Pays Basque & Atlantic Coast
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6 Nights, 5 Days Comfortable Walking
Level :
Itinerary : Hotel to Hotel
Holiday code : FP2PUBA
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Across The Basque Country To The Atlantic

Walking on ancient footpaths and drovers' tracks through the foothills of the Atlantic Pyrenees is the most pleasurable way to explore the green and gentle landscapes of the Basque Country. Discover traditional red-and-white villages, typical inns, high quality hotels, and the Basque talent for great food and hospitality.

A summary of your journey

This mountains-to-the-sea itinerary - designed for independent walkers wanting to enjoy the best of the Pays Basque in a week, and including sections of the GR10 - is exclusive to Purely Pyrenees, and takes you from the ancient pilgrimage citadel of St Jean Pied de Port through unspoilt hills and verdant valleys discovering traditional red and white painted villages en route.
One highlight is taking the rack railway to the top of La Rhune, the highest mountain in the western Pyrenees, and another is the satisfaction of arriving at the Atlantic at the vibrant and characterful fishing town of St Jean de Luz, renowned for its fish restaurants.
We meet you at Biarritz (included), Pau or Bordeaux, and take you by car or mini-bus to St Jean Pied de Port. The walking is pleasurably rewarding rather than challenging, usually 4 to 5 hours walking a day, and there are optional routes on most days. The accommodation includes characterful, high quality auberges where hospitality comes naturally as well as owner-managed boutique hotels where luxury is the norm. What is certain is that you will enjoy discovering authentic regional dishes, often with contemporary twists - and good value as standard.
Temperatures, even in high summer, are comfortable for walking, while spring and autumn are mellowed by the benign influence of the nearby Atlantic, although rainfall is higher than on the Med coast.
This is an independent walking holiday, so we offer all the support you might need, but leave you to enjoy the experience in your own way at your own speed.

The Plus Points

  • Transfers from and to Biarritz available
  • Luggage transfers every day so you only carry a daysack
  • High quality, original hotels with dinner included
  • 24/7 customer service

Day 1

Arrival at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port or collection (for a supplement) from Biarritz airport or train station (TVG from Paris), or from Bordeaux or Pau.
You stay in a hotel close to the walls of this ancient and attractive pilgrimage town in the shadows of the Pyrenees, which is on one of the Camino routes to Santiago de Compostella. A great start to your exploration of the Pays Basque.
We are sure you will get off to a good start staying at the impressive Hotel les Pyrénées almost in the shadow of the ramparts of the citadel. You stay on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis, and dinner in its Michelin starred restaurant will undoubtedly be a highlight.
Transfer time : 1 hour.

Day 2

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port - Col d'Ispéguy - Iparla - Bidarray
We take you up to the Col d'Ispeguy, the realm of Griffon Vultures, which provides you with magnificent Pyrenean panoramas (the first of many!). You can then choose from a variety of routes (generally unchallenging) down through hills and valleys to Bidarray. A memorable first day's walking we promise you.
You stay on a dinner, double room and breakfast basis at the attractive, authentic, family run Hotel Bidarray renowned for its Basque cuisine. A proven customer favourite. However, if you would prefer to stay at the wonderfully located Hotel Ostape with its own estate, heated swimming pool, sauna and Michelin starred restaurant, all offering panoramic views, then do contact us.
Walking time : 4h or 6h30. Distance : 13km or 16,5km. Elevation : + 400 or + 800m / - 600m or -1300m. Transfer time : 35 minutes.

Day 3

Bidarray - Artzamendi - Itxassou
This is a superb day's walking through Alpine type pastures (once as much used by smugglers as shepherds) visiting the lovely high village and church of Artzamendi before descending alongside streams to the marvellous walk-through ring of rock that is the famous Pas de Roland before arriving at the attractive village of Itxassou.
You stay at the charming Hotel de Chêne (Hotel Oak) renowned for its regional authenticity, and the excellence of its cuisine. Dinner, bed and breakfast included.
Walking time : 5h or 6h30. Distance : 12,5km or 16km. Elevation : + 590m or + 880m / - 650m or -890m.

Day 4

Itxassou - Mondarrain - Espelette
Today you can gently climb to the top of Mount Mondarrain - only 2,457 feet, but with absolutely stunning views over wave after wave of Pyrenean heights. Truly memorable. Then you stroll through high pastures and valleys down to the archetypal Basque village of Espelette that has been conserved superbly, has an interesting chateau and church, and an exceptional artisan chocolate producer (Antton), but is really famous for its festival of red peppers (pimentos).
Hotel Chilhar is a real treat in the heart of Espelette. Outside it is traditional Basque. Inside it offers boutique style accommodation, and wonderfully contemporary takes on traditional Basque cuisine. We are sure you will really enjoy staying here. Dinner, bed and breakfast.
Walking time : 4h45. Distance : 16km. Elevation : + 620m / - 760m.

Day 5

Espelette - Sare
This is a day of wonderful foothills walking through villages and hamlets, and along country lanes and farm tracks - the remarkable Ainhoa being the highlight. Easy walking through beautiful rural countryside, but interspersed with interesting places to see and things to do, not least from tempting artisan producers of foods, drinks, arts and crafts.
You stay in Sare, which has 253 houses dating back to the 15th century, and rests almost in the shadow La Rhune, which you will climb tomorrow. The Hotel Arraya is a superb 4 star hotel in a privileged location in the village that combines an historic building with boutique luxury and exceptional "cuisine terroir".
Walking time : 4h or 5h30. Distance : 19km. Elevation : + 620m / - 760m.

Day 6

Sare - Rhune - Ascain - Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Your final panoramic highlight - and what a finale! - is at the summit of La Rhune with its 360 degree views east towards the endless Pyrenees you have crossed, south into Spain, and west to the Atlantic coast. You can walk up - a steady walk that's perfectly "do-able" - or take the magnificent rack railway, its wooden carriages slowly clattering their way to the top. Look out for pottoks - wild mountain ponies - and red headed sheep. Certainly you can enjoy the walk down until you arrive at the pretty village of Ascain - your last Basque village, sadly. We will take you the short distance to St Jean de Luz by road, or you can kayak down the gentle Nivelle river to arrive in St Jean in independent style. As ever with Purely Pyrenees, the choice is yours.
St Jean de Luz is one of our favourite - and liveliest - towns in the Pyrenees bursting with energy from its harbourside through its twisting streets to the bars and restaurants, many offering tapas as well as excellent fish dishes. You stay in the middle of the town at the impressive and comfortable Hotel les Almadies on a bed and breakfast basis, so you can choose your own restaurant for the final night, although we offer several recommendations.
Walking time : 3h30 ou 6h. Distance : 10,5km or 15km. Elevation : + 500m or - 880m / - 500m or - 840m. Transfer time : 20 minutes.

Day 7

End of stay
After breakfast we can take you back (for a supplement) to Biarritz or another destination.
Transfer time : 30 minutes.
  • Practical details
  • Equipment
  • Formalities, Health

PROGRAM OF DEPARTURES

1 June to 15 October 2017

MEETING POINT

At St Jean Pied de Port. For a supplement, we can meet you at Biarritz airport or the railway station at St Jean de Luz and take you to St Jean Pied de Port by car or minibus (pick-ups from Bordeaux or Pau airports also possible).

END OF STAY

The trip ends at St Jean de Luz train station (or we can take you to Biarritz, Pau or Bordeaux airports for a supplement).

LEVEL

This itinerary features comfortable rather than challenging walking, and is suitable for most people who enjoy a good walk. You are mainly in the foothills of the Pyrenees rather than in the high mountains, and on most days there are itinerary choices, so you can choose easier or more challenging routes.Typically, there is 4 to 5 hours steady walking with ascents and descents of typically 200 to 700 metres. More challenging options are for 6 to 7 hours walking with ascents and descents of up to 900 metres. If the weather is really bad, or you are really tired, then we can usually transfer you to the next hotel by car.

GUARANTEED DEPARTURE FROM (PERS)

2

LUGGAGE TRANSPORTATION

We will transfer your luggage to the next hotel, so all you need carry is a daysack with map, suntan lotion or wet weather wear, picnic etc.

SUPERVISION

This is an independent, self-guided holiday.

ACCOMMODATION

You stay in authentic, high quality, family run hotels and auberges. Included is a standard double or twin room with en suite facilities, but we try to ensure our customers have the best of those rooms, often with balconies and/or good views. You can upgrade in advance through us, or at the hotel by paying on departure, but most people find this unnecessary. Usually someone at the hotel will speak "good enough" English, but you are in France!

MEALS

You will eat very well, and find a surprising range of dishes and recipes, most regional and traditional with an often distinctive contemporary twist. You dine in two Michelin starred restaurants, but may well find other restaurants are just as good, and perhaps more enjoyable. Included is a 3 course set menu with several choices for each course, but you can pay supplements for upgraded menus or a la carte, although most people find this unnecessary. Wine and other drinks are not included in our price, so you pay locally.

TRANSFERS

Usually transfers are in people carriers, mini-buses, cars or taxis. Often they will be exclusively for you.

CONTENTS OF YOUR TRAVEL FOLDER

When we have received the balance of payment for your holiday, and in the month before your departure, we send you all the documentation you need: a detailed itinerary showing dates, times, contact addresses etc; a detailed guide to your walking routes, often also including a lot of cultural, historical and nature background information; formal documents (invoices, contractual terms and conditions etc); luggage labels etc. If you book at the last minute, we can send information to the first night's accommodation.

To make the right choice

Have a look at our detailed explanations on the types of hiking, the standards of accommodation, and understand baggage transport ... How to choose your trip ?

LUGGAGE 

  • A soft travel bag, avoid suitcases, which are more cumbersome and limit the weight of your belongings to 10 kg.
  • A small backpack of 30 litres minimum for your daytime requirements.

CLOTHES 

  • A waterproof and breathable jacket (Gore-Tex type)
  • A fleece or a sweater
  • A raincoat (poncho)
  • Walking trousers
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 hat
  • Shorts
  • A bathing suit + towel
  • Several pairs of socks (not too large)
  • Underwear
  • 1 pair of trainers
  • Loose clothing for the evening

EQUIPMENT TO BRING 

  • 1 pair of walking shoes that have been used before
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip protection
  • 1 bottle (allow 2 to 3 litres per person per day in summer)
  • A Tupperware type plastic bowl for the picnic + cutlery
  • 1 compass
  • Waterproof map cover (advised)
  • 1 head torch in your rucksack (for safety)
  • 1 survival cover (from a chemist)
  • 1 mobile phone (advised)
  • Camera and why not a novel, your watercolours or other desires...
  • Your identification documents

FORMALITIES

You need to keep your passport with you at all times, and ideally insurance information. You need to make your own arrangements to claim local healthcare. There are requirements in France and Spain for all vehicles to carry safety equipment.
Click on the price that corresponds to your choice.
FromToPer person sharing room
Fri 01/09/2017Sun 15/10/2017880 €
 
List of additional options (to select later)
TitleTime periodPrice
Single room sup. / pers. subject to availabilityfrom 01/09/2017 to 15/10/2017395 €

THE PRICE INCLUDES

5 nights dinner, lunch, bed and breakfast; 1 night in bed and breakfast; people transfers as detailed including returning you to St Jean de Luz station at the end of the holiday; luggage transfers each walking day as required; detailed walking directions; 1:25,000 IGN maps as required; 24/7 customer phone service.

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

The journey to the start point and from the finishing point; transfers offered at extra cost; dinners on the nights specified; lunches except when picnics are supplied; menu choices at extra cost; all drinks; entry fees; personal and travel insurance.
Provided by TransferMate

You can change the itinerary, and receive revised information

Want to change the itinerary? Complete the form below, and we will send you a revised itinerary as soon as possible.

 

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