From France to Spain: Hiking in the Basque Country

Pilgrim Trails, Pintxo Hopping, and stunning Bilbao

Overview

Basque Country is a world apart, with its own language, culture, cuisine, and some of the most gorgeous hiking trails in Europe. We’ll hike the coast, the mountains, and iconic stretches of the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela on this insider’s journey into Basque life. Eating well is the second religion of the Basques, and we’ll have classic lunches among farmers and fishermen, taste local mountain cheeses, go pintxo-hopping in the foodie capital of San Sebastián, and enjoy a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hondarribia, where our old friend Chef Gorka Txapartegi has a magic hand with the local gastronomy.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 7-8
Getaria / Bilbao

We hike a coastal stretch of the pilgrim trail, visit the charming harbor town of Getaria, then enjoy a guided visit to Bilbao’s celebrated Guggenheim Museum. Depart on Day 8.

Hotel Carlton
Bilbao, Spain
Day 7 (1 night)
Days 1-2
Biarritz, France / Saint-étienne-de-Baigorri

We stretch our legs on a pilgrim path to Villefranque in the inland Pyrenees. The next day’s hike brings us up sacred Mt. Larrun, which marks Basque Country’s French-Spanish border.

Hotel Arce
St. Etienne de Baigorry, France
Days 1 to 2 (2 nights)
Days 3-4
Camino de Santiago / Roncesvalles, Spain / Pamplona

At Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the French gate of the Camino de Santiago, we have our “pilgrim passports” stamped, then hike an evocative stretch of the Camino to Roncesvalles, where the Basques defeated Charlemagne’s army in 778 AD. Another classic hike brings us to Puente la Reina, where two main pilgrim trails meet: the Camino Frances and the Camino Aragones. Our historic hotel in Pamplona is the same one Hemingway stayed in!

Gran Hotel la Perla
Pamplona, Spain
Days 3 to 4 (2 nights)
Days 5-6
The Bandits Trail / San Sebastián / Hondarribia

An ancient trail brings us through central Basque Country, with lunch among farmers, hunters, and herders. In San Sebastián, the views are fabulous as we hike from Mt. Igueldo down to the magnificent bay of La Concha, then go pintxo-hopping—a foodie “pub crawl” to taste the best tapas. A local professor will give us a talk on Basque history while we sip Txakoli (Basque white wine) at our seaside parador in Hondarribia.

Parador de Hondarribia
Hondarribia, Spain
Days 5 to 6 (2 nights)

Highlights

Highlights

Experience Basque country with Trip Leaders who have a passion for sharing their culture and cuisine
Hike from France to Spain on the classic Camino de Santiago pilgrim route
Enjoy delicious picnics and meals in local Basque gathering spots
Explore mountain, coast, and village trails
Savor a special Basque dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hondarribia

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $5595  
Arrive: Biarritz, France
Depart: Bilbao, Spain
Lodging: 7 nights historic hotels and inns
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Culinary
Trip Level:

6 hiking days on moderate trails, some steep sections, 2-5 hours a day, van support

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