10 villages of the Inland Basque country that will leave you speechless!

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
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10 villages of the In ...

The Basque Country is an authentic, generous, rebellious country… It leaves no one indifferent. If it is like its coastal cliffs, steep and sculpted by the power of the ocean. It is in the interior of its lands that we find its soul and its strength of character.

It is a country that has to be earned since the dawn of time. The Isturitz caves give us a sketch of this distant past, where the first modern humans were already exploiting the riches of the region. Basque culture tells us about this probable encounter with the Celts. The Romans marked the architecture of many villages. Between invasions of the Goths, Reconquista and wars of religion, this country has aroused much envy. This very long history has forged the character of its inhabitants and has inspired them, to build places of life at the height of this exceptional environment , which they have conquered over time.

It is in its hinterland, at the foot of the Pyrenees , that we will find picturesque villages , with breathtaking panoramas , witnesses of history. Far from the more touristy seaside resorts, the atmosphere is more local, intimate and warm .

Map of the most beautiful villages

The most beautiful villages of the Inland Basque Country

Sare

We barely move away from the coast to discover the treasures of Labourd . To the south of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is one of the “ most beautiful villages in France ”: Sare . It is in a postcard setting that we find all the characteristics of typically Basque architecture : its white-fronted houses , half-timbered painted in " Basque red "; its church with its traditional wooden galleries ; its cemetery and its discoid tombs . Here is our visit to Sare .

To soak up this mountain atmosphere, the Petit Train de la Rhune is a must.

Sare

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Aïnhoa

We continue with another “ Most beautiful village in France ”. Aïnhoa was built on the plan of a bastide , with this impressive main street and its half-timbered houses . Its church and its bell tower have admirable furnishings . Its cemetery and its Calvary chapel are really worth the climb and offer you a breathtaking view of the valley . To find out more, here is our article on the village .

Are you greedy? Aïnhoa has a culinary specialty that you wouldn't expect… We tested it for you and we tell you all about Aïnhoa's gingerbread in our article .

Aïnhoa

Espelette

We go back towards Biarritz, to go to a village very famous for one of its regional products . Espelette of course and its famous pepper! To meet passionate pepper producers , visit the Bipertegia boutique . For chili lovers, the village pays homage to it during the Chilli Feast in October.

But that's not the only notable specialty. Axoa is a typical dish made with veal that was put forward by a restaurateur from Espelette. We promise, we are only going to eat in Espelette… You will also find a very beautiful listed church with a dungeon bell tower and beautiful painted ceilings and the castle of the barons of Ezpeleta . Follow us on a visit to Espelette .

To find lots of gift ideas or indulge yourself with local flavors , you will find what you are looking for in EtxePeio stores or in the Renée Massonde boutique . All these delicacies made you thirsty? It's time to take a little break in a craft brewery : Chez Arrobio, to taste a good organic and local beer !

Espelette

Source: Lesley Williamson

Itxassou

Itxassou has gone through the ages. Very old vestiges have been found there: prehistoric raised stone enclosures , medieval watchtowers , gold mines ... In the tourist information center, you will find all the information on this very rich past and by walking through the alleys of the village, you will see pretty typical houses .

You are with your family ? Here is an activity that will melt young and old alike: the forest of rabbits , on the heights of the village.

There are many beautiful villages to see in Labor, so if you are looking for accommodation nearby, we recommend Camping Hiriberria . We had a pleasant stay with our family : our full report here .

Itxassou

View of Itxassou


Do not leave the area without having taken a few steps along the Nive , on the “ Pas de Roland ”… Against a background of legend, this is an inspiring and bucolic walk for nature lovers .

No Roland

The Pas de Roland, along the Nive Source: Lesley Williamson

Cambo-les-Bains

Cambo-les-Bains is very famous for the benefits of its sources . His fame has attracted many personalities, who adorned him with fine attire . The magnificent villa Arnaga , in particular. Today dedicated to Edmond Rostand, it houses the museum and its gardens can be visited . Our blogger takes you to discover her park and its bodies of water . Its heritage is rich and there is no shortage of visits. Among other things, you can walk around its historic district , admire its church, or cool off in the Jardin des Thermes .

It is above all an opportunity to take care of yourself at the spa . Follow our blogger for a day of relaxation .

What if we ended this beautiful day with a note of gluttony? The Chocolaterie Puyodebat welcomes you in its shop and its museum, for a nice discovery, a tasting and some gifts .

Cambo-les-Bains

Source: Lesley Williamson

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La Bastide-Clairence

We end our journey in the Labor area with another “ Most beautiful village in France ”. La Bastide-Clairence has managed to preserve very old buildings . While walking through its alleys, you will have beautiful surprises. It is also a village, where crafts and old trades are very present. These artists will know how to make you appreciate their know-how and their creations . For more information and good addresses, see our report .

To do a little sport, in the heart of nature , Jungle Canoë invites you to follow the current of the Joyeuse .

Bastide-Clairence

Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry

We enter Lower Navarre , at Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry . Nestled in the heart of a valley, the village offers beautiful views of the mountains and pastures . Its small bridge , its castle and its church enhance this charming visit .

If you want to stretch your legs, a hike starts in Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry: the Iparla crest path .

Saint Etienne de Baïgorry

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port , capital of Basse-Navarre, is a fortified city , endowed with a beautiful architectural heritage . We offer three very different tours to discover it according to your desires! Here is our tour with the essentials to see, to make a complete tour . Another more original option: we guide you in a " Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port by night "! A night visit to discover it in a different way , with a few surprises. If you are with your family or you just don't want to walk, then the little tourist train is for you. All you have to do is get on board for a very informative commented ride .

If you prefer a more sporty trip , we suggest a hike on the GR10, starting from the village , to gain height and another angle of view.

Very close to the village, you can also enjoy fishing or rent a pedal boat at Lake Harrieta .

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Source: The Little Train of Saint-jean-Pied-de-Port

Mauleon-Licharre

You enter Soule through its capital: Mauléon-Licharre . Mauléon is not only an administrative capital, it is a real economic capital, that of the espadrille . A Basque tradition firmly anchored in the country and the hearts of its inhabitants. The Saison, its river divides the village in two. You will therefore have the opportunity to visit on one side the fortified bastide and on the other side the old medieval village . To continue the story, the Renaissance castle of Andurain de Maytie welcomes you.

Mauleon

Mauleon-Licharre

Larrau

Larrau is a typical mountain village : with its houses with slate roofs , its steep alleys . But it is above all its environment that is worth the detour.

Larrau

Indeed, the village is located in a preserved and exceptional setting. We digress a bit to tell you about some essential sites .  

A very impressive hike takes you through the Holzarte suspension bridge . For thrill seekers , but in complete safety.

Holzarte suspension bridge

Holzarte suspension bridge


To probe the heart of this country, we descend into the bowels of the earth , into the Cave of la Verna . Follow our blogger during her visit to this exceptional universe .


Finally, it is his soul that we reveal to you… During a walk in a magical and mysterious place : the Kakuetta Gorges . We won't tell you more ... Our blogger takes you to the heart of the Basque Country rainforest.

Kakuetta Gorge

Kakuetta Gorge Source: Lesley Williamson

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Our tips ...

There are many typical Basque products, but cider, we don't think about it and yet it's a nice surprise! We make you taste the traditional Sagarnoa in Eztigar .

Take to the altitude to see the Basque Country in a different way, by plane, helicopter, hot-air balloon… There is something for everyone. We fly to discover this beautiful country, seen from the sky!

If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, we offer you another way of traveling, just as unique: A 2CV ride with Sud Émotion .

Do you want to think outside the box? Here is our article on the 10 unusual experiences in the Basque Country .

Here is this Basque heritage tour finished. There are many other very beautiful villages to discover and we cannot be exhaustive but we hope to have inspired you for the next holidays in the Basque hinterland .

Did you like our article? Find more on our Blog . Follow us on 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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