Cycle Trips in the Basque Country

Basque Country Bike Trips

On this page, you will find...

Our Spanish routes (the Basque Country and Galicia) have in common the exploration of some of Europe’s wildest, least developed corners, a “Latin” pace, a profound culinary & cultural link with the ocean, temperate climates (the Atlantic generally keeps things pleasingly cool, even at the height of summer), and lush, green scenery.

Our Basque route takes you through a fascinating land, with its own language, architecture, cuisine, sports, and distinctive history.

Picasso & Guggenheim, beaches with incredible surf, late nights in the liveliest of bars, fishing ports that conjure images of Maine or Newfoundland (where many Basques settled), and the extraordinary proximity of mountains and ocean frame our journey.

Administratively shared by France and Spain, the Basque Country is very definitely a land of its own (the Basque genetic card is said to have some vague link with Mongolia...).

“Convivial” is the best way to describe a week here. If you want seclusion in which to write your novel, look elsewhere!  The biggest problem is sleep.  The Basques don’t. Sleep, that is.  They go to work at 8a, to dinner at 11p.  Dance clubs open at 1a, during the week!  And unlike the Castillian Spanish, who keep the same hours, they don’t even bother with the famous siesta.  Ouch!

Our bike route spends much of its time along the spectacular coast line, wild and dramatic.  Seafood, green hills, unique regional architecture and equally distinctive cuisine are highlights.  The balance of the trip is spent in forests of eucalyptus and pine – a truly beautiful ride.

The following trips visit the Basque Country:

Green Spain (2 weeks)
Visits the Basque Country, Galicia, and bits of Portugal

Two Week France Trips (and, of course, a bit of Spain:  2 weeks)
Visits the Dordogne and the Basque Country

Basque Biking follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the table, below.

Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips

Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips

Trips by Length / Title

Short Trips from Paris

What's Included
... the Trip Cost

Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.

Other Trips We Offer


Daily Itinerary:  Basque Country
Day of the Week
Typical distances, in km
Our trip assembles during the afternoon in St-Jean-de-Luz, once France’s most important tuna port, now a beautiful beach resort.  Louis XIV married Maria Theresa here in the 1600’s, and the couple somehow gave birth to macaroons, or so the locals seem to believe. 

If you come in early, visit the spectacular beach, where surfing equipment is available for rental, and can be put to good use.  Or stay above the fray with a seafood platter on a terrace overlooking the sweep of sand....

Our bicycles point us inland, and up the valley of the Nivelle river to Ascain.  Familiarize yourself with the structure of the typical Basque village, cafés surrounding a jai alai court; red, green and white on the shutters and the flags.  If the skies are blue, a funicular climb to the top of a Pyrenee may be in order. 
6 k

Lots of choices today, and some real distance if you want it, surrounded by some of France’s most spectacular scenery.  Marathoners can visit the walled hill town of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, rallying point for the Santiago pilgrimage across the ages. 

On the way, pass the
Pas de Roland, where Charlemagne’s nephew either (A) gave his life fighting off the Moors and thus prevented a muslim invasion of christian Europe (official version), or (B) was killed by Basques testy over the sacking of Pamplona a few days prior.  Um, we’re going with B.  We’ve spent time in these parts, and the Pamplona business would not have been well-received.

The rest of us will content ourselves with a charming cycle along the Nive valley, past the spa towns of Cambo and Ustarritz.

Visit the French Basque capital, Bayonne, and continue to the beach at Biarritz.  The first of many days with 8 times too many things to do.

Half Baggage

55, 65, or 105 k
An easy day.  Spend the morning savoring Biarritz, her beautiful beaches, crashing surf and charming coves, ocean views, yummy lunch spots.

Then it’s time to head for Spain.  We follow the coast down to the border, sometimes along the ocean, sometimes testing the line of hills just a bit inland.

An evening of tapas in Fuenterabbia’s old town will round out a wonderful day.  Stay out late and over-indulge to insure tip-top physical condition for one of our favorite hills, tomorrow....
40 k
Isn’t a “favorite hill” like a “favorite way of commiting hara-kiri”?  No, not really.  Imagine a tree-lined road looping slowly through the woods. Imagine a quaint village part-way up.  Imagine a cider bar with long wooden tables under shade trees, and a refreshing mug.  Visualize your road on a hillside above the ocean, the sweep of the curved coastline before you.  Imagine a spectacular decent to an amazing rabbit warren of a fishing village.  From there, a ferry shuttles you to the outskirts of San Sebastian.

Spend the evening celebrating your new “favorite” hill in yet another city whose ocean front will take your breath away (if you have any left after the hill ;-).

Half Baggage
30 k
The next day is given over to tooling around San Sebastian on our steeds, perhaps exploring the two sentinel hills that guard her beautiful port, perhaps going for a spin along the coast to the west, perhaps just lounging around on the beach.

Take an evening ride into the neighboring orchards for a glass of the local cider, and perhaps a side of beef to go with it.

Half Baggage
Variable k
Now we strike out along craggy outcroppings of the rugged coast, through fishing villages and past pristine beaches.  Bar-hop in Ondarroa, rubbing elbows with the local machos, who wear berets and drink rosé.  Watch the red and green fishing boats bob in Lekeito’s port.  Stop in Bedarona for a terrace with a view so beautiful, it hurts.  Visit Ea for the definition of an “out of the way” restaurant.

The end of the day brings us to the Ria de Gernika, a tidal estuary that is now a nature preserve.  The town of the same name is a repository of some depressing history, movingly commemorated by Picasso.  The modern version, though, is alive and well as a commercial and social center.
50 k
Lots of choices again today.  Bermeo, at the bottom of the Ria, is the Basque coast’s largest fishing port.  Visit the fishing museum, or check out the jai-alai fronton if there is a match.

The other side of the Ria offers good beaches.  When you are done with your swim, continue to Elantxobe, a fishing port built on such a steep cliff that the town has no streets, only staircases.

And don’t neglect Gernika itself, home to an iconic tree that symbolizes Euro democracy, to the beautiful Viscaya parliament building, to prehistoric caves, and to a sporting goods store that has those great orange Euskatel biking shirts :-).
30 - 60 k
Our last day along the beautiful Basque coast.  Up and down the green hills to Bilbao, home to the famous Guggenheim, and center of the modern Basque social scene.  For riders whose trip ends here, the trip disbands upon arrival in Bilbao, but most wisely choose to spend the night:  scoot in in time to “do the Gu,” and then retreat to the old town for Basque bingeing.

Half Baggage

Our “Access Packages” offer a night in Bilbao, and we encourage you to take advantage, if you have time for it....

The following describes Sunday’s project, for those continuing in our company.
30 k
Riders continuing to Galicia only (“Green Spain”):

A morning train to Leon, on the plains of Castille, where we break for a Spanish lunch in the old town.  On to Galicia at the end of the afternoon...

Basque Biking — Facts & Figures
2018 Dates
Baggage Services Offered**
Difficulty of the Ride
September 15 - 22
$2,350 US
$2,895 C
Daily, Half


Start-to-end distances are average or even short, but serious hills abound, and back-ups (though they exist) sometimes involve waits or detours.

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.   Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given Baggage Transfer service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold, above, already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... St.-Jean-de-Luz
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Bilbao