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Pyrenees to the Atlantic with San Sebastián

Rugged peaks and pretty villages
 
Experience a real sense of journey as you walk self-guided between the welcoming mountain hotels of the Atlantic Pyrenees, while your luggage is transferred ahead. Traverse verdant hills and traditional villages before ending by the coast in San Sebastián, one of Spain’s loveliest seaside cities.
Pyrenees to the Atlantic with San Sebastián. 9 nights
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Pyrenees to the Atlantic with San Sebastián. 9 nights
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Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the French Pyrenees

Journey from the heart of the Atlantic Pyrenees to the Spanish coast along inviting footpaths close to the border, and you will enjoy rewarding ascents and satisfyingly full days while discovering the region’s unique landscape, culture and cuisine.

The traditional Basque villages are unlike any other in France, characterised by sturdy, whitewashed houses and courts for pelote (an outdoor game similar to squash), with friendly auberges serving specialities such as mountain cheese with black cherry conserve or the delicious spicy-chicken-and-pepper dish, ‘poulet à la basquaise’.
As you make your way across the high, green hills and verdant valleys, you may well hear the locals conversing in Basque – despite the struggles of the Franco years, Europe’s oldest language is still alive and well – and it’s not uncommon to glimpse beautiful birds of prey in the skies. This part of the Pyrenees is an important migration route for a wide variety of birds: from black kites and honey buzzards in mid-August to marsh harriers and ospreys in September and sparrow hawks, red kites and buzzards in October.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

    This holiday takes you to altitudes of over 1,000 metres, where temperatures will be cooler than those stated above, which relate to the coast.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 12 13 14 16 19 22 24 24 23 20 15 12
    mm 135 115 113 126 114 85 62 97 115 128 162 142
  • Arrival in St Etienne-de-Baïgorry
    Night 1: at Hotel Manexenea (where you stay one night).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Choice of walks from St Etienne to Bidarray: 12.5km or 13.5km

    St Etienne to Bidarray: 13.5km, 6hrs; ascent/descent 1000m
    The walk starts with a strenuous ascent first through woodland then through open grazing land to the Harietta Pass on the border with Spain, where you are rewarded with superb views of the Pyrenean chain, and possibly the sighting of a griffon vulture. You then follow the ridge, descending gradually through more pastureland to Bidarray and the Hotel Barberaenea.

    Low-level option: 12.5km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 640m
    If the weather is poor, a low-level alternative traverses the foothills to the east of the Iparla ridge, connecting hamlets, farms and shepherds’ huts on open moorland and ridges with good views over green valleys.
    En route to Bidarray
  • Bidarray to Itxassou: 19.5km, 7.5hrs; ascent 1105m/descent 1160m; shorter option: 14km, 5.5hrs; ascent 685m/descent 740m
    You ascend towards the Spanish border once more and on to the summit of Mount Artzamendi (926 metres), from where, on a clear day, you have views of the High Pyrenees behind you and the Atlantic ahead of you. You then descend through grazing land and expanses of bracken to the River Nive, which you follow to Itxassou, passing the Pas de Roland, a hole in the rock which, according to legend, was cut by Roland to let Charlemagne's army pass through. Your hotel is the Hotel du Fronton. The shorter option bypasses the climb to Artzamendi, and joins the main route as it crosses the Plateau Vert.
    Bidarray to Itxassou
  • Itxassou to Ainhoa: 14.5km, 5.5hrs; ascent 715m, descent 695m
    The route leads uphill through pasture land, passing under the Pic de Mondarrain (749 metres). As you descend, there are good views of the whitewashed villages on the plain below, with the Atlantic beyond. Your destination is the Hotel Argi Eder in Ainhoa, arguably the prettiest of Basque villages.
    Enjoy far-reaching views as you make your way to Ainhoa
  • Ainhoa to Sare: 13km, 4.5hrs; ascent 330m/descent 405m
    This is a gentler walk, with fewer ascents and descents than previous days. You follow tracks and country lanes alongside a series of streams, ascending gently to a low ridge which you follow along the Franco-Spanish border, passing a couple of tiny hamlets, before descending into Sare, where you find your next hotel, the Hotel Arraya.
    Ainhoa to Sare
  • Sare to Biriatou: 18km, 6hrs; ascent 460m/descent 1250m
    You walk to the station and from here take the cog railway (pay locally) to the summit of La Rhune (900 metres), which affords views of the Bay of Biscay, the forests of Les Landes, and the Pyrenean chain. From the summit, you walk into Spain, crossing the Ibardin Pass back into France for a series of ascents and descents as you walk from pass to pass and on to Biriatou, just a couple of miles from the coast. Here, your hotel is Les Jardins de Bakea.

     
    Peaceful paths lead to Biriatou
  • Biriatou to Hondarribia: 17.5km, 6hrs; ascent 395m/descent 830m
    Today you are taken by taxi across the border to meet a panoramic path overlooking the Spanish port of Hondarribia; follow this coastal path all the way down to the port to reach your next accommodation, the Hotel Obispo.

    Your arrival at the sea brings a real sense of achievement and to make this extra special, we recommend upgrading to a more spacious superior room, with views across the bay. Charming Hondarribia sits on the mouth of the River Bidasoa, its modern waterfront hiding the atmospheric Old Town. Wander along the streets of the Barrio de la Marina district to find traditional, wood-beamed Basque houses with flower-bedecked balconies alternating with bars that offer excellent seafood and tasty pintxos (Basque-style tapas).
    Walking on to the coast
  • Hondarribia to San Sebastián: 21km, 7.5hrs; ascent 865m/descent 995m
    Beginning with a taxi transfer, today’s route is a challenging but highly scenic ridge walk that eventually drops down to the coast at beautiful San Sebastián. Here you stay at the ideally located Hotel Niza, just inches from the sweeping sands of Playa de la Concha.

    San Sebastián is one of Europe’s most gastronomic cities, with more Michelin stars per capita than just about anywhere else on the planet. You’ll need to book ahead for these outstanding eateries, or make like the locals and embark on a txititeo (‘pintxo crawl’). Each bar has its own speciality and style – ranging from the rustic to the experimental – and we include a self-guided trail to help you navigate between them.
    Your destination - the seaside city of San Sebastián
  • Explore San Sebastián
    On your full day here, you’ll no doubt want to try more of the famous pintxos bars, though we also provide notes for a city walk that takes in the absorbing San Telmo museum (closed Monday), where different aspects of Basque life are showcased via a number of dynamic temporary exhibitions. It’s also well worth riding the city’s century-old funicular to the top of Monte Igueldo for fabulous views over the handsome Belle Epoque architecture, manicured gardens and three golden beaches.
    San Sebastián's Belle Epoque architecture
    Explore the city's famous pintxos bars
 

Accommodation

You stay in a different hotel on each of your first seven nights – all are warm, welcoming and comfortable and provide tasty regional cuisine – before finishing with two nights on San Sebastián’s elegant seafront.

Occasionally, due to availability, we may offer an alternative hotel, as shown below. You will be informed of any change to the usual hotel (along with any price implication) prior to us confirming your holiday to you.
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 9 nights: 01 May 2020 - 31 July 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 02 October 2020

    Start varies according to season* | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 22 May 2020 £1380 £350
    23 May - 22 Jun 2020 £1425 £365
    23 - 25 Jun 2020 £1500 £375
    26 Jun - 8 Jul 2020 £1525 £380
    9 - 22 Jul 2020 £1565 £385
    1 - 14 Sep 2020 £1565 £385
    15 - 23 Sep 2020 £1525 £380
    3rd & 4th person discount -£115
    Single traveller supplement £115

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    *Start dates:
    May-June & September-October: any day except Sunday or Monday
    July: any day except Monday

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

    9 nights: 01 May 2020 - 31 July 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 02 October 2020

    Start varies according to season* | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 22 May 2020 £1750 £350
    23 May - 22 Jun 2020 £1795 £365
    23 - 25 Jun 2020 £1865 £375
    26 Jun - 8 Jul 2020 £1895 £380
    9 - 22 Jul 2020 £1935 £385
    1 - 14 Sep 2020 £1935 £385
    15 - 23 Sep 2020 £1895 £380
    3rd & 4th person discount -£210
    Single traveller supplement £210

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus standard-class travel by Eurostar from London St Pancras or Ebbsfleet International to Lille or Paris, with onward travel as described below.

    *Start dates:
    May-June & September-October: any day except Sunday or Monday
    July: any day except Monday

    Included travel from the UK: UK–Paris (Eurostar), Paris–Bayonne (TGV), approx. duration 8h plus 0h50 taxi transfer. Home, Hendaye–Paris (TGV), Paris–UK (Eurostar), approx. duration 8h10 plus 1h taxi transfer.
    > More about 'by rail' prices
    > The 'rail experience': what to expect

    If you book your holiday less than 6 months in advance of your travel date, seats may no longer be available at the tariffs on which our prices are based, but we may be able to offer you seats on the same services at a supplement.

    9 nights: 01 May 2020 - 31 July 2020 & 01 September 2020 - 02 October 2020

    Start varies according to season* | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 22 May 2020 £1570 £350
    23 May - 22 Jun 2020 £1615 £365
    23 - 25 Jun 2020 £1690 £375
    26 Jun - 8 Jul 2020 £1725 £380
    9 - 22 Jul 2020 £1760 £385
    1 - 14 Sep 2020 £1760 £385
    15 - 23 Sep 2020 £1725 £380
    3rd & 4th person discount -£250
    Single traveller supplement £250

    Includes all elements in the 'walk price', plus a return ferry crossing between Dover and Calais with P&O Ferries for your party and one car.

    *Start dates:
    May-June & September-October: any day except Sunday or Monday
    July: any day except Monday

    We also include a transfer back to the first hotel at the end of your holiday to collect your car.
    > More information about travelling self-drive

    A supplement of £35 per car per single journey applies for outward travel on 3-5 & 10-12 April 2020, and for homeward travel on 12-13 April 2020. A supplement of £47 per car per single journey applies outward on Fridays & Saturdays 22-23 May & 10 July-15 August 2020 and homeward on Saturdays & Sundays 30-31 May & 18 July-30 August 2020.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Arraya, Sare
    'Privilège' with mountain view: 01 May - 10 Jul 2020 £32
    'Privilège' with mountain view: 11 Jul - 31 Jul 2020 £26
    'Privilège' with mountain view: 01 Sep - 02 Oct 2020 £26
    Les Jardins de Bakea, Biriatou
    'Jardin/Prestige Vallée': 01 May - 31 Jul 2020 £14
    'Jardin/Prestige Vallée': 01 Sep - 02 Oct 2020 £14
    Hotel Obispo, Hondarribia
    Superior: 01 May - 10 Jul 2020 £25
    Superior: 11 Jul - 31 Jul 2020 £20
    Superior: 01 Sep - 02 Oct 2020 £20

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel du Fronton, Itxassou (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 May - 30 Jun 2020 £84 £100
    01 Jul - 31 Jul 2020 £90 £106
    01 Sep - 15 Sep 2020 £90 £106
    16 Sep - 02 Oct 2020 £84 £100
    Hotel Argi Eder, Ainhoa (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 May - 30 Jun 2020 £105 £150
    01 Jul - 31 Jul 2020 £120 £165
    01 Sep - 02 Oct 2020 £120 £165
    Les Jardins de Bakea, Biriatou (with dinner) Double room Single room
    01 May - 12 Jul 2020 £112 £132
    13 Jul - 31 Jul 2020 £120 £142
    01 Sep - 15 Sep 2020 £120 £142
    16 Sep - 02 Oct 2020 £112 £132
    Hotel Obispo, Hondarribia (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 May - 30 Jun 2020 £95 £140
    01 Jul - 31 Jul 2020 £110 £160
    01 Sep - 02 Oct 2020 £110 £160
    Hotel Niza, San Sebastián (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 May - 30 Jun 2020 £115 £175
    01 Jul - 31 Jul 2020 £145 £215
    01 Sep - 30 Sep 2020 £145 £215
    01 Oct - 02 Oct 2020 £115 £175
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Biarritz, Bordeaux, Bilbao

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed here. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Bordeaux (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Aberdeen - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Belfast Intl. - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Bilbao easyJet 
    Bristol - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Bilbao easyJet 
    Edinburgh - Bordeaux Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Biarritz easyJet 
    Gatwick - Bilbao British Airways,  Vueling 
    Gatwick - Bordeaux British Airways,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Bilbao British Airways,  Iberia,  Vueling 
    Heathrow - Bilbao (via Madrid) Iberia 
    Heathrow - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Bordeaux easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Biarritz Ryanair 
    Stansted - Bilbao easyJet 
    Stansted - Bordeaux Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Bilbao easyJet 
    Manchester - Bilbao (via Barcelona) Iberia 
    Manchester - Bilbao (via Heathrow) Iberia 
    Manchester - Bordeaux easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Manchester - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Biarritz (via Paris CDG) Air France 
    Newcastle - Bordeaux (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Outward route Airline
    Southampton - Bordeaux (via Paris) Air France 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed here. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service (£60 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Biarritz

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Biarritz airport to hotel (1h) £60 flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Biarritz airport (0h45) £58 flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Bordeaux

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Bordeaux St Jean to Bayonne (1h50), taxi Bayonne to hotel (0h50) £84 1400
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Hendaye station (0h30), rail Hendaye to Bordeaux St Jean (2h45) £60 1500
    rail San Sebastián to Hendaye (0h45, pay locally), rail Hendaye to Bordeaux St Jean (2h45) £28 1500

    Connecting travel options - flying via Bilbao

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    coach Bilbao bus station to Irun bus station (2h25), taxi Irun to hotel (1h30) £70 1200
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    coach San Sebastián bus station to Bilbao airport (1h15) £18 0830
    direct taxi hotel to Bilbao airport (1h15) £95 flexible
What is included
  • 9 nights
  • 6 dinners
    6 picnics
    9 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • transfers on days 6 & 7
 
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FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £35 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £60 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our travel insurance policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your alternative policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to France, but not a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/before-you-travel and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC). You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance.
  • The official language is French. The currency is the Euro. French time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Spain, but not a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/before-you-travel and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC). You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance.
  • (Castilian) Spanish is one of several official languages; in Catalonia, for example, Catalan has equal status. The currency is the Euro. Spanish time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them when the UK withdraws from the European Union (EU).

    It currently seems highly likely the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will take place on 31 January 2020, at which point the UK will enter a minimum 11-month transition period through to the end of December 2020. During this transition period there will be absolutely no changes to current arrangements for UK citizens travelling to an EU destination, so you can book your 2020 holiday certain that there will be no disruptions or complications caused by Brexit.
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
Last fetch time is : 4/2/2020 4:57:09 AM