Strictly speaking, this is not Basque Spain, but it is authentically Basque in all but name! Our route weaves through the foothills of the Pyrenees and presents a varied banquet of scenery and terrain, while also introducing the area’s ancient villages.
You’ll take in panoramic views as you traverse the border of France and Spain, ending each day with an opportunity to explore a new village. In these villages, you’ll experience the region’s unique identity through cuisine, stories and language. If you wish, you can also supplement your walking adventure in Navarre by spending a day or two exploring the vibrant Basque city of San Sebastián – a true jewel that offers world-famous food, a beach-front promenade, and a charming cobblestoned old town.
On a Collett’s village to village holiday, you do the walking – and we do the rest. Our comprehensive maps and route notes make for effortless navigation, while your baggage is transported daily to the next carefully-selected overnight stop. Each evening you’ll be welcomed into the comfort of traditional accommodation, in charmed surroundings. You decide your dates, and we’ll ensure everything else is organised to perfection.
At a glance
01 April – 31 October 2023
(You can start any day)
1 July – 30 September – from £1295
All other dates – from £1195
Single Supplement – £195
Expect to walk for 5 – 8 hours each day (with some options to shorten), with between 275m to 950m ascent and 450m to 950m descent each day.
7 nights B&B accommodation in handpicked hotels and rural guest houses
– on Day 1 from San Sebastian to your first hotel; and
– on Day 7 from Elizondo back to San Sebastian
Welcome Briefing on arrival
Dinner on 4 of 7 nights on nights 1, 2, 5 and 6
Packed lunches on walk days
Luggage transfers each day from hotel to hotel
Holiday Pack with comprehensive route notes, maps & more
24/7 telephone support throughout your holiday
This holiday begins and ends in San Sebastian. Ideally you will fly direct to San Sebastian where you will be met on arrival, but if this is not possible the next best options are to fly into either Bilbao (Spain) or Biarritz (France).
Bilbao airport is served by regular buses to San Sebastián. Buses leave the airport every 45 minutes and take approximately 1 hour 10 minutes (€17pp) – check times at www.pesa.net. In San Sebastian, you will be met and transferred (35 mins, included) to your first hotel in Bera. For parties of 2-4 people, a private transfer from Bilbao airport to your hotel in Bera is also available, at a supplement of €225.
From Biarritz airport, the journey to San Sebastián is only 35 minutes, but there are fewer available buses. Please contact us for more information. For parties of 2-4 people, a private transfer from Biarritz airport to your hotel in Bera is also available, at a supplement of €150.
Day 1 - Arrive
After arriving at either Bilbao or Biarritz airport, you will take a bus to San Sebastián (not included) where you will be met by Javier and transferred to your hotel in Bera, 35 minutes away. Bera offers a charming opportunity for an evening stroll, with historic manor houses and a baroque town hall. Once at your hotel, you’ll enjoy Javier’s welcome briefing, which will give a preview of the adventure to come!
Overnight in Bera (Dinner included)
Day 2 - Bera to Etxalar
Distance: 17km, 6 ½ hours walking time, 950m ascent/descent
As you leave Bera, your path takes you away from the bustle of the valley and up into the mountains. Surrounded by expansive views of the Pyrenean foothills, you’ll descend to the medieval village centre of Lesaka before continuing to the lively village of Etxalar. The village church, Iglesia de San Esteban, has stunning interiors and offers sweeping views out over the village.
Overnight in Etxalar (Dinner included)
Day 3 - Etxalar to Urdax
Distance: 13km (+ optional 2km), 6 hours (+ optional 1 ½hrs) walking time, 790m ascent (+ optional 200m)
This is a beautiful stage that runs along the mountains separating France and Spain. You’ll be walking with one foot in each country, as you traverse the border on old smugglers’ routes. The views are exceptional on both sides, especially from the optional Arxuria summit (758m). You’ll descend through meadows to reach your next stop, a cosy country house in Urdax, in a beautiful natural setting.
Overnight in Urdax (Dinner not included)
Day 4 - Urdax Circular
Distance: 11km, 16km or 20km 4-7 hours walking time, 350-695m ascent
Today you can choose between three different circuits of varying length, each offering a unique experience. Explore the enchanting Cave of Witches in Zugarramurdi and its accompanying museum, immerse yourself in the astounding natural rock formations at the Urdax caves, or relax with a croissant in the picturesque village of Ainhoa – voted one of the prettiest villages in France.
Overnight in Urdax (Dinner not included)
Day 5 - Urdax to Arizkun
Distance: 22km, 7½ hours walking time, 685m ascent – with option to shorten the day
Don’t be put off by the statistics of today’s walk – you can also choose to shorten it considerably by traveling by taxi (together with your luggage) some of the way! A well-graded forest path ascends the northern slopes of Alkarruntz from the peaceful village of Urdax, affording views of Arxuria to the north. From the Otsondo pass you can extend your walk to include the summit of Alkurruntz at 934m (additional 1hr, 5km, 360m ascent/descent), which yields expansive views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. As you descend through the meadows into the valley below, you’ll pass megalithic remains, the historic village of Bozate, and the castle ruins of Amaiur-Maya before reaching Arizkun, your base for the night.
Overnight in Arizkun (Dinner included)
Day 6 - Arizkun to Beartzun
Distance: 13km, 4 ½ hours walking time, 600m ascent
This is a short but utterly charming stage. The initial route winds through agricultural land and meadows, passing through the colourful hamlet of Gorostapolo before descending to the river. A rewarding diversion to the Xorroxin waterfalls will offer an opportunity for a refreshing dip in the plunge pool, before you continue along ancient cobbled paths. An easy ascent to the Basagar pass will reveal many megalithic remains, then a short walk will take you to an evening’s rest in a cosy rural house in Beartzun, nestled on the French border.
Overnight in Beartzun (Dinner included)
Day 7 - Beartzun to Elizondo
Distance: 20.5km, 7 ¼ hours walking time, 575m ascent
The final day presents the perfect way to say goodbye to the beautiful Baztan Valley. An easy walk to the scenic Soalar summit affords a breathtaking overview of the terrain you navigated this week. Descend on wide tracks to return to the pretty village of Arizkun, where you can finish your day early and arrange for a taxi to take you back to San Sebastián (not included, pay locally). Alternatively, you can continue through hillside hamlets and stunning valley views, all the way to exquisite Elizondo, where a taxi will take you to San Sebastián.
Overnight in San Sebastián (Dinner not included).
Day 8 - Depart
Independent onward travel, or the possibility to extend your stay. Your hotel is a ten minute taxi ride (€9 approx.) from the bus station in San Sebastián, where you can catch a bus to Bilbao or Biarritz.
Map - Route Overview
Need to Knows
Terrain – Most of the walking on this route is along clear footpaths and tracks, with some road walking where necessary. Ascents and descents are generally well-graded and will pose no difficulty to a moderately fit walker. Some days appear long – but there are plenty of opportunities to shorten days with the taxi that carries your luggage.
Group Size – this holiday requires a minimum of two people.
Booking Conditions – be sure to read our full terms and conditions here before booking.
At Your Own Risk – please read the important notes here.
Travel Advice – check your government’s travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice here.
Passport & Visa – any questions should be directed to the relevant embassy of your destination country; find out more here. It is your responsibility to be in possession of a full passport, valid for your chosen destination.
Travel Insurance – having adequate and valid travel insurance is a condition of booking with us. Details of our insurance partner, Campbell Irvine, are here.
Health Information – You should carry either an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) Neither is an alternative to adequate travel insurance. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/
ABTA – Independent travel advice and help is always available from ABTA by calling 020 3117 0599 or visiting www.abta.com.