I am spending 3-4 days in the Basque area. Which is the best place to base ourselves in - San Sebastian or St Jean de Luz? Can you give me some tips on what is best to see in this Basque area
Will you have a car? Where will you be traveling from, and where will you be heading afterward?
What time of year is the trip?
San Sebastian is more than ten times the size of St-Jean-de-Luz. The more off-season your trip, the more I'd want to verify that St-Jean-de-Luz wouldn't be too quiet. I don't know what it would be like. My trips to the area were in June, and the area is a great destination at that time of year because the weather is cool and damp rather than suffocatingly hot.
Ultimately, it depends on what places you want to see. 3-4 days (do you mean 3-4 nights?) is not long enough to see the entire Spanish and French Basque Country. I suggest picking up a guide book that covers the area comprehensively and checking out the options, then making a decision based on your own interests.
Personally, I much preferred Bilbao to San Sebastian, and I think most would agree that there's more to see on the Spanish side of the border. That doesn't mean, however, that the French Basque Country is not worth visiting.
I¨d stay in Bilbao and do daily trips to San Sebastian and the French Basque Country. Bilbao has easy access to the Rioja wine region in the south, to Santander in the west and SS in the east. But if you have to choose a place between those mentioned, SS or St Jean de Luz, I´d choose SS. France is another world, even in the French Basque Country, less atmosphere, more boring (at least for us on the other side). Pricewise, St Jean de Luz lodging will be cheaper and has fantastic beaches too, but weather is highly unpredictable and quite rainy in both.
We enjoyed staying in both places (3 nights each) during our trip to the Basque area. From St. Jean de Luz, we took an easy day trip by bus to Bayonne and from San Sebastián another nice day trip to Hondarribia.
If you only have time for one place, I'd probably choose San Sebastián over St. Jean de Luz because of the size, culture and pintxos!