Like its landscapes, the Basque Country, which straddles France and Spain, will surprise you by its distinctive and forthright personality. On the French side, the coast offers a startling contrast between jagged cliffs, interspersed with creeks, and sandy beaches, coveted by surfers from all around the world. Inland, it has untamed gorges, such as the Gorges de Kakuetta and Holzarte. Aïnoha, Espelette, Sare, St-Jean-Pied-de-Port... The villages, with their whitewashed, red-timbered houses gathered around a Basque pelota court - or fronton -, make an impression. The towns also have strong characters: festive Bayonne, vintage Biarritz and seaside St-Jean-de-Luz, presided over by the Rhune, the Basque people's emblematic mountain. Nothing is ordinary in the Basque Country, neither the language, nor the traditions, nor the food. Piment d'Espelette, Aldudes pork, Bayonne ham, are some of the specialities whose reputation precedes them.