Spanish gastronomy is among the best in the world and eating well in Spain is truely a pleasure. With its Mediterranean influence and fine variety of ingredients, Spanish food is one of the healthiest you´ll ever try. One of the regions most noted for its cuisine and exceptional restaurants is the Basque Country and surrounding areas.
This tour, intended for small groups of 6 to 10 people, combines the very best attractions and sights of this Northern province with a complete introduction to its splendid gastronomy.
The tour will be accompanied by an experienced guide but it can be modified and taken independently if you wish. We can also make restaurant reservations at those establishments providing the best examples of traditional and new-style cuisine.
Arrive in San Sebastian and enjoy a city tour. Highlights include the magnificent in situ wall paintings by Jose Maria Sert housed in the 16th century convent of San Telmo; now converted into a museum, the outdoor market and the charming fishing port area. Your tour becomes a movable feast as you are drawn into the world of Basque cuisine through the fantastic miniature dishes known as pinchos. As you wind your way through the pedestrian streets and open squares, raise a glass to the history and culture of this fascinating nation. Accommodation of your choice in the San Sebastian.
Frank Gehry’s titanium masterpiece awaits in Bilbao. After a panoramic overview of the city you will be escorted through the Guggenheim museum by an expert guide who will offer commentary on the building as well as the temporary exhibitions.
Lunch in the very contemporary Gaminiz whose award-winning chef Aitor Elizegi is considered one of the most exciting on today’s culinary scene. Accommodation of your choice in the San Sebastian.
A day in the country. The French village of St. Jean Pie de Port still preserves its medieval ramparts, pink stone houses and narrow cobbled streets. An important stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela where medieval pilgrims to set in supplies and gather their strength before crossing the Pyrenees on foot. After visiting the village you will cross the Pyrennes. The Camino, as it is known, officially begins at the mysterious spiritual center of Roncesvalles on the Spanish side of the mountain range. This is where pilgrims pick up their passports and prepare themselves for the long journey to Galicia and the remains of St. James. Roncesvalles was also the site of Charlemagne’s great defeat, which inspired the legendary Song of Roland. From here you may walk a section of the Camino itself through shady woods and open fields to the town of Burguete where Ernest Hemingway sent his hero Jake Barnes to fish for trout in The Sun Also Rises (Fiesta). Navarran style trout accompanied by the fine local wine make a perfect lunch at Hemingway’s favorite haunt. Accommodation of your choice in the San Sebastian.
Rolling green hills planted with grapevines drop suddenly to the rocky coast. The painter Ignacio Zuloaga chose Zumaia for his summer studio. Part of his remarkable art collection is here as well; works by Goya, Rodin and Zuberan among the artist’s own pieces. You will be given a private tour of the collection as well as the tiny chapel that formed part of the coastal way to Santiago. The nearby Laia Craft Museum contains traditional handicrafts as well as contemporary arts.
In Getaria we will visit a wineceller to taste Txakolí, the tart white wine made in this region. In addition to being the home of the fashion designer, Cristobal Balenciaga and his foundation, Getaria is famous for its fish. The day’s fresh catch comes straight off the wharf and is grilled outdoors over open coals. After lunch you will have some free time to wander through the port or learn the age-old technique of anchovy curing.
Accommodation of your choice in the San Sebastian.
Dramatic mountain scenery on the road to Pamplona gives way to the wide plains of Navarra and the Rioja wine region. A brief tour of Hemingway’s Pamplona, where the running of the bulls is celebrated every July, before lunch at your leisure. Afternoon arrival gives you time to settle into your hotel in Laguardia, capital of Rioja Alavesa, designed to make your stay wonderfully relaxing. Explore the town before dinner at the hotel. Accommodation in Laguardia.
This morning visit a wine cellar where you will be lead through the different steps necessary to produce a fine Rioja wine. Tasting is a must to fully appreciate the process!
Santo Domingo de la Calzada was the site of a curious medieval miracle. A pilgrim on his way to Santiago was wrongly accused of theft and hanged. When his parents returned from the long journey they were amazed to find their son still alive on the pillory on the edge of town. There appeal to the magistrate to cut him down was mocked “Your son is about as alive as the chicken on my plate”. At which point his dinner stood up and crowed! We will visit its church that to this day pays homage to the legend by keeping a live hen and a rooster in the transept!
The end of our journey is Ezcaray, home of the crown prince of contemporary cuisine in Spain. Francis Paniego creates culinary wonders that marry perfectly with the traditional cooking of his mother Dona Marisa. The two kitchens working side by side will produce a memorable meal for you. Upon returning to Laguardia you may wish to watch the sunset from the magical vantage point of a prehistoric monument located just outside of the village. Accommodation in Laguardia.
A drive through the vineyards takes us to Vitoria, the charming capital of the Basque Country. After a morning tour of the city you are at your leisure until tonight’s gala farewell dinner held at one of Vitoria’s monuments, El Portalon, a 15th century carriage house impeccably restored and turned into a beautiful restaurant. Accommodation of your choice in Vitoria.
Transfer to airport.
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.
|Spanish Gastronomic Tour for Small Groups||Hotel Code||Classification||Information|
|4 nights in San Sebastian||TBC02||Country House|
|2 nights in Rioja||RIO03||Central Hotel w/ pool|