The ‘Enigma of the Basque Language’ guided tour, in 10 steps

Jun 29, 2021

Everything you never knew about the Basque language and culture: this is what you’ll discover on the ‘Enigma of the Basque Language’ guided tour in Zumaia.


    • Half-day plan

    • Opportunity to discover the historical and cultural heritage of Zumaia

    • Walk around the town

    • Discover unique, charming places

   • End the tour sampling typical Basque gastronomic specialities


Although Basque is one of the oldest languages in the world, very little is known about it. During this guided tour of the Old Town of Zumaia, you’ll have the opportunity to discover little-known aspects of Basque culture, language, mythology, sports and traditions.


Here are ten brief insights into the visit:

1. The Basque language: origin and culture.

Little is known about the origins of the Basque language, but you can discover things you never knew during the ’Enigma of the Basque Language’ guided tour. We are the Basque people, we conduct our lives in Basque, and we will explain it all to you on an hour-and-a-half visit. Are you ready?

2. The Tourist Office, the starting point.

You will be welcomed outside the Tourist Office, along with the other participants of the tour. After some introductions, you’ll receive a leaflet containing the topics to be covered during the visit. Let's go!

3. Through the streets of Zumaia.

Starting from the cycle lane next to the riverbank, giving the rowers and canoeists a wave, you’ll reach the Old Town of Zumaia. You’ll see charming, well-known places while the guide gives you some information.

4. Basque pelota: flying the flag of tradition.

Stone lifting, rowing... The Basque people have continued to uphold their many customs, but pelota is undoubtedly the dominant sport.

5. Music in the everyday life of the Basque people.

All cultures have their own music, but today in the Basque Country we still use musical instruments for communication. Can you guess any of their names?

6. Etymology.

In the past, Basque spread far and wide, reaching the most unexpected places. Did you know that traces of Basque can be found in Newfoundland? Or that Spanish has borrowed almost 100 words from Basque?

7. Symbolism.

The Ikurriña flag, the lauburu cross, latxo sheep, the sunflower... Basque culture is teeming with symbolism. You might have already heard of some of these, but there’s much more to discover during your visit.

8. The treasure of the cofradía.

Did you know that Zumaia, and specifically the cofradía (the fishermen’s association), is home to the only machine that used to be used to sell fish?

9. Easier through games.

The Basque language has special importance for us, because it is the expression of our identity, our culture and our history. But do you know how much Basque is spoken compared to other languages? You’ll find out on this tour!

10. Bon appetit!

Pintxo-pote is a deep-rooted tradition in the Basque Country, which is why it’s the only way for this guided tour to end. Enjoy!