The County of Goierri is made up of 18 towns. Beasain, Ordizia and Lazkao are the best known and most populated. All three are on the A-1 dual carriageway. Most of the other towns are in the countryside, with excellent access from the A-1. This is an ideal place for a 3 to 5 day stay:
• It is near the capital cities of the 3 Basque Provinces.
• Great range of accommodation and quality gastronomy.
• Affordable services for everyone.
The three main strengths of tourism in Goierri are Gastronomy, Nature and Culture. These three pillars of our touristic offer are backed by our Quality Tourism label and can be enjoyed by visitors in a haven of tranquillity and relaxation.
Goierri is an ideal location for people who are into sport, for couples, for tourists who already know San Sebastian and wish to see the interior of the province or for anyone who wishes to encounter Basque authenticity.
In 2015, Goierri has been awarded the European prize EDEN "European Destinations of Excellence" for sustainable tourism development.
Gastronomy: “Land of Idiazabal”
Gastronomy is an important part of the lifestyle in Goierri. The large number of gastronomic fairs held here (every weekend in Autumn, for instance) are but an example of this. The towns of Idiazabal and Ordizia are exponents of our gastronomic identity. Idiazabal lends its name to the excellent cheese that annually receives praise and awards at the Cheese World Awards.
Idiazabal cheese is made with the raw milk of latxa sheep that graze our fields and mountains. The village boasts the Idiazabal Cheese Visitor Centre. In Ordizia, the most important fresh produce market of Euskadi is held every Wednesday, and has been for over 500 years. Farmers from the region congregate in the main square, offering the best of their home-grown produce. While you are in Ordizia, it is worth visiting the D´elikatuz Food and Gastronomy Interpretation Centre, a venue which also hosts the Goierri County Interpretation Centre.
Among the many possibilities our gastronomy offers, you’ll find the following:
• Visit any one of the 8 cheese makers, where a shepherd and Idiazabal cheese maker will explain the process for making this delicacy.
• Visit the first agro village established in Euskadi. Zaldibia has a broad range of local products on offer, right beneath the impressive Txindoki mountain.
• Attend food and drink tasting sessions (cheese with txakoli, cider or wine).
• Visits to shepherds’ mountain huts in the summer.
• Guided tours of cider houses.
• Enjoy the possibilities our gastronomic passport offers.
• Enjoy the benefits of the “Goierri Gastronomika” consumer club.
We have 31 restaurants and 6 cider houses where you can simple the delicacies of Goierri and our great cooking, all of which have been awarded quality distinctions; visitors can also enjoy other well-known local produce such as Beasain black pudding, mondeju sausage from Zaldibia, cider and txakoli (a sparkling white wine), as well as our own bakery and patisserie, based on local products such as our cheese, cider, chestnuts, walnuts, honey, etc.
Nature: “Basque Highlands”
Goierri County sits between two Natural Parks, Aizkorri-Aratz and Aralar, and due to our closeness to nature, rural villages endure not far from important transport networks.
As a first step to getting to know our natural environment, we recommend you visit the Aizkorri-Aratz Interpretation Centre, in Zegama, or the Aralar Interpretation Centre in Lizarrusti (Ataun), good entry points to each of the Natural Parks, and embark on outdoor activities such as trekking, climbing, mountain-biking, nature walks or just enjoying the scenery, driving round the Parks by car, or even taking a helicopter.
Several important sporting events take place within the boundaries of our two Natural Parks:
• Zegama-Aizkorri Mountain Marathon. This race is part of the world cup and media from 30 countries comes to cover the event. Over 3.000 applicants vie for the 225 places in the race.
• Ehunmillak Ultratrail. A 167 kilometre-long race over 2 days that brings over, 300 runners from home and abroad to Goierri.
• Goierriko bi Haundiak. 88 kilometre-long race over 1 day, with 300 domestic runners.
• Marimurumendi maratoia. A Mountain Marathon that takes place on the same weekend as the 2 ultra-races, allowing every kind of runner a chance to race in Goierri.
GR-283, The Cheese Trail is a 100 km walk over the mountains and villages of the
Aralar and Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Parks, which you can walk or run in stages and easily organize as best fits your needs.
There is also a Rail Trail Green Way, 4,2 km in length, joining the villages of Mutiloa and Ormaiztegi. It is ideal for family walks and affords the chance to round off your day by visiting the old mining area of Aizpea, in Zerain.
In Goierri, with Tolosaldea region colaboration, it was inaugurated in 2015 the first Trail Station in Spain. A Trail Station is a space adapted to run through the mountain at all levels, with signage and special servicest.
Culture: “The Heart of Euskadi”
Goierri is the Heart of Euskadi, it is Euskadi at its most authentic: museums, historical figures, the St. James’ Way, the Royal Trail, renowned monuments, the mediaeval quarters of Ordizia and Segura, etc.; these values, together with our gastronomy and natural surroundings are an integral part of Goierri culture.
Our 6 main culture-related proposals are:
• José Miguel Barandiaran Museum, in Ataun: Basque mythology through the eyes of one of its firs researchers.
• Igartza Monumental Area, in Beasain: visit the palace, the mill, the finery forge, the bridge, the Calvary cross... The Palace was recently refurbished so as to allow it to host conferences and events.
• Segura Mediaeval Interpretation Centre: this town was founded in 1.256. Go on a journey to simple the way of life in mediaeval times.
• Zumalakarregi Museum in Ormaiztegi: with a glimpse into the life of the carlist general Tomas de Zumalakarregi and a comprehensive look at the history of XIX Century Euskadi.
• Zerain Cultural Landscape: including an ethnography museum, the old hydraulic sawmill, the gaol and the crafts shop.
• Aizpea Mining Area, where you can visit the tunnels of an ancient mine.
The inland St. James’ Way runs through Goierri, where it becomes a part of the Royal Trail: the traverse of the San Adrian tunnels and the Goierri mountains make this stage one of the most memorable ones for walkers of the Camino. In 2015, Routes of Northern of Santiago de Compostela, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the San Adrián Tunnel as milestone.
Our traditions also have an important place in our culture: traditional sport shows, traditional bowling in Segura and Zerain, and many customs that survive here, in Goierri, while dying out in other parts. Easter in Segura, the Basque traditional dance championship also in Segura, in October, and the various traditional festivities in Goierri are all worth a visit. While you are here, don’t fail to take in our architecture heritage, with our homesteads, churches and singular buildings.
Some interesting data:
- January, beginning of the cider-house season.
- April, Easter in Segura.
- April, shepherd celebration day in Ordizia.
- May, cheese day in Idiazabal and Zegama-Aizkorri marathon.
- July, Ehunmillak ultratrail and G2H trail in Beasain.
- September, Basque Festival in Ordizia.
- October, Basque Idiazabal cheese championship in Idiazabal.
- Every Wednesday dating back to 1.512, Ordizia holds the town market.
- 2 Natural Parks.
- Size and population of the county: 340 square km and 43.000 inhabitants.
- 30´from Donostia-San Sebastian, 45´ from Vitoria-Gasteiz and Pamplona and 60´ from Bilbao.
- The A-1, Madrid-Irun, dual carriageway runs north-south through the county
- 18 towns and villages, most of them in the countryside.
Top things to do
In order to understand the personality of Goierri and the origin of its gastronomy and one of its flagship products, Idiazabal cheese, one must take into account the culture and the natural environment of the area. We shall now propose a one-day visit that allows people to sample some of the main attractions of our small county.
Visit Aizkorri-Aratz Nature Park
To begin with, we shall explore part of the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, one of the two Parks (the other being Aralar) within Goierri County. We drive through shall Zegama and the Otzaurte mountain pass, to the car park at Aldaola. From here, inside the Natural Park itself, we will take a fifteen-minute stroll along a beautiful path to a perfect place from where to see the Saint Adrian tunnel. This tunnel is a UNESCO world heritage site, as part of the inland Santiago Pilgrim Route. Within a further twenty minutes we shall be at the tunnel and can walk through it and see parts of the medieval road, which still exists and along which innumerable historic characters travelled, as this was the old Castile-Flanders road.
Visit a traditional cheese-maker where Idiazabal cheese is made
Following our morning walk, we shall head to a traditional cheese-maker where Idiazabal cheese is made. The Idiazabal Denomination of Origin encompasses the Basque Country and Navarre and certifies Latxa breed ewes’ milk artisan cheese. This cheese is well loved by chefs all over the world.
We shall learn how the cheese is made, first-hand, from the shepherd and cheese-maker and we shall taste the cheese too. We shall also be able to see the animals, grazing near the homestead..
Visit a typical village
Before lunch, we will visit the village of Zerain, its ethnography museum, with exhibits collected in the village itself; and the Aizpea mines, a maze of underground mining tunnels, which was run by English and Germans and which has had an important impact on its surroundings.
We can go to any one of the restaurants in the County for lunch. There is a broad range of prices, but they all offer excellent cuisine, with local, season, produce. The concept of slow-food is foreign here… because all food is slow food!
After lunch we shall go for a stroll in Segura, a small village that maintains its walled-burgh essence, with its almond-shaped old quarter that will transport us to another time. The tranquillity of its streets and its architectural heritage make for a truly enjoyable walk.
Visit the Gastronomy Centre, d´Elikatuz
Mid afternoon, we shall head to the Gastronomy Centre, d´Elikatuz. There, we shall learn about the importance of food, Basque gastronomy and the central role of markets in the Basque Country; the centre is in Ordizia, a town with a market that has been held every Wednesday since 1512, where local farmers sell the produce of their farms.
Wine and cheese pairing game
Before we sit down to dinner, we shall enjoy a game-like wine-pairing where we will learn how to taste Idiazabal cheese with Txakoli, a white wine mostly made on the Basque coast but also in Goierri.