Calendar of festivals and férias in the Basque Country
Summer is the season of festivals and férias in the southern Basque Country. From Bayonne to Hendaye and Saint-Jean-de-Luz to Espelette, here are the dates you won’t want to miss on your vacation in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Mark your calendars!
In the Basque Country, the summer season is punctuated by village festivals. Every village has its own patron saint’s day. Originally, these festivities were dedicated to the worship of the village’s patron saint. Over the years, these traditional festivals have reinvented themselves to attract an ever-growing audience. Here’s a small, non-exhaustive selection of highlights not to be missed during your camping holiday in the Basque Country.
- IN JULY
Tuna Festival, Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Every year, the Fête du Thon de Saint-Jean-de-Luz kicks off the summer festivities. This traditional festival is held on both sides of the port(St Jean de Luz / Ciboure). On the program: tuna grills, bandas parades, Basque songs, dance, confetti battle and toro de fuego.
- When: Second Saturday in July.
Chipiron Festival, Hendaye
The Fête du Chipiron in Hendaye is one of the summer’s great festivals, with a special focus on gastronomy, and chipiron in particular. This small squid, typical of the Basque region, can be enjoyed in a variety of sauces. On the program: musical entertainment to the rhythm of the bandas and pétanque competition during the day, ball, concerts and toros de fuego in the evening.
- When: every year on July 13.
Between Biarritz and Espelette, the small village of Ustaritz celebrates for five days in July, around the Hiribehere fronton. On the program: Basque dances, Basque strength challenges, Basque pelota games, musical entertainment, méchoui, agricultural show, funfair, DJ evenings, fireworks…
- When: every year in mid-July.
Fêtes de Bayonne
The Fêtes de Bayonne are a must-see summer event in the Basque Country. Every year, the feria brings together over a million festayres dressed in red and white for five days and nights. On the program: cow races, Basque pelota, float parades, gastronomy, traditional music and dance, concerts, fireworks…
- When: The Fêtes de Bayonne begin on the Wednesday before the first weekend in August and end on the following Sunday.
Also read on the campsite blog: Pamplona, on the other side of the Pyrenees, one of the world’s best-known festivals
- IN AUGUST
The Fêtes du village in Espelette take place at the beginning of August. The program includes numerous concerts, musical entertainment, traditional Basque dancing and singing, a drum and brass band, mutxiko (Basque jumping), a show of Basque strength, as well as a funfair, agricultural show, Toro de fuego and fireworks to round off the 5 days of festivities.
- When: early August each year.
Basque Festival, Hendaye
A showcase for Hendaye’s activities , the Fête Basque is the must-attend summer event on the Basque coast. Since 1930, this traditional festival has been attracting big crowds. On the program: cavalcade and float parade to the sound of bandas and txarangas, pelota game on the fronton, ball and fireworks.
- When: every year, 2nd weekend in August, from Friday to Sunday.
Ascain’s patron saint’s festival takes place every summer over five days in mid-August. Nestling at the foot of the Rhune, this small Basque village celebrates in style. On the program: a compendium of Basque culture, including pelota, dancing, singing and Basque strength games, as well as concerts, meals, bodegas and entertainment for children…
- When: around August 15.
Urrugne‘s famous “Bixintxo” festival takes place over 5 days in early September. The Corrida pédestre traditionally opens the festivities. On the program: groups of Basque dancers, brass band, demonstrations of Basque strength, paella meal, village aperitif, children’s entertainment, dances and concerts, toro de fuego, fireworks…
- When: 1st weekend in September.