And now it’s time for a long week end to enjoy nature, sun, ocean and the gastronomy of the Basque Country in France! Here is the organization of my 2 days on the French Basque Coast and in the countryside. Also, you can find the program of my long weekend to discover the French Basque Country in 2 days (itineraries, maps, visits, restaurants, hotels) and tips to know where to base yourself in basque country.
How to visit the Basque Country in 1 week end?
The location of the hotel or campsite is essential to avoid wasting time on the roads… Indeed, even out of season, driving on some roads is complicated because of traffic jams. Therefore, the priority is to choose accommodation that is quite central to the visit program.
It is in Biarritz that I chose to stay the first night and the last one to enjoy its beautiful beach, an exceptional hotel, a good restaurant and above all its ideal geographical location as the starting point for my 2-day tour in the French Basque Country.
The 1st hotel chosen, now remains to define the best basque country road trip itinerary that is quite complete but not too busy for the weekend. There, I made sure that this tour allowed to discover both the small mountain villages and the beautiful and elegant Basque seaside cities without forgetting to taste the good products of the country ( charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, Basque cake, Espelette pepper….) !
French basque country itinerary in 2 days – Stages of my tour
My 2-day tour starts in Biarritz and includes a 1st day along the Basque coast and a 2nd day in the countryside. Here are the steps you can program on your GPS:
- Saint Jean de Luz
- La Rhune
- Saint Jean Pied de Port
Map of my itinerary of Basque country must-see places
DAY 1 – Road trip along the Basque coast
From Biarritz to Hendaye, the Basque coast in France is characterised by a succession of cliffs interspersed with coves and bays. With many fine sandy beaches, famous and trendy surf spots, large elegant buildings and delicious seafood restaurants, the French Basque coast is well worth a full day’s visit!
Basque Country Tour – Biarritz city tour itinerary by foot
Chic, elegant, refined, in France, we talk about Biarritz like we talk about a beautiful lady!
Made famous by the Empress Eugenie, Biarritz has a few sites not to be missed: Its large beach and Casino, the Imperial Chapel, the famous Rocher de la Vierge, the fishing port lined with crampottes, the Côte des Basques… It is necessary to spend a full morning to discover its most beautiful sites on foot. I didn’t take the time to visit the Biarritz Historical Museum but it should be remembered as a good idea of an activity to do in Biarritz when it rains…
Here is the map of my city tour itinerary to visit Biarritz on foot:
Basque Country Tour – Bidart
A typical village overlooking the ocean, it was a stopover I loved! We take a break, we walk around, take a few pictures and we have to keep going…
Basque Country Tour – Guethary
An ancient whaling port, Guéthary is a typical Basque village, it is very popular with its good surf spots, seafood restaurants and family beaches.
Basque Country Tour – Saint Jean de Luz
It is said to be the city of shipowners, fishermen and corsairs. Places to visit: the Church of St John the Baptist, the fishing port for tuna, sardines and enchois, the panorama of Pointe Sainte Barbe, the houses of shipowners and pirates, the infante’s house and the Basque tradition eco-museum.
Basque Country Tour – Ciboure
The birthplace of composer Maurice Ravel, its panorama from the Tour de Bordagain is breathtaking. Also worth seeing: its port and the fort of Socoa.
Basque Country Tour – Hendaye
By taking the road by the cornice, you arrive in Hendaye a pretty marina at the gates of Spain. See if you have time to admire:
- its immense beach,
- the Sokoburu district and its casino at the tip of Chingoudy Bay, facing the Spanish city of Fontarrabie
- Saint Vincent’s church in the city centre,
- the Abbadia domain (natural site overlooking the cliffs),
- Abbadia Castle.
Day 1 – Night in Hendaye – My hotel
For this overnight stopover, I needed a hotel with parking, very well placed to visit Hendaye, enjoy the ocean and be close to shops and restaurants. So I didn’t choose the cheapest but a beautiful hotel with an interesting price/quality ratio.
Facing the sea, with a beautiful terrace with modern and spacious rooms, the Valencia hotel was perfect for one night!
DAY 2 – Road trip along the Basque countryside
This morning, very early we take the road towards Behobia-Biriatou to reach the city of Urugne, which is about ten kilometres away.
Road trip in Basque Country – Urrugne
Beautiful Basque village with:
- its pediment where pelota players hit the ball with their bare hands,
- the famous Etxea houses whitewashed with lime and whose woodwork is painted red,
- the church with galleries typical of Basque churches,
- the Castle of Urtubie,
- the Sokorri Chapel from where you have a view of the entire Basque coast!
Road trip in Basque Country – Ascain – La Rhune
You have to reach the village of Ascain, then take the Col de Saint Ignace where the station is located to take the little cogwheel train of 1924 called the train de la Rhune. Installation in the wooden wagons and ascent for more than half an hour to the top of the Rhune at 905 m. The panorama over the Pyrenees, the coast of San Sebastian and the beaches of the Landes is exceptional! Allow at least 2 and a half hours to make the round trip and enjoy taking some pictures at the top.
Basque Country – Sare the most beautiful villages in France
It is impossible to discover the Basque Country, its culture, its people and its way of life without stopping in Sare. Classified as one of “the most beautiful village in France“, Sare is an essential stopover in the Basque Country with :
- its labourdine houses from the 16th century,
- its Basque Cake Museum,
- its 17th century Ortillopitz house,
- and its caves (which unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit…).
Road trip in Basque Country – Espelette
Our next step: Espelette for the cultivation of its famous Espelette pepper used by all the great chefs around the world. We went to visit the Lurretik house (short video explaining the cultivation of peppers + purchase of local products).
Road trip in Basque Country – Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
On the pilgrim way to Santiago de Compostela, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is a magnificent village classified as a World Heritage Site. To see depending on the time you have:
- Church of the 13th century;
- Ramparts and Vauban citadel;
- Bishops’ Prison;
- Brana wine domain.
Basque Country – Bayonne city tour itinerary by foot
A city of art but also a city of festivities, ferias and corridas, Bayonne was well worth a stop on my 2-day tour in the Basque Country! It takes more than 2 hours to discover its most beautiful sites on foot: Vauban walls, Gothic Cathedral, Cloister, Basque Museum, Ham craftsman Pierre Ibaialde, chocolate maker Txokola, Bonnat Museum. This last Museum, which I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit, remains a good idea as an activity to do in Bayonne when it rains… Here is the map of my itinerary to visit Bayonne on foot:
End of our road trip – Return to our hotel in Biarritz
After this tiring day but full of beautiful images and good tastings, it is with great pleasure that we meet our hotel to immerse us in a big bath and let us pamper ourselves with balneotherapy treatments. So we finish our weekend in style in this superb hotel with an overdose of well-being (but a little disappointed by the meal served a little too slowly…).
Any idea of a visit to add to this program?
Here is how to spend 3 days in the Arcachon Bay