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Air to Basque Country tour from West Coast USA

If anyone has done RS Best of the Basque country, I would be interested to know how you got to Bayonne to begin tour. We live on the West Coast USA and have reserved this tour but now am concerned on us getting there. Seems to be very expensive and complicated especially as we fly out of Balboa.
Does anyone have any ideas please? Thank you.

Posted by
3580 posts

Bilbao, probably. I flew to Paris then took a train to Bayonne two years ago. There is an airport nearby in Biarritz. Seems like some in our group flew into San Sebastián and took a bus to Bayonne from there.

Posted by
3681 posts

Bilbao's nice airport serves as the international destination for the region. Major trans-Atlantic carriers connect to Bilbao (without your departure city and dates it is impossible to guess at routes and fares.) But ground transport across the France-Spain border inevitably runs into bottlenecks. The international trains do not go to Bilbao. Local trains, very local, do cross the border slowly, very slowly, and with at least one change. There is bus service from the Bilbao airport through Biarritz to neighbouring Bayonne, but sorting out schedules on the Internet is challenging. And the trip will be more scenic than rapid. Some digging will turn up limo or van service, faster and more expensive.

My choice, for ease and relative economy, would be a non-stop flight into Paris. There are several daily TGV trains from the airport to Bayonne, often with one change of train.

My alternative, because I really like Bilbao, would be to fly there and stay for a few days, enjoying the city and sorting out onward transport.

Posted by
3580 posts

I flew from Bilbao to London on a low-cost airline. After a couple of days I flew on to San Francisco.

Posted by
16883 posts

What you want to look for now online is a "multi-city flight plan" such as from Portland to Biarritz airport to start and from Bilbao to Portland later. At least the return route can be done with just one connection in Amsterdam, operated by Delta/KLM, which would be my first choice. I found that through Expedia, but if I were booking it, I'd book it on the Delta web site.

I don't know whether Biarritz will always require two connections from Portland; you can explore that more. But taking the TGV train from Paris to Bayonne is not necessarily more convenient or cheaper. I'd only recommend that plan if you want to spend a couple of nights in Paris, first. The TGV train from central Paris is direct, takes 5 hours, and full-fare tickets cost about $150 per person, or advance-discount tickets (sold starting 3-4 months ahead) are much cheaper, but not refundable and not usable if you miss the scheduled departure (much like a plane ticket).

The last time I visited the Basque region, I did the same as Swan, taking Easy Jet from Bilbao to London, since I wanted to spend time in London. Like most budget airlines, they don't cooperate with the major carriers, so that ticket was booked separately and would not be a very safe choice for a quick connection.

Posted by
369 posts

I traveled to Paris arriving a day before the tour started. The next day I took the plane to Biarritz. At the end of the tour, I traveled by train to Madrid for a few days and then flew home from there.