Discover the three unique provinces of the Spanish Basque Country; Vizcaya, Guipuzkoa & Alava on this short but comprehensive independent tour.
Arrive in Bilbao airport and collect your rental car. Enjoy a short 50 minute drive south through spectacular mountainous countryside, to Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of the Basque Country. Check in at your chosen hotel and spend the remainder of the day relaxing. Accommodation in Vitoria.
Today we recommend a walking tour of Vitoria visiting 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 Cordon, Escoriaza-Esquival, Portalon and Montehermoso. Don´t miss 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 known as Gasteiz. Don´t miss the Santa Maria Cathedral where a remarkable restoration and excavation project is taking place. See also the Church of San Miguel, the Plaza del Machete, the Plaza de Esoana 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, Txakoli (a sparkling white wine) and traditional cider.
Refreshed you might enjoy shopping along fashionable Calle Dato or perhaps a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts or the Museum of Modern Art, the Artium. Accommodation in Vitoria.
Daytrip to Bilbao. See the Guggenheim Museum, the Zubi-Zuri Bridge by the architect Santiago Calatrava which crosses the Bilbao River near to the museum. Take the popular funicular and ascend Monte Archanda, from 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 Ayuntamiento (Bilbaos´Town Hall). Next 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 Anton bridge, the Bidebarrieta library.
Depart Bilbao and return to Vitoria and overnight.
Return to Vitoria and overnight.
Today leave Vitoria and head to the Rioja region.
You will 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 Riojan plain.
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 Church of San Juan and afterwards see the extraordinary portico of the Santa Maria de los Reyes church.
Here you can also tour the Villa Lucia Wine Centre where you´ll have the opportunity to learn interactively about wine culture and production methods in Rioja Alavesa. From here you can tour other medieval villages in the area, visit the ancient ruins at La Hoya or perhaps head to San Millan de la Cogolla where the Yuso and Suso Monasteries are located. Both are World Heritage sites and it is here that they have preserved the first manuscripts written in the Castillian and Basque (Euskera) languages.
Accommodation in Laguardia, Rioja.
Depart for San Sebastian, with one of the most beautiful bays in Europe; La Concha. Explore the Old Quarter and enjoy a walk along the magnificent La Concha Promenade with the Isle of Santa Clara in the distance. Afterwards continue to Hondarribia.
Situated near the French border, this charming fishing village with its lovely old medieval quarter with great bars, restaurants and numerous historic sights, and its adjacent maritime quarter with tall and colourful fishermans houses. Here in Hondarribia you can also enjoy a walk along the Txingudi Bay with views over to Hendaia in the French Basque Country. Accommodation in the Parador of Hondarribia.
Today enjoy a trip into France to the coastal towns of Biarritz where you will be able to see magnificent buildings such as Gramont Castle and St. Charles church as well as enjoying the town’s beautiful beach and old harbour. Visit nearby St. Jean de Luz, a typical fishing village with emblematic buildings and squares such as the Town Hall, Luis IV Plaza and St John-the-Baptist church. Also stroll down the Rue Gambetta, a shopping street full of local character. Later return to Hondarribia and overnnight.
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, Rioja & Hondarribia||Hotel Code||Classification||Information|
|3 nights in Vitoria||TBC55||Central Hotel|
|1 night in Rioja||RIO11||Country Hotel|
|2 nights in HONDARRIBIA||PAR09 PARADOR||Paradors|