Discover coastal views and culinary delights on a Basque walking tour that showcases the sights, sounds, and tastes of this distinctive region.

Experience the best of Basque country on a walking tour that takes you along pilgrimage trails, past dramatic seascapes and quaint villages. Walk the ancient “Way of St. James,” a coastal route with striking views, and tour the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. As you stroll through pastoral landscapes of vineyards and orchards, let farm-fresh meals and gourmet delights fuel your exploration. An exclusive dinner with a gastronomic club gives you a chance to sample even more of the distinctive Basque cuisine, accompanied by the region’s delectable wines. Unwind at the end of the day in luxurious accommodations, including a historic seaside resort and a restored palace. Breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and delicious cuisine make your Basque walking tour an adventure you won’t soon forget.

Highlights

  • Join a private gastronomic club, or txoko, for an exclusive dinner as the members share their love of Basque cuisine.
  • Live like royalty in a setting beautiful enough to earn the honor of hosting Louis XIV and Maria Theresa’s wedding in St. Jean de Luz.
  • Tour the world-famous Guggenheim Museum – one of the largest museums in the world and an architectural phenomenon.
  • Satisfy your cravings in an area with more Michel-star rated restaurants than Paris.
  • Participate in a cooking demonstration of traditional Basque cuisine.
On all Flex-Guided Adventures you can count on...
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Expert local guides to introduce you to the best of your destination.
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Opportunities to break away from the group and explore on your own.
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Delicious multi-course meals—a majority are included.
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A maximum of 20 fun-loving fellow travelers to share the journey.
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Gracious accommodations that are a clean, comfortable home away from home.
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Experts to handle all the details.
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Flight + Tour Combos include plane tickets, airport car service, and pre- and post-tour accommodations.

Itinerary

Thu, May 14 to Sat, May 23 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend the first night aloft.

Upon arrival at Bilbao’s Airport, a representative holding a Country Walkers sign meets you as you exit the baggage-claim area. A complimentary small-group transfer is provided to your city center hotel approximately 30 minutes away. The remainder of the day is at your leisure (no meals included).

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please let our Airport staff or representative know by calling or sending a text message to +39 334 221 88 93. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer. You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay and they will contact our transfer service.

Accommodation: NH Collection Villa de Bilbao

Breakfast is included at your hotel. Your guide(s) meet you at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby of your Bilbao hotel. Your guide(s) will be wearing a Country Walkers shirt. Please be dressed for walking.

Following introductions and a welcome briefing you will walk to the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, designed by acclaimed architect Frank Gehry. You will enjoy a 90-minute informative tour given by one of the museum guides regarding the building’s architecture and the current works on display. At the end of the tour, you will walk with your guides to Bilbao’s old town where your will have an opportunity to have lunch on your own.

Later this afternoon, join your guides on a walk and discover how this city has reinvented itself, with its host of modern sites designed by world-renowned architects. The metro is a combination of architectural craft and engineering prowess by Britain’s famed architect Sir Norman Foster, and you will readily see his dramatic, curved-glass metro entrances, which are locally known as fosteritos, or “little Fosters.” Other masterpieces include Philippe Stark’s La Alhandiga, which is an old wine warehouse converted into a multicultural center; and Iberdrola Tower, the tallest tower in the Basque country, designed by Cesar Pelli.

This evening, get to know your fellow travelers and guides during a welcome reception and dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: NH Collection Villa de Bilbao

After breakfast, your transfer (approximately 90 minutes) will take you to the start of today’s historic walk along the “Way of St. James.” The coastal route that you follow today is considered to be the oldest of the paths leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where many believe St. James is buried. Our path dates back more than 1,000 years and is believed to be the first institutionalized route used by religious pilgrims. The natural beauty of today’s walk—featuring vistas of the Bay of Biscay and small rugged coves—will become even more spectacular as you reach the summit of Mount Jaizkibel. You’ll then shuttle five minutes to the Sanctuary of Guadalupe, where a 15th-century Black Madonna is kept. From here, you can shuttle to our next hotel or continue your walk through the quaint fishing town of Hondarribia before ending at our hotel.

After free time for lunch on your own in Hondarribia, you will explore the town with a local guide, who will acquaint you with the history of your home for the next three nights. Hondarribia is a town with two identities: one belonging to the lower port town and the other to the 800-year-old medieval walled town above, with its balcony-lined cobblestone streets and magnificent vistas of the sea, the Bidasoa River, and neighboring France.

This evening, you can choose from among Hondarribia’s many gourmet restaurants for dinner on your own.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Hotel Obispo

Today, you’ll take a short walk from our hotel to the pier and then enjoy a five-minute ferry ride across the Bidasoa River to Hendaye, France. This seaside resort with its long stretch of beach will be your starting point for today’s walk. Your narrow dirt path will meander past stunning cliffs, scenic coves and quaint villages before you arrive at St. Jean-de-Luz, one of the most attractive towns on the French Basque coast. You will have ample opportunities during the walk to shuttle to our destination if you would prefer more time exploring St. Jean-de-Luz.

There are many sites to visit in this idyllic town, such as the Maison Louis XIV, a temporary residence of the Sun King, who came here in 1660 for his marriage to Maria Theresa. You can also visit the nearby church where the pair was married, the largest Basque church in France. Or simply enjoy exploring the town’s picturesque harbor and pedestrian-friendly streets. Enjoy lunch on your own in one of the many outdoor cafés. Later in the afternoon, you may take the 12-minute train journey back to Hendaye.

This evening, you will have the special privilege of being a guest at a members-only, private gastronomic society, or txoko, as it is known in Basque. Txoko members tend to be mostly men who have shared interests in cooking creative meals for their guests. When Basque culture was suppressed under the reign of Francisco Franco, txokos became safe havens where members could share their language and traditions as well as their love of cooking. Women used to be banned from the society; today, however, they are welcome to dine with the men.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Hotel Obispo

For today’s walk, you can choose from among several options, depending upon your interests. After breakfast, walk to Hondarribia’s marina and fishing port to see the many holiday boats and fishing trawlers. You may start a later morning walk from the hotel to the River Bidasoa marshlands, at times treading in the pilgrim’s footsteps on the “Way of St. James.” Later in the afternoon, you have the option to shuttle back into Hondarribia and explore the town’s art galleries, restaurants, and shops.

Tonight, you’ll learn how to replicate the flavors of Basque Country in our own hotel kitchen during an exclusive cooking demonstration, followed by a dinner in the hotel.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Hotel Obispo

After breakfast, you’ll transfer 45 minutes to the town of Tolosa, located on the Oria River. After a brief tour of Tolosa, you’ll have a short shuttle ride into the surrounding hills to the quaint village of Bidania. Today, your path will be a mostly steady incline through lovely forested hills and valleys. Stopping for lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to feast on a Basque specialty: alubias de Tolosa, or Tolosa beans—purple-black legumes that turn red when cooked and are celebrated for their rich, buttery flavor. You’ll also have a chance to sample the local sidra (hard apple cider). Following lunch, you have the option to continue walking through the lovely countryside to our accommodations—a hotel within a restored, 17th-century jauregia (palace)—or you can travel there by van.

This evening, meet the jauregia’s owners and learn about the history of and future plans for this unique property. You will also have a Basque language class to prepare you for dinner on your own, or perhaps for a walk into town to sample the nightlife at the local pub.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Iriarte Jauregia Hotel

Today’s walk immerses you in Basque country life as you meander through a series of hamlets on lesser-traveled (but paved) roads, past peaceful pastures nestled in the valleys. You’ll hear tinkling cowbells and see sheep grazing as you walk beneath the shade of apple trees. A charming stone farmhouse will be the setting for today’s lunch. Our host is Pello Urdapilleta, whose family has raised Euskal txerria—a breed of pig found only in the Basque region—for generations. Pello will introduce us to the rural culinary delights of this region of Spain. After an included lunch, you have two options: You can shuttle back to our hotel, or you can return by foot retracing your morning path.

Tonight, enjoy your farewell dinner at the jauregia. You will be treated to a delicious dinner prepared by the palace’s creative and renowned chef.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Iriarte Jauregia Hotel

This morning, you’ll transfer to San Sebastián. Upon arrival to this beautiful seaside town you will enjoy an easy stroll along the town’s two-mile-long beachfront promenade, which offers views of beautiful La Concha Bay. You will soon discover why Queen Isabella II and other wealthy aristocrats would spend their summer holidays in this scenic corner of Spain. To help get your bearings, you’ll ride the funicular to the lookout atop Monte Igueldo, which will give you a great perspective on this scenic seaside resort. Continue with your exploration in the Casco Viejo (Old Town), which dates back to the 12th century. Here you’ll enjoy lunch on your own in one of the many restaurants. You may want to sample local pintxos, the Basque form of tapas. Given the Basque passion for cuisine, these delectable small plate morsels are usually more substantive and complex than their Spanish tapas counterparts.

The remainder of the day is free for you to explore this vibrant city at leisure. Perhaps enjoy an afternoon walk to the summit of Monte Urgull, where you will find Castillo de la Mota. The castle was built to defend the city from attackers and allowed San Sebastián to prosper during the Middle Ages. Later, check-in at your seaside hotel (official check-in time is 3 p.m. so rooms may not be ready until that time). Dinner tonight is on your own in this gastronomic city. Based on the number of Michelin stars per capita, San Sebastián ranks number two among the world’s best dining cities.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra

This morning, a complimentary small-group transfer is provided to Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport, based on your departure time. (Departure time will be communicated to you by your guides on tour.)

Sat, May 16 to Fri, May 22 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

Your guide(s) meet you at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby of the designated meeting point hotel in Bilbao. Your guide(s) will be wearing a Country Walkers shirt. Please be dressed for walking.

Following introductions and a welcome briefing you will walk to the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, designed by acclaimed architect Frank Gehry. You will enjoy a 90-minute informative tour given by one of the museum guides regarding the building’s architecture and the current works on display. At the end of the tour, you will walk with your guides to Bilbao’s old town where your will have an opportunity to have lunch on your own.

Later this afternoon, join your guides on a walk and discover how this city has reinvented itself, with its host of modern sites designed by world-renowned architects. The metro is a combination of architectural craft and engineering prowess by Britain’s famed architect Sir Norman Foster, and you will readily see his dramatic, curved-glass metro entrances, which are locally known as fosteritos, or “little Fosters.” Other masterpieces include Philippe Stark’s La Alhandiga, which is an old wine warehouse converted into a multicultural center; and Iberdrola Tower, the tallest tower in the Basque country, designed by Cesar Pelli.

This evening, get to know your fellow travelers and guides during a welcome reception and dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: NH Collection Villa de Bilbao

After breakfast, your transfer (approximately 90 minutes) will take you to the start of today’s historic walk along the “Way of St. James.” The coastal route that you follow today is considered to be the oldest of the paths leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where many believe St. James is buried. Our path dates back more than 1,000 years and is believed to be the first institutionalized route used by religious pilgrims. The natural beauty of today’s walk—featuring vistas of the Bay of Biscay and small rugged coves—will become even more spectacular as you reach the summit of Mount Jaizkibel. You’ll then shuttle five minutes to the Sanctuary of Guadalupe, where a 15th-century Black Madonna is kept. From here, you can shuttle to our next hotel or continue your walk through the quaint fishing town of Hondarribia before ending at our hotel.

After free time for lunch on your own in Hondarribia, you will explore the town with a local guide, who will acquaint you with the history of your home for the next three nights. Hondarribia is a town with two identities: one belonging to the lower port town and the other to the 800-year-old medieval walled town above, with its balcony-lined cobblestone streets and magnificent vistas of the sea, the Bidasoa River, and neighboring France.

This evening, you can choose from among Hondarribia’s many gourmet restaurants for dinner on your own.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Hotel Obispo

Today, you’ll take a short walk from our hotel to the pier and then enjoy a five-minute ferry ride across the Bidasoa River to Hendaye, France. This seaside resort with its long stretch of beach will be your starting point for today’s walk. Your narrow dirt path will meander past stunning cliffs, scenic coves and quaint villages before you arrive at St. Jean-de-Luz, one of the most attractive towns on the French Basque coast. You will have ample opportunities during the walk to shuttle to our destination if you would prefer more time exploring St. Jean-de-Luz.

There are many sites to visit in this idyllic town, such as the Maison Louis XIV, a temporary residence of the Sun King, who came here in 1660 for his marriage to Maria Theresa. You can also visit the nearby church where the pair was married, the largest Basque church in France. Or simply enjoy exploring the town’s picturesque harbor and pedestrian-friendly streets. Enjoy lunch on your own in one of the many outdoor cafés. Later in the afternoon, you may take the 12-minute train journey back to Hendaye.

This evening, you will have the special privilege of being a guest at a members-only, private gastronomic society, or txoko, as it is known in Basque. Txoko members tend to be mostly men who have shared interests in cooking creative meals for their guests. When Basque culture was suppressed under the reign of Francisco Franco, txokos became safe havens where members could share their language and traditions as well as their love of cooking. Women used to be banned from the society; today, however, they are welcome to dine with the men.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Hotel Obispo

For today’s walk, you can choose from among several options, depending upon your interests. After breakfast, walk to Hondarribia’s marina and fishing port to see the many holiday boats and fishing trawlers. You may start a later morning walk from the hotel to the River Bidasoa marshlands, at times treading in the pilgrim’s footsteps on the “Way of St. James.” Later in the afternoon, you have the option to shuttle back into Hondarribia and explore the town’s art galleries, restaurants, and shops.

Tonight, you’ll learn how to replicate the flavors of Basque Country in our own hotel kitchen during an exclusive cooking demonstration, followed by a dinner in the hotel.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Hotel Obispo

After breakfast, you’ll transfer 45 minutes to the town of Tolosa, located on the Oria River. After a brief tour of Tolosa, you’ll have a short shuttle ride into the surrounding hills to the quaint village of Bidania. Today, your path will be a mostly steady incline through lovely forested hills and valleys. Stopping for lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to feast on a Basque specialty: alubias de Tolosa, or Tolosa beans—purple-black legumes that turn red when cooked and are celebrated for their rich, buttery flavor. You’ll also have a chance to sample the local sidra (hard apple cider). Following lunch, you have the option to continue walking through the lovely countryside to our accommodations—a hotel within a restored, 17th-century jauregia (palace)—or you can travel there by van.

This evening, meet the jauregia’s owners and learn about the history of and future plans for this unique property. You will also have a Basque language class to prepare you for dinner on your own, or perhaps for a walk into town to sample the nightlife at the local pub.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Iriarte Jauregia Hotel

Today’s walk immerses you in Basque country life as you meander through a series of hamlets on lesser-traveled (but paved) roads, past peaceful pastures nestled in the valleys. You’ll hear tinkling cowbells and see sheep grazing as you walk beneath the shade of apple trees. A charming stone farmhouse will be the setting for today’s lunch. Our host is Pello Urdapilleta, whose family has raised Euskal txerria—a breed of pig found only in the Basque region—for generations. Pello will introduce us to the rural culinary delights of this region of Spain. After an included lunch, you have two options: You can shuttle back to our hotel, or you can return by foot retracing your morning path.

Tonight, enjoy your farewell dinner at the jauregia. You will be treated to a delicious dinner prepared by the palace’s creative and renowned chef.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Accommodation: Iriarte Jauregia Hotel

This morning, you’ll transfer to San Sebastián. Upon arrival to this beautiful seaside town you will enjoy an easy stroll along the town’s two-mile-long beachfront promenade, which offers views of beautiful La Concha Bay. You will soon discover why Queen Isabella II and other wealthy aristocrats would spend their summer holidays in this scenic corner of Spain. To help get your bearings, you’ll ride the funicular to the lookout atop Monte Igueldo, which will give you a great perspective on this scenic seaside resort. Continue with your exploration in the Casco Viejo (Old Town), which dates back to the 12th century. Here you’ll enjoy lunch on your own in one of the many restaurants. You may want to sample local pintxos, the Basque form of tapas. Given the Basque passion for cuisine, these delectable small plate morsels are usually more substantive and complex than their Spanish tapas counterparts.

Your luggage will be stored for your pick-up at the nearby Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra where your walking tour will end at 1 p.m. Please note: The hotel will help you book a taxi at your own expense to your next hotel, train station or airport.

Included Meals: Breakfast,

Linger Longer with a Tour Extension

Spain: A Walking Tour Of Basque Country 1
Pre-Tour

Pre-Tour Extension - Madrid

  • Two nights at the NH Paseo del Prado Hotel
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

2 Nights From $498
per person, double occupancy

Overnight flight from USA to Madrid, Spain. Please refer to your air itinerary for your specific flight details.

Upon arrival at Madrid’s airport, a representative holding a Country Walkers sign meets you as you exit the baggage-claim area. A complimentary small-group transfer will be provided to your Madrid hotel, approximately 30 minutes away. The remainder of the day is at your leisure (no meals included).

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please let our Airport staff or representative know by calling or sending a text message to +39 334 221 88 93. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer. You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay and they will contact our transfer service.

Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m., in which case you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Accommodation: NH Paseo del Prado

Enjoy your first full day of independent exploration in Spain’s capital. Your hotel is conveniently located on the Paseo del Prado, within the “Golden Triangle of Art” comprising three art museums: the Prado Museum, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (a modern art museum) and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which is housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.

After visiting the museums in your neighborhood, you may wish to continue walking to the Royal Palace (Palacio Real), the official residence of the Spanish royal family, or the nearby Teatro Real, featuring a restored Opera House. Tonight, try one of the many renowned restaurants in this gastronomic capital.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: NH Paseo del Prado

Transfer to Madrid’s airport today for your hour-long flight to Bilbao. Upon arrival at the Bilbao airport, claim your luggage. Please make certain your Country Walkers luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your Country Walkers representative can identify you. As you enter the arrival hall, look for your Country Walkers representative holding a Country Walkers sign. Please wait here while your representative helps make arrangements for your transfer to your hotel in Bilbao (a drive of approximately 20 – 30 minutes).

Included Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: NH Collection Villa de Bilbao

Spain: A Walking Tour Of Basque Country
Post-Tour

Post-Tour Extension - San Sabastian Post Tour Extension

  • Two nights at the Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

2 Nights From $448
per person, double occupancy

Your hotel’s location allows multiple options for exploring San Sebastián on foot. You may want to venture inland to what is considered the “romantic area” of San Sebastián. Cross the Santa Catalina Bridge, walk along the Paseo de Francia with its stately French-style mansions and enjoy the elegant Cristina-Enea Park. You may also enjoy the Bilbao Square, with its circular shape breaking away from the more rationalistic side streets. No matter which neighborhood you choose to wander around, you will not be disappointed by San Sebastián architecture. Lunch and dinner are on your own tonight.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra

Continue your exploration of San Sebastián with a tour of its museums. The San Telmo Museum located in the Old Town is housed in a 16th-century convent. This building has been transformed into the current Museum of Basque Society and Citizenship with a look at the Basque culture through its archaeological, ethnographic, and artistic collections along with audiovisual features of today’s top Basque creators. The Palacio del Mar, or Aquarium, is one of the most modern in Europe and may be of interest for marine enthusiasts.

This evening enjoy your last night in the Basque Country with a celebratory dinner at one of San Sebastián’s superb gastronomic restaurants.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra

A complimentary small-group transfer is provided to Bilbao’s Airport based upon your departure time. (Transfer time to be communicated by your guides on tour.)

Included Meals: Breakfast

What's Included

Flight + Tour Combo
Tour Only
Exceptional boutique accommodations Check Check
12 on-tour meals: 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners Check Check
Local guides with you throughout tour Check Check
Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary Check Check
Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by One Call International Check Check
Roundtrip airfare Check
One extra night in Bilbao and one extra night in San Sebastian Check
Airport car service for arrival & departure Check
Pre- and post-tour breakfasts Check
Business-class upgrades available Check
Morocco: Marrakesh, Foothills of the High Atlas & Essaouira

Dates & Prices

Flight + Tour Combo

10 days. Includes round-trip international airfare, airport car service, additional hotel nights with included breakfast, and your tour.

Single Supplement: From $598

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Tour Only

7 days. Includes your tour only.

Single Supplement: From $248

Thu, May 14 - Sat, May 23

$4,348

Reserve Online

Sat, May 16 - Fri, May 22

$3,198

Reserve Online

Thu, Jun 4 - Sat, Jun 13

$4,348

Reserve Online

Sat, Jun 6 - Fri, Jun 12

$3,198

Reserve Online

Thu, Sep 3 - Sat, Sep 12

$4,348

Reserve Online

Sat, Sep 5 - Fri, Sep 11

$3,198

Reserve Online

Thu, Sep 24 - Sat, Oct 3

$4,348

Reserve Online

Sat, Sep 26 - Fri, Oct 2

$3,198

Reserve Online

Thu, Oct 8 - Sat, Oct 17

$4,348

Reserve Online

Sat, Oct 10 - Fri, Oct 16

$3,198

Reserve Online

Thu, Oct 22 - Sat, Oct 31

$3,848

Reserve Online

Sat, Oct 24 - Fri, Oct 30

$2,848

Reserve Online

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