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Europe Travel: A Road Trip from Northern Spain through French Basque Country in a Day

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This post is an outline of a road trip that brings you from San Sebastián to French Basque Country and ends in Pamplona. The road trip takes one full day to complete.

The basics

  • Starting Point: San Sebastián, Spain
  • Road trip through Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Biarritz, Bayonne, La Rhune, Sare, Espelette, Ainhoa
  • End Point: Pamplona, Spain

Map of Locations

Day 1: Depart from San Sebastián & drive to Saint-Jean-de-Luz

Begin your day with a stroll through Saint-Jean-de-Luz at the port. As you make your way towards the water, pop into the shops and cafes that are filled with locals. Arrive to the beach and listen to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore.

Walk along the length of the promenade and return to your car by way of Rue Gambetta, the pedestrian-only walking street filled with textile and candy shops.

Drive north to Biarritz for a gorgeous beach, cute downtown and resort culture. Stop for long lunch.

20 minutes north of Biarritz is Bayonne, home of Europe’s first whaling industry and the urban center of French Basque Country.

Check out the Gothic-style Bayonne Cathedral, with its 13th-century cloister.

Continue your road trip by making your way more inland, driving through the countryside south towards La Rhune. You’ll see villages in the French Basque Countryside.

Stop through Sare, for views of the mountains La Rhune.

Take a break in Espelette, a small town known for its peppers and stroll through the town center, which includes a château and tower.

Continue on to Ainhoa, a one lane road that brings you through the town center. The church dates back to the 14th century.

Finish the road trip by driving south straight to Pamplona.

Transport times

  • San Sebastián to Saint-Jean-de-Luz — 40 minutes
  • Saint-Jean-de-Luz to Biarritz — 41 minutes
  • Biarritz to Bayonne — 25minutes
  • Bayonne to La Rhune — 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • La Rhune to Sare — 35 minutes
  • Sare to Ainhoa — 15 minutes
  • Ainhoa to Espelette — 10 minutes
  • Espelette to Pamplona — 1 hour, 35 minutes

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