Spain – Basque Coastline by abstraks


									                              Spain – Basque Coastline
                                     Self Guided Tour 2009

Moderate – 7 nights
Known as the “green Spain”, with its lush landscapes dominated by intense shades of blue and green
that ……fused with historical, cultural and gastronomic delights the Basque coastline offers a unique
walking experience.
We begin with a round tour along the coast from Fuenterrabia, a seaside village with a picturesque
old town that we explore en route. The trail continues along impressive cliffs rising above the Atlantic
Ocean and we also pass through the picturesque town San Juan before arriving at the rural village
Lezo. We spend 2 nights in the charming town San Sebastian that boosts one of the best in-city beaches
in Europe and where a walk around the city’s lovely historical buildings and churches should not be
At the end of the week the route follows part of the pilgrim’s road to Santiago de Compostella to
Getaria, a mediaeval fishing village nestling in a stunning bay on the wild and dramatic coastline.
Here we can enjoy some of Spain’s tastiest and most imaginative tapas or try out the famous local
seafood as we spend our last night together.

                                          TOUR ITINERARY

Accommodation in Hotel Palacete*** in the centre of Fuenterrabia.

After breakfast you can start the walk that begins with a picture postcard view of the quaint, coloured,
fishermen’s cottages. From here there is a pleasant coastal walk passing 700m of a splendid beach to
the Marina and Fishing Port, then on to the Higuer lighthouse and to the Sanctuary and fortification of
Guadalupe, where there is the Virgin that the local people have adored since the 16th C. The walk
continues to the old town declared “historical-artist monument” for the large houses and Palacetes,

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                            IRISH WAYS | Belfield Bike Shop, UCD, Dublin 4, Ireland
              Tel: +353 1 2600340 | Fax: +353 1 7161168 | |
decorated with the coasts of arms of the original owners. By the street “Calle Mayor” we continue the
route to Plaza Armas. It is here that we find the Castillo del Emperador Carlos V which is now a
Parador and well worth a visit. Return to Hotel El Palacete.

Day 3.- FUENTERRABIA TO LEZO 12.9 Km/ 3 hrs ½
After breakfast you will leave the luggage closed in the Reception. On this walk we pass the old
watchtowers that provided the main communication between the whalers of the 16th and 17th
centuries. When a whale was spotted in the bay a message would be sent from tower to tower using
mirrors to alert the fishermen. The walk continues along the cliffs, which reaches a height of 240m at
Jaizkibel Mountain, with the Atlantic Ocean rolling in to our left. At the most westerly point the relief
changes providing shelter many tropical ferns and oak woodland. Species of reptiles, seldom seen
elsewhere, thrive here. For birdwatchers too, there are many species of marine birds to see. Pasajes de
San Juan is another picturesque town which owes its history and livelihood
to coastal fishing and of course to the development of naval technology in the 16th and 17th centuries.
From here many left to find their fortune in South America and the West Indies. Francesca Lafayette
was born here in 1843. Victor Hugo stayed here one summer and described it famously as « A life, a
movement of the sun, a blue wind, a an unavoidable happiness » When you arrive in Lezo rural house.

Day 4.- LEZO TO SAN SEBASTIAN 20 Km/ 5 hrs ½
After breakfast leave your luggage closed in reception and start the walk continuing along the Atlantic
Ocean via the vertical cliffs of Mount Ulia we pass El Faro de la Plata which indicates the entrance to
the international passenger port. The environment of Ulia is protected as a conservation area (Red
Nature 2000). There is a preserved watchtower. Many marine birds can be seen here together with
nesting peregrine falcons.
Plant life has adapted to the extreme salty and windy conditions. Oak (quercus pyerenaica) provide a
windbreak. At the end of the walk as we arrive in San Sebastian, there is a bunker, evidence of the
fortifications built to protect against German invasion in WW2. Accommodation in a charming
pension in the old quarter of San Sebatián.

This is a free day to explore the many delights of San Sebastian. The walk around the scallop shaped
bay. The many museums. The « Two Stranded Rocks » conference and exhibition centre, which is
named after the geographical feature in the bay which is cut off at high tide. The Victoria Eugenia
Theatre. The Hotel Maria Cristina. The Boulevard. For shoppers there are many fabulously chic shops.
The city centre. The fabulous bars to eat pintxos (little snacks like tapas) to try around the city.

Day 6. SAN SEBASTIAN TO ORIO 19.5 Km/ 5 hrs
After breakfast leave the luggage closed in reception. This stage goes along the Concha Bay to the
rocks at the base of mount Igeldo in the west. You will admire the Chillida’s sculpture’s favorite three
sculptures: “El Peine de los Vientos” (The Wind Comb). It’s a unique example of harmony between
art and landscape. The mountain range of Igeldo and Mendizorrotz provides a geological wall which
bears the brunt of the storms from the Atlantic. This charming walk continues over coves and little
bays to Orio a town sheltered in the shadow of the mountain. With the decline of the Basque whale
fishing tradition at eh end of the 19th century the town declined too. In the Aquarium in San Sebastian
there are many reminders of this great tradition. Nearby there is a rock with a whalebone embedded in
it as a constant reminder of the local heritage to tourist and local inhabitants alike. The old town, with
many old buildings built of the local sandstone quarried from Mount Igeldo is a maze of little streets.

Escape the Crowds                                                                                   2

                            IRISH WAYS | Belfield Bike Shop, UCD, Dublin 4, Ireland
              Tel: +353 1 2600340 | Fax: +353 1 7161168 | |
DAY 7- ORIO TO GUETARIA 14.2 Km/ 3 hrs ½
Zarautz, an obligatory stop on the northern path of the pilgrims route to Santiago de Compostela, hosts
theinternational surfing championships on the fabulous 2,500 m Gipuzkoa beach. Between the extreme
east of the beach and the mouth of the river Inuritza are the sand dunes of Gipuzkoa. A footbridge
provides access to this wild area marshland. In the distance you can see la ermita Santa Barbara high
up ton the mountain, for those that make the climb there is the reward of a great view.
Harking back to the Whaling tradition, the King of Castillo demanded that the inhabitants of Zarautz
paid tax on any whales caught not in cash but in a portion of each whale brought to shore. Specifically
a strip from the back of the whale, from head to tail. The route follows a part of the pilgrim’s road to
Santiago de Compostela, to Getaria. Down the rich fertile slope of the mountain the fishing village you
can see the vines grown to produce the distinctive Txakoli wine enjoyed by the local fishermen. The
town is protected by medieval walls and inside there is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways which
lead to the Gothic cathedral of San Salvador.
Looking out to sea you can see the famous Raton de Getaria. The Raton is an ancient island which is
profile looks like a mouse (Raton) the « tail » is a small slither of land, only visible a low tide, which
connects the island to the mainland. The mouse is regarded as the guardian of the town and the
townsfolk whose livelihood depended on whale fishing believed that el Raton kept the whale pirates
away. It is here, also that the reconstruction of the disembarkation of The Magellan Expedition takes
place every four years.

Breakfast and check out.

                                   PRICE AND DATES 2009
Peak: €690.00 per person sharing (July/Aug)
Off Peak: €630.00 per person sharing
Single room supplement: €320.00
Solo traveller supplement: €410.00

What does the tour price include?
• 7 nights accommodation with 5 breakfasts (accommodation in San Sebastian is placed on a street
  full of typical bars where you can have a typical Basque food for breakfast)
• Route notes
• Luggage transfer
• 24 hour emergency number

Tour is available all year round – we recommend doing it especially in spring and autumn

                                         WHAT TO BRING
Your enjoyment of your walking holiday will be greatly helped by having the right gear. The
following list should help you in planning your packing for your trip.

Footwear: Good footwear is vital for a happy walking holiday! We recommend waterproof,
breathable, walking boots with good ankle support. Boots which are “broken in” (i.e. not brand new),
teamed with well fitting hiking socks will keep your feet snug and dry and help to avoid blisters.

Hiking Clothes
We recommend the “onion look” of layering clothing as the best protection against heat/cold:
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                            IRISH WAYS | Belfield Bike Shop, UCD, Dublin 4, Ireland
              Tel: +353 1 2600340 | Fax: +353 1 7161168 | |
• Base Layer –this layer should not retain moisture but transport it away from the skin (there are lots
  of “wick away” fabrics now on the market.
• Insulation layer – this layer should stop you from loosing body heat – fleece is ideal
• Outer Layer – this layer should keep you dry even in a downpour! A waterproof, breathable jacket
  and over-trousers are as important as your comfy boots. You should bear in mind that clothing
  tends to loose its “waterproofness” over time so if you have had your gear for many years it might
  be time to treat yourself with a trip to an outdoor store!
• Walking trousers/ shorts (avoid denim)
• Warm hat and gloves for chilly mornings or high mountains
• Sun hat
• Walking stick/pole (a great help on uneven terrain)

Daypack - a small comfortable rucksack to carry the bits and pieces you will need during the day:
• Water bottle/flask
• Moleskin/plasters/”second skin” – ward off any impending blisters before they become a problem!
• Sun screen
• Camera
• Binoculars
• Mobile phone

                                   GENERAL INFORMATION
The accommodation is allocated on a twin sharing basis. We use 3*** hotels and charming agro
tourism houses. We do reserve the right to change the accommodation around during the week, but we
will always endeavor to provide a high standard.

Money - The unit of currency is the Euro (€), 100 cent = € 1.

Travel Insurance
It is essential to take out holiday insurance to cover cancellation, personal accident, illness, or loss of
possessions. This can be obtained from travel agents, airlines; we can also offer you a week long
package for €35.00.

By airplane: Bilbao Airport is 120km from Fuenterrabía and offers national and international flight
connections with the main Spanish cities and with main European Capital cities. It is also possible to
fly to Biarritz, 46km from Fuenterrabía with regional and international flights (Ryanair).

By train: Irún is the closest Railway Station to Fuenterrabía, 3km from the city. (RENFE; Tel.:+34 902 240202 and Euskotren; Tel.: +34 94 4019000)

By bus: from Irún or from San Sebastián there are lines connecting cities like Bilbao, Asturias, Galicia
or Madrid with other destinies. In Fuenterrabía there are only local buses to Irún and San Sebastián.

Private Transfers: we can organize private transfers to and from Airport

Escape the Crowds                                                                                    4

                            IRISH WAYS | Belfield Bike Shop, UCD, Dublin 4, Ireland
              Tel: +353 1 2600340 | Fax: +353 1 7161168 | |

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