Itxassou, Pyrenees-Atlantiques: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Itxassou (Aquitaine region)

Visit Itxassou (Aquitaine, France)

Itxassou is a sleepy little town built in the typical Basque style, in the Pyreneean foothills close to Cambo-les-Bains and about 25 kilometres east of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, in south-west France.

Exploring Itxassou

Exploring Itxassou is simple - just wander down the main street and enjoy the sight of the lovely Basque houses set against the backdrop of the surrounding hills. The village falls in two parts, one around the church and the other around the mairie.

farm in Itxassou villageAlthough small, Itxassou is an attractive village with many of the houses painted white and the exterior exposed timbers and shutters painted red or green.

If you have explored the Basque region you will be very familiar with this local style which can be seen in most of the local towns and villages.

The main notable monument in Itxassou is the 17th century Church of Saint-Fructueux. The interior of the church is particularly attractive, with three wooden galleries around the walls and lots of sculpted wood, which is typical of churches in the basque region.

Take the time to stroll arround the cemetery that surrounds the church where you can see some ancient funeral stones.

You can also learn more about the village and its history at Ateka, a grand villa in the centre of Itxassou.

There are two Logis de France restaurants in the town, which was a nice surprise in such a small village. They are both hotels too but make sure you book in advance if you plan to stay here - even in mid-September both were fully booked when I visited. One is up in the top part of the town and the other down in the even quieter lower part of town.

The town is well known locally for its cherries and if possible we suggest you visit in spring when the cherry trees are in blossom (typically the end of March).

To explore nearby

The area around the village has several natural highlights and attractive scenery as well as vestiges of prehistoric sites and ancient fortresses and exploring is as much a part of your visit as Itxassou itself. Among the highlights:

  • On the way out of Itxassou in a pretty setting above the Nive River you can see the Pas de Roland, a boulder with a hole in it reputedly made by the great knight Roland with his sword Durandal on his way to Roncevaux.
  • The view from the hill of Urzumu, a little to the west (with a small aerodrome), is also recommended.
  • Hikers will find several trails to follow from the village, with those leading to Mondarrain and Artzamendi among the most popular.

There are several other lovely basque villages to visit in the region around Itxassou, with Sare and Ainhoa both classified as 'beautiful villages' and the chilli growing town of Espelette is also very picturesque.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques guide and the Aquitaine guide.

See also:

Map of Itxassou and places nearby

Visit near Itxassou with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Pyrenees-Atlantiques

Address: Itxassou, Espelette, Bayonne, Aquitaine, 64250, France || GPS: latitude 43.332, longitude -1.40083

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The French version of this page is at Itxassou (Francais)