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Recommendations / Advice for a very slow , 10 day Baztan

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
We will be departing the coming chill descending on Melbourne by the 14th June.
Will get to Bayonne the next day.
We love the Basque villages / countryside and will have 2 weeks to spend between & including Bayonne and Pamplona.
We are comfortable with that as it took us 10 days on the Inglese
We would love your feedback / advice on stages , villages and accommodation and if a CR is isolated but the food is great please mention.
Where do we stay a few nights outside of Bayonne snd very short stages no problems.
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
Hi David
Sorry I can’t help with info on this route. It’s not one that I’ve walked yet.
I’m sure with your experience though ; you and your wife will be ‘happy campers’ and find great basque hospitality. I see quite a few posts here on this section of the forum that you could search for the ‘good stuff’.
Maybe this bump to your post may bring through a couple of recommendations. , though you are looking more ‘upper end ‘ accommodation.

Thanks for all the help you’ve passed on yourself over the years.

Buen camino
Annie
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
If you want to nose around Bayonne, it's worth taking a day to explore the Voie Littoral between there and Irun. It's a gorgeous coastline. You can take municipal transport and then walk back, at least as far as St Jean de Luz. A wonderful warm-up.

With a few exceptions, there are places to stay reasonably close together. Searching the Baztanes sub-forum will reveal interesting reading. I'd suggest also the OSMand app; you can dowmload wikiloc tracks and use it offline, and there are overlays that show lodging.

I'm on my phone and can't easily look details up, but here are a few links and our 'Baztanes Five' live-from-the-camino impression to get you started:

Happy planning and buen camino. This is a beautiful but undulating walk!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Don’t forget your very first day: walking from the airport INTO Bayonne! Easily doable and a nice warmup for the rest of the route
 

FLEUR

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
Voie de Paris / Tours Aulnay to Saintes 2017
Camino del Baztan 2018
Definitely study the Baztan forum for information and recommendations.
Take your time and enjoy, it's a lovely route.

Fleur (Baztan 4)
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
If you want to nose around Bayonne, it's worth taking a day to explore the Voie Littoral between there and Irun. It's a gorgeous coastline. You can take municipal transport and then walk back, at least as far as St Jean de Luz. A wonderful warm-up.
We walked from Biarritz to Irun a few yrs ago when we did the Norte.
It was very enjoyable , sometimes frustrating and the best way possible to get rid of jet lag.
St Jean de Luz is a beautiful stopover.
Thanks for your help

though you are looking more ‘upper end ‘ accommodation.
The Gr65 all those yrs ago changed us Annie , gites and more gites.
We still do the occasional albergue if we can get private rooms .
We have nearly got the first week organised and Express Bourricot have asked to quote once we know the final itinerary .
We have a property in Mt Macedon so we know what you mob have been through ,
Keep well and safe,
David
 
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Afri-Can

Not so new member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Finisterre (2017)
Baztane (2019)
Norte (?)
Hi Mr Thornley
If I read your post correctly, it sounds like you will be walking the Baztan next year during the Oz winter. So, if that’s correct you still have some time to finalize your planning.
My family and I did the Baztan during May of this year and I posted a recounting of our experience here https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/just-completed-the-baztan-in-may.62324/ if you’re interested (I just noticed that you did have a look).
In any case, It also sounds to me like you are looking for places with good food! And that was one of my lasting impressions of the Baztan ……the food, or rather the lack of it. And not because there wasn’t any food around because I’m sure there was. It’s just that we seemed to arrive at the right places at the wrong time of day (or night)….or even on the wrong day. As someone else on this forum mentioned and we found out for ourselves…..the locals on this route have not been overwhelmed and desensitized by hordes of peregrinos and stick to their traditional hours (and days) regarding opening or closing of businesses. This is definitely not Canada, the world centre of comfort and ease, where you can pop into a Tim Horton’s or MacDonald’s day or night for a quick coffee and doughnut or a hamburger and Coke with fries. Be that as it may, thinking back on our trip, we did have some delicious (and here my judgement might be a bit blurred because of hunger) and filling meals.
The first memorable meal was in Bayonne at the FUFU Ramen. No, not French cuisine but a small cozy ramen restaurant. After a loooong wait for any restaurant to open (I think it was a Saturday afternoon), we found these guys open, we rushed in and the meal was great.
Our next good meal was in Ustaritz. We stayed at the Chambres d’Hotes Ene Gutizia and only had breakfast there. I’m not sure if they serve lunch or supper. But we had supper at the Relais du Labourd, which is only a short walk from the hotel. And I think you could call the food Basque….they like to serve you fish but other stuff as well. I can’t recall what I had but I just remember that the food was delicious.
The next memorable meal was in Maya. I’m not 100% sure but I think the name of the bar is Gaztelu Ostatua if I look of Google Maps. A typical mom and pop place but we arrived there dehydrated and hungry after not having anything to eat for at least 24 hours and after climbing that first pass, and when the lady realized we were peregrinos and hungry and thirsty, she brought out a plate (read large tray, only photo on my post as it was that memorable) loaded with fries, ham slices, pork steaks and eggs (and there might have been other stuff on there) for the four of us. That was one of the best and most welcome meals I have ever had (together with 3 or 4 beers to wash it down with). Would that qualify as “good” food? You’ll have to judge for yourself. I would say typical and basic but great! They have a menu there and I’m sure they served other meals as well. The place only has 2 tables as far as I can remember. We stayed in the casa rural right next door. Don’t know what the name was and the lady from the bar just phoned next door and organized it for us.
From there we went on to Ziga and stayed at the Casa Rural Aldekoa. This casa rural was originally a pig and cow shed/building/barn but renovated to its current luxurious state. The owners are a young couple and very friendly…..the wife runs the casa rural and the husband farms with cattle. I can’t say much about the food as we only had breakfast, and that was great. Ziga is the most beautiful little place, on the route but in the middle of nowhere, and i wish we could have stayed a bit longer just the take in more of the country calm.
And as far as food goes, our next good meals were at various places in Pamplona. But I imagine that you’ve been there and know your way around the bars there.
In terms of places to stay, I would say that there are plenty and you would find accommodation in every little town on the route, but it might be a casa rural or a hotel or something similar because the albergues are few and far between. We had no problems finding alternative accommodation at the various times that our original plans did not work out.
Hope this helps.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I read your post very early in the piece and loved every word.
We are getting there and within a week should know our places .
Is there any town or village you would spend more than one day in ?
I have realised that many of the stops are renowned for their own walking vistas.
Thanks for your assistance Maple Leaf😉
 

Afri-Can

Not so new member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Finisterre (2017)
Baztane (2019)
Norte (?)
Hi again Mr Thornley
My recollection of the towns on the Baztan, apart from the one of two larger towns like Elizondo, is of little villages with a church and not much more. And although we walked through most without stopping, I am sure that they each have their own history and charm and interesting things around abouts if you were to stay a bit longer and explore. We did not so I can't really comment on that except for Ziga where I really felt that I could just sit and look down the valley and enjoy the quiet countryside. Sorry about that.
However, having had a bit more time to think about food etc. on the Baztan, I recalled 2 more places were we had good meals. And now it's beginning to sound as if we actually did not have such a problem with food!
The 1st place that I remembered is the Posada in Lantz. Big open room with long tables and a big fireplace and the meal was a typical peregrino meal with primero, segundo and desert. The portions were massive and again we were not served individual plates but separate dishes so we had to dish our own. I seem to remember soup, fish, steak, chips and salad. And beer of course that we had to buy seperately. The funny thing is that nowhere was wine included in the meals, probably because we didn't really eat off pilgrim menus. But beer always came with a tapa/pintxo of some kind!
The 2nd place I remembered is the bar in Sosauren. This bar is located on the river and right next to the old Roman bridge (see the photo of the bridge. The bar is to the right). You have to cross the bridge to get to it. We were there for lunch and the place was humming with locals and tourists and the food was good.
I've attached some photos for you of some of the places I mentioned.
Another titbit on casa rurals is that the cost for the casa rural in Maya was €25 per person per night, which I thought was really cheap and the place was immaculate. The owners are sheep farmers and they actually live on the main floor while the upper floor is dedicated to visitors. It was quite interesting watching them call the sheep (not herd or drive like in South Africa or Aus) and lead them to were they needed them to go!
Hope this helps some more.
 

Attachments

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
We appreciate your assistance and advice very much.
We adore this area , having had a home exchange in the Basque many year ago.
I think HRH is thinking about a 14 days duration;)
Wonderful photos ,
Thanks,
David
 

Afri-Can

Not so new member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Finisterre (2017)
Baztane (2019)
Norte (?)
We appreciate your assistance and advice very much.
We adore this area , having had a home exchange in the Basque many year ago.
I think HRH is thinking about a 14 days duration;)
Wonderful photos ,
Thanks,
David
You're welcome, Mr Thornley. And enjoy your time in the Basque Country.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
If you want to nose around Bayonne, it's worth taking a day to explore the Voie Littoral between there and Irun. It's a gorgeous coastline. You can take municipal transport and then walk back, at least as far as St Jean de Luz. A wonderful warm-up.

With a few exceptions, there are places to stay reasonably close together. Searching the Baztanes sub-forum will reveal interesting reading. I'd suggest also the OSMand app; you can dowmload wikiloc tracks and use it offline, and there are overlays that show lodging.

I'm on my phone and can't easily look details up, but here are a few links and our 'Baztanes Five' live-from-the-camino impression to get you started:

Happy planning and buen camino. This is a beautiful but undulating walk!
Definitely study the Baztan forum for information and recommendations.
Take your time and enjoy, it's a lovely route.

Fleur (Baztan 4)
Hi Mr Thornley
If I read your post correctly, it sounds like you will be walking the Baztan next year during the Oz winter. So, if that’s correct you still have some time to finalize your planning.
My family and I did the Baztan during May of this year and I posted a recounting of our experience here https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/just-completed-the-baztan-in-may.62324/ if you’re interested (I just noticed that you did have a look).
In any case, It also sounds to me like you are looking for places with good food! And that was one of my lasting impressions of the Baztan ……the food, or rather the lack of it. And not because there wasn’t any food around because I’m sure there was. It’s just that we seemed to arrive at the right places at the wrong time of day (or night)….or even on the wrong day. As someone else on this forum mentioned and we found out for ourselves…..the locals on this route have not been overwhelmed and desensitized by hordes of peregrinos and stick to their traditional hours (and days) regarding opening or closing of businesses. This is definitely not Canada, the world centre of comfort and ease, where you can pop into a Tim Horton’s or MacDonald’s day or night for a quick coffee and doughnut or a hamburger and Coke with fries. Be that as it may, thinking back on our trip, we did have some delicious (and here my judgement might be a bit blurred because of hunger) and filling meals.
The first memorable meal was in Bayonne at the FUFU Ramen. No, not French cuisine but a small cozy ramen restaurant. After a loooong wait for any restaurant to open (I think it was a Saturday afternoon), we found these guys open, we rushed in and the meal was great.
Our next good meal was in Ustaritz. We stayed at the Chambres d’Hotes Ene Gutizia and only had breakfast there. I’m not sure if they serve lunch or supper. But we had supper at the Relais du Labourd, which is only a short walk from the hotel. And I think you could call the food Basque….they like to serve you fish but other stuff as well. I can’t recall what I had but I just remember that the food was delicious.
The next memorable meal was in Maya. I’m not 100% sure but I think the name of the bar is Gaztelu Ostatua if I look of Google Maps. A typical mom and pop place but we arrived there dehydrated and hungry after not having anything to eat for at least 24 hours and after climbing that first pass, and when the lady realized we were peregrinos and hungry and thirsty, she brought out a plate (read large tray, only photo on my post as it was that memorable) loaded with fries, ham slices, pork steaks and eggs (and there might have been other stuff on there) for the four of us. That was one of the best and most welcome meals I have ever had (together with 3 or 4 beers to wash it down with). Would that qualify as “good” food? You’ll have to judge for yourself. I would say typical and basic but great! They have a menu there and I’m sure they served other meals as well. The place only has 2 tables as far as I can remember. We stayed in the casa rural right next door. Don’t know what the name was and the lady from the bar just phoned next door and organized it for us.
From there we went on to Ziga and stayed at the Casa Rural Aldekoa. This casa rural was originally a pig and cow shed/building/barn but renovated to its current luxurious state. The owners are a young couple and very friendly…..the wife runs the casa rural and the husband farms with cattle. I can’t say much about the food as we only had breakfast, and that was great. Ziga is the most beautiful little place, on the route but in the middle of nowhere, and i wish we could have stayed a bit longer just the take in more of the country calm.
And as far as food goes, our next good meals were at various places in Pamplona. But I imagine that you’ve been there and know your way around the bars there.
In terms of places to stay, I would say that there are plenty and you would find accommodation in every little town on the route, but it might be a casa rural or a hotel or something similar because the albergues are few and far between. We had no problems finding alternative accommodation at the various times that our original plans did not work out.
Hope this helps.
Hi All,
Severe Osteoarthritic changes in knee / Anterior cruciate ligament torn / Multiple tears and maceration of the medial and lateral menisci / Condylar cartridge all but gone 😢 but ok👍
Above is the MRI report .
However we are still going as replacement will occur in July when its cold in Melbourne and i can read a book
Can walk easily for 2 - 3 hours taking our time , specialist says leave the path @ 10km.

So to all i would love to get the stop overs , as close as you like as we have 2 weeks to walk and sight see on the Baztan.
Bags will go ahead and if "I " have to get a bus /taxi for 2-3 kms i must , my wife will commence earlier and wait.
Villefranque
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Severe Osteoarthritic changes in knee / Anterior cruciate ligament torn / Multiple tears and maceration of the medial and lateral menisci / Condylar cartridge all but gone 😢
Oyyyyyyyy, Thornley. Just...ouch.

Ok. So, the Baztan in small bites is definitely possible, but the hilliness may be your main challenge.
Here are possible stages:
Bayonne to Ustaritz 14.2 (flat)
Ustaritz to Souraide 11.6
Souraide to Urdax 9.4 (a liitle hilly)
Urdax to Amaiur 9.4 (hill!)
Amaiur to Elizondo 9.0
Elizondo to Barroeta 9.5
Barroeta to Venta san Blas 5.4 (hill)
Venta san Blas to Lantz 10.4 (hill!!)
Lantz to Ostiz 10.8
Ostiz to Sorauren 11.1
Sorauren to Arre (CF) 6.3

The last three stages are pretty flat. Some of the ends of these may not have easy accomodation; check Gronze or an accomodation website: there may be B&Bs nearby.
 
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