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Hondaribbia, French Basque

Old Mar 26th, 2019, 01:19 PM
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Hondaribbia, French Basque

We fly from Barcelona to Hondaribbia arriving Sept. 12 at 6pm. We will stay in Hondaribbia nights of 12 and 13. I'd like suggestions for reasonably priced quiet lodging, good food, and how to enjoy the day.
We then have four days/ nights until Sept. 18 when our reservation begins in San Sebastian. We want to explore French Basque country, probably staying in St. Jean de Luz at least for 2 nights. We can rent a car in Hondaribbia, but it seems like bus transportation to SJL is easy. I would appreciate advice as to whether to have a car or rely on buses. We would like to explore other small towns/villages in the area. Also recommendations for lodging and restaurants in the area would be appreciated.
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Old Mar 26th, 2019, 03:23 PM
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You will actually fly to the San Sebastian airport, but yes, it is easy to get to SJL from Hondarrabia by public transport. But from there, although there are buses to the inland towns, I would rent a car unless you have some reason not to do so. That gives you much more flexibility. You might want to see Biarritz and Bayonne and then head inland. I also spent a couple of nights in St. Jean Pied de Port, timing my days for the weekly market.
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Old Mar 26th, 2019, 04:00 PM
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The San Sebastian airport is in Hondarribia. We saw planes taking off and landing from our hotel. We spent a week there and you do need a car to explore the area.
There is a nice Parador there with parking which is difficult to find. There are two parts of town, both interesting, medieval on top amd fishermen’s quarter below. A little ferry takes you across the river that separates Spain and France. Good restaurants and tapas bars are found in Hondarribia..
We went over the border and explored the pretty French Basque villages-Saré, Ascain, Ainhoa, Espellette and more. We also enjoyed St-Jean de Luz on the sea. We loved the Basque area, both Spanish and French sides.
Go to maribelsgiudes.com as she has lots of helpfuli information in pdf form which you can print out to take along. They were very, very helpfull while planning and also once we arrived . Excellent advice.
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Old Mar 26th, 2019, 04:25 PM
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For a nice ride up and if you are up to it a hike back down, take the la Rhune cog railway:
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Old Mar 27th, 2019, 07:56 AM
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Thank you all for the helpful advice. The wonderful photos make me even more eager to be in the area. Where do you get the cog railway?
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Old Mar 27th, 2019, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by marsha1340 View Post
Thank you all for the helpful advice. The wonderful photos make me even more eager to be in the area. Where do you get the cog railway?
At the base of the mountain, on D4 between Ascain and Sare.
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Old Mar 27th, 2019, 10:29 AM
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In Sare’ there is a store featuring Basque linens. We brought towels home with the distinctive Basque striped trim. And in Espelette, you can buy a bottle of the famous paprika, Piment d’Espelette.
Also, before you leave, I highly recommend reading Michael Kurlansky’s book “ The Basque History of the World”, very helpful to understanding the Basque.

Last edited by HappyTrvlr; Mar 27th, 2019 at 10:50 AM.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for the great tips.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 11:28 AM
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If we return we would stay at the Parador. We’ve stayed at many Paradors all over Spain. We stayed at Hotel Obispo which had some very nice aspects but limited parking spaces. You will need a rental car for both Basque areas, Spain and France.
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 11:34 AM
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Farmer's Market Days

Farmers’ Market Days - thanks to Maribel
Opening around 7:00 am, closing at 1:00 pm
  • Bayonne - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • Biarritz - covered market open daily
  • Saint-Jean-de-Luz - Tuesday, Friday and Saturday in July and August
  • Ciboure - Sunday
  • Urrugne - Thursday
  • Ascain - Saturday
  • Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle - Saturday
  • Espelette - Wednesday and Saturday only in July and August
  • Cambo-les-Bains - Friday
  • Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port - Monday
  • La Bastide-Clairence - night market every Friday in July and August
  • Market Day, Saint-Jean-de-Luz
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 11:40 AM
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Note: There is a difference between the French Basque and Spanish Basque languages, just as there is a difference in the people. One of the best sources for anything Basque is Buber's Basque Page | A site dedicated to the Basque people!
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Old Mar 28th, 2019, 12:12 PM
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There are nice stores in St-Jean-de-Luz selling authentic Basque linens also. And piment d'espelette is ubiquitous.

The Perla spa right on the beach in San Sebastiàn is a treat, especially on a rainy day (of which we only had one in a week-long stay in September).
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Old Mar 29th, 2019, 01:23 PM
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More wonderful tips; thanks to all of you. We love the street markets and appreciate the schedule. The Maribel guides are the best. We've used them on prior trips to Spain.
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