- Untamed beauty of semi-wild landscape
- Ancient, unique culture between France and Spain
- Walking along the seashore with the spectacular backdrop of the Pyrenees
- Stay in an historic fortress with dramatic Atlantic Ocean views
- Guided wine and chocolate tasting
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.
Sunday Overnight: Hotel Ithurria
Monday Overnight: Hotel Ithurria
Tuesday Overnight: Hotel Ithurria
Wednesday Overnight: Parador De Hondarribia El Emperador
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.
Thursday Overnight: Hotel La Reserve
Friday Overnight: Hotel La Reserve
(Single Supplement $635.00)
Departure: St Jean de Luz TGV Rail Station
Hotels - Where we stay
A family-run business for three generations, this hotel enjoys wonderful views across its well-kept gardens to the surrounding hills and mountains. The restaurant room is the 'heart of the house with generous cooking using the best regional and seasonal products grown in their own kitchen garden. The hotel has a fitness centre, swimming pool, sauna, two lounges and offers wireless internet. Each room is equipped with telephone and flat screen satellite TV and all ensuite bathrooms have a bath, large hand basin and hair dryer. The family has brought a personal touch to every bedroom which has its own individual decor and furniture.
Parador De Hondarribia El Emperador
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.
Hotel La Reserve
The view from this hotel is breathtaking, whether you are looking at the horizon through the bay windows and terraces, lounging at the infinity swimming pool built into the hillside with gardens overhanging the sea or enjoying a meal at the panoramic terrace of the restaurant. Entirely renovated in 2011, it has been awarded 'Ecolabel' certification for its extensive efforts in recycling, waste management, energy consumption, use of raw materials and prevention of pollution. Each bedroom is decorated in natural hues and is equipped with the highest technology: flat screen TV, audio player, video, Wifi connection and phone, and each ensuite bathroom has shower, bath and hairdryer. With an established reputation for fine food, the Ilura restaurant draws on a wide variety of flavors from the Basque country creating a modern interpretation of local classic dishes.
Important message from the hotel, issued on 5th March 2016:
"We would like to inform you that the Basque coast has recently suffered the vagaries of the weather. Heavy rain fall last weekend, combined with natural processes of erosion, have caused a landslide in the area near the hotel. This land subsidence occurred near the cliffs, next to the pool. Yesterday, the authorities have drawn up a security perimeter asking us to prohibit access until further notice. Given the importance of this event, we regret to inform you that our pool will be closed for 2016. We would like to point out that the rest of the area remains accessible. This force majeure does not affect our capacity to offer our normal accommodation and services. Despite these difficulties, we look forward to welcoming you."
Start planning your trip
What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation
- Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
- A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
- Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
- Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
- Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
- All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
- Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
- First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
- All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
- Wine with dinner
- On-trail snacks and refreshments
- All gratuities at hotels and restaurants