Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Highlights

  • Walking in the heart of the incredible Atlantic Pyrenees.
  • Discovering the rich Pyrenean flora and fauna.
  • The incredibly unique and rich Basque culture.
  • Exploring the traditional and beautiful villages of Sare and Ainhoa.
  • Enjoying a final stroll through the citadel of St Jean Pied de Port.

This section of the GR10 begins in lovely seaside town of Hendaye on the Atlantic Coast and finishes in St Jean Pied de Port, a fortified citadel.

One of the main reasons to try this superb stage of the GR10 are the accommodations as on the regular GR10 you stay in refuges and huts, whereas on this version you stay in comfortable hotels and guesthouses and the walking days are generally shorter.

Enjoy the rich Pyrenean flora and fauna and walk through magical villages that are seeped in Basque tradition. See flower-filled meadows and sparkling lakes whilst enjoying the rich culture of the Basque people, the oldest surviving ethnic group in Europe.


DAY 1: Arrive in Hendaye

Upon arrival in the seaside resort of Hendaye settle into your hotel located near the beach. This town lies on the estuary of the River Bidassoa, which forms the border with Spain.


Overnight: Hendaye


DAY 2: Walk to Ibardin

The GR10 trail begins on Hendaye beach and then rises rapidly above the Atlantic. This first stage of the walk takes you through pleasant green landscapes scattered with local villages. You'll feel at peace and in harmony with the surrounding countryside of rolling hills. This area is traditionally very Basque but there is no sign yet of the high dramatic mountain views of the Pyrenees to come.


Walk: 12km


Walking time: Approx 4H15


Ascent: 610m Descent: 293m (or more if you opt to go to the summit of La Rhune)


Dinner & Overnight: Ibardin


DAY 3: Short transfer to Olhette. Walk to Sare

A short transfer to the beginning of your walk begins your day and the first views of the distant mountains can be spotted on the horizon. Today you can opt to walk up to the summit of La Rhune, which at an altitude of 980m, it is considered the first peak in the Pyrenean chain. This will add 4km and 350 elevation gain and loss to your walk.


Continue on to the picturesque and traditional Basque village of Sare, centred around the Place du Fronton.


Walk: 8km


Walking time: Approx 3H


Ascent: 535m Descent: 540m


Overnight: Sare


DAY 4: Walk to Ainhoa

After breakfast begin a gentle walk through the beautiful hills of the Basque country. Today there is minimal elevation gain so you can simply enjoy walking through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, taking photos and absorbing the sights. Arrive into Ainhoa, famous as one of “The most beautiful villages of France”. Its 17th century houses have stone lintels carved with the dates of their construction and details of their family's history.


Walk: 8km


Walking time: Approx 3H


Ascent: 184m Descent: 722m


Overnight: Ainhoa


Located in the picturesque village of Ainhoa, this former coaching inn from the 17th century has retained it’s authenticity. The rooms are decorated in a contemporary style and you can enjoy relaxing in the lovely public spaces, the sauna and Jacuzzi and in the bistro or restaurant.


DAY 5: Walk to Ixtassou

Your impressive walk today allows you access some ridges and to gain a little height further into the Pyrenees. The descent into Itxassou is by way of the Mondarrain peak.


Alternatively you may wish to take a gentler route through small valleys with hamlets along the GR 8 walking route. Your trail leads you into Itxassou, another traditional Basque village.


Walk: 11 or 15km


Walking time: Approx 4H or 5H30


Ascent: 280m or 715m Descent: 250m or 650m


Dinner & Overnight: Itxassou


DAY 6: Short transfer. Walk to Bidarray

After a short transfer to the beginning of your walk the GR10 continues to alternate between the Pyrenean summits and mountain villages that have a strong Basque identity. The trail heads in the direction of the Col de Méhatché situated at an altitude of 716m. You pass into a rocky landscape, home to Griffin vultures that circle high above. You then descend into Bidarray village, an emblematic stop that is vibrant with the characteristic Basque culture and lifestyle.


Walk: 11km


Walking time: Approx 3H30


Ascent: 195m Descent: 615m


Dinner & Overnight: Bidarray


DAY 7: Short transfer to Baigorry. Walk to St Jean Pied de Port

A short transfer to Baigorry brings you to the beginning of today's walk. Follow the GR10 trail and into St Jean Pied de Port, the old capital of the Basque country, a superb fortified town designed by Vauban, and a famous stopover on the world-renowned Saint Jacques de Compostela route. At the foot of the Munhoa summit which is omnipresent in the valley, the mountain scenery is superb and offers beautiful views over the surrounding area.


Walk: 11 km


Walking time: Approx 5H


Ascent: 500m Descent: 615m


Overnight: St Jean Pied de Port


DAY 8: Onward Travel

Today after breakfast make your way home.

Accommodation

The accommodations provided on this tour are a mix of small and comfortable hotels and guesthouses.  It is not possible to offer hotel upgrades on this tour as the hotels and guesthouses selected are the best that these areas have to offer. The tour was specifically created to offer more comfortable accommodations whilst walking in the Pyrenees, but they are still, for the most part, quite simple. However, they all offer a warm welcome to walkers and traditional hospitality (although not all accommodations speak English as some are in remote areas).




Alternate accommodation

During the high season you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the main daily description. If those listed here are unavailable the alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard than those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. This trip is not available to solo walkers. 


 

 




Hotel Bellevue - Hendaye

Only 300m from the beach, this hotel has great panoramic views over Chingudy Bay, has 15 comfortable rooms and offers a very friendly welcome.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Venta Elizalde - Ibardin


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Arraya - Sare

This family-run hotel is brimming with charm and atmosphere, especially as it is located in a beautiful 16th century Basque building. There are 20 individually decorated rooms and you’ll wake up to a breakfast of freshly-made products and fresh coffee.


 

 

 


 


 

 

 




La Maison Oppoca Hotel - Ainhoa

Located in the picturesque village of Ainhoa, this former coaching inn from the 17th century has retained it’s authenticity. The rooms are decorated in a contemporary style and you can enjoy relaxing in the lovely public spaces, the sauna and Jacuzzi and in the bistro or restaurant.


 

 

 

 

 




Hotel Tzistulari - Ixtassou

This gorgeous hotel is surrounded by peaceful countryside and has a large garden and lovely swimming pool. Thee are 20 rooms with either classic or contemporary design and they all have WiFi and air-conditioning.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Noblia - Bidarray

This hotel is ideally located in the heart of Bidarray village, with 17 comfortable rooms, all with modern facilities.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Les Pyrenees - St Jean Pied de Port

Run by the Arrambide family, this old stage coach inn is en route to Santiago de Compostella in Spain so in the past housed many pilgrims. It is still a place where some pilgrims stay but today it is a 4* hotel with very tasteful décor and a friendly and welcoming staff.


 

 

 


Availability

This walking tour can begin on any day of the week and is available from April to October.


This part of France, that is so close to the border of Spain, has a mild climate. In spring the weather is mostly dry and sunny but fairly cool, making it perfect for walking. At this time of year the valley meadows are filled with beautiful wild flowers. July and August are pleasantly warm, with a cooling breeze coming from the mountains. Always make sure to carry plenty of water to stay hydrated and wear sun screen or sun protecting clothing. In Autumn the valleys turn in shades of orange, red and yellow. The trails will be quiet and the weather a little cooler. Always keep in mind that mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable and the Pyrenees are no exception!


Meals

7 Breakfasts are included at the hotels. 3 Dinners at the hotels are included in Ibardin, Itxassou  and Bidarray. Lunches are not included. Packed lunches can be bought locally.


On the evenings when dinners are not included you can either eat at the hotel or at restaurants that are in the local towns.


Navigation

You will be provided with route notes and maps to help you find your way. You will be walking through a variety of different landscapes and the  trails are on good footpaths and trails. The terrain is varied but often rocky. Since you will be walking in some remote locations, you will need to be able to read a map.


Experience & Fitness

This self-guided walking tour is perfect for those with a very good level of fitness. The tour is rated moderate as although the daily distances are fairly short there are significant elevation gains and losses on some days. It is also pertinent to note that as the terrain in the Pyrenees fairly rugged and quite rocky at times, you will need to be very sure-footed.


In order to shorten the walks and make the walking days shorter there are short transfers to the beginning of the walks on three walking days.


Baggage Transfers

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 15kg).


Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes and a day pack.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


Getting to Hendaye

By air: Biarritz Parme Airport has daily flights from Paris, London and Lyon and is served by Easyjet and other low cost airlines.


By train: Hendaye is on a main train line and you can catch a TGV train from Paris to


Bayonne and from here a local train to Hendaye. Please check the SNCF website for further details and timetables.


If you decide to drive there is free parking at the marina in Hendaye and you can return to Hendaye via bus or train. From St Jean Pied de Port.


Getting from St Jean Pied de Port

When departing from St Jean Pied de Port it is possible to take the train to all of the recommended airports. To Biarritz Airport you can take a train to Bayonne, then another train to Biarritz and from here a bus to the airport. However there is also one bus per day that runs directly from St Jean Pied de Port to Biarritz Airport. To Pau Airport, take the train to Dax and from Dax to Pau (from here you will need to take a taxi to the airport which costs around €20). To Bordeaux Airport you can also take a train to Bayonne, then onto Bordeaux and a bus to the airport. Again for train schedules please check the SNCF website.


Included

  • 7 Nights accommodation in hotels and guesthouses
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 3 Dinners
  • Luggage transfers
  • Short transfers to the start of the walks on Days 3, 6 & 7
  • Detailed route book, maps and pre-departure information pack
  • 24-hour assistance by phone

Excluded

  • Travel to Hendaye
  • Travel from St Jean Pied de Port
  • Lunches & 4 dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses or equipment

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s) if applicable
  • Additional nights

Are baggage transfers included?

All baggage transfers are included. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 15kg.

How will I find my way?

You will be provided with detailed route notes and maps to help you find your way. Although some of the routes follow official trails, at times they will not be way-marked, therefore you will have to pay attention to the route notes and maps and have the ability to map read.

How fit do I need to be?

This self-guided walking tour is perfect for those with a very good level of fitness. The tour is rated moderate as although the daily distances are fairly short there are significant elevation gains and losses on some days. It is also pertinent to note that as the terrain in the Pyrenees fairly rugged and quite rocky at times, you will need to be very sure-footed.

Will I need travel insurance?

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

 

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