Basque Country of Spain and France by Rail

7 nights from £899

Start:St Pancras
Finish:St Pancras
Duration:7 Nights
Group size:0 - 36

Overview

You'll love this tour if you like:

  • Rich, unique culture and history
  • Delicious regional cuisine
  • Modern art at the Guggenheim Museum
  • Spectacular scenery - rugged coastline and mountainous interior
  • Historic cities - with both a French and Spanish flavour

Home to the Basque people and their language, culture and traditions, Euskal Herria (the Basque name for their ancestral land) spans the area in the western Pyrenees on the Atlantic coast of Spain and over the border into France. Scenically varied but always spectacular, the wonderful mountain vistas, verdant forests and delightful coastal villages can be enjoyed whilst submerging yourself in a rich history and vibrant culture, unique to this region.

This tour takes in both the French and Spanish Basque regions, following the rugged Atlantic coastline from Bayonne and Saint-Jean-de-Luz over the border to San Sebastian, and inland to the elegant city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, exuberant Pamplona and the modern city of Bilbao, home of the futuristic Museo Guggenheim, which you will visit. Wherever you are, city or beach, green mountain slopes are always on the horizon, a constant reminder of the rugged, unspoilt charm of the region.

LUGGAGE TO YOUR HOTEL
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890

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Accommodation

Zarauz Hotel, Zarautz
The three-star Zarauz Hotel is a traditional hotel dating from 1945 housed in a character villa close to the seafront. Facilities at the hotel include restaurant, bar, lounge and comfortable bedrooms with private bath/shower, TV, telephone and hairdryer.

Zarauz Hotel Website

OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL
An excellent addition to our portfolio, offering a very Spanish atmosphere and a good standard of service and comfort. Zarautz is a typical Basque resort with a small but pretty old quarter, the beachside promenade is about 400m from the hotel and is ideally located for the places visited on the tour.

Pre-tour accommodation is available at the Premier Inn, London Kings Cross St Pancras, about a 5 minutes walk from St Pancras International, at an approximate rate of £90 per room. Bookings can be made direct with the hotel on 0871 527 8672 or visit their website.

More Info

PASSPORTS
Valid passport required by all, except:
(a) EU nationals holding valid national identification cards;
(b) Holders of national identification cards issued to nationals of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland.

TRAIN
As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras and Lille, but bags do need to be carried on to the platform.  Porters are sometimes but not always available at St Pancras. The Eurostar and French trains are very long (18 carriages in the case of Eurostar and nearly 400 metres long) so there can be quite lengthy walks from the station entrance to your seat. On all legs of the journey you have reserved seat and carriage numbers which are shown clearly on your ticket.

LUGGAGE TO YOUR HOTEL
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890

HEALTH & INSURANCE – EHIC CARD
Please note that EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) only allows access to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the EU country they are temporarily visiting. It is NOT an alternative to travel insurance and will not provide the same level of cover as a travel insurance policy. The EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property. It is also important to note that each country’s healthcare system is slightly different, so the EHIC might not cover everything that would be generally free on the NHS. On the EHIC application website, there is a section called Access to Healthcare Abroad which clarifies all the conditions and inclusions. We strongly recommend that you take out an appropriate travel insurance policy when you travel abroad.

Places of Interest

San Sebastian
San Sebastian is a picturesque city with a beautiful setting, sitting on the calm La Concha bay and backed by low, rolling hills. Best known for its wonderful beaches, the town itself is packed with fascinating sights, particularly in the Parte Vieja (Old Quarter) where the cramped old streets remain lively throughout the day. The baroque 18th century Basilica de Santa-Maria and 16th-century gothic Iglesia de San Vincente are the main must-sees.

Biarritz, Bayonne and St Jean de Luz
The grand and chic Atlantic resort of Biarritz became a popular playground for the rich and famous in the 19th century with villas and hotels dating from that period including the magnificent Hotel du Palais, on of Europe's grandest hotels. Other sights include the Russian church, Art-deco Musee de la Mer and Chapelle Imperiale. Capital of France's Pays Basque, Bayonne is a small city whose charms are best seen with a pleasurable stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, which are lined with half-timbered houses and still surrounded by the original 17th century fortifications. Thanks to its natural harbour Saint Jean de Luz has a strong seafaring history. The wealth this created is well displayed in the magnificent Old Quarter, which houses a number of old, half-timbered mansions, including the turreted Maison Louis XIV, where King Louis himself stayed in the build up to his wedding in 1660. 

Pamplona, Valle del Bidasoa
Best known for the annual 'Running of the Bulls', Pamplona has many lovely sights to visit, which are all conveniently located in the Casco Antiguo. Explore the twisting lanes each leading to beautiful parks, churches and eventually, the huge citadel - a fascinating muddle of architecture from different eras - or find the Plaza del Castillo, sit in a cafe and watch the world go by. The gentle, green slopes of the Valle del Bidasoa are scattered with traditional farmhouses and hilltops crowned with woodland. It is these river valleys where the old Basque traditions are at their most pronounced, making for a wonderful area to explore.

Vitoria Gasteiz, Onati
A flourishing medieval wool and iron trade created the fascinating and elegant city of Vitoria Gasteiz, filling it with Renaissance palaces, beautiful churches and grey-gold stone mansions. The medieval core of the city is arranged over a small hill and is a wonderful place to wander and discover plazas, palacios and excellent Basque restaurants! The name Onati perfectly describes the setting of this lovely town, translating as 'place of many hills'. Onati has an abundance of fine medieval architecture, including the beautiful Ancient University buildings, as well as the Santuary of Arantzazu, just above the town.

Bilbao, the Costa Vasca
A modern and prosperous city, Bilbao sits in a narrow valley, the surrounding green mountains visible through the high rise buildings. The centre has plenty to entertain, with the Museo Guggenheim, a must for modern art lovers, and the attractive Casco Viejo has several major sights such as the gothic Cathedral de Santiago, the Teatro Arriaga and the Euskal Museao Bilbao. The Costa Vasca runs from San Sebastian to Bilbao, providing breath-taking views along the wild, rugged Atlantic coastline.  

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tour details

This tour is operated by Travel Editions

7 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Start:St Pancras
Finish:St Pancras
Duration:7 Nights
Group size:0 - 36
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