The Basque country – is a relatively small territory. All the postcards sold in this region constantly remind us about the fact that the shape of the Basque Country looks like a heart. Its biggest part lays in Spain, and only a tiny piece – in France. It’s populated with Basques, what a surprise! – one of the most ancient peoples of Europe. They were living there long time before the Spanish or French, were talking the language that has nothing in common with the roman languages and there exist even some wild theories claiming that the Basques are the alternative result of human evolution. I swear that not a single visible proof was noticed. ;) As everyone in these cases, the Basques dream about their independence, that can be easily understood. That’s why the terrorist attacks, fights and scuffles used to be common. Over the last 30 years over 800 people died due to them. “Instead” the Basques became very autonomous. Today the Basque Country is very popular with French tourists. We also made a small trip around the French part and prepared a photo report in several parts.
Hendaye & Hondarribia
Hendaye is a town on the French-Spanish border, which means that everyone fluently speaks here three languages. Actually we are fans of the border towns! Isn’t it cool to get out of the railway station and to see the sign “Spain”?
All the interest of Hendaye is concentrated on its quay. Indeed, one can live here.
We decided to go first of all on the Spanish side. There are two options : either to make a tour around the bay or to cross it by boat in 10 minutes. By the way, the «French boat» takes the bikes for additional 0,50€, whereas the Spanish one – for free.
3,60€ – two tickets for the boat Hendaye – Hondarribia
No matter where you are in the Basque country, everything is so perfectly clean. Not a single cigarette butt, not a single paper hanging around. All the houses are freshly painted, everything shines. The Basques still build the houses in their traditional way, even the modern multistoried buildings keep some elements like wooden red balconies and white facades.
The old town is a charming and cozy place. As usually, we traveled during the off-season, which starts with the school holidays (the last days of June).
We recommend to ride/walk along the coast to the western edge of the city to the harbor and then to go up to the lighthouse Faro de Higuer. The ascension is hard, but short. All the efforts will be rewarded, I promise.
Needless to say, that it’s not possible to spend there less than an hour. The cliffs remind somewhat les Calanques in Marseille, but on the contrary to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic coast is never hot and dry. All the hill with this fantastic view is covered with small brows where one can easily sit or lie like in the bird nests and listen to the sounds of the Ocean…
So to visit Hendaye and not to explore Hondarribia can be considered as a crime. To come back to Hendaye we took a road that bypasses the bay. It turned out to be a mistake, but all the transport points are discussed here. The sunset in Hendaye was incredible, though the sunset simply can’t be not beautiful.