Essential Basque Country

Essential Basque Country

Day 1 Bilbao

Transfer from the airport to your accommodation in Bilbao and free day to rest from the flight.  Overnight.

Day 2 Bilbao

A morning walking tour in the city, post-modern and medieval, followed by a guided visit to the acclaimed Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum and its collection, with works by Beuys, Serra, Koons, Rauschenberg and Kiefer. Lunch in the Guggenheim restaurant.   Free afternoon at your leisure.  Tonight enjoy dinner in a local restaurant, with wines included. Overnight.

Day 3 Bilbao - Basque Coast - San Sebastian

An interesting excursion today.  First, visit of Gernika. Linked to Euskadi's history and a symbol of Basque rights and peace, Gernika is a must-see town to those who come to the region. After a short walk in the village and having learned where the famous gernika painting from Picasso comes from, we drive to the small fishing ports strung along the newly declared UNESCO Geopark, which celebrates the extraordinarily elaborate and contorted flysch formations of this part of the Basque coast.  Enjoy a fresh fish lunch in nearby Getaria, a beautiful village with some of the region’s best fish restaurants. Sardines and seafood are grilled along the narrow cobbled streets leading to the port.

An afternoon combining the 20th century sophistication of a museum dedicated to the fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga, and the evocative atmosphere of the 13th century Gothic church of San Salvador. The church has a dedication to Getaria’s most illustrious native, Juan Sebastián Elcano – he captained Magellan’s fleet and completed the first circumnavigation of the globe after the latter’s death.  Continue on to San Sebastian.  Some free time to settle in and relax. Tonight, enjoy a live Pintxo tasting with wine pairing.   Five special wines are perfectly paired with original pintxo creations made with fresh produce, purchased daily at La Bretxa market. With a glass in hand, ask our sommelier all your questions about the Spanish wine scene, and glean great cooking tips from our chef as he prepares your food. Overnight.

Day 4 San Sebastian

Enjoy a late morning guided stroll through the city.  The striking beauty of San Sebastian’s mountains and beaches are is its calling card. Stroll with us through the Old Town’s endless narrow streets, learn about architecture, history, and of course the famous food culture of San Sebastian in situ, passing by famous landmarks, churches, plazas and bars. En route, we will stop at three of the city’s most famous pintxo bars to sample hallmarks of the city’s pintxo culture, while learning about the Basque food movement, which has inspired an entire generation of chefs.
Some time at leisure before enjoying a Pintxo Cooking class with expert chef instruction.  At its most basic, a pintxo is a small bite—but with a world of knowledge, tricks and tips behind its preparation. From the simple gilda, the city’s emblematic pintxo, to the elaborate creations that inspired by avant-garde cuisine, the world of pintxos is demystified and made easy and fun in our cooking school. Each Pintxo Cooking class ends with a delicious meal and carefully chosen wine pairings. You will gather around our rustic wooden table to enjoy what you and your fellow classmates have cooked using your newly acquired knowledge. Overnight.

Day 5 San Sebastian - biarritz - St Jean de Luz - San Sebastian

Enjoy a most interesting excursion into the lesser-known side of Basque Country. We invite you to experience the chic, fabulously French Basque Country in this tour, designed to take you into the Belle Epoque flavoured world of the towns and villages of Iparralde (literally, the North side). Take a leisurely stroll through the glamourous streets of Biarritz, the chic coastal gem. Our local experts will lead you through Les Halles de Biarritz, the famous food market, whose selection of regional cheeses, wines and seasonal bounty is on another level. We’ll take a midday aperitif with a distinct local flavour before moving further south to St. Jean de Luz. This enchanting fishing village is charming and -better yet- undiscovered by all but the select French cognoscenti.
An elegant seaside lunch featuring French Basque cuisine and techniques finishes this magical tour of Le Pays Basque.   Free evening in San Sebastian. Overnight.

Day 6 San Sebastian - La Rioja

A day to discover one of the world’s most famous wine regions guided by our team of experts, whose combined enthusiasm for Rioja is unparalleled. On this day-pass to the secrets of winemaking we will chauffeur you around this beautiful region, visiting two contrasting wineries along the way, each with their own style, history and architecture. The trip also includes a stroll through the lovely medieval village of Laguardia and lunch at one of its most local restaurants, tried and tested by our expert guides. Tasting and teaching is the name of this package. Starting with the soil and moving from barrel to glass, you are taken step-by-step through the process of winemaking. Test your tastebuds, enrich your wine knowledge, and develop your ‘nose’ for wine. No questions are too silly and no wine thought too random for our passionate guides, devoted to celebrating the Rioja region.     Some time at leisure before enjoying dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight.

Day 7 La Rioja - Bilbao Airport

Farewell the region as the tour comes to an end.  Pick up from the hotel and transfer to Bilbao airport.

Minimum/Maximum group size - 6 minimum, 16 maximum.