Basque Country - France & Spain
24 September to 1 October 2018
The Basque Country is full of delights: lush vistas, trout filled streams and picturesque villages unchanged over the centuries.
Although neither French or Spanish in terms of its food, architecture, traditions or language. Walk among the foothills of the Pyrenees; a range of snow-capped mountains that form a natural barrier between Spain and France. Many small paths that criss-cross the area and follow some of Europe's most scenic long distance footpaths as we wander besides mountain streams, through terraced vineyards and lush pastures, passing through numerous villages of traditional white stucco houses adorned with red shutters, along pathways that were followed by pilgrims over 1000 years ago.
Days 1 & 2
Hondarribia: explore this picturesque Medieval town, right on the border of France and Spain, Walk along the Camino de Santiago, one of Europe's most famous long distance paths; take a cliff-top walk with views of the Bay of Biscay, all along the coast to San Sebastian.Enjoy the lively bar scene, sampling pintxos along the way.
Days 3, 4 & 5
Hike along the Gr10 trail following the border between France and Spain. Stay in Ainhoa , an attractive village of typical Basque houses. Visit Sare one of France's most beautiful villages Try the regional speciality 'Gateau Basque' a delicious cake filled with black cherry jam.
Walk to Urdax, a UNESCO World Heritage site; visit prehistoric grottoes; follow the smuggler's route from France into Spain; walk to Zugarramurdi famous for its colony of witches.
Days 6 & 7
St Etienne de Baigorry: stay at the Hotel Arcè, a former smugglers inn located right on the River Nive; take a hike into the wild Val Aldudes and see vultures soaring among the peaks; hike to St Jean Pied de Port, a meeting point for pilgrims from all over Europe; enjoy a tutored tasting of the wines of Irouleguy.
Difficulty: Moderate 8 - 15 km/day in rolling countryside, through woods farmland and vineyards. More difficult hiking options available on alpine trails. Most trails are along well-surfaced country roads.
Inclusions: 7 night's accommodation in comfortable three-star hotels; all breakfasts and meals as listed in the itinerary; all activities listed in the itinerary; all transfers, tips and gratuities; the services of a professional tour guide.