Cider House Rules: Basque Sidreria Culture

Apples have been cultivated in the Basque Country for hundreds of years. Apple farming is an art passed down from generation to generation from selecting seeds, planting, growing and care family owned orchards ensured the supply of local cider. Step into the valley of Astigarraga and learn how sidra or cider is made from the orchard to your glass
Cider house Basque Country
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Travel Basque Country collaborates with an association of local sidra growers, restaurants, cultural groups and the city of Astigarraga who promote locally produced sidra

In 1143 a visitor to the Basque Country wrote about the surprising number of apple orchards that covered the hillsides. A land of mountains and valleys, the damp hilly terrain required special techniques to successfully grow an orchard. And while modern machinery has mostly replaced many traditional methods, in many areas of the Basque Country artisanal methods of sidra production can still be seen.

The primary ingredients to make cider include several breeds of acidic apples with Basque names such as “txalaka”, “goikoetxea”, “urtebi haundia”, “urtebi txikia”, “urdin sagarra” and “errezila”; and bitter apples such as “moko”; and bitter-sweet apples like “mozoloa”, all carefully selected to create a blend of sidra.

Visit Astigarraga in the heart of sidra production in the region for a half day to learn everything about sidra. The visit includes a guided tour of the Sidra Museum where you will explore a real apple orchard, learn about the history and culture behind apple cultivation. Sample local varieties of sidra, mosto and liquor. And learn how farmers collected apples via a traditional method using a “kizkia”, a wooden pole with a hook on top used for picking apple both from the tree and from the grass effortlessly.

Finally, join in a favorite local pastime and head to a sidreria or cider house where you can feast on a traditional meal. Cider houses have simple and hearty menus that include tortilla de bacalao, croquetas, t-bone steak and all the sidra you can drink, served from traditional wooden caskets called the “txotx”. The rules are simple, people go in groups to enjoy a casual meal in a shared setting. If someone yells "txotx!" feel free to get up and refill your glass at the keg. Singing and dancing are also common during times of celebration. The sidra season in the Basque Country is celebrated from January to May.


  • *Visit the Basque Sidra Museum
  • *Sidra tasting
  • *Tour of the apple orchard, including traditional apple picking
  • *Lunch or Dinner in a traditional cider house
  • *Souvenir

Read more about the route.


Details & Reservation

Where: 11 min from San Sebastián
Book in Advance: Yes
Length: 3 Hours
Languages: English, Spanish, Basque, French

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