Author(s): Murray Stewart
In this, the most complete guidebook to the Spanish and French Basque Country and Navarre, Murray Stewart covers the principal cities - rejuvenated Bilbao, beautiful San Sebastian, verdant Vitoria-Gasteiz, atmospheric Bayonne and lively Pamplona - and also delves deeper into the region's interior, capturing the quirkiness that makes it so special. With 35 maps, 16 walks and advice on where to cycle, horse-ride and surf, he guides travellers through an area whose profile is firmly on the up. Find the best pintxos (Basque tapas), the finest chuleton (beef chop) and the freshest fish. From elegant Biarritz via the French Basque Pyrenees and all the way to the Navarran 'badlands' of the Bardenas Reales, we take you to fascinating, less-visited places. Here are the best festivals, including Pamplona's famous bull-running San Fermin. Learn how the handing-over of three cows has kept the peace for centuries, or where you can see the annual 'Benediction of the Red Pepper'. Join the walkers on the caminos de Santiago, the pilgrim routes that still sustain the local economy 1,000 years after they began.
Find information on unique Basque and Navarran wines, top birdwatching sites, history, music, sports and culture, and when makes the best time to visit.
An excellent French and Spanish-speaker, travel writer Murray Stewart has worked in Northern Spain as a business consultant and taught English in Chile and Mexico. For part of the year, he lives in southern France. A diehard pilgrim, he has twice trekked over 1200 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela, passing slowly through both the French and Spanish Basque regions, as well as Navarre, on his way. He has also extensively toured the western Pyrenees and Navarre by bicycle. Recently pursuing a more sedate passion for classic cars, in 2014 he bought a 1970s Seat 600 in San Sebastian and drove it half way across France.
Contents Introduction PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION Chapter 1 Background Information Geography, Climate, Fauna, History, Government and politics, Economy, People, Language, Religion, Education, Culture, Sport Chapter 2 Practical Information When to visit, Highlights, Suggested itineraries, Tourist information, Tour operators, Red tape, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, Women travellers, Senior travellers, Travellers with disabilities, Ethnic minority travellers, Gay and lesbian travellers, Travelling with kids, What to take, Money, Costs and budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays and festivals, Shopping, Sightseeing and entertainment, Sports and other activities, Media and communications, Cultural etiquette, Buying property PART TWO THE BASQUE AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY Chapter 3 Bilbao and Bizkaia Province History, Getting there and away, Getting around, Tourist information, Bilbao, Around Bilbao, West of Bilbao: Las Encartaciones, West Encartaciones: the Karrantza Valley, Inland from Bilbao: Durango and around, The coast east of Bilbao Chapter 4 San Sebastian and Gipuzkoa Province San Sebastian, Inland from San Sebastian, East to France, West of San Sebastian, Further west: Deba and Mutriku Chapter 5 Vitoria-Gasteiz and Alava Province Vitoria-Gasteiz, East of Vitoria: Llanada Alavesa, Southeast of Vitoria: La Montana Alavesa, West of Vitoria: Anana and surroundings, La Rioja Alavesa PART THREE NAVARRE Chapter 6 Navarre History, Northern Navarre, Navarre's western sierras: Andia, Urbasa and Aralar, Southern Navarre: La Zona Media and La Ribera, La Ribera: Bardenas Reales and Tudela PART FOUR THE FRENCH BASQUE COUNTRY Chapter 7 Biarritz, the French Basque Coast and Inland Labourd Biarritz, Anglet, Bayonne, Bidart, Guethary, Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Ciboure, Urrugne and around, Hendaye, Inland Labourd, Northern Labourd Chapter 8 Basse-Navarre History, Uharte-Cize Commune, Saint Martin de Arberoue Commune, Uharte-Mixte Commune Chapter 9 La Soule History, Getting there and around, Mauleon-Licharre, Hopital Saint-Blaise, Tardets-Sorholus, Sainte-Engrace, Soule's southwest Appendix 1 Language Appendix 2 Further Information Index