Saint-Jean de Luz
La Rhune
Self-guided holidays
4 nights, 3 or 4 days walking
Level :
Itinerary : Hotel to Hotel
Holiday code : FP2PUCB
Download the
information sheet

From The Basque Mountains To The Atlantic Ocean

This short break takes you through the foothills of the Pyrenees to the Atlantic Ocean, discovering the green and gentle landscapes of the Basque Country as you go. Highlights include the spectacular viewpoint of La Rhune and the Basque talent for great food and hospitality.

A summary of your journey

On this short break, you discover the true Basque Country - its superb peaks, its green valleys, red and white villages, and the satisfaction of walking to the Atlantic Ocean. At the end, you stay in one of the region's liveliest and most attractive ports.

The Plus Points

  • Transfers from and to Biarritz (other transfers also possible)
  • 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 Espelette

We meet you at Biarritz airport or the railway station in Saint-Jean-de-Luz (trains from Paris). Pick-ups also available from Pau or Bordeaux (please consult us for prices).

Depending on your time of arrival, you can enjoy a pleasurable 1.5 to 2 hour stroll around Mount Urzumu, which offers panoramic views of the village of Espelette. There is also the option of a much longer, 5 hour walk if you were to arrive early enough.
You stay in 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: 1h30 or 5h. Distance: 6km or 16km. Ascent/descent: + 100m or + 600m / - 150 or - 650m. Transfer time : 30 minutes.

Day 2

Espelette - Sare
This is a day of wonderful foothills walking through unspoilt villages and hamlets, and along country lanes and farm tracks - the remarkable Ainhoa being the highlight. It is easy walking through beautiful countryside, but interspersed with interesting places to see and things to do, not least from tempting artisan producers of foods, drinks, arts and crafts. But often you will see, not that far away, the dramatic mountain that is La Rhune,and which you will be on top of tomorrow. A longer, and somewhat more challenging, route can be chosen instead.
You stay in Sare, which has 253 houses dating back to the 15th century, and rests almost in the shadow La Rhune. 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 : 6h30 or 5h30. Distance : upto 19km. Ascent/descent: + 620m / - 760m.

Day 3

Sare - La Rhune - Ascain - Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Your panoramic highlight is at the summit of La Rhune with its 360 degree views east towards the endless Pyrenees, 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.We will then 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 (or series of tapas bars), although we offer several recommendations.
Walking time : 3h30 or 6h. Distance : 10.5km or 15km. Ascent/descent:: + 500m or + 880m / - 500m or - 840m. Transfer time : 20 minutes.

Day 4

Saint-Jean-de-Luz - Corniche Basque - Socoa - Ciboure - Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Your last walk is a coastal one to complete your mountains to the sea experience. You walk out of St Jean de Luz, and walk the rich green hills around Urrugne that run close to the often dramatically magnificent Atlantic. Your return route is right by the sea through the interesting villages of Socoa and Ciboure. Altogether, a thoroughly satisfying walk with plenty of memorable views, places to stop for a coffee or something more substantial, and throughout that distinctive Basque ambience that is like nowhere else in France (or the rest of the world).
You again stay at the excellent Hotel les Almadies on a bed and breakfast basis. It is right in th centre of the town, so you can easily choose your own restaurant for your final night,
Walking time: 4h30. Distance: 16km. Ascent/descent: + 250m / - 250m.

Day 5

End of stay

After breakfast, we will take you back to Biarritz airport or the railway station at Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Transfers also available to Pau and Bordeaux (please consult us for prices).
Transfer time : 30 minutes.
  • Practical details
  • Equipment
  • Formalities, Health
  • Informations COVID-19


1 June to 30 October


We meet you at Biarritz airport or the railway station in Saint-Jean-de-Luz (trains from Paris). Pick-ups also available from Pau or Bordeaux (please consult us for prices).


We meet you at Biarritz airport or the railway station in Saint-Jean-de-Luz (trains from Paris). Pick-ups also available from Pau or Bordeaux (please consult us for prices).


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 6 hours steady walking with ascents and descents of typically 200 to 800 metres. If the weather is really bad, or you are really tired, then we can usually transfer you to the next hotel by car.




We will transfer your luggage between each hotel, so all you need to carry when walking is a daysack with whatever you regard as essentials.


This is an independent, self-guided holiday.


You stay in double or twin rooms for 1 night in four star hotels, 2 nights in a three star hotel, and one night in a particularly good two star hotel.


You will eat very well. The two included dinners are based on set menus featuring regional specialities, fish etc usually with 3 or 4 choices for each of three courses, but you can pay locally for upgraded choices. The dinners on the last two nights are not included. Breakfast is included every morning, but lunches and picnics are not because there are plenty of places to make your own choices, although the night before you can ask the hotel for a picnic, which you can pay for locally.


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


When we have received your balance of payment for your holiday, and in the month before departure, we send you all the documentation you need: detailed itinerary showing dates, times, contact details etc; a detailed guide to your walking route (with options) and lots of cultural, historical and nature background information; formal documents (invoices, contracts etc); luggage labels etc. If you book at the last minute, we can send this information to your first night hotel.

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 ?


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


    • Waterproof and breathable anorak (Gore-Tex type)
    • Fleece or a sweater (depending on the location and season)
    • Waterproof over-trousers
    • Pair of gloves (depending on the location and season)
    • Sun hat (with all round brim)
    • Shorts
    • Swimming costume + packaway towel
    • Several pairs of proper walking socks
    • Underwear
    • Pair of trainers or light evening shoes
    • Comfortable clothing for the evening


      • Walking boots (with ankle protection)
      • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip protection
      • Water bottle or backpack container (allow 2 litres per person per day)
      • Tupperware type container for the picnic + cutlery
      • Compass
      • Waterproof cover for walking instructions and map
      • Head torch
      • Survival blanket
      • Mobile phone (signal strength is often surprisingly good, but cannot be relied on)
      • Your identity documents (including driving licence - you never know when...)


        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.


        Because of the added health precautions relating to COVID, you must be equipped from the start of your trip with:
        * a sufficient quantity of masks (at a rate of 2 per day minimum). Wearing a mask will be compulsory during any transport, in certain accommodation, crowded places etc.
        * zipped pockets for masks and other items such as used tissues
        * hydro-alcoholic gel
        * a thermometre to take your temperature in case of symptoms appearing during your stay
        * a pen (sometimes necessary to sign an agreement in certain accommodation).

        The hosts who will welcome you (hoteliers, refuge guards, restaurateurs, transporters, local teams ...) are the people who will help to guarantee the smooth running of your stay and will ask you to conform with certain health related protocols. Out of respect for them and other people who frequent the same places, we ask you to commit to respecting the instructions given to you. Be reassured and optimistic, because as you know, hiking is an activity that will allow you long and enjoyable periods of time during which the wearing of a mask is not mandatory!

        So breathe fresh air and smile!


        2 nights dinner, bed and breakfast, plus 2 nights bed and breakfast; people transfers; luggage transfers; detailed walking instructions; 1:25,000 IGN map; 24/7 customer phone service.


        The journey to the start point, and from the finish point, except as specified; lunches; drinks with meals; non-standard menu items; the La Rhune train tickets; personal and travel insurance.

        Prolongez votre séjour

        Do you want some advice ?
        Walking and cycling holidays
        Contact us :
        0033 562 977 203
        Monday To Friday 9 am to 6 pm
        (French time)
        One of our consultants will call you free of charge Contact us