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French Pyrenees & Spain's Rioja Region Walking & Hiking Tour
French Pyrenees & Spain's Rioja Region Walking & Hiking Tour

On a map you'll see the line. One side France. The other, Spain. There it is—definitive, exact. But set foot here and you'll see it's a place all its own. An independent spirit shines through as you gaze out over the sparkling Bay of Biscay and walk the high plains and valleys of the often overlooked Pyrenees. As you take in a game of basque pelota and wonder how many pilgrims throughout the centuries have walked this very same stretch of the Camino de Santiago. And raise a toast to the vibrant color and light—and excellent wines—of La Rioja.

Day 1 Hike along the coast, passing beautiful beaches, quaint seaside villages and rugged rock formations  Arrive in the idyllic town of St-Jean-de-Luz, beloved for its picturesque square lined with cafés, boutiques and seafood restaurants Stroll along the town's sheltered port, where beret-capped fishermen tend to their colorful boats.

Days 2-3 Discover Basque Country's pastoral charm as you stride through green sheep-dotted hills in a region celebrated for its fromage de brebis—a creamy cheese with a sweet taste  This is the land immortalized in the Legend of Roland Hiking in the Pyrenees, skirt the line between France and Spain on an ancient route once used by pilgrims and smugglers  Visit an artisanal cheese farm and soak up the scene in riverside St-Etienne-de-Baïgorry, a hamlet brimming with typical Basque timbered houses.

Day 4 Welcome to Spain! We cross the border into the Navarra region for a walk on the renowned Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route  Exchange greetings with travelers from all across the world as you ramble through medieval villages and across old stone bridges along the "Pilgrim's Way"  Taste an array of local pinchos—delicious small plates.

Days 5-6 Rural beauty and tranquility surround us in La Rioja wine region, where hundreds of ancestral wineries have thrived for generations  As you hike, admire the play of sunlight, shadow and color on the vineyard-laced landscape  Amble on ancient cobblestone streets in historic villages like Navaridas and Elciego Savor Basque specialties at a Michelin-starred restaurant—the ideal finish to an extraordinary week.

Trip Highlights
  • Journey from the dramatic coastline of the Atlantic Pyrenees in France to the glorious green mountain landscapes of Spanish Basque Country
  • Enjoy a breathtaking ascent in the Pyrenees, with views of vast beech forests and broad patchwork hills 
  • Discover the famed pilgrimage trail of Saint James, the Camino de Santiago
  • Superb Basque cuisine created by Michelin-starred chef Francis Paniego and exquisite wines of the Rioja region
  • Extend your trip in Bilbao and visit the dazzling Guggenheim Museum, or travel to the stunning seaside town of San Sebastián
big map

Premiere Inns

Hotel Parc Victoria (1 night): Enjoy lush gardens and lovely art deco style at this elegant 19th-century hotel. A Relais & Châteaux member. (pool, spa)

Auberge Hotel Ostapé (2 nights): A beautifully restored caserío (traditional Basque farm building) from the 17th century, offering pastoral tranquility and dramatic views of the surrounding emerald hills. A Small Luxury Hotels of the World member. (pool, spa)

Hotel Marqués de Riscal (2 nights): Created by Frank O. Gehry to complement his famed Guggenheim design in Bilbao, this architectural masterpiece is a destination unto itself. Michelin-starred cuisine, a heavenly Caudalie spa and the impressive "City of Wine" ensure an unforgettable stay. (pool, spa)  

Routes For All Abilities

Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.

Daily Route Options
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain
1 6* 1100 8 1100
2 5* 1100 8* 1500 10 1900
3 7* 1900 8 2600
4 5* 900 6 1600
5 5 1000 9* 1500 11 2000
6 3 0

* Includes a shuttle

2015 Dates & Pricing*

  • 5/24-29 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 6/3-8 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 6/14-19 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 6/21-26 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 6/28-7/3 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 8/30-9/4 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 9/6-11 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 9/13-18 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 9/20-25 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 9/27-10/2 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 10/4-9 Price: $4298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)
  • 10/11-16 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $740 for sgl. occ.)

*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.

Private Trips Options & Pricing

Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.

You can pick from a large selection of dates for your group of 8 or more. Call us for date availability.

If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.

Pricing for Private Trips (prices may vary based on departure date)


2 - 3 guests from $7,098 pp dbl. occ. 8 - 9 guests from $5,098 pp dbl. occ.
4 - 5 guests from $6,098 pp dbl. occ. 10 - 11 guests from $4,298 pp dbl. occ.
6 - 7 guests from $5,398 pp dbl. occ. 12 or more guests from $3,998 pp dbl. occ.

All Private Singles-Solos trips require a minimum of 16 guests.

Guest Trip Reviews

Full of culture, diversity and unique character, this trip has a great sense of journey from its northern part in the stunning Atlantic Pyrenees in France to the autonomous community of the Basque Country in Spain. You'll discover authentic hidden spots among green pastures and fields, along the famous Saint James Trail (Camino de Santiago) and in the Rioja region, renowned worldwide for its wine and the colors of its vineyards.
Annie Rosenberg- Regional Manager, France