Zugarramurdi: witches and caves in Basque Country

Traveling has become more delightful with Home Exchange. Boasting 40,000++ listings worldwide!

North of Spain, western Pyrenees, at a very short distance from the French border, lies the enchanting village of Zugarramurdi a small village of just over 200 inhabitants.

This is known as the village of witches, where fantasy and legend, reality and history, blend to treat your imagination with a wonderful chance to take a thrilling trip back in time and be enchanted by the intriguing stories of witchcraft, cruelty and natural remedies.

In the village centre there are a few good cafes and small charming hotels and plenty of tourists arriving there for beautiful scenery, old architecture, nice walk in the nature...but mostly for The Witches Museum and The Witches Cave.

We parked the car in the village decent sized, almost full, free car park and took a gentle stroll towards the cave following the numerous signs, about half an hour gentle walk.
Explore Europe with Contiki. See where the journey could take you. Tours for 18-35s.
We found the cave and were surprised to find that there are no stalagmites or stalactites and no cave paintings. The main attraction of the cave is a magical halo that surrounds it: until the 17th century it was the scene of akelarres (covens), pagan rituals in which men and women escaped from daily routine through wild parties, dancing around bonfires and allegedly holding orgies by moonlight.

There weren’t any orgies either (luckily as we went there with our two kiddies). What we found was just a great beautiful cave on two levels, that the kids absolutely loved to explore to each and every corner, a fresh stream running through it and leading outside, a very exciting outside with wobbly bridges (how fun) and many narrow footpaths encouraging us to follow and discover more. We discovered the exit after about 2 hours and called it a nice half a day. We would have liked to stay more as the area was surrounded by beautiful scenery, infused with fresh air and authenticity.

Travel Smarter by Exchanging Your Home for a Beautiful Home Anywhere in the World with HomeExchange.com! 20% Off with Code: stpatricks

 Beautiful countryside

The cave itself has been dug over centuries by this little stream.  

Kids has many chances to test out their courage

View of the cave from the first floor. Very nicely lit dark corners. 

Wonderful surrounding areas of the cave with plenty of walks and resting places

Add caption

Towards the exit. Light at the end of the tunnel

In the Middle Ages about thirty women from the village were tried or punished in a ruthless way. North of Navarre, being an isolated area at that time, conserved of theories of devil worship. Most likely, natural remedies highly used by the local women might have been confused with witchcraft and the practitioners punished.
The museum, located in the old hospital of the village not far from the cave. It is about with the world of witchcraft and portrays the society of Navarre in the 17th century, with all its myths and legends: witches, herbalists, practices, a series of exhibitions and audiovisuals reveal the ancestral wisdom of the women of the time, who used the power of nature to apply remedies to illnesses and evils.

Sign up with Home Exchange and to enjoy unlimited exchanges for a year! Over 40,000 listings in 130 countries!