Immerse yourself in the rich culture, proud traditions and striking natural beauty of Basque Spain and France on this seven-night adventure based in the lovely border town of Hondarribia. Explore Bayonne’s Gothic cathedral and the renowned seaside towns of San Sebastián and Biarritz. Visit the Basque villages of St-Jean-de-Luz and Espelette, where strings of red peppers decorate whitewashed homes. Marvel at the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim in Bilbao and admire Hemingway’s beloved Pamplona. Along the way, learn about traditions at a 16th-century country home, visit a cider house and dine at a txoko, an exclusive Basque gastronomical club.
- Pricing from
Small group: Sized just right at 28 guests!
- Trip Type
- Individual Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages
- Departure Dates
- May 9, 2020 - May 17, 2020
7 nights in Hondarribia, Spain, at the first-class Parador de Hondarribia.
- day 1
Depart for Bilbao, Spain.
- day 2
Bilbao, Spain | Hondarribia
Transfer to the Parador de Hondarribia, housed in the Castle of Carlos V, a 10th-century hilltop fortress. Gather for a Welcome Reception and Dinner tonight.
- day 3
Enrichment: A History of Northern Spain. For thousands of years, the Basque people have preserved their distinctive culture and language.
Delve into the history of the region and Hondarribia. Discovery: Hondarribia. Get better acquainted with your home base on a guided walk through the beautifully conserved medieval center. Then visit the
Santuario de Gaudalupe chapel, which offers scenic vistas of the town and Txingudi Bay. Break for lunch before your excursion in San Sebastián. Discovery: San Sebastián. In this vibrant resort city, see the Old Town highlights, including the Buen Pastor Cathedral and the grand Belle Epoque buildings. Stroll on the waterfront promenade for
incredible views of La Concha Bay. Free Time: Perhaps try the pintxos (tapas) bars in Hondarribia tonight. Have a drink and a few pintxos
at one place, then head to the next!
- day 4
Bayonne, France | Biarritz
Discovery: Bayonne. This lovely gem is France’s Basque capital. Visit the Sainte-Marie Cathedral and its cloisters during a guided Old Town walking tour. Relax over lunch at a rustic cidrerie, or cider house.
Discovery: Biarritz. Delight in this chic seaside resort on the Bay of Biscay. On a guided waterfront walk, start at the Casino Barriere and head to the rocky outcrop, Rocher de la Vierge. Visit the old fishing port and the medieval Atalaye watch tower. Discover the Basque tradition of txokos, private gastronomical societies where members gather to socialize and bond over food and drink. Relish a private dining
experience at one of Hondarribia’s clubs tonight.
- day 5
Discovery: Bilbao and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The Guggenheim Bilbao, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is regarded
as one of the most important buildings of the 20th century. View the exciting modern art at this visually stunning museum. Next, see Bilbao’s landmarks on a panoramic tour, followed by lunch in the city.
- day 6
Sare, France | Espelette | Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Discovery: French Basque Traditions and Espelette. Step back in time at Maison Ortillopitz, a 16th-century farmhouse in Sare, and gain insights about French Basque family customs. Continue to Espelette, where strands of flame-red peppers hang from whitewashed homes, the traditional method of drying the peppers. Enjoy a guided walk and lunch in this charming town. Enrichment: Basque Strength Games. Learn about these rural games based on farming tasks, such as chopping wood, lifting stones and sawing. Discovery: Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Journey to this pretty waterfront town and hear about its intriguing history from your guide on a walking tour. Enrichment: The Romance of Hemingway and Spain. Appreciate Ernest Hemingway’s passion for Spanish culture, which greatly influenced his writing.
- day 7
Discovery: Pamplona. Hemingway brought worldwide attention to the town’s signature event, the chaotic Running of the Bulls, in his novel,
“The Sun Also Rises.” Meander down the atmospheric streets, where crowds throng each July during the weeklong festival of San Fermín. See the bullfighting ring and the Gothic Santa Maria Cathedral.
Free Time: Find a nice spot for lunch in Pamplona. Enrichment: The Way of St. James. Europe’s oldest pilgrimage route, which includes several stops in Basque Country, is both a spiritual and cultural journey that leads to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. Understand more about its enduring appeal.
- day 8
Free Time: Plan a fun agenda in Hondarribia today or choose to join the Elective Activity. ELECTIVE | Wines of the French Basque Country. Explore the well-preserved, walled old town of St. Jean Pied de Port. Then travel through the breathtaking French countryside to sample fine
wines created in the tiny Irouléguy wine region. Tonight, celebrate your remarkable immersion in Basque Country with your fellow travelers
at a Farewell Reception and Dinner.
- day 9
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to your gateway city
Everything you need to know about the tour
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