|Walking in the Basque Country|
|Tour Dates||June 16th - 23rd, 2018 (8 days)|
|Included meals||7 breakfasts|
|Tour Host(s)||Rostad Tours or Tour Host|
|Pricing from||$2,895 CAD||Relaxed coastal walking through the very best of the French and Spanish regions of the Basque Country straddling the Franco-Spanish border. Admire the sparkling coastline with sweeping golden beaches, colourful fishing ports and dramatic Atlantic surf. These all work together to form a perfect backdrop for a week of relaxed walking. Enjoy diversity from the cosmopolitan coastal resort of San Sebastian to the lush mountain pathways surrounding the quaint village of Ascain France.|
We are welcomed by our guide at Bilbao Airport and transferred to the village of Ascain on the French side of the Basque Country. This typical Basque village is located at the foot of the Rhune Mountain which is the last big mountain of the Pyrenees. With a little less than 5000 inhabitants, Ascain has kept the charm of an old Basque village with modern restaurants, bars, shops and bakeries. The village square also has the characteristic 'fronton' (pitch) used to play the local Basque game of ‘pelote’. Also here, the chapel of Saint Jacques signifies that this village was a stop on the middle ages Christian pilgrimage route, or "Way of St. James”. Our stay here is for the next 3 nights, and this evening our guide will go through the week’s program.
This morning, we will start our week with a gentle walk exploring the area surrounding Ascain. With a bit of luck we will see the small local horses ‘Pottocks’ known for being tough which is why they were traditionally used in the mines. Our walk will take us up to the small mountain of Esnaur on the outskirts of Ascain. Walk: Distance 9 km Ascent 470m Descent 470m Time: 4 to 5 hours
Today we take a public bus to the col de Saint Ignace. From here we take a ride on the picturesque mountain train to the summit of La Rhune to admire the most spectacular views of the French and Spanish Atlantic coast. Be sure to have your camera ready! Later, we will walk across the French and Spanish border before descending back down to the col de Saint Ignace (750m of downhill walking, option to descend by train). Walk: Distance 11 km Ascent 350 m Descent 850 m Time: 5 to 6 hours
We start the day by private bus transfer to the fishing town of Pasaia. From here we enjoy a stunning coastal walk to the bustling capital of San Sebastian. It is easy to see how this vibrant city won the 2016 title of European Capital of Culture, as it brims with the infamous pintxos bars, Michelin starred restaurants, museums and cafes. We enjoy a city tour and then climb up to the Mota Castle for exciting views of the iconic sandy bay. After, we travel by train to the charming fishing village of Getaria, where we will stay for the next 4 nights. Walk: Distance 8 km Ascent 250 m Descent 250m Time: 5 to 6 hours
Today is a free day! Stay in Getaria to relax by the sea, or visit the incredible Cristobal Balenciaga museum of fashion. Perhaps, a re-visit to the city of San Sebastian to see the Play de la Concha or Playa de Gros and its surfers. Alternatively, we may choose to explore Bilbao and the iconic Guggenheim Museum.
We travel further up the coast by public transport to arrive at the beautiful seaside resort of Zumaia. From here we will enjoy a fantastic coastal walk following the Compostela trail and GR-121 route. This walk offers some of the finest Spanish Basque coastline and is now protected to preserve its unique beauty and ecosystem. Walk: Distance 8 km Ascent 250 m Descent 250 m Time: 4 to 5 hours
We continue today with a transfer by public bus, to Zarautz Beach - the largest beach of the Basque Country. We take our final walk following a fabulous and gentle route along the coast from Zarautz beach to Getaria. We will then continue on a loop circumnavigating Getaria through the Txakolis vineyards. Walk: Distance 12 km Ascent 300 m Descent 300 m Time: 4 to 5 hours
Today we gather our souvenirs and memories, ready to share them with our family and friends waiting for us at home.