around the deepest districts of Euskadi (also called Euskal Herria or Basque Country in English). I went by van through the three provinces: Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa and Alava. You can drive into these three provinces in three hours; more less one from each other is one hour far by car.
Here again, I am forced to say a few words about this territorial separation. Is well know that -like Cataluña- the Basque Country want to separate from the rest of Spain, “the independence of Euskal Herria”, we call it. According to a legend, in the Basque Country we have everything a human need: green fields, coast, good food and a language (the basque or euskera, who nobody -except the basque people- understands, it’s more difficult than Chinese!). Maybe is for this reason that every place that you visit in Basque Country, you will remember for life. The mix of green, blue, smells and sounds would be at your head forever and you will want to come back!
All of these really incredible places to sleep in are houses that were remodeled and redecorated to a modern version of the old house, but always keeping that rural essence. Here, in Basque Country, the Spanish word that we normally use to call them is ‘caseríos’ and there is a company that group together. The name of the company is NEKATUR which refers to nature, food and fields. Here is the web: http://www.nekatur.net/
And now, here are some tips to choose which of the ‘caseríos’ or agro tourism places is better to sleep in… The names of the rural houses are in basque, for sure, more fun for you when you will try to say it! There are really amazing corners in Euskal Herria that no one knows and Turismo Made in Spain brings you the chance to go there in a good price!
Santa Klara / Zumaia (Guipuzcoa)
Price from 39 € / Capacity of 16 people + 5 extra beds.
This was the first agro tourism that I visited in my trip. In a high field with amazing views to the sea, Santa Klara is built for the curious and calm people. It’s the best agro tourism choice for a family or a group of friends. They have some different rooms and little flats for different people. Ana Mari is the owner and her hospitality is perfect: very familiar with the client and she prepared the breakfast every morning in the porch with hammocks. Awesome views while you eat fruits, fresh tomato toasts with handmade oil and milk just milked from the cows they have outside. Near Santa Klara house, on Zumaia, Deba and Mutriku it’s located one the most important geological sights in the world: the rocky stratum called flysch. A must have in your tourist guide of Basque Country!
Itxaspe / Orio (Guipuzcoa)
Price from 48 € / Capacity of 16 people + 3 extra beds.
Maite is the proprietor of this unbelievable house built in 2011. It’s modern and urban; so clean and not too much rural, but the essence of the green fields and the sea are present every moment you stay there. Itxaspe it’s near another old house (typical caserío of Guipuzcoa) and it’s located in a very nice situation, in the hillside of the Igueldo Mountain. This is a good place to do a weeding on the summer time! Without a doubt, the corner that more impress of this place is the outdoors swimming pool. Amazing new structure for a modern pool similar of the bar Café Del Mar, it’s near perfect getting mixed up with the blue sea. If you are looking for calm, familiar treat, sea views and fields, and you want to do excursions to see the Basque Country, this is your place.
Oiharte / Zerain (Guipuzcoa)
Price from 39 € / Capacity of 12 people + 4 extra beds.
The owner is a basque lady called Maria Luisa who takes care of every detail in this house in the middle of the mountain. Oiharte rural place is recognized for being the best corner of Guipuzcoa of calm and serenity, near to typical basque towns (only 2 km far away) where you can eat good and plenty of food. You must try Idiazabal cheese, it’s necessary! The house keeps the spirit of the basque rural caserío of the XVIII century, but it was remodeled on 2002. They have a common dining hall where there is a chimney that warms you. Oh! Important to know that they have their own cider bar near the house! Perfect to enjoy a day taking their home made wine and trying the exciting apple jam!
Price from 50 € / Capacity of 10 people + 2 extra beds.
Elvira is the very closest person who owns the place of homemade wine and rural rooms in Alava, near La Rioja. Carpe Diem is the paradise for the wine lovers and the rural perfect house with 4 floors. The bathrooms of every each apartment are really nice, separate from the toilet. A lot of German tourists go there finding the tranquility of the vineyards. Their own wine is called Guzman Aldazabal and they sell it on the agro tourism. You have different vineyard routes (all cheap, like 10-15 € per person) around Navaridas the town, doing wine tasting outdoors! Elvira and her husband had the detail to give me a welcome gift: a bottle of their very sweetest wine that they do at the winery that they have at the basement. Lovely!
Olazabal / Atxondo (Vizcaya)
Price from 60 € / Capacity of 15 people + 9 extra beds.
Jorge is the owner that attends his rural house: an agro tourism lost into the woods in Vizcaya province. You have big common living rooms to share with other guests and a chimney to warm near it. The rooms are simply and big, perfect if you are looking for rural smell! You are so close from the Natural Park of Urkiola, you must to see it and get lost around this amazing nature gift!
Aristieta / Ajangiz (Vizcaya)
Price from 55 € / Capacity of 12 people.
Ainhoa and Alex are the perfect farmer marriage who has this precious old house near Guernica in Vizcaya (where the mythical tree of Guernica and the painting of Picasso takes place). The value of this agro tourism is that, besides it’s rural and perfect to pass some nights, they have their own crops at greenhouses outside their propriety. Amazing experience taking food from the land and being with the nature! They have nice dogs too outside the house!
Written by Ángela Saiz Alonso