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Zanpanzar Alsasua Lantzmen


etxea Basque Carnivals of the Pyrenees etxea

This course is not running at the moment but please look at


for Spanish and walking holidays in the Baztan valley, including Total Basque Mountain Experience Walking Holidays which coincide with many dates when the Joaldunak can be seen.


Carnival Calendar
There are possibilities to see the Joaldunak in their special village festivals in August, September and October and often in July. The big carnival event (that more people know about) is on the final Monday and Tuesday, after the last weekend in January. This combines the Joaldunak with the demons and witches element that the villagers dress up and enact. Also 24th December is a wonderful time to see them.

Renovated farmhouse in Ituren, just on the outskirts of the Baztan Valley, the home of the Zanpanzar or Joaldunak

Food and Wine
All meals and unlimited wine provided.

House Culture
Informal. Home-from-home atmosphere. Communally spirited. (Inspired cooks always welcome!)

Free shuttle to and from Biarritz airport.

For more information:

Tel: 00 44 (0)121 711 3428


The carnival is one of the most exciting and vivid fiestas in Europe. Here, in the remote Basque hamlets of the Pyrenees, many date back thousands of years, inspired by the intimate fears and desires of pagan man. As the mountains stir from the depths of winter and the first sun warms the earth, carnival masquerades and rituals explode with colour, sensation and symbolism. Together with the local villagers we relive the bears, wolves and witches, good and evil spirits of ancient - and not so ancient - times.

The isolated geography of the Pyrenees and a conscious attempt by the Basques to preserve their culture, mean that many of the carnivals here have been kept alive. In virtually every attic, between racks of cured hams and home-made sheep's cheese, you find a cupboard that is only opened a few days every year. Inside, you find a bizarre assortment of masques and disguises as well as the ancient costumes of ancestors first worn hundreds of years ago. In these mountains the carnival is ingrained in the cultural psyche - much more than we are yet to understand.