Basque Coast

A quick escape away for a couple of nights heading east along the coast to the Spanish/French border.

We decided first to head to San Sebastian, to visit some friends the following morning.  We knew of the two official AC Areas in San Seb, but decided to try out another parking area we’d heard about, right on the seafront.  We got a good spot in the main seafront car park below Monte Urgull, really pretty central to the old town, where we wandered in and had some pinxos before bed.

Day 1

The next morning we got ready to pay for parking as of 9am, and were told by the attendant that no need, we were all about to be thrown out of the area because of the high tide and rough sea later that morning – and it’s true, the seafront here is always on the news for waves over the promenade during big seas – something to watch out for!

We headed off to see friends in San Seb for the morning, and then decided to head along the coast to find a lunch spot on what was a lovely sunny day.

We took the GI3440 coastroad along the north side of the Jaizkibel hill, and first stopped at a viewpoint with a suitable parking area a little further along for Berta.  A nice little stroll out onto the headland there, with unbeatable views back along the coast to the west.  We then continued along to the Torre IV viewpoint overlooking the French Basque coast and border – lots of parking here.

We then used trusty Park4Night to double back a bit and head up to a spot below the Mirador de Jaizkibel, with stunning views both east and west from each side of the van.  Really spectacular spot – we rather fell in love – and stayed for lunch, siesta, afternoon walk up to the viewpoint, and overnight too!  And what a night – in two parts!  The evening was calm, still, incredibly warm for December, and we sat there until nearly midnight eating cheese, playing cards, with the window wide open overlooking the lights and lighthouses of the coast of France – just the most perfect night.  Then we went to bed, and along came the gale – bearing in mind we were parked on top of a cliff – we had the worst night’s sleep envisioning ourselves being swept down into the sea in the middle of the night!  Of course, had we actually looked outside and realised we were not actually on the edge of a cliff, we might have slept a little better!

Day 2

The following morning we headed off towards France, first intending to stop in Hondarribia, however the entire town and beach seems to have an AC parking ban, so that was that, no money spent there, and we headed instead to Irún to get some supplies, and then over the border to Hendaya.  We continued along the coast road here round to Socoa, where we grabbed some French breakfast and walked out to the Socoa fort.  Then driving on we headed to Biarritz where we wanted to get into one of the AC Areas there for the night.  We first tried the slightly more central site at Milady, which was full, so we doubled back to the second area near the Cité de L’Ócean, just a little further out of town.  Here we had our first encounter with a French aire, and its entry system by credit card, which was easy to use.

It was by this time pretty horrendous weather, and we decided to have some lunch nice and warm in Berta before heading into town.  There were easy buses into the centre of Biarritz from the Cite de l’Ocean, lines 10 & 13, dropping us right in the centre with no worries about parking.  The reason we’d chosen Biarritz that weekend was partly due to the Light Festival that was on.  So we headed in after dark to check out the light show on one of the local churches, as well as a few other light displays.  We had a nice walk around town before getting the bus back to Berta.  The weather was so bad that evening, we decided just to hide in Berta for the evening!

Day 3

The next day the weather was a considerably better, and we had a nice walk along Milady beach before heading off back towards home.

We wanted to make one more stop on the way back, and decided on Elorrio in the Spanish Basque country.  We headed up to the necropolis at the Ermita de Santa Eugenia, where there was a nice flat parking area for lunch and siesta.  We also checked out the new AC Area in the town, great spot and great water facilities – we’ll be coming back here to stay in the future to check out the local area and town a little more.