Walking the Basque Country: Journey to San Sabastian

Exploring the Basque country on foot is the best way to truly get under the skin of a distinctive region, full of spectacular landscapes, stories, traditions and a strong sense of heritage. Experience the flavour of Basque living at a leisurely place, where you can unwind at walk through the winding trails of the Baztan Valley, surrounded by the impressive peaks of the Pyrenees. Out among the Pyrenees, you’ll find a landscape abundant with wildlife and flowers, native to this wild, conservation area. Just as memorable as the peaks and valleys of the Basque Country are the people, culture and cuisine of this distinctive region. Basque culture is one of the oldest in Europe, and the people of the region take great pride in their national identity, language and traditions – all of which are perfect for discovering at a leisurely pace, where you can really immerse yourself in the landscape and culture of this fascinating region.

Highlights:

  • Explore Incredible Mountain Scenery
  • San Sebastien: The Culinary Capital of the Basque Country
  • Taste Basque Cuisine and Local Produce
  • Discover the Traditions and Legends of the Basque Region
  • Scenic Walking in the Spectacular Basque Pyrenees
  • Visit the picturesque fishing town of Fuenterrabia

Duration7 nights/6 days walking
Length48 to 72 mi
GradeModerate
AvailabilityMarch - July, Sep - Oct
Price from£745
Holiday CodeSPA-BSQ

Why Choose This Walk?

From the peaks of valleys of the beautiful Baztan Valley to the beaches of the Bay of Biscay at San Sebastian, this route is an ideal introduction to the intense and vibrant culture of the Basque region; a culture unique to Spain and a language of which some say is the oldest in Europe. Beginning in the remote and rural hills and valleys, a mainly agricultural landscape, here you’ll stay in the quaint villages and lively towns of the area. From there your route makes its way towards the coast, a great way to end your journey with gentle coastal walking and the beautiful seaside resort of San Sebastian and the charming fishing harbour of Fuenterrabia.

The Path

Basque walking holiday map
From the rugged red-clay hills of the Baztan Valley, and soft meadows and the verdant pines typical of the Pyrenees, your way descends from the peaks and valleys of inland Basque Country to the spectacular coastal stretches that lead to your journey’s end in San Sebastian. Unlike the far more populous Camino Santiago, you’ll find this path far more remote and peaceful, visiting villages that are far-off the beaten tourist track. Your route is delineated by the red and white directions found on signposts, rocks, trees which mark out the way forward, with most trails underfoot even and well-marked. The Basque Country is known for its love of great walking routes, perhaps due to its distinctive geography, which can prove to be quite challenging in terms of ascents and descents at times (the Basque Country is also famous for producing famous moutaineers). However, we do offer easier options along the way, with taxi transfers and alternative routes to cater for those walkers who are seeking a more leisurely route through the Basque Pyrenees.

The Accommodation

You’ll find accommodation in the Basque Country harmonious to the landscape around it, with charming rural hotels situated on the Baztan River, to old restored farmhouses in the Pyrenees and elegant townhouses in the seaside resort of San Sebastian, from which you can explore the historic port and city centre. Some of the places you stay at will have a restaurant attached, but we advise our clients to book their evening meals in advance with us – as in some towns and villages there may be a limited number of places to eat in the area, although some hotels will have restaurants attached. You can expect a warm welcome from your hosts, the perfect environment to return to after a day’s out exploring the countryside. Breakfast in included on each day, and all rooms are en-suite.

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Itinerary: Ziga to San Sabastian

Days: 6 (7 nights) | Distance: 48 to 72 mi (76 to 115 km) | Difficulty: Moderate  | Price: from £745 p.p.

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Ziga

    Arrive today in Ziga, a picturesque village with characterful rural hotels, located among the scenic Baztan valley. Alternatively, if we are unable to secure Ziga, your holiday will start in the town of the Elizondo, a vibrant small town situated on the banks of the river Baztan, where taking some time to explore the old houses and restaurants of the town comes highly recommended.
  • Day 2

    Ziga to Elizondo

    13.2km |↑400m ↓540m

    Your route today begins with a gentle ascent to a great vantage point for the impressive peaks of the Baztan valley, where the trail then descends to the charming village of Irurita – a great opportunity to take a quick coffee break on your journey. Your trail then proceeds to the villages of Gartzain and Aristegui, concluding in the town of Elizondo, capital of the Baztan valley. If in fact you started in Elizondo, rather than Ziga: your journey is mainly the same with the exception of the morning, where you a circular route around the Abartan and Auza peaks, visiting the village of Gartzain and Aristegui
  • Day 3

    Elizondo to Erratzu

    16.5km |↑630m ↓530m

    Reach the heights of the Baztan valley, before following the descent to the remote and lonely valley of Iñarbegui, set agaisnt the impressive peak of Auza. Follow a scenic trail through the gorge and take a short detour to visit the Xorrokin waterfall, before arriving at your accommodation for the night at the beautiful village of Erratzu. There is an alternative route available for these who prefer an easier day, enjoying lovely views of meadows, farms and hills of the Baztan valley, and a stop in Arizkun, one of the most beautiful villages of the area. NOTE: Depending on the availability, this stage may end in nearby Arizkun (guesthouse Zilbetinea) or Amaiur (Hotel Palacio Borda).
  • Day 4

    Erratzu to Etxalar

    22 km, 6-7h ↑660m ↓800m

    Your trail today takes you up on to the mountain ridges of the valley, visiting the tiny settlements of Urrasun and Zuaztoi. Your route then joins the GR 11, which takes you 8 km across meadows, farms, oak and beech forest with views for miles. Leaving the GR, the route descends gently to Etxalar, arguably one of the most beautiful villages visited on your trip. If you’re seeking a gentler day, take a taxi (paid locally - 10€) to Otsondo pass and take a slight incline up to join the GR 11. Walkers can also start with a short lift (included) to skip the first 3km.
  • Day 5

    Etxalar to Bera

    15.3 km, 6h ↑650m ↓750m

    Today’s trail lifts gradually up through the valley, between oak-lined paths, eventually reaching the Lizaieta pass, with fantastic views to be found as you walk alongside the border between Spain and France. Walkers seeking a more challenging route, can make the ascent up to the beautiful Ibantelli peak, and if you prefer a gentle walk just keep walking along the GR-11. Return to the warm welcome of your hosts in the lively border town of Bera.
  • Day 6

    Bera to Fuenterrabia

    18 km, 7h ↑850 m ↓900m

    Join the French GR 10 route, walking up from Bera to the Ibardin Pass. A more leisurely route is available, where you can take a taxi transfer and start from the pass itself. From here, you’ll find breathtaking views as well as from the Xoldoko and Gaina hills later along the route, where from you make the gentle descent down into the charming coastal town of Hendaye. It’s here that you can take the boat to Fuenterrabia (Basque: Hondarribia), undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Spain; famed for its vibrant restaurants and bars.
  • Day 7

    Fuenterrabia to San Sebastien

    24, 16 or 8 km with ↑ 900, ↑ 500 or ↑ 400m

    From the 16th century Guadalupe sanctuary, your route ventures further up to the impressive Jaizkibel coastal ridge, where you have views that stretch for miles. Make the descent later to Pasaia, an authentic sailing and fishing village from the Middle Ages, the ideal place to take five with a beer or coffee. Set out on a short boat trip to the other side of the harbour, where your route continues along a pleasant coastal walk to the beautiful San Sebastian, a fantastic place to finish your journey!
  • Day 8

    Departure

    Take transfer to airport for your departure or take another day to explore San Sebastian (please note that there is a strong likelihood that most accommodation will require a minimum of a two night stay).

Click ' + ' signs to view a detailed daily breakdown

Price FromTwo people sharing (price per person)Single personSolo person
1/4/19 - 31/5/19£745£930£1040
1/6/19 - 30/6/19£775£965£1075
1/7/19 - 31/8/19---
1/9/19 - 30/9/19£775£965£1075
1/10/19 - 31/10/19£745£930£1040

  • What's Included?

    Price Includes

    • 7 nights bed and breakfast
    • Luggage transfer
    • Route notes including mapping and GPS tracks
    • Destination guide
    • Regional Map

    Price Does Not Include 

    • Packed lunches – available locally
    • Evening Meals – 4 dinner package can be purchased for £80 per person. We suggest booking a meal package of 4 dinners in addition to the standard holiday package as this is the best deal and in some towns it might be the only available option. 
  • Price Info.

    Rest Days
    San Sebastian –

    April £60 per person per night (sharing) / Single - £90

    May & October £69 per person per night (sharing) / Single - £107

    June & September £79 per person per night (sharing) / Single - £117

    Please enquire for extra night prices at other locations in the itinerary 

    Airport Transfers (optional)

    Biarritz Airport to accommodation (Ziga/Elizondo) - £108.00

    Bilbao Airport to accommodation (Ziga/Elizondo) - £240.00

    San Sebastian to Biarritz Airport - £108.00

    San Sebastian to Bilbao Airport - £155.00

    Postage Overseas 

    • £5.00 per walk pack (Europe)
    • £10.00 per walk pack (Rest of the World)

    Optional Extras

    • Boat tickets at Hendaye (Day 6) – 2€ and at Pasaia (Day 7) – 1€
    • Optional taxi transfer (Day 4) – Erratzu to Otsondo pass – 10€
    • Optional taxi transfer (Day 6) – Bera to Ibardin pass – 12€
    • Optional taxi transfer (Day 7) – Hondarribia to Pasaia – 5€ if booked in advance
  • Getting There

    Travel arrangements for arrival/departure 

    You are responsible for booking your travel to your accommodation in Ziga/Elizondo and return from your accommodation in San Sebastian.

    Nearest airport is located in Biarritz http://biarritz.aeroport.fr/en/

    But please be aware that if flying from the UK that travel to your first accommodation of your walk is then only possible on the same day by taxi rather than public transport due to flight arrival time.

    The other convenient airport is located in Bilbao  http://www.aena.es/en/bilbao-airport/index.html(taxi transfers can be arranged from/return either airport if required).

    FROM BIARRITZ AIRPORT

    (public transport – only practical if you are not intending to travel to Ziga/Elizondo the same day as the only UK flight arrives too late for bus connection at San Sebastian).

    • There is a daily bus from San Sebastian to Elizondo at 16.30. The journey takes about 90 minutes, sometimes change required at Mugaire http://labaztanesa.com/c_horarios_i.html For arrival in Ziga you alight at Irurita and taxi is provided from here to accommodation.

    RETURN TO BIARRITZ AIRPORT (public transport)

    FROM BILBAO AIRPORT (public transport)

    • There is a daily bus from San Sebastian to Elizondo at 16.30. The journey takes about 90 minutes, sometimes change required at Mugaire http://labaztanesa.com/c_horarios_i.html For arrival in Ziga you alight at Irurita and taxi is provided from here to accommodation.

    RETURN TO BILBAO AIRPORT from San Sebastian (public transport)

  • Best Time To Travel

    You choose which day you would like your holiday to start on.

    Please note that unlike our UK holidays there are 2 separate price bandings so please check the dates and prices carefully before booking. We will book your holiday in accordance with your requirements. (Holiday price determined by your arrival date).

Enquire About Basque Pyrenees

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