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  #1  
Old 28 Dec 2012
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Western Pyrenees/ Basque Country ideas??

Hello folks,
I plan on spending a fortnight or so in early july in France/Spain, I was thinking basing myself in the Pyrenees/Basque country area for 7 days and spending the other 3 to 4 days getting there and the same on the return leg. Any recommendations for accomadation and good roads round that area would be kindly appreciated. I was hoping to get things booked up come april time when i will know proper dates, maybe if pushed for time might consider Portsmouth to Bilboa ferry to speed things up but think i would prefer to ride through France.

Cheers.

Keith.
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  #2  
Old 28 Dec 2012
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There's a decent camp site at Eratzu on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. I went on the ferry down to Bilbao once, never again, I've never been so bored in my life. You're better off to ride down through France and enjoy the countryside.
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  #3  
Old 29 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourider View Post
There's a decent camp site at Eratzu on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. I went on the ferry down to Bilbao once, never again, I've never been so bored in my life. You're better off to ride down through France and enjoy the countryside.
Thanks for reply mate, I'm glad you've put me off Portsmouth/Bilbao ferry, I never really wanted to take that option, think i might not bother with channel ferries at all and take the channel tunnel option, doesn't sound very exciting but it's something iv'e never done before and it'll get me across to France rather sharpish.
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  #4  
Old 29 Dec 2012
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It's been said in other threads that riding in France is a good experience with those driving cars compared with the UK; French drivers are far more aware of bikes and move over to let you pass; this beats the long haul ferries IMO, and the pricing of those ferries is pretty clearly based on the cost of driving through France + the toll motorway costs + overnight stops etc etc. (probably for a family - do your own research on the cost aspect 'cos it changes, routinely).
And, Britanny ferries had a strike recently (Oct 2012), followed by a lock out by the ferry company management, which didn't help those trying to get to Spain etc.
In contrast, the short sea crossing routes (aka Dover-Calais) have loads of choices, lots of competition for your business and are the most flexible way of crossing the water; the tunnel is more expensive, but convenient. On the other hand, after riding from the north of England, a break to get off the bike and walk around is handy/essential.

If you want camping, there is loads of it in France, of very high quality; again, there are earlier threads in the HUBB on this subject, but no worries on that front.
Check when the Tour de France is running in 2013 and where it will be; you don't want to be near that, unless you want to see it. The accommodation prices are higher, crowds are everywhere, and the roads are closed to traffic.
On the other hand, riding those routes just after the tour can be interesting for the road graffiti alone.
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  #5  
Old 29 Dec 2012
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Not really in the Basque region...but Phil knows good roads and places

See here...


www.pyreneesmotorcycletours.com





.
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Old 30 Dec 2012
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Thanks to Walkabout and Land Rover for helpful replies, good call on the tour de france race, never give that a thought, i'll check out dates to try and avoid it.

Cheers.

Keith.
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  #7  
Old 30 Dec 2012
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Hi Keith,
Have a look at the website of The Spanish Biker:

The Spanish Biker

I think you'll find most of the information you need there
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  #8  
Old 30 Dec 2012
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We will be glued to the tv when the TDF hits the Pyrenees we use it as a travel guide to some great roads & scenery. Hopefully heading to the area in September 2013 also want to visit the Picos.
Following the thread for ideas.

Cheers
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Old 30 Dec 2012
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Thanks for the link Bip Bip, Good stuff.
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  #10  
Old 31 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milimut1 View Post
we use it as a travel guide to some great roads & scenery.

Cheers
Fair point.
I've done the same thing myself, for the whole of France, including following the daily reports of the T de F on the news reports and marking up the routes on large scale maps of the country.
Also, any Michelen map has routes edged in green which are the scenic routes; they rarely disappoint.
As for the Pyrenees, I didn't mention this area in my earlier post because it is hard to fault any route through those mountains; whether on the French or Spanish side of the border it is all good.
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  #11  
Old 2 Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ullukk View Post
Hello folks,
I plan on spending a fortnight or so in early july in France/Spain, I was thinking basing myself in the Pyrenees/Basque country area for 7 days and spending the other 3 to 4 days getting there and the same on the return leg. Any recommendations for accomadation and good roads round that area would be kindly appreciated. I was hoping to get things booked up come april time when i will know proper dates, maybe if pushed for time might consider Portsmouth to Bilboa ferry to speed things up but think i would prefer to ride through France.

Cheers.

Keith.
Hi Keith mate.
I've been looking at your post for more than a few min's. If I can be of any help in what I tell you now. Is that you have made the right decision in not taking the ferry down to Spain. The amount of people who do it surprise's me. A bike trip, is a bike trip, not a ship cruse, which that ferry is. Spain at the moment is catch can kind of place. As you know the money in Spain is going tit's up, so you would think that thing's are getting cheaper. There not.

Are you going to camp or book a hotel for your stay? Hotel price's are coming down. So I would look at booking something through an on line holiday site. I got two week's just out side north of Barcelona for something like £200+. With parking for the bike. That was B/B. Stay at F1 hotel's on the way down and back. Cheap as chip's. If you can get someone to go with you and share. It's half the cost.

Wish you well. Sound's a nice trip.
John933
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  #12  
Old 3 Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John933 View Post
Hi Keith mate.
I've been looking at your post for more than a few min's. If I can be of any help in what I tell you now. Is that you have made the right decision in not taking the ferry down to Spain. The amount of people who do it surprise's me. A bike trip, is a bike trip, not a ship cruse, which that ferry is. Spain at the moment is catch can kind of place. As you know the money in Spain is going tit's up, so you would think that thing's are getting cheaper. There not.

Are you going to camp or book a hotel for your stay? Hotel price's are coming down. So I would look at booking something through an on line holiday site. I got two week's just out side north of Barcelona for something like £200+. With parking for the bike. That was B/B. Stay at F1 hotel's on the way down and back. Cheap as chip's. If you can get someone to go with you and share. It's half the cost.

Wish you well. Sound's a nice trip.
John933
Hello John,
Thanks for reply mate, yes think iv'e made the decision to ride through France and back, going to take minimal camping gear just to have the option of camping if fancy it but i'm looking to get an hotel/apartment for a week while i'm in the Pyrenees/Basque Country area, looking to get things booked up April time when i will know dates for sure, might consider taking the Hull/Zeebrugge ferry yet, i'll see what difference price wise it is than riding south to Folkstone plus tunnel.

Cheers.

Keith.
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  #13  
Old 5 Jan 2013
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The route down the west coast is actually a bit tedious if you're in a hurry - though Brittany has some great moto routes.

If the Bay of Biscay is to be avoided I'd suggest Portmouth to St Malo; there used be an overnight crossing. Or Portsmouth to Caen.
If you choose Calais you'll add a lot of boring miles (straight and flat) in the north east (Pas de Calais and Picardie) and Normandie is actually quite busy even on the D and N roads. The Pyrenees are so great I wouldn't want to dawdle too long crossing France - twice!

For routes: Michelin maps and ViaMichelin.com A green border on the road indicates scenic. Hard to find one that isn't!
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  #14  
Old 6 Jan 2013
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Best to avoid.

Hi, it's best to avoid the E5 around Bayonne in SE France. Heavy truck use with smoothed tarmac and diesel plus congestion makes it best by far to seek out side roads to the border. Lindsay.
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  #15  
Old 6 Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ullukk View Post
good call on the tour de france race, never give that a thought, i'll check out dates to try and avoid it.

Cheers.

Keith.
I think you are right in the time frame for the Tour, depending on exactly where the route is this year and where you want to travel en route through France.
But, the Tour always rides the cols in the Pyrenees; the same ones that we all ride with our motos.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John933 View Post
Spain is going tit's up, so you would think that thing's are getting cheaper. There not.

Hotel price's are coming down. So I would look at booking something through an on line holiday site. I got two week's just out side north of Barcelona for something like £200+. With parking for the bike. That was B/B. Stay at F1 hotel's on the way down and back. Cheap as chip's. If you can get someone to go with you and share. It's half the cost.

Wish you well. Sound's a nice trip.
John933
F1s are OK in general, but some of them are not so good; it seems to depend where they are located - those in the vicinity of very large cities can turn out to be very run down. There are other brands around, including in the Accor chain that owns F1, but many are becoming increasingly expensive in their nightly rates.
(like lots of businesses nowadays they appear to be run as franchises).
Chambre d'hote (B&B) can be more interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Two wheels good View Post
The route down the west coast is actually a bit tedious if you're in a hurry - though Brittany has some great moto routes.

If the Bay of Biscay is to be avoided I'd suggest Portmouth to St Malo; there used be an overnight crossing. Or Portsmouth to Caen.
If you choose Calais you'll add a lot of boring miles (straight and flat) in the north east (Pas de Calais and Picardie) and Normandie is actually quite busy even on the D and N roads. The Pyrenees are so great I wouldn't want to dawdle too long crossing France - twice!

For routes: Michelin maps and ViaMichelin.com A green border on the road indicates scenic. Hard to find one that isn't!
Yes, the north of France can give this feeling, but some of that tedium of travel is caused, IMO, by the factor of "being in a hurry" to go south; it depends on what the daily travel aim(s) are.
For instance, visiting the WW1 battlefields could take up the whole trip in itself.
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