Erromardie beach
Saint Jean de Luz
Espelette
Parlementia chapel - Bidart
Bidart
Basque Country & Atlantic Coast
From 750 (£ 626)
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Self-guided holidays
6 nights - 5 days cycling your way
Level :
Itinerary : Hotel to Hotel
Holiday code : FP9PUBA
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Discovering The Best Of The Pays Basque By Electric Bike

Coast and country, villages and vineyards, red clifs and green valleys, authentic villages and royal resorts, comfortable hotels and great cuisine, this cycle tour has got the lot. All of it uniquely Basque, all of it in France, and all of it made easy by choosing an electric bike!

A summary of your journey

We can't recommend this itinerary highly enough if you like the idea of gently exploring unspoilt countryside, authentic villages, fortified pilgrim towns, and a wonderfully varied coastline - plus a sprinkling of interesting towns - all benefiting from the joys of electric biking. There are no mountains or steep hills, just delightful lanes across rolling countryside. This is France at its traditional best, yet overlaid with a distinctively and delightful Basque culture that positively influences everything from architecture to cuisine, never more so than in the vibrant fishing port of St Jean de Luz where this journey starts and ends. Altogether a great holiday, but then that's what we're all about!

The Plus Points

  • A superb itinerary packed with coast and country highlights
  • 85% on quiet lanes and dedicated cycle paths
  • Pyrenees foothills plus a mountain top by historic rack railway
  • High quality, authentic accommodation and great food discovery opportunities

Le programme

Day 1

This holiday begins at your hotel right in the heart of the old town of this vibrant, colourful and typically Basque fishing town, but we can arrange to meet you at Biarritz airport (daily London flights) or its rail station for a supplement. We leave you free to explore the network of cobbled alleys and streets as well as the harbourside, and choose from the many restaurants which one appeals to you most, although you may well end up "snacking" all evening on the Basque equivalent of tapas, pintxos. There's worse ways of spending an evening!
Denise and Bruno have transformed a traditional merchant's house into the delightfully contemporary 7 bedroom, three star boutique Hotel les Almadies with excellent bedroooms (most with a balcony), yet not lost the original character of the building. Of the many hotels in St Jean de Luz, it is definitely our favourite.
Transfer time: 20 minutes (Biarritz airport)

Day 2

Saint Jean de Luz to Espelette. After a leisurely breakfast, you choose the bike that suits you best: a road bike, a chunkier hybrid bike, or an electric bike. Whichever, you will be given as full instructions as you need, and then it's off on those quiet French lanes that are such a cyclist's delight, especially in the verdant, unspoilt and gently rolling Basque countryside. After your first Basque village, the genuinely pretty Ascain, it's a gentle climb to the col de Saint-Ignaceto before Sare where we recommend you take the magnificent rack railway that clatters to the top of La Rhune with its 360 degree views east across the endless Pyrenees, south into Spain, and west to the Atlantic coast. Also look out for pottoks - wild mountain ponies - and red headed sheep. Back on your bike, it's well preserved Ainhoa before valleys to archetypal Espelette. It has an interesting chateau, and an exceptional artisan chocolate producer, but is really famous for its festival of red peppers.
Hotel Chilhar is a real treat in the heart of Espelette. Outside it is traditional Basque. Inside it offers boutique style accommodation, and wonderfully contemporary takes on traditional Basque cuisine as you'll experience at both dinner and breakfast. We are sure you will really enjoy staying here.
Distance: 21 miles. Ascent/descent: +670m/-600m.

Day 3

Espelette to Saint Jean Pied de Port. Red and green are the colours for today's ride.You ride through valleys presenting a hundred shades of green - even the rivers look green sometimes, and the volcanic cone of Mondarrain is a perfect green, but then comes the village of Itxassou in a "sea" of greenery, yet with a big red reputation as the capital of cherries. The tree covered Nive gorges are highly valued by fishermen for their red spotted trout as they were by Charlemagne and Roland's soldiers as they marched to the Battle of Roncevaux in 778, which ended up being a great Basque victory of green over red. After Bidarray, you cycle past the high red cliffs and peaks of Iparla before entering a vineyards landscape largely dedicated to growing the red Irouléguy wine. And St Jean Pied de Port? Nothing red or green about it, but this is an historic walled city is still popular as the start of the Camino de Santiago route passing over the Pyrenees into Spain.
We are pleased that you are staying at the impressive four star Hotel les Pyrenees close the ancient walls of the city, so it's no distance to stroll in to find medieval looking bars and restaurants as you are free to choose where you dine tonight, although as the hotel has a swimming pool, spacious terraces and a good reputation for food you might not even go that far.
Distance: 25 miles. Ascent/descent: +950m/-850m.

Day 4

Saint Jean Pied de Port to Hasparren. Having spent the last two days cycling on the foothills of the Pyrenees (and grateful for not having had to go up and over), today you turn away from them into superb cycling country - gently rolling hills, rich river valleys, woods, farms, good surfaces, little traffic, and a series of unspoilt villages encouraging you to stop, have a drink, a snack, and a stroll. What a life! Your destination is the charming town of Hasparren. It has nothing to put it top of any list of tourist attractions, and that's its appeal. It's a real town, architecturally interesting with quiet streets, independent shops, attractive bars and a couple for really good restaurants. The authentic Basque country.
Your hotel this evening is the charming ** Hotel Argia, you will also eat in the restaurant here, which uses local products to create simple and hearty food, just right for the hungry cyclist.
Distance: 28 miles. Ascent/descent: +900m/-990m.

Day 5

Hasparren to Bayonne. You move from mountain to ocean today cycling partly on the "Route des Cimes" (peaks) before a thoroughly lovely route on the banks of the Adour river that takes you right into the heart of the port-city of Bayonne - one of our favourite French cities, yet much less visited than it deserves. It is at the confluence of the Nive and Adour rivers, both of which you've cycled beside, and, indeed, Bayonne prides itself on being a cyclists' city with many dedicated routes. For 300 years, and thanks to Richard The Lionheart, it was an English city, and today you can see its wealth and military significance in every grand boulevard, merchant's mansion and defensive rampart, especially on the river banks. It is a comparatively short ride so you'll have plenty of time - and energy - to explore.
Indeed, the superb four star Hotel des Basses Pyrenees is built on one of the ramparts in Vauban in the heart of the city. It offers elegance and comfort, great location and a restaurant that is popular with local gourmets - combining contemporary style with traditional recipes and ingredients in a way we find really pleasing. You may chose to dine here tonight but we are leaving the choice up to you.
Distance: 17 miles. Ascent/descent: +550m/-650m.

Day 6

Bayonne to Saint Jean de Luz. It's all about the Atlantic ocean today, or, more accurately, its surprisingly varied coastline. You cycle out of Bayonne following the Adour to the coast before riding between the pine forests and magnificent surfing beaches of Anglet, which couldn't be more different from the Regency style and wealthy "vibe" of Biarritz - the 19th century resort of choice for European royalty and aristocracy. Its Rock of the Virgin, though, highlights the more enduring qualities of religion and nature - and the mysteries of nature are what you see next in the weird and wonderful flysch cliffs and white sand beaches of Bidart and Guéthary. Then it's the best possible way to return to Saint-Jean-de-Luz via the Pointe Sainte-Barbe, which provides a panoramic view of the bay with the Pyrenees rising majestically behind the town. You've been there, you've done it, and now it's time to celebrate your achievements with a night to remember in St Jean de Luz.
We're sure you'll be pleased that your last night is back with Denise and Bruno at their boutique Hotel les Almadies.
Distance: 20 miles. Ascent/descent: +450m/-450m.

Day 7

Sad to say, you leave after breakfast, or we take you back to Biarritz airport, or St Jean de Luz rail station, if that's what's been arranged.
  • Détails Pratiques
  • Equipement
  • Formalités et Santé

PROGRAMME DATES

Mid-April to the end of October.

MEETING POINT

You make your own way to the hotel in St Jean de Luz, or we can meet you at Biarritz airport or rail station.

END OF YOUR TRIP

The holiday finishes after breakfast on the last day, or we can take you to Biarritz airport or rail station.

LEVEL

This itinerary features cycling that is rarely challenging, and never so if you choose an electric bike. All the same, it is suitable for people who are reasonably fit and enjoy a good day's walking or cycling. While we have designed a route that is 70% on very quiet roads and lanes, there is inevitably traffic, and it may be quite busy on some sections, especially in July and August. 15% of the route is on dedicated cycle paths.

DEPARTURE GUARANTEED FROM ( No of persons)

2

LUGGAGE TRANSPORT

We will transfer your luggage to the next hotel, so all you need carry is a daysack with your choice of essentials. There are plenty of places to get drinks and food as you walk, so you need carry very little of either.

TYPE OF TRIP

This is an independent, self-guided holiday.

ACCOMMODATION

You stay in double-twin rooms in authentic hotels with en suite facilities that are 2, 3 and 4 star.

CONTENTS OF YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENT

When we have received the balance of payment for your holiday, and in the month before your departure, we send you all the documentation you need: a detailed itinerary showing dates, times, contact addresses etc; a detailed guide to your walking routes, often also including a lot of cultural, historical and nature background information; formal documents (invoices, contractual terms and conditions etc); luggage labels etc. If you book at the last minute, we can send information to the first night's accommodation.

To make the right choice

Have a look at our detailed explanations on the types of hiking, the standards of accommodation, and understand baggage transport ... How to choose your trip ?

LUGGAGE 

You should bring:
  • 1 travel bag per person (or suitcase with wheels). Make sure they are not too big in order to avoid logistical problems (taking up too much room in transfer vehicles, for example). On holidays where you move from one hotel to another during your stay, try to keep the weight down to 10-12kg (the extra weight can make it difficult to get all the suitcases to certain hotels that are difficult to get to). Be certain not to leave any fragile or valuable objects in your main luggage.
  • 1 rucksack (around 30-40 litres) with integrated water-bag (e.g. Camel-Back). These bags are more practical than carrying bottles. The rucksack should also have a waist belt and allow your back to be well ventilated for extra comfort. Keep the total weight of your rucksack plus belongings down to a maximum of 10kg.

CLOTHING 


  • 1 set of cycling clothes: cycling shorts, breathable T-shirt (long-sleeved or short-sleeved depending on the time of year)
  • 1 other pair of shorts or trousers for cycling (padding essential)
  • cycling shoes
  • comfortable clothes and shoes for the evenings
  • underwear
  • spare long-sleeved breathable T-shirts (1 for every 2_3 days) and 1 or 2 short-sleeved T-shirts
  • 1 warmer layer (a fleece or water-resistant "softshell"jacket). Or a "primaloft" jacket (warm and easily compacted down to fit into rucksacks).
  • 1 breathable, windproof and waterproof out layer (e.g. Gore-Tex) with a hood

EQUIPMENT TO BRING 

  • 1 large plastic bag to be used as a rucksack liner for protecting your belongings from the rain and/or 1 waterproof rucksack cover
  • 1 waterproof bag containing: travel insurance contract, ID or passport, health card, and all other documents mentioned in the "formalities" section.
  • 1 pair of good quality sunglasses (protection factor 3) plus high-factor sun cream and sunscreen for your lips (should always be carried in your rucksack) • 1 folding pen-knife (Swiss Army knife or similar)
  • For lunches: cutlery and 1 plastic/tupperwear container (0.5 litres minimum). You may end up not using it but it is important to have it just in case
  • washbag and 1 quick-drying towel (try to bring only essential items that don't take up too much space, biological soap...)
  • 1 swimming costume / pair of swimming trunks
  • ear plugs (to protect you from snoring neighbours or other annoying noises)
  • 1 sleeping-bag liner if spending a night (or nights) in dormitory accommodation (hostels or refuge huts)
  • handkerchiefs
  • toilet paper
  • 1 cigarette lighter (be careful not to provoke a fire - always use responsibly and not unless you have to)
  • 1 torch or head-torch plus a survival blanket: always put this in your rucksack as set-backs due to accidents are always possible, even on easy rides
  • spare glasses (if you wear glasses)
  • camera, binoculars, paint brushes and canvas... (optional)
Depending on the characteristics of the holiday you are going on (if bike hire is included or not, or if you have indicated that you wish to bring your own bike anyway), it may be a good idea to bring some (or all) of the following cycling kit (please also check in the"bicycle hire"section to see what kit is already provided on the holiday you have chosen):
  • cycling gloves (normal or fingerless depending on the time of year)
  • 1 bike helmet (legal requirement in most countries)
  • 1 or 2 cycling bottles or a hydration system such as a Camel-Back (1.5 litres), whichever you prefer
  • 2 inner-tubes
  • a few spare spokes (especially on mountain-bike tours)
  • 1 spare derailleur
  • 1 set of spare brake pads
  • 1 spare cable for derailleurs or brakes
  • 1 spare chain
  • any other kit that you deem to be necessary...
You should try to be self-sufficient for all minor cycling breakdowns typical of these kinds of cycling tours (tyre-lever, puncture repair kit, multi-tool, quick-fix chain link...). If you have disk-brakes or high-tech bikes, be sure to bring the necessary kit for repairs.

FORMALITIES

You need to keep your passport with you at all times, and ideally insurance information. You need to make your own arrangements to claim local healthcare. There are requirements in France and Spain for all vehicles to carry safety equipment.
Click on the price that corresponds to your choice.
FromToStandard price 2 Pers.Standard price 3/4 pers.Standard price 5/6 pers.With extra airport pick-up 2 p.With extra airport pick-up 3p.With extra airport pick-up 5p.
Mon 13/04/2020Sat 31/10/2020995 €  (₤ 830) 850 €  (₤ 709) 750 €  (₤ 626) 1 045 €  (₤ 872) 880 €  (₤ 734) 780 €  (₤ 651)
 
List of additional options (to select later)
TitleTime periodPrice
Single room supp. / pers. from 13/04/2020 to 31/10/2020365 € (₤ 305)

THE PRICE INCLUDES

2 nights dinner, bed and breakfast; 4 nights bed and breakfast as described; bike rental; luggage transfers each day as required (one bag per person, maximum 20 kgs); detailed route directions; 1:25,000 maps as required; GPS tracking if required; 24/7 customer phone service.

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

The journey to the start point and from the finishing point (the St Jean de Luz hotel); dinners on days 1, 3, 5 and 6; menu choices at extra cost; booking fee of 25€ / person; all drinks; lunches; entry fees; personal and travel insurance.
Provided by TransferMate

You can change the itinerary, and receive revised information

Want to change the itinerary? Complete the form below, and we will send you a revised itinerary as soon as possible.

 

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