Essential Basque Country

Essential Basque Country

Day 1 Bilbao

Arrival at the airport where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Settle in and relax. Overnight.

Day 2 Bilbao

Breakfast. This morning enjoy a guided walking tour of the city, post-modern and medieval, followed by a visit to the acclaimed Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry. Its collection includes works by Beuys, Koons and Keifer. Lunch in the Guggenheim restaurant.  Free afternoon at leisure to explore. The casco viejo (old quarter) by the river was built in the 14th century and is the most attractive district of the city. Tonight, enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight.

Day 3 Bilbao

Breakfast. A free day at leisure to explore. Overnight.

Day 4 Bilbao - Gernika - Getaria - San Sebastian

Breakfast. A most interesting day as you set out to visit Gernika, linked to Euskadi history and a symbol of Basque rights and peace. A short walk through the village, to learn where the famous Picasso painting originates before continuing on to visit the small fishing ports along the newly declared UNESCO Geopark, which celebrates the extraordinary flysch formations of this part of the Basque coast. A fresh fish lunch follows in Getaria, a beautiful village.  After lunch visit the museum dedicated to fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga as well as experiencing the atmosphere of the 13th C church of San Salvador. The church has a dedication to Getaria’s most famous son, Juan Sebastian Elcano who captained Magellan’s fleet. On to San Sebastian. Tonight, enjoy a live Pintxo and Wine pairing evening including cooking demonstration by a chef and sommelier tastings. Overnight.

Day 5 San Sebastian

Breakfast. A guided stroll through beautiful San Sebastian today, through the old town’s historic narrow streets as you learn all about the architecture, history and cultures that have shaped the city. En route enjoy a pintxos lunch as you sample the specialities of different pintxo bars, the hallmark of the Basque food movement that has inspired a generation of chefs.  Free afternoon to explore at leisure and enjoy strolling along the famous Concha promenade. Tonight, a special experience as you enjoy dinner in a Gastronomic society, rarely open to visitors. Overnight.

Day 6 San Sebastian - biarritz - St Jean de Luz - San Sebastian

Breakfast. An excursion to the French Basque coast today to visit the glamourous city of Biarritz, including a guided tour of the Halles de Biarritz, the famous food market. A midday aperitif before continuing on to St Jean de Luz, a charming and quiet fishing village. An elegant seaside lunch awaits! Free afternoon at leisure in San Sebastian, with an optional Rioja wine tasting experience in the city centre. Overnight.

Day 7 San Sebastian

Breakfast. A free day in San Sebastian or Optional Pintxo cooking class where you will learn to make a multi-course pintxo lunch, paired with wines. Overnight.

Day 8 San Sebastian - Pamplona - La Rioja

Breakfast. Today you depart San Sebastian as you travel first to the visit the museum of Chillida Leku, showcasing the work of sculptor Eduardo Chillida. Continue on to reach Pamplona, famous for its annual San Fermines (Running of the bulls) festival. The streets and squares of its historic quarter feature a significant collection of monumental buildings. On to La Rioja wine region, to your hotel. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight.

Day 9 La Rioja

Breakfast. Explore La Rioja today, on a guided winery tour. You will visit two contrasting wineries, each with their own style, history and architecture. The trip will also include a stroll through the delightful hilltop Medieval village of Laguardia, with lunch at one of its excellent local restaurants. A sensory and special day as you taste the wines and learn the step by step process of winemaking. Some free time at leisure before dinner in a local restaurant.  Overnight.

Day 10 La Rioja - Bilbao Airport

Breakfast. Transfer north to Bilbao airport as the journey comes to an end.