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Zumaia Photo by Gabriella Ranelli

The Basque Country is one of Europe’s oldest nations, one with their own unique language and character. Delve into the Basque culture, cuisine and history on this 10­ day full immersion trip. You’ll taste unique Old World wines and more contemporary examples in Rioja, stroll along the beautiful promenade in San Sebastian, visit local markets and producers, and take day trips to some of the wonderful villages and cities in the surrounding areas.

We especially love the Basque Country in the bright, fresh springtime and the cool, crisp fall. However, there is always something happening in this wonderful corner of the world!

 

Day 1
Meet your guide in Rioja Alavesa to begin a day of touring and tasting in Spain’s most famed wine region. Stay at a cozy, family-owned boutique hotel and enjoy dinner at either their beloved traditional restaurant or Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurant.

Day 2 
Spend the morning visiting two very different wineries, one more classic and traditional, and the other cutting-edge and modern. Learn about different Spanish grape varietals and growing techniques, as well as trends in today’s wine market. Sit down to a traditional winemakers lunch before delving deeper into wine country lore at either the wine museum or by exploring a charming walled village. Spend the evening out on the town sampling small bites on a tapas crawl.

Day 3
Drive north to San Sebastian, the gem of the Bay of Biscay, and get a feel for the city on a guided stroll. Enjoy dinner at a classic Old Town restaurant featuring refined traditional Basque cuisine.

Day 4
Visit a mountain village on its weekly market day--a market that has been going on for more than 500 years--and meet a local chef who will preface lunch with a cooking demonstration. Following an afternoon at your leisure, rub elbows with locals as you spend the evening sampling the city’s best pintxos and wines on a guided stroll in the Old Town.

Day 5
Cross the border into le pays basque français, which is just 30 minutes from San Sebastian. Visit the glamourous beach towns of Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, or choose to explore picturesque villages of the region on foot with our experienced hiking guide.

Day 6
Follow Hemingway’s ghost through Pamplona as you learn about the history of the city and its famed San Fermin festival. Follow the upper walkway of the sentry wall for amazing views of the Navarran countryside surrounding the city. Back in San Sebastian, have dinner at the beloved Restaurante Arzak, which has held three Michelin stars for more than 25 years (this dinner is included in the overall price).

Day 7
See San Sebastian through the eyes of a gastronome as you visit the local market, try cheeses at our favorite shop, and taste a bit of the heavenly jamón ibérico de bellota. Then roll up your sleeves in our Old Town culinary studio for a hands-on pintxos workshop, pairing wines with bite-sized Basque creations. For dinner, travel just outside the city to a cozy, 15th century farmhouse featuring Michelin-starred cuisine prepared with the utmost of care and attention.

Day 8
Travel along the coast to Bilbao, a city that has undergone a staggering revival in the last decades. Visit Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, stroll along the waterfront, and discover unique boutiques in the historic quarter. An architecture­-lover’s dream, the city is dotted with works by stars such as Cesar Pelli, Rafael Moneo, and Philippe Starck.

Day 9 
Take to the road and visit the area surrounding Bilbao. Spend time in the Urdaibai Nature Preserve, a UNESCO-designated Biosphere habitat. Visit the town of Guernica, inspiration for Picasso’s masterpiece and home of the famed oak tree which symbolizes the traditional freedoms and governance of the Basque people. Take a hike up the 237 steps to the top of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a 10th century hermitage perched atop a rocky islet on the coast.

Day 10
Pack your suitcases and head off to your next destination!

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