Izenaduba Basoa: where Olentzero lives
The oldest baserri in Bizkaia, in the Izenaduba Forest, is Olentzero’s home and a visitor centre dedicated to Basque mythology
For an experience wrapped in magic to enjoy with your children, go to Izenaduba Basoa, in Mungia.
In this wonderful 6000m2 park lives Olentzero, a character that, announcing the coming of Christmas, to the towns of Euskal Herria to drop off gifts for children.
His home, called Landetxo Goikoa, was built in the beginning of the sixteenth century, which makes it the oldest baserri (farmhouse) in Bizkaia.
In the park, you will have the chance to meet other characters from Basque mythology and learn how people lived and worked in the baserris, as well as their customs, traditions and beliefs.
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null Izenaduba Basoa: where Olentzero lives
On your walk through Izenaduba Basoa, you will not be alone. Different characters and creatures from Basque mythology will come along: galtzagorris, lamias, Mari Domingi, Mari, the lady of Anboto… In a lovely natural setting, you will listen to their tales and legends.
In Izenaduba Basoa you will learn about the uses of barns, fire and smoke. You and your children alike will have a great time in the forest. You can visit the Witches’ Garden and experiment with medicinal herbs to prepare interesting blends and concoctions.
You will also meet Napo, the donkey that accompanies Olentzero wherever he goes. On Christmas Eve, the donkey visits every town with Olentzero, bringing presents to all the children in Euskal Herria.
But this is not all that Izenaduba Basoa has to offer. On a 3D simulator, children and adults will enter the world of Basque mythology. Playing games, children will get into the cave where Mari lives, meet Tartalo, the one-eye giant, and see the haritz sakratua (holy oak tree) representing Basajaun, the hairy creature dwelling in the woods.
How To Get ThereOlentzero’s home lies in Mungia. The town is a short drive from Bilbao and easy to access by public transport.
From Bilbao, you can get to Mungia by bus. These Bizkaibus lines connect the two towns: A-3516 (Bilbao-Mungia), A-3518 (Bilbao-Mungia-Bakio) and A-3527 (Bilbao-Mungia-Bermeo), all of them via motorway.
Mungia is only 20km away from Bilbao on road BI-631, exit to Mungia-Gatika. In Mungia, take the first exit at the first roundabout to the right. There is a 60-space parking area at the end of Calle Landetxo, on the right. The entrance to the park is in the parking area.
Where to eat
In Mungia you will find restaurants that serve traditional food from the Basque Country. Around Mungia are a number of txakoli wineries that offer tours and sell our refreshing, invigorating white wine.
Back in Bilbao, walk into any pintxo bar to get the Basque version of small treats on a slice of bread with a glass of wine or beer. Of course, you can also book a table in a Michelin-starred or another fancy restaurant in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) or the Ensanche.
Where to sleep
In Mungia there are several hotels, but you can also stay in a lodge or a baserri (farmhouse), where you will be immersed in the Basque rural lifestyle. Close to Izenaduba Basoa stands the well-known Palacio Urgoiti, a mansion hotel from the seventeenth century that features a golf course.
Since Izenaduba Basoa is very close to Bilbao, you can also stay in the capital, where there are different hotel types to meet the needs of all families. You can choose to stay in a modern hotel, a less fancy hostel, a boarding house or a B&B.