The best bike rides in the Basque Country

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Are you a fan of family biking, road biking or mountain biking ? Whatever your mount, pedaling in the Basque Country is a great way to discover its territories in a different way. If you are adventurous, try to climb its steep cliffs , battered by waves and winds. If you rather enjoy quiet walks , you will be charmed by its pretty cycle paths through the humid forests and the valleys of its hinterland . Unless it is rather these famous roads that make you dream: Vélodyssée , Scandibérique ... We get on our bike and off we go for a grand Tour of the Basque Country !


Opening photo: Lou Ma Bike

Explore the Basque Country by bike


You have decided to have a sporting holiday. It's perfect ! Because the Basque Country is a destination that lends itself well to the practice of two wheels ... Let's take a big breath of sea air from the steep ledges of its coast . We will then move away slightly from the ocean, in Labourd , with its typical , colorful and warm villages . In an authentic and rustic atmosphere, we take you through the pastures and valleys of Basse-Navarre . A little further inland, the humid forests of the Soule will offer you beautiful walks. We will end at the foot of the Pyrenees , beyond the border to discover the South of the Basque Country , on the Spanish side. Its mountains promise you vigorous climbs ...

It is a country which is appreciated in all seasons. Oceanic influences bring a temperate climate all year round. The Pyrenean barrier protects the hinterland and winters are mild. The inter-seasons are particularly beautiful there, even if they can be rainy. It is also thanks to this significant rainfall that its valleys are so green! Its forests maintain humidity conducive to lush vegetation .

Before taking the start, it is better to be well equipped. You have to beware of the weather, capricious on the coast and rainy in the land. Remember to take good clothes. Of course, we can never tell you enough to bet on safety, with the right equipment.

Here is our selection of professionals to advise you, guide you and rent all the necessary equipment. Are you a beginner or do you need a little assistance? Velektrix offers electric bikes in its many shops in the Basque Country . To please the whole family, Chez Lou Ma Bike, you will find all types of bikes, suitable for young and old alike .

Velektrix

Photo: On the coast by bike Source: Velektrix

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EuroVelo 1, the Atlantic Cycle Route


We suggest you take a few pedal rides on this incredible Atlantic Véloroute, nicknamed the " Vélodyssée " . It bears its name, of course, because it is a true European odyssey , from Norway to Portugal. For its French part, this fabulous 1,200 km journey follows the Atlantic from Roscoff to Hendaye. For the Basque Country, you join it in Bayonne .

You will cross the Abbadia estate . It is a tourist site not to be missed: click to read our visit to this original neo-Gothic observatory castle , built on the plans of Viollet-Le-Duc . You will follow the coastal path , for about 25 km. From Bidart, it will take you to Hendaye, on the Spanish border. On the road, you can admire the “ surfers ' ballet ” at the famous Parlementia spot .

To rest a little, in the town of Anglet, an exceptional natural site awaits you: the Pignada forest .

Velektrix

Photo: Bike on the beach Source: Vélektrix

The Greenway and walks along the Nive


We return to Bayonne to take the Voie Verte de la Nive . Next to the city center, it is an easy and family walk , which offers many advantages: access, parking, proximity to shops… But you will be surprised by the change of scenery it provides. You find yourself in the heart of nature, on 12 km of cycle path , with the backdrop of the panorama of the Pyrenees .

On the banks of the Nive , the setting is charming. Children will surely enjoy meeting the horses at the equestrian center. However, you have to be attentive to their safety because there are some residents and customers of the center who use the road by car.

If this pretty river inspires you, go down along the Nive to the south of Labourd , to Itxassou. A walk is really essential: " Le Pas de Roland ", a bucolic and enchanting walk . You are no longer on a cycle lane, it is better to plan for mountain biking ! To enjoy sunny days and the pleasures of the water, go to Bidarray . Ur Bizia rents canoes, inflatable kayaks and hydrospeed for rafting on the Nive .

If you are looking for accommodation nearby, we recommend Camping Hiriberria . We had a pleasant stay with our family : our full report here .


The Pas de Roland

Photo: Le Pas de Roland Photo credit: Lesley Williamson


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L'EuvoVelo 3, the Scandibérique


Here is another legendary route: the “ Scandibérique ” is also called the “ Pilgrims Route ”. This European cycle route , the EV3 , runs from Norway to Spain. But this time, it travels inland and crosses Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and France of course.

On this last section before crossing the Iberian border , the famous road takes you on the “ Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle ”, from Saint-Palais to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port , across the Lower -Navarre . You will see beautiful panoramas on the mountains and the pastures . To see some photos of the viewpoints on the pilgrims' trails, see our article on the GR10 .

OT Cambo les bains

Photo: The pastures of Lower Navarre Source: OT de Cambo les Bains

The Soule mountain roads


We enter the Soule , at the foot of the Pyrenees . It is the country of hikers and cyclists , between gorges and mountain passes . The tourist office lists the different routes available to you on its website . There is something for all tastes and all levels ...

It is a mountain territory , rustic and full of character, where you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Basque traditions . In particular in Mauléon-Licharre , capital of the espadrille or in Larrau, a typical mountain village , with its houses with slate roofs and its sloping streets . To find out a little more, here is our roadtrip in Haute Soule .

You cannot leave La Soule without telling you about a crush, a magical and mysterious place : the Kakuetta Gorges . We won't tell you more ... Our blogger takes you to the heart of the humid forest of the Basque Country.

GR 10

Photo: Mountain roads

The Spanish Greenways


But this country does not stop at the administrative limits of the border with Spain… In the Southern Basque Country , you will also find many walks, greenways and impressive mountain passes . The Euskadi Basque Country website gives you ideas for cycling outings.

On foot or by bike, climbing a pass is always a victory over oneself. We suggest you leave from Hondarribia . You walk the Saint-Jacques de Compostelle road to climb the Jaizkibel . The climb is certainly steep but it prepares you for a hell of a show . From the top, you overlook Irun, Hondarribia, Hendaye, Saint-Sébastien, Pasaia, Renteria… It's dizzying and breathtaking !

Hondarribia by bike
Hondarribia by bike

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Some good plans ...


Lesley Williamson

Electric bike or scooter? Source: Lesley Williamson

Our cycling tour in the Basque Country ends, but you will find a lot of other information in the tourist offices or on their website. We hope to have inspired you for a few sporting holidays to discover another facet of these beautiful territories. If you want to know more about its geography, its history and soak up its culture, here is our page on the Basque Country .

To organize your stay more easily, discover our “Around me” option: Our geolocation service helps you find nearby tours and activities, a restaurant, or your accommodation .


Did you like our article? Find more on our Blog . Follow us on the Guide du Pays Basque Facebook page and on Instagram @guidedupaysbasque.

Article written by Stéphanie Tempier for the Guide du Pays Basque.


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