© Espelette 

16 November 2023  |  Tourism, Holidays

The beautiful towns in the Basque country, west France

When we say Basque country, we think directly of the most famous destinations and cities, i.e. Biarritz, Bayonne, Saint-Jean de Luz... but there are other places to discover, notably the small villages nearby. Whether for a relaxing vacation, enjoying surfing, discovering Basque heritage or culture, this region will bring you what you are looking for for your holiday.

Sare, at the foot of the Rhune massifs

Located at the foot of the Rhune and Axuria massifs, this village is one of the prettiest on the Basque Coast. It is possible to access it using the Rhune train. There you will find pretty white houses with red half-timbering, a perfect example of the local architecture that you will find in many of the villages on the coast.

Ainhoa, picturesque setting of the region

Its main street is lined with beautiful traditional Basque houses. Also a short walk to Mount Atsulai. When going up to Mount Atsulai, don't miss the Hawthorn Chapel, this chapel built at the summit was dedicated to the virgin. A 45-minute walk is necessary to reach it from the village. This chapel offers a very pleasant walk to reach it, but also it offers a magnificent panorama of the Xareta valley, the Rhune and the Ocean. Ainhoa ​​is also an essential stopover village for the route to Santiago de Compostela. It is a place of welcome, accommodation and supplies for pilgrims.

Espelette, and its pepper

It is not possible to talk about Espelette without mentioning its famous pepper which spices up traditional Basque dishes and which is so appreciated and used in French gastronomy. This small village is worth the detour, with its garlands of peppers hung on the facades of the houses to dry. Without forgetting its famous chili festival, to honor the emblem of Espelette.


Urrugne extends from the first of the ocean with the corniche to the first mountains of the Pyrenees.

The chapel of Socorri

The Notre Dame de Socorri chapel located at the top of a hill overlooking Urrugne is an emblematic place of pilgrimage. A 360 degree view is available to you. Urrgune is today a small village with natural landscapes, which has preserved its traditions and authenticity, you will discover the art of living in the Basque Country. The Saint-Vincent church is a place of worship in Urrugne which was destroyed during the Spanish invasions in the 16th century. The current church was rebuilt in a Renaissance style influenced by the cultural architecture of Guipozcoa. The new church now has a massive and defensive appearance. The church has been listed as a Historic Monument since 1925. Many changes have been made, notably the latest which is the organ designed by Jean Daldosso from Gimont in Gers.

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Amélie Roca

I am a Community Manager for Pure France as well as the host of Pure France TV, presenting high quality rental homes all over France.

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