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 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!): programme – PaysBasque.net article – PaysBasque.net gift ideas
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
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.
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 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.
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).
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:
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
baiona, feliz, Irun, joyeux noel basque, miarritz, Mugaz gaindiko Gabonak, navidad, navidad en donosti, noel a biarritz, noel a donostia, noel basque, noel frontière, noel irun, noel transfrontalier, transports noel