2 week Spain and French Basque Country

Old Apr 18th, 2024, 12:23 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
2 week Spain and French Basque Country

Family of four, two adults, and two kids are traveling in end of July-Early August to Basque Country. Our plan is the following (most are subject to change, except staying in San Sebastian for a week since our kids our in summer camps there and we need to keep this as home base.
Week 1 - French Basque side
Arrive early morning in Bilbao from a long flight, spend all day in Bilbao - Stay 1 night
Next day head out to French side to do the following places
Someone recommend staying in the Stay in Chateau D Urtubie for 1 night - Not sure if worth stopping ? Also is there anything to see before we stop in St. Jean de Luz (Not San Sebastian)
Saint Jean de Luz - I am open to making either St Jean de Luz, Biarritz or Bayonne (would love to hear what people recommend ) as home base for 3 days/2 nights so that we can do day trips Espelette, Ainoai, Sare, Ascain
Biarritz
Bayonne
Espelette
Ainoai
Sare
Ascain
St Jean Pied de Port - 3 days/2 nights
Visit Valle des Aldudes via St Etienne de Baigorry - Day trip or would be open to spending an extra night in another town if someone recommended it.
This is where I go blank, because I have 2 days/1 night before I have to be in San Sebastian for a week, was thinking of ending in Pamplona an then heading up to San Sebastian for my next week.
2nd Week Spain Basque - San Sebastian Home Base
during my week in San Sebastion, I intend of seeing if possible the following during day trips of Spanish Basque, using it as home base.
Zumaia, Plentzia, Sopelana, Gorliz ,San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Mundaka, Guernica, Getaria, Tolosa (I have 7 days so this is flexible)

Would love to hear opinions!
nflores is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2024, 12:37 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,708
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some remarks from a Basque local: Biarritz, this town has the name, but nothing much on it, unless you´d like to see a Casino, expensive shops and...well, not much, nice food market. For some reason, it´s always on the bucket list, but to me it´s a big disappointment. Bayonne/Baiona and St Jean de Luz/Donibane Lohizune (French and Basque names) are much more interesting to visit. Ainhoa, Espelette (touristy), Sare (take the zip train to Larrun mountain), St Jean de Pied de Port are good visits.

When in Donostia-San Sebastian (one week seems too much time there), you can easily visit Zumaia and the flysch, Tolosa and Getaria. For the rest of towns (why Sopelana???, I live 10 min from it and wonder why you want to go there) I would definitely stay in Bilbao. You are missing Bermeo (much better visit than Mundaka, although this one is also very nice, moreove if you like surfing), then Gernika for the Assembly House, and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe for the climb up to the hermitage (make sure you have prior reservations for the climbing).
mikelg is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2024, 02:16 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 16,499
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
See attached Pays Basque itinerary.

Stu Dudley
Attached Files
File Type: doc
Pays Basque.doc (58.5 KB, 47 views)
StuDudley is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2024, 02:48 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, I listed places that I have seen on many sites, but will take your suggestions of moving a few of these off the list or shifting. I am spending a week in San Sebastian because both my daughter is in a camp in Lasarte-Oria, Gipuzkoa for 7 days and my son in a camp for 5 days in Donostia. So that is why, the most I could adjust it would be 1 day max.
nflores is offline  
Old Apr 18th, 2024, 02:55 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 23,050
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is my report on our last trip in Basque country. The first stay and the first paragraphs under What We Saw describe a part of the Spanish Basque country that you have not planned on, and can fill in your two days and one night.

Trip Report: Spanish Basque Country, Asturias and Leon, Madrid==July 2018


Michael is offline  
Old Apr 21st, 2024, 11:09 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 274
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by nflores
Also is there anything to see before we stop in St. Jean de Luz (Not San Sebastian)
Saint Jean de Luz - I am open to making either St Jean de Luz, Biarritz or Bayonne (would love to hear what people recommend )
Between Bilbao and St Jean, I suggest this detour.
East of San Seb, a cute village: Pasaia Donibane. Then, drive to the top of Jaizkibel (if weather is good, the views are spectacular). After, head for Hondarribia, another very interesting place. Cross the border at Hendaye and drive the "corniche" (coastal road) to Ciboure / St Jean de Luz.

The main problem with the area in July August will be the crowds and the traffic. So, I would suggest that the main criteria for a base would be ease of access to places you want to visit. And St Jean seems to be #1. It is also a hub for public transport. When visiting Bayonne or Biarritz, it would be better to leave the car and ride train and bus. For example, train to Bayonne, then trambus T1 to Biarritz and bus or train back to St Jean (with optional stop en route in Guethary).
There are also buses to all places you want to visit but less frequent. Don't use current schedules if you want to work out this option. Summer schedules are completely different.
rouelan is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2024, 05:49 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by rouelan
The main problem with the area in July August will be the crowds and the traffic. So, I would suggest that the main criteria for a base would be ease of access to places you want to visit. And St Jean seems to be #1. .

I think this is ultimately what I will need as a home base, and it appears since it is peak season most places have to be booked now, and many have minimum night requirements. Would anything close to St Pied de Port work as a home base for 4 days or so, since I eventually have to get to back up to San Sebastian and was considering doing it via Pamplona to avoid back tracking the same route.
nflores is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2024, 08:30 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 274
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You could do some research on Cambo les bains, halfway between Bayonne and St Jean Pied de Port. I never stayed or dined there but it is a small spa town, so I guess there are some options. It is mainly famous for villa Arnaga, a "neo basque" mansion built by a French writer. It is really worth the visit. Location is great. Espelette, Ainhoa, Sare... are also close. If you don't want to drive, there are buses for st jean de luz (via Espelette and Ascain) and Bayonne. It is on the train line between Bayonne and St Jean Pied de Port (the ride between Cambo and St Jean is spectacular along the Nive).
When you want to go to Pamplona, you can either drive through Dantxaria, Otsondo or, better, via St Étienne de Baigori and col d'Ispeguy, or, as initially planned, via Aldudes.

Last edited by rouelan; Apr 22nd, 2024 at 08:43 AM.
rouelan is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2024, 06:50 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks I have a rental car, so I just need to be close to all towns via driving. Thnk you, I will probably drive to Pamplona via St Etienne de Baigori as it sounds like the nicest and has been recommended by yourself and others. Unless the Aldudes via is far better, than I can change my route.
nflores is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2024, 04:08 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,719
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I actually like Bilbao better than San Sebastian. We stopped in some of those towns mentioned. We also spent a night in Laguardia which we enjoyed.
MFNYC is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2024, 11:08 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,719
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Here's my Basque country trip report
Our Basque country fall 2019 trip
MFNYC is offline  
Old May 9th, 2024, 06:48 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
French Basque Itinerary

Made some adjustments to the itinerary:
Week 1 - French Basque side
Arrive early morning in Bilbao, spend all day in Bilbao - Stay1 night
Next day head out to French side to do the following places:
Staying as home base in St Pee Sur Nivelle 3 nights - This still flexible as we are trying to find a home base inland near all the towns mentioned below:
Saint JeandeLuz /Cibourne
Cambo Les Bains
Espelette,
Ainoai,
Sare,
Ascain

Bidarray (not sure will have time)
St Jean Pied de Port - 3 nights
Visit Valle des Aldudes via St Etienne de Baigorry and open to other suggestions
Pamplona - 1 night on way to San Sebastian
San Sebastian - End of trip I will stay there various days

nflores is offline  
Old May 9th, 2024, 07:34 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,084
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Our countryside home base this summer (we switch around) will be Ainhoa, which we like even more than Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, but in the latter we like dining at Cédric Béchaude's L'Auberge Basque.

There are 2 lovely hotel-restaurants in Ainhoa, the Ithurria and the Argi-Eder.

I wouldn't choose Espelette now that it's so busy with tourists all the time. Kind of a victim of its own beauty now.

Bidarray as a base would be redundant, since you'll be staying in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port for 3 nights.

The drive from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Sainte-Etienne de Baïgorry on the D15, then down the Les Aldudes valley on the D948 to the D58 is gorgeous. You pass by the trout farm in Banca, the lovely hotel-restaurant Erreguina in Banca, and then the Pierre Oteiza ham farm in Les Aldudes, then at the Navarran border there is a spectacular viewpoint before reaching Esnazu.
Maribel is offline  
Old May 9th, 2024, 07:44 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Perfect advice thank you, looks like some dates are already booked for the lodging we were considering in St. Pee Sur Nivelle, so we may need to consider Ainhoa or another town as base. Thanks so much!
nflores is offline  
Old May 9th, 2024, 07:47 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,084
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sare also has a lovely restaurant-hotel, Arraya and across the street from it, there's the Lastry.

If you'd like to taste the local Irouléguy wines, there is a nice cooperative shop in Sainte-Etienne-de-Baïgorry where one can sample or purchase.
And we stop to purchase chocolates at Laia, also in the village.
And the Rémy Mahler organ in the village church is one of the finest in France.

Last edited by Maribel; May 9th, 2024 at 08:39 AM.
Maribel is offline  
Old May 10th, 2024, 06:03 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Maribel, I may have found availability at Hotel Ithurria, I am confiming and wondering if that is a good choice as one of your recommendations, I am also checking with Arraya and Argi Eder and L' Auberge Basque (which does have rooms it appears at a cost).
nflores is offline  
Old May 10th, 2024, 06:57 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Now my decision gets more difficult as Ithurria and Arraya and Argi Eder and Hotel Pyrenees Atlantique are all available!
nflores is offline  
Old May 10th, 2024, 07:57 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,084
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Flores,
While we dine at the L'Auberge Basque, the rooms are on the pricey side. If the Ithurria has rooms, it's a very good choice and has a pool. The Argi Eder also has a pool and both have wonderful dining. The Arraya doesn't have a pool.

I would go with the Ithurria or the Argi Eder, both in Ainhoa. Wow, you do have nice choices after all!

We'll be there mid July.
Maribel is offline  
Old May 10th, 2024, 09:14 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With a special thanks to you! We have all these amazing choices. We opted for Ithurria it seemed perfect for our family with the pool for children, michelín star restaurant for mom and dad and they offered us a family 2 bedroom suite so how could I say no to that- Just booked. I will consider dining one night at L'Auberge and some of these other wonderful restaurants. We also managed to secure 2 nights in Uhart-Cize to explore that area. We have 1 more night to decide if we stay in St Etienne or Andalus or just head and spend one night in Pamplona before Donostia.
nflores is offline  
Old May 10th, 2024, 09:31 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,084
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow, what a perfect deal! The food there is sooooooo good!

Since Uhart-Cize is so close to both Sainte-Etienne-de Baïgorry and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, you may just want to head to Pamplona (we'll be there too in mid-July).

Andalus?
Maribel is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -