Vues de Xareta, au Pays Basque

Xareta, cross-border territory in the Basque Country


Xareta means "wooded valley". This name was given to the territory by JM Barandiaran, eminent Basque ethnologist.

Now recognized as association since 2004, Xareta includes 4 villages on both sides of the border: Ainhoa​​, Sare, Urdazubi-Urdax and Zugarramurdi.

Today, Xareta shelters a historical, natural and cultural inheritance exceptional.

Location :

Xareta, area of a few square kilometers, as has always been a common pool of life on both sides of the border around the villages of Urdazubi-Urdax, Zugaramurdi Ainhoa ​​and Sare, at the foot of the mountains and a few kilometers from the sea.

Xareta has a strong cultural identity, through the links of the people who cross borders.

Cross-border links :

Several inhabitant are linked by family bonds and all the secondary road network was traced without holding account of the border posts. Xareta became more known for its intense activity of smuggling, true local religion where only sin was to be taken, and not so much for its prehistoric caves or its monasteries.


That is why that villages of Sare, Urdazubi-Urdax and Zugarramurdidecide at the beginning of the Nineties to develop in a common way their tourist actions with in particular the restoration of the "smugglers' trail", historical path connecting the four villages by the prehistoric caves (marked by a blue pottok).

A common story :

After the declaration of war between France and Spain in March 1793, and following the military defeat of Sare, a decree was made ​​of internment against Labourdins, described as "makers of prayers" and suspected of being spies in the service of Spain.
About 4,000 people of Sare Souraïde, Ainhoa​​, Itxassou and surrounding were deported. After the fall of Robespierre, the survivors were able to return to their village and recover their property.

Presentation of a part of Xareta on EITB (in Basque)