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Cycling in the Basque Country: an inside look on our tour from Bilbao to Saint-Jean-de-Luz

We're really in love with our bike tour in the Basque Country and decided to share some of our insights about what makes this such a special adventure. Here's an inside look on our Bike Tour in Basque Country -  a true cyclist's dream unveiled!

Embark on a 7-day road cycling tour through the Basque Country, a region steeped in history, rich culture, and exquisite gastronomy. Nestled between the rolling hills and the rugged coastline, the Basque Country is a cultural landmark of Spain, boasting a heritage that transcends borders. This journey, from the vibrant streets of Bilbao to the picturesque shores of Saint-Jean-de-Luz in France, not only promises thrilling rides but also an immersive experience into the heart of Basque tradition. From the magnetic waves of the rough seas to the lush hills and quiet roads, each day unfolds a new chapter of this cultural and gastronomic adventure.

Here's the tour map for this epic adventure:

bike tour in basque country map - bilbao to st-jean-de-luz

Cycling in the Basque Country: A Cyclist's Dream

For bike tourers and cycling enthusiasts alike, the Basque Country offers a cycling experience like no other. The region's diverse landscapes, ranging from coastal cliffs to serene valleys and challenging mountain ascents, provide a playground for riders of all levels. The well-maintained roads wind through picturesque villages and vibrant cities, offering a perfect blend of cultural immersion and exhilarating cycling challenges. Whether you're drawn to the classic Basque cycling routes frequented by professionals or prefer the tranquility of coastal paths, the Basque Country welcomes cyclists with open arms. With its mild climate and a network of cycling-friendly accommodations, the Basque Country beckons riders to explore its hidden gems and savor the unique flavors of this cycling haven.



Gastronomy: A Feast for the Senses

Indulge your palate in the Basque Country, where gastronomy is an art form deeply embedded in the local identity. Each day of your cycling adventure promises a culinary journey, from savoring the mild green peppers in Guernica to relishing the seafood delights of chipirones (little calamari) and Navajas. The Basque cuisine, renowned for its fresh, high-quality ingredients, presents a medley of flavors that reflect the region's maritime influence and fertile landscapes. Beyond the saddle, you'll discover the joy of pintxos, small savory snacks, and the crisp notes of txacoli, the typical Basque green wine. Every evening, hearty dinners await, providing a perfect balance to fuel your muscles for the next day's ride.

Culture and History: Unveiling the Basque Heritage

As you traverse the Basque Country on two wheels, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of culture and history that defines this vibrant region. Each town and village holds tales of ancient traditions and modern artistry. Guernica, immortalized by Picasso's tragic masterpiece, invites reflection on the impact of history. Explore the birthplace of the Jesuits movement in Azoia, and pedal through the vibrant streets of Bilbao, home to the iconic Guggenheim Museum. The journey weaves through hidden inland villages, revealing the secrets of the Basque past and showcasing the proud spirit that permeates the landscapes.

Bilbao and San Sebastian: Basque Beauties Beckoning Your Arrival

As gateways to the Basque Country, Bilbao and San Sebastian stand as vibrant cultural hubs, each offering a unique blend of tradition and modernity. Bilbao, the pulsating heart of the region, welcomes you with its striking architectural marvels, notably the iconic Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry. Dive into the city's dynamic atmosphere, where historic streets intertwine with contemporary flair, setting the stage for an exploration of Basque art and urban vitality. Meanwhile, San Sebastian, a jewel on the Bay of Biscay, captivates with its charming beaches, lush parks, and a culinary scene that rivals the best in the world. Indulge in the local flavors, from pintxos to Michelin-starred dining, as you stroll along the elegant promenades and take in the breathtaking views. These two Basque beauties provide the perfect prelude and finale to your cycling odyssey, inviting you to immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry that defines the Basque Country.

Wine: Sipping the Essence of the Basque Terroir

Wine enthusiasts will find their paradise in the Basque Country, where the hills are adorned with vineyards producing the renowned txacoli. This crisp and slightly effervescent white wine is a refreshing companion to your cycling odyssey. Pedal through landscapes dotted with vineyards, their lush greenery providing a visual feast as you savor the terroir unique to the Basque wine region. Whether you're toasting to a successful climb or winding down in the evening, the local wines will undoubtedly enhance your appreciation for the diverse and exquisite flavors that define the Basque culinary and oenological experience.



Crossing Borders on Two Wheels: A Cycling Odyssey from Spain to France

As your wheels spin through the scenic landscapes of the Basque Country, a unique adventure unfolds when you approach the border between Spain and France. The transition from one captivating culture to another takes place seamlessly as you pedal into the enchanting realm of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The cycling route across the border is not just a geographical shift; it's a symbolic journey into the heart of two distinct worlds. The climb up Jaizkibel becomes more than an ascent; it transforms into a passage bridging the rich history and traditions of Spain with the charming allure of French coastal living. With each pedal stroke, you traverse not just physical boundaries but also embark on a cultural crossover, where the landscapes may change, but the spirit of exploration and discovery remains constant. Welcome to the border-crossing experience – a testament to the unifying power of cycling and the boundless adventures that unfold when two countries share a border.

Hotels and Accommodation: Restful Retreats Amidst Basque Beauty

Throughout your 7-day cycling adventure in the Basque Country, rest assured that your accommodation will be a seamless blend of comfort and cultural immersion. From the contemporary elegance of Vinnci Consulado de Bilbao to the luxurious Grand Hotel Domine Bilbao, and the historic charm of Castillo de Arteaga, each hotel is meticulously selected to enhance your overall experience. Upgrade to superior rooms for an added touch of luxury at Hotel Arbe, Hotel Irriarte, Hotel de Londres y Inglaterra, and Hotel de La Plage. These accommodations not only provide a tranquil haven after a day of cycling but also offer a glimpse into the distinct character of each locale, ensuring that your restful retreats become an integral part of the Basque journey.

Flights and Transfers: Seamless Travel Logistics

Your cycling adventure commences with the ease of flight arrivals and efficient transfers. Upon your arrival at Bilbao's local airport or train station, our guides will be there to extend a warm welcome. From there, a seamless transfer to your first hotel awaits, allowing you to settle in and prepare for the thrilling journey ahead. As you conclude your tour in Saint Jean de Luz, your departure will be equally hassle-free with a timely transfer to the train station. Throughout the week, you can focus on the joy of cycling and cultural exploration, with the logistical details expertly handled by our team, ensuring that your transition between destinations is as smooth as the roads beneath your wheels.



🚴🏻 Planning your Holiday

When it comes to planning a cycling holiday, you can go in a variety of different directions. You can do everything yourself, go self-guided or fully guided. In this next section, we're going to speak about each.

Self Guided

On Self-Guided tours, instead of having to organize the holiday yourself, a tour company will do it for you. You only have to think about your flights, and the rest will be organised for you. The hotels will be booked with breakfast supplied, you will be transferred from the airport, you will have bikes ready, and all the routes you need will be on Garmin's ready to ride. Even your luggage will be transferred to each hotel while you're out riding. This is a very popular way to go if you want the hard work taken out but like riding alone at your own pace.


The final way to go is guided. This gives you everything from self guided, but instead of riding alone, you get a local expert to cycle with you and tell you everything you need to know about the region. This is a fantastic way to go. You will get the most out of your holiday with a guide, and typically you also will get some meals included along the way at the hidden gems only the locals know about. Typically many road cyclists pick to use a guide as it takes the stress out of navigation and makes cycling much more enjoyable as a guide can keep you on a nice road surface with little heavy traffic, and you learn a lot of local knowledge.

🚴🏻 Where can I book?

If you want to get the most out of a cycling tour here, check out our Bike tour in the Basque Country: from Bilbao to France  that you can join as a self-guided or guided tour and goes to all the places we have highlighted in this article, and everything you need will be looked after, such as accommodation, luggage transfers, and even bike hire.

You can also contact one of our tour consultants in the link below:

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