To discover the Basque Country is to immerse yourself in a universe of traditions, culture and conviviality, at the foot of the Pyrenees and on the shores of the ocean. The people love their traditional sport, Basque pelota, their language, their gastronomy, their landscapes and their characterful villages.


Azkaine is a quiet and beautiful Basque village on the banks of the river Urdazuri and only six kilometres from the ocean. At 905 m, it tops the summit of the Rhune, making it one of the most popular starting points for this hiking route. Originally a trading port, over the years the town has developed a strong craft culture. You can admire the 15th century Roman Bridge, as well as its central pediment (matching the church) and its typical Basque houses, all surrounded by nature.

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Situated in a French enclave that extends into Spanish Navarre, Sare, listed as one of the "most beautiful villages in France", has Basque-style houses from the 17th and 18th centuries, notably decorated. And the image it projects looks like something out of a postcard.

In the square, the Fronton, the scene of numerous pelota matches, is one of the important historical sites of this sport. It is also the venue for the weekly fair and various leisure activities. You can also discover the 'txalapartas' (a traditional Basque musical instrument) and, above all, a replica of Picasso's famous Guernika.

Enjoy every moment and the peace and quiet that this place has to offer.

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Aïnhoa is also one of the "Most beautiful villages in France". Founded in the 13th century, this bastide used to welcome pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela, and is now one of the most important stages of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. It is made up of a single main street onto which all the façades of its Laboutian-style houses overlook. In addition, as a small anecdote, you will notice that the east-facing houses are much more colourful and decorated than the west-facing ones, which are more discreet and have smaller windows to protect them in case of inclement weather.

You can wander around the hidden corners of this charming village and, with a walk of only 45 minutes, you will be able to visit the Chapel of Arantzazu, at the top of Mount Atsulai.

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Ezpeleta is the town that gives its name to the product found in many dishes of Basque gastronomy, the Espelette pepper. Therefore, every year in October, the town celebrates this red condiment, traditionally hung on the façades of the houses, in order to dry it.

The village is mainly pedestrianised, which makes it a very pleasant place to stroll around and discover the various shops selling a variety of crafts and local products. And, of course, you should not miss a visit to its castle, The Barons of Ezpeleta castle, which houses the Tourist Office and the Town Hall.

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Kanbo is an essential stop among the Basque villages. Its gardens and avenues, decorated with hydrangeas, have given it a reputation as a garden town. It is also a key point for people with rheumatological and respiratory problems who require thermal care. All this thanks to its spa resort and the undeniable properties of its thermal waters. A visit to the mansion of Edmond Rostand, the Villa Arnaga, is a must. It is a Historical Monument, like the "little French Versailles". Today, many of the writer's mementoes are displayed here, in a "Belle Époque" décor with sumptuous French and English-style gardens.

The Church of Saint Laurent is also a key point, from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Errobi valley.

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La Bastide Clairence

And to end the tour of the Basque villages near Bayonne, don't forget La Bastide Clairence, classified among the "Most beautiful villages in France". A village with more than 700 years of history, it offers a diverse architectural style, as well as a stone church and a surprising adjoining cemetery. There is also an old Jewish cemetery, a historical reminder of the Sephardic Jewish community who fled their time of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition.

It is worth mentioning that it has the oldest foremast in France, as well as numerous craft workshops.

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Saint Jean Pied de Port

Saint Jean Pied de Port, also known as Donibane Garazi in Basque, is a fortified town, located between the Baigorri Valley and the Spanish border. Since the Middle Ages, it has seen countless pilgrims pass through its streets on their way to Santiago de Compostela. For hiking enthusiasts, it is also part of the GR10 and GR65 routes.

Of course, one of the stops not to be missed is a visit to the Citadel, from where you can enjoy unparalleled views.

Here you will find a dynasty of chefs who share a passion for the land and good produce.

And of course, a wide range of handicrafts.

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Saint Etienne de Baigorry

This village, Baigorri in basque, is situated at the entrance to the valley with which it shares its name and at the foot of Iparla Mount. Strolling through its narrow streets, it is easy to discover its history: an 11th century castle, a Roman bridge, a stone church with a magnificent altarpiece and beautiful wooden galleries, typical 12th and 18th century houses and, of course, a fronton (pelota court).

It is a place with an enormous offer for sports lovers and, in addition, since 2016, it has been the first Trail Running Station in the northern Basque Country.

All the information about Baigorri

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