Basque Country is cycling heaven

A combination of beautiful landscapes, coastline backroads, sharp climbs and respectful cyclists. It is precisely for this reason that the Basque Country in Aquitaine has always been considered as a bicycle paradise. That’s why we purpose you these Basque country cycling holidays !

The Basque country is an extraordinary setting for a cycling tour with mountain biking and ocean views. Starting or finishing in Biarritz, itineraries are through road cycling or cycle paths from the Velodyssey along the coastline. Because of its situation at the foot of the Pyrenees, the region is hilly and can be challenging.

Our cycle routes are chosen to let you discover the local traditions as well as the architecture of the region. On your two wheels you’ll see colorful houses are spread in a no less colorful nature. If you stay long enough, you will be able to meet the pilgrims and travellers walking in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. On your bike tour, watch the pelota players in the towns like Ainhoa, Sare or Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry. Our self-guided tours give you the freedom to ride at your own pace ! Pick the places you want to visit on the way and take a leisurely time!

The French Pays Basque is one of France’s most varied and distinct regions.

Beginning and ending in Biarritz, the Basque country cycling holidays takes you into popular coastal resort towns with barge(Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Hondarribia, Bidart) and sleepy interior villages (Ainhoa, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, and Espelette). Along cycling roads, you’ll encounter Gothic cathedrals dating back to the 12th centuries, as well as protected UNESCO world heritage sites. This Bike ride is perfect for every one who is in love with Pyrenees mountains or sandy beaches.

The region’s biggest town is the glitzy beach resort of Biarritz, famous for its sweeping oceanfront and thriving surf scene. Culturally, it’s a million miles from its rival neighbour, with five-star hotels, a casino, spas, toursits, jewellery, fashion shops, and bars. There are several surfing beaches here, with many more further along the coastline both north and south. Biarritz is one of those rare surfing spots where you can exit the waves and, within minutes, be in the heart of the city.

From here your cycle tours going through a few kilometres inland to Bayonne, Pays Basque’s most important city. Any tourist must take up the chance to spectate at a boozy, raucous rugby match at Bayonne’s top club Aviron Bayonnais, currently the strongest in the region. Biarritz has a decent team, too: Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque. Underestimate the fierce rivalry between the two supporting camps at your peril. Even if you dislike the oval-balled game, it’s worth attending a match just for the atmosphere.

Bayonne loves to party, and not just for the rugby. By far the biggest party of all takes place at the height of summer during “Fêtes de Bayonne”. The town battens down its hatches as close to a million visitors, all dressed in white clothing with red neckerchiefs and belts, descend upon the town to party hard. Featuring a running of the bulls, it’s one of the biggest festivals in Europe.

Far inland

Withe these cycling trips you’ll follow road bike through the interior of Basque countryside. On your two wheels you’ll see any large towns to speak of, this is the area most neglected by tourists…. Unless you’re planning to explore the foothills or steeper slopes of the Pyrenees. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the centuries-old pit stop for pilgrims in transit along the route of Santiago de Compostela, is a good entry point. It’s an underpopulated, rugged, at times quite wild region, where you’ll find lush green countryside, valleys, deep gorges, white-water rivers, high mountain paths once used by contraband smugglers, and shepherds tending their flocks.

What better location to contemplate the entirety of the Pays Basque?

If there’s one place that unites both French and Spanish Basque people, it must be La Rhune. This mountain, on the far western edge of the Pyrenees, not far from the village of Sare, straddles the border between the two countries, and holds a sacred place in Basque mythology. Up until the 18th century, local villages hired a monk to live up on the summit, guarding the region from evil witches. One of the best trip view on the road during your bicycle tour. When you’ll be pedalling or trekking, at the top of la rhune, you ll live the real cycling experince

The south-west gastronomy

A great accompaniment to the Bayonne Ham is the sheep’s cheese known which is eaten with jam or jelly. The Basque country is great for fresh fish, with many restaurants offering tuna, hake, sardines, calamari and dorado. Many Basque country dishes, including the fish, are flavoured with one of the region’s key spices known as piment d’Espelette, a chilli grown up in the hills and hung with pride on the front façades, of the farmers’ houses. It is both hot and sweet at the same time.

For dessert, there’s the famous Bayonne chocolate, and the “Gâteau Basque”. Inevitably every village, and every patissier within every village, insists their “Gâteau Basque” is the best ever. Other Basque specialities include lamb, Banka trout, Itxassou cherries and macaroons. The local cider is known as sagardotegi. There is a small wine region centred around the vineyards of Irouléguy. You’ll enjoy the Basque region’s amazing gastronomic temptations. there are more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita here than anywhere else in the world.

Basque country cycling holiday are waiting for you!To be more confortable during your cycling tours, we can Bike hire or an E-bike as you prefer!


You want to know more about our Cycling holidays ? Here is the FAQ !

When is the best time for a cycling holiday in the Basque Country?

Like most of the french region, the period we recommend for you cycling holidays in the Basque Country, is spring, the end of the summer and early autumn for the mild climate and seasonal tourism. If you are planning family holidays with kids, and according to school holidays, the summer period is almost imperative. In that case favour the beginning or the end of summer for more tranquility. The second part of July and particularly the first half of August are the busiest in the accomodations. If you really like to book during this time, plan your cycling trip early enough.

What are physical conditions required to visit the Basque Country by bike?

The Basque Country is situated at the beginning of the Pyrenees chain. Thereby, except on the greenway along “La Nive” river, each stage presents some climbs (but also some descents!). We are not on the legendary Pyrenean Cols crossed by the Tour de France riders, but good physical conditions and regular cycling seem to be necessary. For occasional cyclists who have doubts about their physical form do not pass by the beautiful bike tours offered by the Basque Country and choose to ride an electric bike. You will be surprised and fully enjoy by this way of ride and travel.

Do we have to plan our cycling holidays in the Basque Country in advance?

Most of our cycling trips are itinerants. You ride between hotels and guest houses. So we have to book several accommodations for one stay. As a matter of fact South West of France is a very attractive and busy destination, therefore in order to put the odds in your favour and ensure accomodations availabilities, we recommend to book your bike trip as early as possible. Likewise for family cycling holidays as family room (for 3 or 4 people) are rare.