Pamplona – Aoiz – Burgete –
Baños de Aribe
Ernest Hemingway was fascinated by Navarra. A man of action, an avid sportsman, and possessing unlimited curiosity about the world around him, Navarra provided Hemingway with endless possibilities to enjoy himself and to enrich his mind and senses. We will follow in his footsteps through this most enchanting of regions, riding along ancient Roman routes, across the pilgrim-trodden Saint James Way, and on trails through the lush foothills of the Pyrenees. Fusing cycling with culture, history and traditional gastronomy, this journey also encompasses the finest accommodation, stunning landscapes and relaxing afternoon pleasures to finish off your day.
Always accompanied by an assistance vehicle, we customize our routes so that the difficulty and distances are tailored to your abilities and personal challenges and includes accommodation, bikes, if needed, and most meals.
THE FOOTHILLS OF NAVARRA
Mountain biking in Navarra is unparalleled. The Navarran Pyrenees are particularly breathtaking on the seat of a mountain bike, where steep, green slopes and wildflower-carpeted meadows are encircled by mountain tops.
Hemingway described the forests of this area as «the wildest damn country in Europe,» with trees that sit on «a centuries-old carpet of moss.» The Irati Forest is the second most important beech forest in Europe, and is a lush, magical fairy tale land to ride through.
Ernest Hemingway loved places with tastes and identities of their own. Through his books, letters, and articles, he instills in us the idea that the world is a fascinating place, waiting to be explored. Enjoy a meal in this beautiful 1920s gastronomy club in the center of Pamplona.
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Nestled on the Irati River, the exact spot where Hemingway so loved to fish, the Baños de Aribe is the perfect place to slip into a daydream. «Heaven would be… a trout stream that no one else was allowed to fish in.»
Pamplona – Aoiz – Burguete –
Baños de Aribe
Day 1 : Pamplona
We start with a welcome picnic composed of all local products and drinks, followed by a presentation in the salon of the Gorraiz Castle. The presentation will introduce the routes using audiovisual media, where we can then adapt the trip to the specifications of the participants and their personal needs and challenges. This includes distributing E-bikes if so desired. Our adventure then begins with a delicious traditional Navarran dinner in the ornate rooms of a private gastronomic society founded in the 1920s.
Day 2 : Into the Golden Fields
After a breakfast at the Castillo de Gorraiz, we start our journey on excellent tertiary roads, winding through charming Basque hamlets and villages, in a landscape reminiscent of Tuscany. Hemingway drove to Aoiz each morning to take a dip in the Irati River where the water was, «clear as light.» When we arrive, you can do the same. We will be able to treat ourselves to a spa and sauna, a fun wine tasting event, ending with an authentic meal composed of local ingredients, paired with great regional wine.
Day 3 : The Foothills of the Pyrenees
The next morning we take off from Aoiz to start our climb into the foothills of the Pyrennes. Traveling by ancient Roman pathways and cycling along parts of the Saint James Way, we wind through picturesque villages, grazing cattle, and calming vistas. In the afternoon, we arrive to Burguete where Hemingway stayed when he came to the area for trout fishing and relaxation. We stay in his very same hotel, featured in The Sun Also Rises, still run by the great-grandchildren of the woman Hemingway described in his books. Here we will enjoy a meal in the dining room where Hemingway scratched his name into their piano. Discover why the famous writer was so taken with this beautiful town and draw inspiration from it as he once did.
Day 4 : The Magnificent Irati Forest
Our last day of biking will first take us up to Roncesvalles, along the St. James Way. Then we push up to the Pass of Roncesvalles, on the ancient road used to cross the Pyrenees at least as far back as Roman times. Charlemagne’s general Roland was killed here by the Basques avenging the destruction of Pamplona in 778, a battle that inspired epic medieval poems. Wellington used the pass to squeeze Napoleon’s troops back into France. This pass historically was also used by Jewish people fleeing the Nazis, French Resistance fighters, smugglers and criminals, and now thousands of pilgrims walking the Camino, or Saint James Way. Hemingway often picnicked up here, where the views are breathtaking. After admiring the stunning mountain landscapes, we begin our final long descent. Running along a gorgeous path through the Aezeko Valley, we make our way into the magical Irati Forest, where as Hemingway wrote, “the trees resemble the drawings in a child’s fairy book.” Arriving to the charming ruins of the Baños de Aribe, we visit the very spot where Hemingway spent hours of his life daydreaming, swimming and trout fishing along the Irati River. Here we end our enchanting journey together.