Hotel Bellevue, Hendaye
Comfortable 2 star hotel close to the port in Hendaye at the start of the GR10
6 days walking/7 nights
Part 1 of a superb trek traversing the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Coasts
Starting the mythical crossing of the Pyrenees via the GR10 long-distance trail
First few days are relatively easy - gentle start to crossing the Pyrenees
Unique landscapes & culture of the Basque Country
Pretty town of Saint Jean Pied de Port built from red stone
Only carrying a light rucksack
Welcome at your hotel in Hendaye
Depending on your arrival time, after checking into your hotel, you may choose to walk in the region of Domaine d’Abbadia. A fantastic natural site of 65 hectares situated right on the coast. You will find a great mix of landscapes, moors, prairies, heather and high cliffs. You can also visit the famous neo-gothic chateau, the Domaine d'Abbadie.
If you have more time: from St Jean de Luz, the coastal path, offers you magnificent panoramas from the port of Ciboure to Hendaye.
Overnight: Hendaye, Optional walk: 5.5km (2hrs), +80m, -80m or 12km (3hrs30), +200m, -200m.
Hendaye lies on the estuary of the River Bidassoa, which forms the border with Spain. The GR10 walking route begins its course on Hendaye Plage. Rising rapidly above the Atlantic, this first stage of the walk is pleasant. The landscape, scattered with villages, is peaceful and harmonious with the rolling hillsides. The ambiance is very basque but there is no sign yet of the high dramatic mountains to come..
Overnight: Ibardin, Walk: 14km (4hrs45) +730m, -345m
Short transfer (can be avoided, consult us). The first outlines of the distant mountains can be spotted on the horizon. You have the chance to reach the summit of La Rhune. At an altitude of 900m it is considered the first peak in the Pyrenean chain. You'll pass picturesque villages; Sare and Ainhoa are scarcely more than single streets lined with large houses. The houses (mostly dating from the 17th century) have stone lintels carved with the dates of their construction and details of their family's history.
Overnight: Dancharia, Walk: 21.5km (6hrs45) +650m, -670m.
Today the GR10 passes a series of summits, crossing over high mountain passes, it winds its way around l’Erebi (583m), and then further on l’Axulegi (617m). At the high mountain pass of col Zuccuta there is a superb viewpoint. From the col, weather permitting, you can either take the track route to the Col des Veaux or if it's fine you might choose to stay on the ridge. This is not part of the GR10 but it is well worth it for the views. The ridge leads all the way to the Pic Gorospil at 691m where there are superb panoramic views.
Overnight: Col des Veaux, Walk: 13km (4hrs), +670m, -200m.
The GR10 continues to alternate between the Pyrenean summits and mountain villages that have a strong Basque identity. The trail heads in the direction of Col de Mehatche situated at an altitude of 716m. You'll pass into a rocky landscape that is home to griffin vultures that circle high above. You descend to Bidarray village, an emblematic overnight stop that is vibrant with the characteristic Basque culture and lifestyle.
Overnight: Bidarray, Walk: 11km (3hrs30), +270m, -740m.
Today is a challenging walk and will lead you to Saint Etienne de Baigorry across some breathtaking scenery, such as extraordinary sandstone cliff faces along the classic ridge walk of the Cresta d’Iparla and its culminating peak of 1044m.
Overnight: Saint Etienne de Baigorry, Walk: 18.5km (7hrs30), +1250m, -1275m.
This is the final day of the first week's walking on the GR10 trail leading into Saint Jean Pied de Port, in the very heart of the Basque country. There is over six hours challenging walking with 900m ascent and descent before arriving at Saint Jean Pied de Port. It lies in a picturesque setting on the banks of the river Nive, and is located on a historic route into Spain. Enclosed by walls of pinky red sandstone, the old town is pretty and interesting with a single cobbled street. Many of the historic houses bear inscriptions on the lintels from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Overnight: St Jean Pied de Port, Walk: 19.5km (7hrs), +950m, -950m.
Your holiday ends after breakfast in Saint Jean Pied de Port. Opportunity to visit the historic capital of Basse-Navarre.
Please see our section called "Options" for details about undertaking this walk in reverse from the mountains to the Atlantic, as well as about adding 2 extra days to this option and finishing in San Sebastian.
Distance: 11 - 22km per day
Ascent: 300-1135m per day
Gites and hotels in rooms for 2
This self-guided walking holiday is the first section of a wonderful & dramatic 415km crossing of the Pyrenees Mountain chain between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean following the GR10 long distance trail. You'll amble through stunning scenery that varies enormously, from flower filled meadows, sparkling lakes, cirques and high summits. You’ll get a taste of many different cultures, from the Basque country through to Catalonia. Each valley you pass through has its own distinct flavour. It is a great way to explore local life and to absorb the differences, the Pyrenees is a unique blend of many different cultures.
This first section, from Hendaye to Saint Jean Pied de Port, covers a variety of landscapes typical of the Basque country, set in the heart of the Atlantic Pyrenees. The scenery has a charm and regional originality that you won’t find elsewhere. Rolling hills, magical villages, such as Sare, Ainhoa and Dancharia that are steeped in Basque tradition, and a rich Pyrenean flora and fauna are all waiting to be discovered. As you head deeper into the Pyrenees you will reach the villages of Bidarray and Saint Etienne de Baigorry with the sumptuous Iparla mountain ridge in the background. Part 1 of the GR10 ends in St Jean Pied de Port where you can explore the historic capital of Basse-Navarre.
7 night/8 days: 6 or 7 days independent walking moving between accommodation
Everyday (subject to availability) from 1 April to 31 October
6 or 7 days independent walking moving everyday between hotels and guest houses. It is graded moderate to challenging with average days which include 5-6 hours of walking and 725m of ascent & descent. The hardest day includes 7 hours and 30 minutes of walking and 1250m of ascent. The walking becomes harder and more mountainous as you progress. Paths are generally good and well defined, although they can be rocky and mountainous in character in places. You should have a good head for heights and be able to navigate.
This walking holiday is graded moderate/challenging. See more information about walking grades.
5 nights in hotels and 2 nights in welcoming guest houses. Half board except on day 1. Evening meals, often based on local specialties include a starter, a main dish and a dessert.
Our self-guided walking trail along the first part of the GR10 long distance path is available from 1 April to 31 October. This first part of the trek is at relatively low altitudes reaching just over 1000m in altitude so the risk of snow is relatively small outside of winter, early spring and late autumn. Having said this, April is relatively fresh with a maximum average daily temperature of 16°C on the coast and several degrees lower inland. From May onwards, temperatures are pleasant for walking and the wildlife becomes abundant. Maximum average temperatures in July and August are 25°C on the coast. Temperatures would be higher inland at low altitudes and lower at higher altitudes. In terms of temperatures, June and September are optimal with maximum average temperatures of 23°C on the coast. June and July are the driest months, whilst April and October are the wettest months during the holiday period. The risk of storms is usually greater in the afternoons, so setting off early is advisable. The busiest period in terms of fellow walkers is from mid-July to mid-August. Early in the season is best for the wonderful alpine flowers and meadows.
The vast majority of this walking holiday follows the GR10 (Grande Randonnee) long distance trail which is very well way-marked with red and white markings. There are also a number of signposts along the trail. The walking follows clear paths for its entire duration. Some small sections follow local or unmarked trails, for example to access accommodation, but these are easy to follow. On this particular walking holiday we use the Cicerone guidebooks. As well as the walking notes we supply walking maps. You'll be provided with detailed 1:25,000 walking maps.
On this walking holiday you can choose to have your main luggage transferred between accommodations so you only have to carry a day rucksack with picnic lunch (supplied by the guest houses and included in the holiday price), water and spare clothes, waterproofs, camera etc. On this holiday several local taxi companies are responsible for transporting your main luggage. Please limit the weight of your bags where possible to 15kg.
Departure from Saint Jean Pied de Port, bus or train SNCF, direction Bayonne. From Bayonne, possible connections to Hendaye or Biarritz. www.ter-sncf.com to confirm timetable.
We recommend arriving by train to avoid returning to Hendaye to recover your car, because the return to Hendaye is long by public transport and very expensive if you take a taxi. If you have to come by car, we recommend that you leave your car in Hendaye on the first day and return by public transport because you will not be tired by a week's walking.
Please contact us for assistance in organising
7 nights' Half Board accommodation, except one night where it is on a B&B basis. 5 nights in hotels and 2 nights in guest houses, all in double or twin rooms. Nights 1 B&B basis, nights 2 - 7 half board. Continental breakfast. Evening meals are usually local specialties and include 3 courses. Picnic lunch is not included in the price, but can be ordered from your hosts the evening before.
Comfortable 2 star hotel close to the port in Hendaye at the start of the GR10
Family run2-star hotel-restaurant in the heart of the Basque country
Extra nights are possible at Hendaye at the start of the trip and in St Jean de Pied de Port at the end of your walk.
It is possible to continue with the second part of the Traverse of the Pyrenees at the end of this walking holiday:
It is possible to book this walking holiday in the reverse direction starting in St Jean Pied de Port and ending up on the Atlantic Coast at Hendaye. The walking stages would be the same except in reverse. It would also be possible to add a couple of walking days at the end of the trip in Northern Spain, finishing at San Sebastian. These two walking days are detailed below:
Extra day 1 : Loop of Hondarribia
From Hendaye, you will reach the wharf to take the boat shuttle to cross the Txingudy Bay, which separates Hendaye from the Spanish harbour of Hondarribia. You will quickly reach the Cabo Higuer, the western end of the Pyrenees. From there, the track will offer you a condensed summary of the Basque Country, leading you sometimes above the cliffs, sometimes in the middle of a green valley: ocean and mountain merged! When you get to Hondarribia, after the hike, it is time for a Tapas stop! And return to hendaye to your accommodation via boat shuttle.
Distance : 14km, altitude gain : +300m, descent : -300m.
Extra day 2 : From the Jaizkibel mountain to San Sebastian
Transfer from Hendaye to the Jaizkibel Mountain. There, the track will reward you with magnificent views over the ocean, 400m down, from one side, and over the first French and Spanish Basque mountains, from the other side. Then you will walk down through a lovely pathway on the cliff’s edge to reach Pasaia, where you will take another boat shuttle to cross the Pasaia Bay. The remaining part of the track to reach San Sebastian will take place through creeks and green seaside. San Sebastian and its famous “Concha” are waiting for you, for an amazing evening wandering along the “Casco Viejo”, discovering the best “Pintxos” (tapas) bars of the whole country !
Distance : 17km, altitude gain: +300m, descent : -700m.
Please consult us for a price on any of the above options.
If you want to learn more about the region's culture through tailor-made activities and visits, check out those trips that include a few days in Occitanie. Contact us to add them to your hike.
Ride the waves of adventure from Paris to La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Biarritz where sophistication meets the laid-back vibes of the 'French California'.