Le Pays Basque
Ideally situated in the South West of France and North West of Spain at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains and on the Atlantic seaboard, the Basque-country has kept its superb natural environment, unspoiled and jealously guarded by its proud inhabitants.
The coastal paths meander beside endless stretches of golden sand, in sight of the Atlantic surf. The untamed beauty of this wild coast is interspersed with sophisticated Basque cities with their heady mix of port and beach life. On the mountainside, the pretty villages and farms nestle in green valleys surrounded by open slopes and a semi-wild landscape.
The origins of the Basques remain shrouded in mystery but the songs, festivals, local sport, distinctive regional cuisine and folklore reveal a unique history and strong cultural identity where they still speak the oldest living language in Europe.
Walk Rating: Moderate to Energetic. Alpine and coastal trails with moderate climbs and steep descents, inviting village tracks. 9-12 miles walking per day.
US$4195.00 per person double occupancy
US$4195.00 per person double occupancy
Walk begins in Aïnhoa, with arrival at Biarritz and ends in Saint Jean de Luz, with departure from St Jean de Luz TVG Rail Station
From our hotel we walk to Sare, another traditional village. The trail traverses the typically hilly Basque countryside passing through forests, rivers and sheep meadows. After lunch in a colorful local restaurant, we climb the hillside of the iconic peak, La Rhune. After absorbing the views we descend by foot for the transfer back to our hotel for wine tasting and dinner.
Walking from our hotel, our route follows the climb and descent of a circular mountain path along the Spanish border. The scenery throughout the day is typically Basque with green grass, broom, sheep, ponies, vultures and wood pigeons in Autumn. From the peak we admire the panoramic view of Pays Basque, extending from the mountains to the sea. Our reward for the morning's uphill walk is a welcome lunch at a typical smugglers' haunt, giving us renewed vigor for the afternoon energetic descent. We end our day with dinner at the Michelin Star restaurant in the hotel.
After a short minibus transfer, we have time to explore the townscape of Saint Jean de Luz, visiting the church and the house where Louise XIV waited for his wedding to Maria-Teresa, Infanta of Spain, on June 9 1660. We walk out from the town to our lunch in Socoa and then continue our walk along the coast of Abbadie. At Hendaye Port we take a boat ride across the River Bidassoa to Spain and a short walk to our Parador (historic building now restored as a Spanish hotel) in Hondarribia, a fascinating walled city.
After a stroll through the fortified city, we follow a pilgrimage trail, climbing to the Guadeloupe church, to admire the view and discover a deserted 19th century fortress. We walk down to the wild Spanish coastline which leads us to a fishing port for lunch. A coastal boat ride takes us back to Saint Jean de Luz where we have free time to enjoy the hotel facilities, including the exclusive Zen Spa, or shop in town before walking out to dinner in a local restaurant.
We start our day by walking along the Atlantic seaboard to gain an apetite for our visit to the chocolate museum where our "maître chocolatier" will teach us all about this skillful art and allow us to indulge in a few divine samples! We then walk to the famous Biarritz resort created by Napoleon III for his wife, the Empress Eugenie. After lunch, we stroll along the fashionable promenade above the beautiful rocky coastline and absorb the Biarritz atmosphere. We return to spend some free time in Saint Jean de Luz and, in the evening, we rendezvous in our hotel for our Farewell Dinner.
The Wayfarers see you safely on your way. Of course you may prefer to linger in Biarritz!
This itinerary represents a typical Walk. We prepare itineraries well in advance of the trip and therefore we reserve the right to make changes due to weather, local events or other circumstances - but always to improve the experience of our guests.
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Parador De Hondarribia El Emperador - Wednesday
Pza. De Armas, 14
T: +34 9-4364-5500
F: +34 9-4364-2153
The hotel occupies a beautiful castle built by the king of Navarre, Sancho Abarca, in the 10th century. The building still retains the appearance and atmosphere of a medieval fortress and provides a magnificent backdrop to the coastal location. Within the thick stones walls, the beautifully renovated interior retains the original atmosphere with its hidden nooks and crannies, arches and wrought-iron work that adorns the walls and ceilings. All the bedrooms have a private bathroom, hairdryer, telephone, satellite television, safe and a mini bar. The parador does not serve dinner so we have dinner at a charming, traditional Spanish restaurant in the Old City.
This hotel list is a provided as an example. We may use different hotels of the same quality and style on specific trips. The Wayfarers will notify confirmed travelers of any changes to the hotels.
Before & After Your Walk:
- Bayonne, San Sebastian, Bordeaux and Paris are all nearby and well-worth extending your stay to visit.
- The Guggenheim Museum at Bilbao is also a very worth while visit - especially for art fans.
Temperatures usually range from around 45º to 65ºF (7º to 18ºC) in spring/autumn and from 60º to 70º F (15º to 21ºC) in summer although it can rise to around 80º F (27ºC) on some days. You are likely to need a light jacket or sweater in the evenings. Rainfall is unpredictable but occurs all year round and can be heavy, even in summer. Equally there can be long spells of warm dry weather so you will need to bring clothing to accommodate all situations.
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Are there any hidden costs?
Our Vacations do not include the cost of air or rail fares to and from the destination or tips for your walk leader and manager.
How large are the Groups?
Our maximum group size is 16, but groups average between 8-12 people.
Will I feel welcome as a single traveler?
Yes! Our walks are the perfect environment of comfortable camaraderie for the single traveler.
Can you accommodate special diets?
How physically fit do I have to be to do a Wayfarers Walk?
If you are in good health and reasonably fit you will be comfortable participating in a walk.
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