Seated in the porch, admiring the green landscape and listening to the cowbells jingling in the distance I think that this is the perfect destination. Whether you travel with children, solo, with a group of friends or your significant other, this valley will allow you to play hide and seek with reality.
The days start with a lazy fog that makes you want to curl up in your fluffly bed and spend the day reading and looking through the window. But the landscape is so inviting that you just can’t help but open the window and take a deep breath. It smells like flowers and fresh cut grass.Santesteban is one of those little villages that makes you want to sell everything and move here. It’s a place for silence, joyful meetings at El Titi to devour the best croquettes in the world, relaxed strolls in its tiny streets and people watching: neighbours talk and are nice to each other! It looks stage, but it’s just that perfect. This place is also the perfect headquarter to make lovely daytrips to San Sebastian, Biarritz or Pamplona. In less that an hour you can reach several picturesque towns… in case you want to leave this ever green beauty. There are plenty of farmhauses to spend the night, but you can also opt for a monastery (Donamaría Convent +0034. 948.450.066) or an adorable family owned hotel. In any case, relax is guaranteed.
One of my favourite things to do when visiting Valle del Baztan is spending the afternoon in Elizondo. This charming village is always on my mind. Not because of its delightful architecture and quiet atmosphere, but for its chocolate. There is this bakery that makes the best chocolate in the world. I’m a complete chocaholic and I know what I’m saying: the best chocolate in the world. Made with their own recipe and handpicked nuts from the area. This little piece of heaven is called Malkorra. And if you feel guilty after devouring a ton of chocolate (I’m sure you just can’t eat a square. You will need more. And more.), you can always walk the calories away in Señorío de Bertiz, a National Park that is a complete fairy tale world on its own. Just one last tip: if you want to take home something beautiful, visit all the ironmonger’s you find in your way. They have the most amazing copper plates, traditional ornaments or pottery vases you can imagine. And remember, this area is all about hidden spots: get lost and wander. At night, when you crawl up in bed again, tired but happy, you will think about the beautiful scenery, the amazing food and the great moments you’ve lived and then you will feel like you’ve discovered you own hidden kingdom.