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The French Basque Country

Daily Schedule
Tour Dates & Cost


The French Basque Country (Pays Basque) is not large, but it's very
diverse. The rugged coastline produces great seafood that forms the
basis of many of the meals, and the rolling green countryside produces
beef cattle and sensational sheep cheeses.   

The Basques are an ancient race with a mysterious language of
unknown origins and a very proud history. They were fine explorers
and seafarers, and today the Pays Basque is among the most
progressive areas in Europe.


The people are passionate about their traditions and welcome the curious outsider. Our exploration, on foot and on two and four wheels, will introduce you to this unique area.

Interested in this tour? Contact Gail for more information.


The Essential Pays Basque – Daily Schedule

Day 1
Meal/s included: DINNER

Meet at St Jean-Pied de Port station in the afternoon. St Jean is the starting point for the French Way to St Jacques de Compostella, and you will see pilgrims carrying the traditional scallop shells. Select your bike and pedal to nearby St Etienne-de-Baigorry, a beautiful village tucked on the River Nive with typical Basque architecture and some remnants of the Roman occupation including a bridge. Welcome dinner tonight at the hotel.


Day 2
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Circuit ride in the valley of the Nive. A chance to see the production of the Ostau-Iraty sheep cheese (paddock to table), to sample the local wine of Irouleguy and the glorious Basque chocolate. All this and fantastic countryside too!

Day 3
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH

A walk in the Aldudes Valley, home of the ancient Basque breed of pig. 

Afterwards, explore the village and enjoy your dinner at leisure.

Day 4 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Transfer to Sare via Bidarray on the GR10. Bidarray is known for its tiny

pottok horses, originally bred for the mines of North France and the UK,

and for tasty saucisson... Visit the Pas de Roland, a site famous in French

and Spanish legend.


Sare is a true centre of Basque life. The court for the favourite game, Pelote,

the fronton, is right in the centre of town next to the town hall. With their

town close to the Spanish border and a shared language, the men of Sare 
have a lengthy reputation as smugglers – all types of contraband as well as

Allied airmen during WWII. An important rite in the Basque year is the

autumn capture of pigeons in the low passes behind Sare. Hopefully we

will enjoy some of the captives at dinner tonight.

Day 5
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

Take the 1m gauge funicular railway up La Rhune, a mountain sacred to
the Basque people. Enjoy amazing views of the Pyrenees and the
Atlantic Coast from Biarritz to Spain.


Day 6
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

A day out in the Spanish Vais Pasco with lunch in a Michelin-starred asador (barbecu-er) specialising in foods smoked over many types of wood.

Day 7 – transfer day
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

Transfer to St Jean de Luz and a hotel right by a noted surf beach. The route will take us past the famed pepper-growing village of Espelette and the former sorcerer town of St Pee on the Nivelle River. St Jean de Luz is the Atlantic equivalent of Nice on the Mediterranean coast.

Day 8
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / DINNER

A day out in Biarritz. In the Victorian era, Biarritz was one of the holiday places for the aristocracy, particularly the Russians and the British, and many buildings reflect this era. It still boasts up-market shopping and is also one of the prime surfing towns in Europe. The covered market is one of the best in the area.

Day 9
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH 

Follow the coastal path into St Jean de Luz and the adjoining port of Ciboure, home of the composer of Bolero, Maurice Ravel. A short distance from here to the beaches and fort of Socoa. A chance to try some paddle boarding, windsurfing or a catamaran prior to a seafood lunch. There could be a chance this evening to go sardine fishing...


Day 10
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST / LUNCH / DINNER

A day out in Bayonne, capital of the three French provinces of the Pays Basque, and known throughout the world for its splendid ham and chocolate. This became a Roman colony because the conquerors appreciated the langoustines and the local ham. The religious tolerance shown to the Portuguese and Spanish Jews led to Bayonne becoming the foremost European city for chocolate making and, though disputed by Bruges, it holds the title until today. Explore old Bayonne with its splendid cathedral built by tithes paid by the local whalers, and see their elaborate houses with forged iron balconies. The Musee Basque provides a wonderful overview of this special area.

Day 11
Meal/s included: BREAKFAST 

Our tour finishes after breakfast in St Jean de Luz.

A well earned refreshment

Beautiful Basque country

Getting ready for a ride


Tour Dates & Cost

Dates on application

A single supplement applies (if you prefer an individual room)

Included in each 11-day tour:
  • Daily support vehicle (no panniers or backpacks needed!).

  • Luggage and any purchases you make in the markets and antique shops can
    easily be transferred.

  • Quality accommodation in properties of character, for the most part with
    private facilities.

  • We stay two to three nights on average in each place, using the base to 
    explore the environs.

Food and wine
  • All breakfasts.

  • Six gourmet dinners featuring the best of regional specialties – including the special au revoir banquet on our final night.

  • Five lunches including the sensational active gourmet picnics. 

  • Several times you’ll get the chance to ‘follow-your-own-nose’ for midday and evening meals.

  • Tutored wine tastings and special event.

  • An experienced facilitator with knowledge of the attractions, the people, and the history of the area.

  • Our active gourmet tours offer a range of routes from undemanding to taxing, through the very heart of stunning countryside. High fitness levels aren’t essential though reasonable fitness is preferable.

  • Pre-trip guidance (and cycle instruction is available if required).

  • Rest days and independent exploration possible (we supply very detailed maps which allow a choice of routes).

  • Literature, including a detailed itinerary, clothing guide, use of large-scale maps of the area, and general advice on travelling in Europe.

  • Daily briefing and guidance.


A sense of adventure is compulsory!


  • Travel insurance (mandatory)

  • Transfers

  • Chateau and museum entry fees (you choose!)

  • Gratuities and drinks

  • Golf club hire and green fees, kayak hire where applicable

  • Fishing tackle hire and lessons where applicable

  • Visas and passports (as necessary)

  • Personal items, eg, laundry, telephone etc.

  • Optional extras


A limited number of days available?

You can join in for a shorter time. We also offer associated walking or
car itineraries for non-cycling partners.


Footnote: Please note that there may possibly be changes outside the organiser's control, such as fluctuations between the NZ dollar and the overseas supplier's currency, or changes in prices or services. Prices shown are correct as at  July 2019. The organiser reserves the right to change any details in this outline, should this prove necessary, at any time until full payment is received.

See our FAQ page for more information or email Gail to book.

Eat the locals

Eat the locals

Cycling thru' Basque Villages

Keen on a personalised tour?


We will design an itinerary for you, tailormade to suit your needs, interests and time frame. You decide when and how long you wish to tour for, who with and on what mode of transport.


Or we can help you select the most suitable tour from our extensive portfolio of the very best of worldwide activity holidays.

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Tour Dates & Cost
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