Gure ezinbesteko lekuak

Discover our must-haves

Step over the border! The southern Basque country, hegoalde in Basque, is full of nuggets just waiting to be discovered.

In a nutshell:

Hondarribia (50 minutes from Cambo-les-Bains),

Saint-Sébastien(1 hour from Cambo-les-Bains),

Bilbao (2 hours from Cambo-les-Bains),

Bardenas Reales ( 2 hours and 45 minutes from Cambo-les-Bains),

The Spanish coast (between 1 and 2 hours from Cambo-les-Bains).

Hondarribia

Typical walled town, fishing port, tapas and medieval village… All in one place at Fontarrabie, or Hondarribia in Basque. Located on the French-Spanish border, you’ll discover a completely different architectural style here. With its fishermen’s boats, flower-filled balconies and colorful facades, Hondarribia’s narrow streets are an explosion of color for the eyes.

Founded in the 13th century, it has witnessed many eras, notably the medieval period when its ramparts were erected to protect against invasions. The town has also been the scene of battles between France and Spain over the centuries. Its historic port is a reminder of the town’s maritime past as a thriving fishing center.

Hondarribia is renowned for its exceptional Basque cuisine. Pintxos, delicious little morsels, are a local specialty that can be enjoyed in the city’s bars and taverns. The restaurants also offer refined Basque cuisine, featuring quality local produce.

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You can reach Hondarribia in just 7 minutes thanks to the Marie-Louise, a small maritime shuttle, which offers a number of crossings from the Hendaye marina! It runs every day, with a wider range of hours in high season (10am-1am) than in low season (10am-8pm). The round trip costs €4.

Saint-Sébastien

Just 1 hour from Cambo-les-Bains, San Sebastian ( Donostia in Basque) is a seaside town on the Bay of Biscay. Enjoy strolling through the old town, sampling pintxos, and strolling along La Concha beach.

The historic heart of San Sebastian, the Old Town, is a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets lined with small pintxo bars. This lively area is the perfect place to enjoy these delicious Basque bites, accompanied by a glass of local txakoli. San Sebastian’s elegant architecture is a blend of the Belle Époque style and more modern elements, such as the Kursaal, which contrasts with the historic buildings that adorn the city.

The city is also renowned for its lively festivals, such as Holy Week, the Tamborrada festival in January, and the San Sebastian International Film Festival, attracting visitors from all over the world.

It’s possible to get there by train from Hendaye SNCF station thanks to theEusko Tren, known here as the topo, which makes the journey every 30 minutes for the modest sum of €5.50 return!

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For the best views of San Sebastian, head for one of the mountains that frame the bay. You have two choices. On one side is Mount Urgull, a veritable watchtower over the sea and the city, where various footpaths allow you to reach the summit on foot. On the other, Mount Igueldo, accessible via a funicular dating from 1912, where a “Belle Époque” amusement park awaits you.

Bilbao

Discover a hybrid city combining modernity and tradition. With the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao has become an international landmark, offering the chance to stroll among avant-garde buildings, outdoor sculptures and older monuments.

Lose yourself in the winding streets of the old town, el casco viejo, where the lively atmosphere is steeped in historic charm. Pintxos are also on the menu, and we highly recommend a visit to the Plaza Nueva Close to the famous Guggenheim Museum, Zubizuri Bridgealso known as the “White Bridge”, is an elegant structure spanning the River Nervion. It links the two banks of the estuary, connecting the Campo Volantin with the Paseo de Uribitarte promenade. Its airy appearance makes it a symbol of the new Bilbao, an international benchmark in urban planning.

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The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is the result of an exceptional collaboration between the Basque authorities and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. More than two decades after its inauguration in October 1997, it is one of the most important buildings in contemporary architecture. Its permanent collection includes works by artists such as Jeff Koons, Mark Rothko, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Miquel Barceló, among others, while temporary exhibitions offer a broad perspective of twentieth-century art.

Bardenas Reales

Recognized as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the Bardenas Reales is a 42,500-hectare natural park. Just 70 km from the Pyrenees, it’s a complete change of scenery! Its desert landscapes stand out from the rest of Navarre, making it an unrivalled backdrop for a number of films and TV series. It can be explored by car, bike or on foot via various routes.

The main attraction of the Bardenas Reales lies in its unique geological formations. From fairy chimneys to steep plateaus and erosion-sculpted ravines, every corner of this region offers varied landscapes that bear witness to the power of nature.

Although the Bardenas Reales are arid, they are home to a variety of flora and fauna adapted to harsh conditions. Here you can meet migratory birds, reptiles, rabbits and even wild boar. Hardy plants such as thyme and rosemary dot the ground.

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While you’re in the area, take the opportunity to discover the province of Navarre!

Some pretty Navarrese villages are close to the desert: Tudela, Navarre’s second-largest city, and Olite, with its 15th-century castle, are among our favourites!

The Spanish coast

The coastline of the Southern Basque Country is full of villages where life is good.

Just 15 minutes from San Sebastian, Pasaia with its small fishing ports is first on the list. You’ll love its cuisine, which reflects its maritime heritage. Local restaurants offer fresh seafood, grilled fish and other marine delights.

Continue on the N-634 along the coast. Along the way, you can discover several charming villages:

Zarautz and its beach, one of the longest on the Basque coast, offer a spectacular setting for swimming, water sports and sunbathing. Consistent waves make it a renowned surfing spot, attracting surfers from all over the world.

Getaria, a land of vineyards where one of the region’s emblematic beverages is produced: txakoli. The area’s unique climatic and geographical conditions have a considerable influence on the distinctive character of this fresh, light, sparkling white wine. Its freshness makes it an ideal choice to accompany local seafood.

Zumaia, where spectacular flysch formations reveal layers of sedimentary rock formed over thousands of years. Visitors can discover these geological curiosities on hikes offering breathtaking sea views.

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Extend your trip to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe! This rocky islet north of Bilbao is classified as a protected biotope. Linked to the Vizcaya coast by a stone bridge and 241 steps, once you’ve made the ascent you’ll reach a pretty chapel overlooking the surrounding area. Although access to the site is free, it is still necessary to reserve a ticket in advance via https://www.tiketa.eus/gaztelugatxe/, depending on the period of the visit.

Did you know?

Hollywood producers made no mistake! From San Juan de Gaztelugatxe to the flyshafts of Zumaia, the Spanish Basque coast was the setting for the final season of Game of Thrones!