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Make it a cross-border Christmas!

1 Dec , 2015  

With the holiday season just around the corner, now is the perfect time to discover some of the local traditions on the other side of the border, putting behind the stress of the daily commute with a much cooler means of travel. To help get you into the spirit, we’ve put together a section on unmissable events over the festive season, listing the most straightforward, affordable and practical means of getting to them. So hop on board the Transfermuga sleigh this Christmas!


Bayonne

IMG_4829Bayonne Ferris wheel – Source: PaysBasque.net

Bayonne is a great place to enjoy the holiday season, with its Christmas market in the peaceful old town the perfect place for families to enjoy a stroll while sipping on a hot chocolate together. The giant Ferris wheel set up for the first time in the town square will also appeal to small children (and some adults too!): programmePaysBasque.net article  PaysBasque.net gift ideas

Getting there

Topo + TER (train) combo: for city centre travel. Buy a PassBask for €11 (€7 for children) and enjoy unlimited weekend travel on these two modes of transport: Topo info I TER info I Passbask info

Topo + Transports64 (bus) combo: for cross-border travel. Although journey times are longer than for train travel, the PassEusk’s selling point is its affordable price (€5 return): Topo info I Transports64 info I PassEusk info

Euskadi Express line 816 from Irún: for €2 per person to the centre of Bayonne every weekend:  Transports64 info

Pesa, Alsa and Starshipper private buses from San Sebastián: direct to Bayonne via the motorway: compare bus fares I bus timetables.

Car: in celebration of the festive season, there will be special parking offers – on-street and surface parking in Bayonne will be free on 12, 19 and 26 December after 2 p.m. Parking info I motorway toll info.


Biarritz

office_tourisme_biarritzBiarritz Christmas lights – Source: PaysBasque.net

The Biarritz Christmas lights are a joy to behold on dark winter nights, and will be up until 3 January. Make the most of the early sunset by enjoying your hot chocolate in Bayonne and then making your way to the seafront in Biarritz to soak up the atmosphere: programme I PaysBasque.net gift ideas

Getting there

Getting to Biarritz is similar to getting to Bayonne, although the SNCF train station is further from the city centre. Different modes of public transport stop at the station, but don’t always have another stop in the city centre. Users of the TER train, Euskadi 816 and 816 Express, Alsa and Starshipper buses should therefore catch a Chronoplus line 8 bus from the station, leaving you at Biarritz town hall in a journey time of fifteen minutes: bus info I train info I Chronoplus no. 8 info

Parking is the same as for the rest of the year. We advise you to leave your vehicle in a P+R car park and to use one of the many shuttle services offered by the city: shuttle info I parking info I interactive map I motorway toll info.


Saint-Jean-de-Luz

image-1448527863-71254318Saint-Jean-de-Luz Christmas tree – Source: Saintjeandeluz.com

Don’t want to venture “too far north” due to the cold? Then Saint-Jean-de-Luz is the perfect place for you. This year the city will be celebrating the festive season with shopping events and street entertainment. Download the full programme here (in Basque and French).

Getting there

Saint-Jean-de-Luz is easy to access, thanks to the area in the city centre home to the train station, bus station and a free parking zone (enter “Ravel” on our interactive map). Due to expected heavy traffic however (with parking free on Saturday 12 and 19 December), we advise you to use public transport for travel to the city centre:

Topo + TER (train) combo: for city centre travel. Buy a PassBask for €11 (€7 for children) and enjoy unlimited weekend travel on these two modes of transport:  Topo info I TER info I Passbask info

Topo + Transports64 (bus) combo: for cross-border travel, with a PassEusk just €5 return: Topo info I Transports64 info I PassEusk info

Euskadi 816 Express bus line from Irún: a 25-minute journey takes users directly to the centre of Saint-Jean-de-Luz for €2: Transports64 info

Alsa and Starshipper private buses from San Sebastián: for fast transfer to Saint-Jean-de-Luz: compare bus fares I bus timetables.

Car: several car parks are already free, and all parking will be free on 12 and 19 December: parking info I motorway toll info.


Irún and Hendaye

Do you want to stay in and around the border this Christmas? In that case, look no further than the family events going on in Irún and Hendaye.

Getting there

Leave the car at Ficoba (Irún) for free, or else get your gloves out and take to the many cycle paths! Another option is to head into the city by foot, providing the perfect excuse to grab a hot chocolate on the way: Ficoba car park info I Irún parking info (including Ficoba) I Ficoba access map I motorway toll info.


San Sebastián

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If you’re planning to spend the Christmas period in San Sebastián, you’re in for a treat! A wealth of activities will be taking place (in Spanish and Basque) making it a wonderful opportunity to discover the city’s many neighbourhoods, not just the Concha beach and Old Town areas. Read more about the programme here.

We’ve also asked the fashionista duo from blog Sisters & the City to give us the lowdown on Christmas shopping. Here’s their top ten!

Getting there

There are many options for travel to San Sebastián, so read on to find out more.

Heading to the border to catch the Topo:

Travelling to Irún to catch a Renfe train: the two regional trains per hour only take 20 minutes to get to San Sebastián, although if you want free parking in Irún, you’ll have to park beside the station, near Paseo Colón, or in the Ventas district: Renfe info I Irún parking info I interactive map.

Direct by bus: private bus companies such as Alsa, Pesa and Starshipper run lines to towns north of San Sebastián at very competitive prices: compare bus fares I bus timetables.

By car: if you prefer to cross the border by car (because, let’s face it, child seats are pretty difficult to carry on the train), here’s an eco-friendly option: on arriving in San Sebastián, leave your car in an outer car park such as Loyola, and then walk along the river or catch a dBus into the city centre: dBus info I San Sebastián parking info I motorway toll info.

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