Sentiers Littoral

Eight of the best hikes in the Basque Country

From the top of the Rhune to the Jaizkibel crests or along the coast from Bayonne to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the best way to discover the Basque Country and its hidden gems is on foot...

Gorges de Kakueta

1. La Rhune

Sacred summit, the Rhune (905m) is a legendary hike. It might not be the easiest, but as the local saying goes "if you make it to the top of the Rhune you'll make it up any Basque mountain". Make sure you're well-equipped before starting off from Ascain, Sare, Olhette or the Saint-Ignace pass. It will take 2 to 3 hours to the top, but the views towards the ocean and the Pyrenees are worth every step.
You can also get to the top of the Rhune by rack-railway (single or return).

www.rhune.com

2. The coastal path

Beaches to creeks, cliffs to headlands, from Bidart to Saint-Sébastien, Talaia, the Basque coastal path, gives you 54km of sign-posted, protected, accessible walking along with endless panoramic views of the coast and sea. Our favourite stretch: the rocky coastal path between Ciboure and Hendaye.

3. The Kakuetta Gorges

A protected site, this canyon is called « Little Amazonia » because of its wild and luxuriant vegetation.

4. The Ursuya

Easy-going and well sign-posted, the gentle verdant slopes of the Ursuya are just the thing for family walks. Setting off from Hasparren, Urcuray, Mendionde or Macaye it will probably take you a good two hours to reach the top (678m) where you'll get to see the wild Pottok ponies and numerous birds of prey.

Ainhoa

5. The Jaizkibel Crests

Too tiring for spectacular views over the sea and the Bay of Hendaye? The Jaizkibel Crests (573m) are easily accessible from Pasaia Donibane. The bravest will set off from the Guadalupe Oratory (Fontarrabie), where a short but steep climb leads to the summit.

6. The Ainhoa Chapel

From this village, listed among the most beautiful in France, discover the chapel of Notre-Dame-d’Aubépine. A 45-minute climb takes you to the site (389m), where you'll find a calvary cross, circular headstones and an open view all the way to the ocean. Walk it at your own pace or during the annual Whit Monday procession.

7. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

The way to explore this fortified town on the Santiago de Compostela, and among the most beautiful villages in France, is on foot: from the UNESCO-listed Porte Saint-Jacques, make your way through the narrow streets with their historic buildings to the Citadel and admire the view over the Cize countryside, the Irouléguy vineyards and the mountains.
Useful tip: daily guided visits are organised all year round with extra evening visits in summer.
Information: +33(0)5 59 37 03 57

8. The historical centre of Bayonne

A protected area, Old Bayonne welcomes you to its narrow streets and along the banks of the Nive: the perfect opportunity to take in the half-timbered facades, the Sainte-Marie Cathedral and its cloister, both on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Useful tip: the Bayonne Tourist Office organises guided theme tours all year round.
Information: www.bayonne-tourisme.com

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