When to Go

The Basque Country is known for its wet climate, but when the skies clear the hillsides are so green and the air so clean that the weather gods are immediately forgiven. Late fall and winter are generally rainier than early autumn or late spring. The Pyrenean heights such as Brèche de Roland and Gavarnie, on the other hand, may only be approached safely in midsummer. Treacherous ice and snow plaques can be present even in mid-June, and summer blizzards remain a risk. Climate change may be shrinking glaciers and extending the safety period in the high Pyrénées, but freak conditions—the reverse side of the same coin—may be creating even more unpredictable and dangerous weather patterns. Beach weather is from May through September, and sometimes lasts until mid-October's été de la Saint-Martin (Indian summer). Skiing conditions are reliable from December through March and, on occasion, into April.

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