|from $3,995* per person||7 Days||May, October
Exertion level: 4
|Operator: The Wayfarers
16 people max
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.
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- Accommodates certain types of disabilities. Contact the operator for more information.
We rendezvous in dazzling Biarritz and make the short transfer to the lovely hilltop village of Aïnhoa, on the Spanish Border, for our Welcome Dinner.
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 dinner in the hotel's Michelin star restaurant.
Overnight: St Jean de Luz
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 can choose whether we visit the French Basque capital of Bayonne to discover the history and character of this lively town or return to spend some free time in Saint Jean de Luz. We rendezvous in our hotel for our farewell dinner.
Overnight: St Jean de Luz
The Wayfarers see you safely on your way. Of course you may prefer to linger in Biarritz!
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