This suggested itinerary features two of the most important cities in the Basque Country; stylish Vitoria and cosmopolitan Bilbao, as well as a recommended day-trip to the Rioja wine region.
Arrive in Bilbao, collect your rental car and continue into Bilbao city.
Enjoy the city sights such as the Guggenheim Museum. Afterwards walk across the Zubi-Zuri bridge, one of the most recent works by the architect Santiago Calatrava, which crosses the Bilbao River near the Guggenheim. From here you might take the funicular and ascend Monte Archanda, where you can appreciate a magnificent panoramic view of Bilbao. Afterwards continue along the Bilbao River to the Plaza del Arenal, passing on the way several historic buildings including the splendid Town Hall. Enter the Casco Viejo (Old Town) where many of the city´s most emblematic building can be found including the Teatro Arriaga, Plaza Neuva, Catedral de Santiago, Mercado de la Ribera, San Antón bridge, the Bidebarrieta library.
Later enjoy a short 50 minute drive, through spectacular mountainous countryside, to Vitoria-Gasteiz and check in at your hotel.
Today leave the car parked and enjoy a panoramic walking tour of the city including the medieval quarter which takes approximately two and half hours. Begin the walk from the Virgin Blanca Plaza. See Stately homes and Renaissance palaces such as Villa Suso, Casa del Cordón, Escoriaza-Esquival, Portalón and Montehermoso. Visit also the unique Fournier Playing Card Museum, which holds one of the most important collections of playing cards in the world. See also parts of the medieval wall that once surrounded the original village of Gasteiz.
Tour the Santa María Cathedral where a very important restoration and excavation project is taking place. See also the Church of San Miguel, the Plaza del Machete, the Plaza de Esoaña and finally return to the Plaza de la Virgin Blanca.
Afterwards visit any of the fine restaurants and bars serving delicious Basque cuisine and local beverages such as Rioja wine, Txakolí (a young white wine) and traditional cider.
Refreshed you might enjoy shopping along fashionable Calle Dato or perhaps you may choose to visit the Museum of Fine Arts or the newly opened Museum of Modern Art, the Artium.
Accommodation of your choice in Vitoria.
Depart for San Millán de la Cogolla where the Yuso and Suso Monasteries are situated. These world heritage sites hold the first manuscripts written in the Castillian and Basque (Euskera) languages. Travel through the typical landscape of vineyards, where the region´s internationally renowned wines, are produced. Visit en-route the Balcon de la Rioja, a viewing area which offers magnificent panoramic views of the wine region.
Next to Laguardia, capital of Rioja Alavesa, a splendid walled village that has carefully preserved its medieval characteristics. Walk through its narrow streets and be sure to visit one of the underground wine cellars; there are over 300 in the village. Stop at the the church of San Juan and after be sure to see the extraordinary portico of the Santa María de los Reyes church.
After lunch head over to the Villa Lucía Wine Centre, and have the opportunity to learn interactively about wine culture and production methods in Rioja Alavesa. From here you can choose to tour some of the other medieval villages or visit the ancient ruins which were discovered nearby named La Hoya. Return to Vitoria and overnight.
If you like the look of the above Suggested Tour we will gladly prepare a quote for you. The itinerary is not rigid and can be modified to suit your needs.
Below is a selection of the accommodation we would recommend for this tour. Click on the Hotel Code or symbol for photographs and detailed information about each property. If you have registered to use our Spain Travel & Holiday Planner, you need only click on to insert it into your itinerary.
|Vitoria, Bilbao and the Rioja Wine Region||Hotel Code||Classification||Information|
|3 nights in Vitoria||TBC55||Central Hotel|