St Jean Pied de Port

Photo of St Jean Pied de Port

About St Jean Pied de Port

In the heart of Basque country and 8km from the Spanish border lies nestled a small, picturesque walled town called St. Jean Pied de Port, spread along either side of the winding River Nive. With breathtaking views of the rolling, wild hills of the Basque countryside and numerous historic sites, our collection of the best places to stay in St. Jean Pied de Port are firmly rooted in the tradition and customs of the Basque region with flourishes of contemporary style.

At the foot of the Pyrenees, its name in French, Pied-de-Port, literally means "foot path" and is on the Way of Saint James, the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. An ideal place for hikers, the great green hills surrounding the town boast wonderful climbs and spectacular views. A quaint and unspoiled town, hemmed-in with walls and numerous gates - one of which, the Porte St. Jacques, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - it is known as the Capital of Lower Navarre.

The Basque residents refer to it as "Donibane Garazi" and signs of her unique and proud heritage can be seen engraved all over the town: the vast majority of houses, for example, have inscriptions in the Basque typography style, though most of these are from the late 18th century and as such are in French, owing to the curtailing of the Basque language at the time of the French Revolution.

What Not to miss

  • Porte St. Jacques: one of the gates of the town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Pont d'Eyheraberry: a romantic Roman bridge that stands atop the River Nive.
  • Rue de la Citadelle: making for a lovely but steep walk, it leads to the Mendiguren Citadel that looms over the town, offering gorgeous panoramic views of both the countryside and the town itself. The 17th century citadel, however, is now a school.
  • Prison des Evaques: once the prison of a local bishop, it offers dark tours around the innards of the old prison and has a museum.
  • Aquarando: gorge walking and river rafting down the River Nive, run by the highly personable guide Jona. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but is a fun excursion for families.

So if you're simply fascinated by the history of the Basque region or if you're just looking for a beautiful and unique place to go hiking, our selection of the best places to stay in St. Jean Pied de Port will not let you down, prizing Basque traditions and home comforts above all else.

The best places to stay in St. Jean Pied de Port

For foodies

  • Hotel Les Pyrenees: with 18 rooms and a Michelin-star restaurant serving innovative Basque cuisine, a large outdoor pool and a sun-terrace, it is perfectly placed for sightseeing.

Country escape

  • Ostape: a large country lodge perched in the hills with glorious views of the valley below, offering 22 rooms, giant suites, a restaurant serving delicious Basque cuisine and a spa.

On a budget

  • Arce: a stunning riverside hotel in a typical Basque village, Sainte-Ettiene-de-Baigorry, offering 22 elegant rooms, an outdoor pool, sun terraces and a restaurant serving local delicacies like wood pigeon.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner, has a varied list of villas, apartments and cottages in the area.

Travel information

  • The weather in the Basque country during the winter months is wet and dreary, much of it coming from the coast: however, during summertime, temperatures reach up to 28 degrees celcius.
  • You can reach the town by flying first to Biarritz and then taking a bus (Line C) to Bayonne, which takes 30 minutes. From there you can catch the mountain railway to the town in under 1.30 hours.
  • If you're looking to rent a car, contact our partners Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in St Jean Pied de Port

  • Joangi 5 rooms from £83

    St Jean Pied de Port (64220 Uhart-Cize)

    An idyllic B&B complete with a charming river running through its pretty garden. An unfussy and homespun style with bare brick, wooden beams, re-purposed wood, cosy rugs and rustic furniture. Set in the foothill of the Pyrenees this is an Ideal spot for nature-loving travellers!

    Country Escape  -  Peaceful country retreat in the foothills of the Pyrenees, close to well known trails such as Santiago de Compostela
    Sights nearby  -  Check out the historic Old Town, Prison des eveques, Notre-Dame-du-Bout-du-Pont and the Eglise Saint-Pierre d'Usakoa
    Great walks  -  Lots of stunning walks and hiking trails through the French Basque Country, along the valley of the river Nive
    Fishing  -  There is a little river behind the house where guests can fish and swim
    Check prices
  • Hotel Les Pyrenees 18 rooms from £115

    St Jean Pied de Port

    A charming hotel in rural Basque country. Contemporary chic rooms and suites with all the mod cons, polished wooden floors, and elegant furnishings. Fabulous Michelin starred restaurant, pool, and lovely terraces. Excellently placed for local sightseeing.

    Local exploring  -  Ideally located for getting to know this charming region of France
    Foodies  -  Michelin starred restaurant showcasing inventive Basque cuisine.
    Sights nearby  -  Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port itself has many attractions which you can reach by foot.
    Swimming Pool  -  Large outdoor pool
    Check prices