Discover the Rhune mountain range with the little train of the Rhune

Discover the sacred mountain of the Basque Country with the little train of La Rhûne

The Rhune Train offers a magnificent 360° panorama from the most mythical peak in the Basque Country, the sacred mountain of the Basque Country.

In the Basque Country, it is customary to climb La Rhune on foot. The climb generally takes 1 or 2 hours, depending on your pace. The marked paths make the climb easier. But you can also get to the top thanks to the famous Train de La Rhune.

In the commune of Sare, about 10 kms from Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz, this authentic rack railway dating from 1924 takes you to an altitude of 905 metres in 35 minutes. It is in operation from February to November. The panorama is sumptuous. You can admire the entire coastline, from the Landes to San Sebastian, as well as the Pyrenees chain.

Le petit train de la Rhune au pays bassque
partez à la découverte de la rhune à pied ou en train. Le sommet de la rhune

La Rhune peak, a Basque mountain where wildlife and ecology are combined with tourism...

Discover a mosaic of environments and animal and plant species. These environments and species are fragile. Respect them so that future generations will also be happy to discover them.

With the little train of the Rhune Peak, discover the flora of the plateau of the three fountains

The plateau of the three fountains is a wetland with particularly acidic water. It is the ideal biotope for sphagnum mosses, archaic mosses with exceptional absorbing power, whose lower, dead parts do not decompose, thus forming a thick spongy layer.

On the spongy carpet of sphagnum mosses, Drosera grows in reddish clumps barely a few centimetres high, often gathered in colonies by thin underground stems. Take care not to damage the bog, as it is a relict area. Once a bog is destroyed, it is irreparable. The collection of dros will be strictly forbidden.

Hotel relais du silence

Wildlife on the Rhune mountain range

Meet the Pottok, the emblematic pony of the Basque Country

The Pottok is a breed of hardy pony that lives mainly in the west of the Basque country.

They live freely in herds of about twenty mares accompanied by their stallion on the slopes of the Rhune mountains where they help to maintain the mountain.

Find out more about the history of the Little Rhûne Train

In 1859 the Rhune made history with the ascent of Empress Eugénie de Montijo to the summit. A granite obelisk was erected to commemorate this event. And in 1924, the line to the summit was inaugurated.

While becoming the most popular tourist attraction in the Basque Country over the last 40 years with the project of preserving the environment through tourism, La Rhune has obtained the label of “Natura 2000” classified site

Le train à crémaillère de la rhune, a 20 minutes en voiture de l'hôtel Laminak

Tips for visiting the little train of the Rhune

What is the climate like in La Rhune?

The summit is 905 metres above sea level and the weather conditions are often different from those on the Basque Coast, so remember to take something to protect yourself from the cold, rain or wind. In addition, closed walking shoes are highly recommended.

Recently, during the summer season, yoga sessions and “sunset evenings” are planned.

Where to eat in La Rhune?

Open throughout the season: hot and cold drinks, ice creams, hot and cold sandwiches with fresh products.

  • 2 restaurants in the departure station at the Saint-Ignace pass
  • At the top you will find 2 restaurants which are Spanish side! 

All are open during the season, all independently of the Train except for the snack bar, plus an independent souvenir shop in the departure station.

Where to park at the Rhune train station?

There are car parks in the immediate vicinity of the departure station. However, in case of heavy traffic, they may not be enough, which is another reason to arrive early!

Where to take the train to the Rhune peak ? 

Depuis Arbonne / Biarritz en voiture

  • Take the A63 motorway towards Saint Jean de Luz.
  • Take exit 2 Ciboure / Col d’Ibardin, and follow the N10 towards Hendaye.
  • Then turn left and follow the D4 towards Ascain / Sare
  • Heavy traffic ? quite a bit via St Pée sur Nivelle, then Sare, the train is just after

By car from Saint Jean de Luz

  • Join the D918 towards Ascain
  • Go through the village of Ascain,
  • Then continue on the D4 towards the Col de Saint Ignace/Sare.
découverte de la rhune à pied ou en train Le petit train de la Rhune au pays basque

How to hike up the Rhune?

The La Rhune Train path, marked in yellow (difficult route – level 4/5), takes you back down to the Col de Saint-Ignace station on foot. Be sure to follow the Train de La Rhune trail and not the La Rhune trail down to Ascain. Approximately 2h30 of walking for the ascent.

Walking tour – From Sare – 3h30 – medium level

To start the hike, you can park in the car park of the municipal swimming pool. First follow the yellow marked “pass to pass” path. Along the railway line, leave this signposted path to start the ascent towards the mountain Rhune.

At the top, a path allows you to come back down by making a loop. This is a medium level hike that will take you an average of 3.5 hours. It will offer you beautiful panoramic views, and will put on your way the old chapel of Olhain. 

Walking tour – From Sare – 3h30 – medium level

To start the hike, you can park in the car park of the municipal swimming pool. First follow the yellow marked “pass to pass” path.

Along the railway line, leave this signposted path to start the ascent towards the Rhune. 

At the top, a path allows you to come back down by making a loop. This is a medium level hike that will take you an average of 3.5 hours. It will offer you beautiful panoramic views, and will put on your way the old chapel of Olhain.

Walking tour – Starting from the Saint-Ignace pass – 3h00 – steep climb

From the cogwheel train station, many hikers set off on the climb to the top of the peak of La Rhune.

The steep gradient is the main difficulty of this beautiful hike with, on the final part, stones along the way which add spice to the climb.

A section in the undergrowth is an opportunity to come across pottocks. Allow about 3 hours for the ascent, and 2 to 2.5 hours for the descent.

Walking tour – From Ascain – 3h00 – uneven and stony path

Park in the Carrières car park, just past the town hall as you drive towards Sare.

The hike will take you more than two hours on the way up, and about 1h30 on the way down. The gradient, on a stony road, is quite rough.

Walking tour – From Lizuniaga pass – 3h00 – longer route

You can also reach the summit of the Rhune from the south side of the Lizuniaga pass near Sare.

The scenery is just as spectacular, but the route is longer and more technical (at least 3 hours of walking for the ascent).

Faire une randonnée a la Rhune

A hotel in Biarritz near the Rhune peak

How to get down from the rhune

For the more courageous equipped with good sports shoes, a two-hour walk down a marked path to the station is possible, allowing you to discover the flora and fauna, all enhanced by a splendid view.

Often animated by festive events of all kinds (Bayonne festivals, markets, Basque festivals, naval festivals, etc.). When we think of the Basque Country, we inevitably think of its coastline, renowned beyond the borders, of its culture and land steeped in history, or of its very special language.

However, the Basque Country has much more to offer than its coast and its very touristy towns.

For your holidays in Biarritz, discover the Basque Country in complete serenity by staying in our establishment in Biarritz.

The Basque Country is a jewel, a jewel box that the whole world envies us.
The special light, the Atlantic Ocean, the mountains on the horizon, the rich vegetation that hides so well the most beautiful hotels and residences of the country, it is all this and much more the Basque Country.

At the charming hotel Le Laminak Biarritz Arbonne everything is done to make your stay and your family holidays in the Basque Country as pleasant as possible. Indeed, its top-of-the-range services and its exceptional location are undeniable assets.

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To make the most of your stay, discover the latest news from our 3-star hotel in Biarritz

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