French Basque Country
Culture & History

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Our most recommended French Basque Country Culture & History

Saint Jean de Luz: Private Walking Tour

1. Saint Jean de Luz: Private Walking Tour

Meet your guide at the Quiosque of the main square of Saint Jean de Luz (Place Louis XIV). Then set off on your tour to explore the beauty and the secrets of the most famous attractions of this beautiful and picturesque town. You will start by discovering the charming fisherman's port of Saint Jean de Luz. From there you will be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Pyrenees. You continue with a visit to some of the most famous ship-owner palaces of the city, like the "Maison Louis XIV", a XVII Century palace that hosted the 'Sun King' during his wedding celebrations, and the "Maison de l'Infante", a Venetian style palace used by the Spanish Infanta, "Maria Teresa". You will then head to Saint Jean de Luz's Bay, with its immaculate sandy beach and the Belle Époque architecture from the time when the town was a holiday resort for the European aristocracy. You end the tour by walking along the bustling street of "Rue Gambetta", where you will learn about local gastronomy. You also visit the beautiful Saint John the Baptist Church, where your guide will tell you the fascinating story of the Sun King's wedding and the secrets of Basque religious traditions. At the end of the tour, your guide will be glad to dedicate some time to answer your questions, give you directions and restaurant recommendations, and make sure you know where to buy the local delicacy: the famous "macarons", so you can continue a memorable visit on your own.

From San Sebastian: Flavors of French Basque Country Tour

2. From San Sebastian: Flavors of French Basque Country Tour

Embark on a guided gastronomic adventure through the French Basque Coast of Iparralde, one of the most picturesque regions on the Atlantic Coast. Explore the seaside villages of Biarritz, Saint Jean de Luz & Guethary and sample its local specialties. Meet your guide in the morning and be introduced to the history of the area. Enjoy a spectacular drive along the corniche basque to Saint Jean de Luz. Start your culinary journey with a visit to the local ‘affineur’, an expert who receives cheese from producers and holds it in their shop until it’s ready to eat. Sample a selection of ‘raised’ by affineur cheeses. Sip French Basque wine from Irulegui. Next up, take a stroll along the streets of the town listening to the thrilling stories of local pirates, corsairs, sailors, and fishermen. Enjoy free time to visit the 13th-century church of St. John the Baptist with its remarkable hull-shaped wood-paneled vault. If you'd like to try local foie gras, be taken to a farm store stocked with this French delicacy.  To complete your trip to Saint Juan de Luz, visit the pastry shop where macarons were first created in 1660. Buy these confections and head to the surfing and food paradise of Biarritz. After having a glimpse of the Biarritz lighthouse, continue to Les Halles neighborhood and its vibrant food market.  Visit the market’s most-loved bar where locals stop for a seafood aperitif while shopping. Explore the area like a local by trying oysters, shrimps, and snails from Arcachon. Pair your meal with a glass of great white wine from Bordeaux.  Then, discover the truffle heaven, a bar specializing in truffle-flavored charcuterie and gourmet products from the region. Next, make some room for pintxos.  From Biarritz, go back to the other side and explore the picturesque fishing village of Hondarribia. Taste some of the best pintxos in an award-winning restaurant. Learn about modern Basque cuisine and discuss the differences between French Basque and Spanish Basque food. At the end of the day, return to San Sebastian with a full belly and lots of memories.

Bilbao: Small-Group St. Ignatius Three-Temple Tour

3. Bilbao: Small-Group St. Ignatius Three-Temple Tour

This tour is focused on the path of St. Ignatius, from his birth to the founding of the Society of Jesus. You will begin with a visit to the spectacular Basilica of Loiola, which was built in the 18th century. You'll then visit Saint Ignatius' family house and birthplace (in Loiola, Azpeitia), the hermitage of La Antigua in Zumarraga (where Saint Ignatius made a stop during his pilgrimage), and the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, which is located in a spectacular spot in a gorge and was rebuilt in the 1950s. It is also a showcase of modern religious art at its finest, having been awarded with several international prizes. This is a day full of spirituality which is bound to leave both faithful and non-religious tourists alike awed by the sheer beauty of its sights.

From San Sebastian: French-Basque Countryside Private Tour

4. From San Sebastian: French-Basque Countryside Private Tour

The first stop on the tour is Saint Jean Pied De Port which is considered the start point on the famous St. James Way, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The Basque language is still spoken on both sides of the border of this stunning medieval town. Next, it's the town of Bidarray, an off the track town in the countryside. Drive along the famous Pass Du Roland to get to Espelette town. Labourd style houses make this town unique, as it's known for its dried red peppers hanging from their facades. Taste some of the typical products of the region. Ainhoa is known for its church, a cemetery full of the traditional disc-topped monuments and white and red houses - a very typical Basque village. Finally, it's Sare, one of the most beautiful villages. Placed at the base of the first mountain in the Pyrenees mountain range, La Rhune, Sare is a major prehistoric site and has carefully preserved.

From San Sebastián: Private Biarritz & San Juan de Luz Tour

5. From San Sebastián: Private Biarritz & San Juan de Luz Tour

Take a Private Biarritz and San Juan de Luz Tour from San Sebastián for eight hours with a private official tour guide in the whole tour and a private luxury vehicle with a chauffeur that will pick you up and drop-off at your hotel in San Sebastián. Once your private chauffeur has picked you up from San Sebastián, you will meet with your tour guide to go ahead to San Juan de Luz and Biarritz. First you will discover Saint Jean de Luz, located in the region of New Aquitaine and known to be visited by many bathers. You will discover its city and its old port, you will have the opportunity to visit sites such as its main beach along the promenade, the king's house known to be a small museum, the church of Saint Jean Baptiste built in the Baroque period and much more. After visiting Saint Jean de Luz, your next destination will be Biarritz, a city in the southwest of France which also belongs to the region of New Aquitaine. There, you will visit the highlights of the city. These include the Museum of the Sea, the church of Saint Martin, the Russian Orthodox church, built for the colony of Russian aristocrats, the Imperial chapel, the two big casinos located next to the beach, the Clemenceau square known to be the historical center of Biarritz and much more. Once you have finished visiting Biarritz, your private driver will take you back to your hotel in San Sebastian or your preferred location within the city.

From Bilbao: French Basque Coast Day Tour

6. From Bilbao: French Basque Coast Day Tour

Get picked up from your hotel in Bilbao and enjoy a private transfer to the French Basque country. Revel in the delights of the French coast as you explore quaint villages with your local guide. Visit tiny and adorable fishing villages like Saint Jean de Luz, where time seems to stand still, and experience the Basque gastronomy and surfing in the beachside village of Biarritz. Be amazed by Bayonne, a charming little city full of historic buildings with a quaint downtown area. Enjoy a complimentary lunch before heading to your final stop, Hendaye, a town on the border between France and Spain. Here, learn about the many historical events that have taken place in this area throughout the last 200 years. Once the tour has ended, get dropped off back at your hotel in Bilbao.

From San Sebastián: Basque-France Coastline Private Tour

7. From San Sebastián: Basque-France Coastline Private Tour

Travel the Basque French Coastline, skipping from town to town stopping for the highlights of each township. Spend time exploring each unique feature of beauty that differentiates each township from the next. Visit the town that inspired the writings for Victor Hugo, in Pasajes San Juan. Visit the famous town of Biarritz, known as the pearl of the coast. This tour will make sure to travel along the way through the highlights of Saint Jean de Luz and Hendaya for their French Basque qualities. Find the Basque Spanish influenced settlements as a unique twist from the French.  Experience a turn in time, in Hondarribia a Spanish down known for the best preserved medieval architecture. Visit too the 16th century attributions that have been well preserved as a quaint sight to see. From Jaizibel mountain see the best sights of the region. Looking at both the Spanish countryside in one direction, the French countryside in one direction and the second largest bay in the world open to beautiful Atlantic Sea in the next direction. 

Biarritz, Bayonne, and Basque Country: Private Driving Tour

8. Biarritz, Bayonne, and Basque Country: Private Driving Tour

Enjoy a private trip with a driver-guide explore the Basque Country. Visit lovely villages and areas including Saint Jean de Luz, Ciboure, Socoa, the Corniche Basque, Ainhoa, Espellette, Saint Jean Pied-de-Port and Biarritz. Saint Jean de Luz  is a lovely little fishing port on the Basque coast just South of Biarritz. First, drive to Ciboure, Socoa, and along the Corniche Basque. The road is on top of this magnificent stretch of cliffs and coastline and leads south from the Vauban Fort of Socoa to Hendaye on the Spanish border. Next, veer away from the coast and up into the foothills of the Pyrenees, towards the lovely French Basque mountain town of Ainhoa. After Ainhoa, head to Espellette, a Basque town with traditional colors and architecture. The houses have a special decoration, they’re covered with garlands of red peppers. Then it's time to leave Espelltte and drive to Saint Jean Pied-de-Port. This medieval fortified city is still surrounded by a parapet wall, and plays an important role for pilgrims. It’s the last stop in France along the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. After visiting these mountain towns, return to the Atlantic coast to visit Biarritz; before returning to Saint Jean de Luz or the point of departure.

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What people are saying about French Basque Country

It was a great day with the guidance of a wonderful guide.

Guided by a guide familiar with the culture, values, traditions and geography of the Basque country, I was able to gain a deep understanding of the Basque country in a wonderful scenery.

Very well organized and highly recommended activity for those interested in the Basque cultural and natural heritage. Excellent guide, with a high level of knowledge and very friendly.

Our guide was perfect and took us back in time! Perfect. Thanks for the macaroons!!!