If food and wine are your passions, then this unparalleled 12-day trip through the heart of Spain's Basque Country has your name on it. You'll see Barcelona's highlights — including the Sagrada Familia — as well as the coastal towns of the Bay of Biscay. Tour family wineries, visit shepherds, and hop from pintxos bar to pintxos bar, grazing until your heart's content.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a tour of San Sebastian, including La Sagrada Familia 
  • Taste the renowned cuisine of Basque Country
  • Explore Barcelona's buzzing culinary scene & taste local pintxos
  • Experience the gastronomic center of Bilbao
  • Visit the iconic town of Gaztelugatxe, featured in Game of Thrones

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Barcelona & Food Tour  Barcelona
Day 2 Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Familia  Barcelona
Day 3 Free Day in Barcelona Barcelona
Day 4 Day Trip to Montserrat & Wine Tour Barcelona
Day 5 Train from Barcelona to San Sebastian & Culinary Experience San Sebastian
Day 6 Day Trip to to Hondarribia & Pasai Donibane San Sebastian
Day 7 Free Day in San Sebastián  San Sebastian
Day 8 Transfer to Bilbao, Coastal Tour & Wine Tasting Bilbao
Day 9 Bike Tour & Urban Winemaking in Bilbao Bilbao
Day 10 Free Day in Bilbao Bilbao
Day 11 Transfer to Barcelona & Wine Tour of La Rioja Barcelona
Day 12 Depart Barcelona  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Barcelona & Food Tour 

La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona

Welcome to Spain!

Upon arrival at Barcelona's El Prat Airpor, transfer into the city where you can check into your hotel and unwind. You'll then have the afternoon and evening to explore the cuisine of Barcelona with the help of an expert guide.

The adventure kicks off at an old bodega-turned tapas bar, where things have hardly changed since the 1930s. With a glass of the city’s favorite aperitif—sweet vermouth—in hand, you’ll enjoy a tasting of locally cured meats, cheeses, olives, and other Spanish delicacies. 

Your foodie excursion continues with a stroll through Barcelona’s stunning Gothic Quarter, during which your guide will point out sights of interest on the narrow medieval streets as they lead the way to the next eatery. This second tapas bar is a staple of Barcelona and a true local haunt. Although it only has a few dishes on the menu, they’re all spectacular.

Afterward, head to another historic neighborhood where your guide will continue to reveal insight into the area's architecture, history, and culture. Eventually, you'll arrive at the third and final tapas bar. Pull up a seat, because it's time to indulge once more in traditional Catalan dishes paired with the region's globally renowned wine. Delicious must-try tapas include patatas bravas (fried potatoes with aioli), calamari, gambas (prawns), cured ham, croquettes, mussels, chorizo, and much more. 

And it wouldn't be dinner in Barcelona without something sweet to cap the meal. Be sure to save room for a traditional Spanish dessert, like crema Catalonia. This sweet custard is made with oranges and cinnamon and is Spain's answer to the classic creme brûlée.

Day 2: Tour of Barcelona & La Sagrada Familia 

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

After breakfast, you'll start your day with a guided walking tour of Barcelona, which includes its greatest monument, La Sagrada Familia, a spectacular Roman Catholic church and UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. During this half-day excursion, you will see some of the city's most emblematic spots and hidden corners while learning about Gaudí and his jaw-dropping masterpiece, which is still under construction.

Your guide will be on hand to answer all your questions, including a lunch recommendation. Spend the afternoon enjoying the city at your own pace. For a unique experience, embark on an afternoon chartered sailboat tour of the Mediterranean coast. You'll spend two hours sailing the beautiful waters while enjoying panoramic views of the city's skyline. 

Day 3: Free Day in Barcelona

Barceloneta Beach
Barceloneta Beach

Today is a free day to explore Barcelona any way you'd like! This enchanting, creative, and much-loved city offers plenty of options from cultural sightseeing to gastronomy tours. If you haven't experienced them yet, you'll likely want to check out notable attractions such as Park Guëll, Casa Milà, Casa Batllò, the Picasso Museum, Las Ramblas, La Boqueria market, Camp Nou football stadium, the Gothic Quarter, and Tibidabo amusement park.

If you're looking for a nature break, head to Barceloneta Beach situated against the deep blue Mediterranean sea where sun-drenched beaches create a pretty setting for a lazy day on the sand. There are also jogging and biking paths to work up a sweat, or you can take a long stroll followed by a refreshing dip in the sea. Vendors on the beach offer kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and a range of sunset cruises options. Alternatively, head to Barcelona's surrounding mountains for a range of hiking and biking trails with spectacular views.

Day 4: Day Trip to Montserrat & Wine Tour

The monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat
The monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat

Today, you'll enjoy a full-day tour of Barcelona's countryside and wine country. 

After meeting your driver/guide at the hotel, you'll travel 28 miles (45 km) outside of Barcelona to the Montserrat Mountains. Your destination is Catalonia's holiest site, the 16th-century Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat. Sitting on a mountain at an altitude of 4,055 feet (1,266 meters), the views from here are spectacular. You can reach the monastery on a 1.5-hour hike from the town of Monistrol de Montserrat or simply take a five-minute cable car.

Upon arrival, your guide will lead you on a highlights tour of the monastery. These include the basilica, where above the altar hangs an impressive statue of the Virgin of Montserrat, the patron saint of Barcelona. You'll also visit the best vantage points around the monastery to snap photos of the incredible vistas.   

After the guided tour, you can explore on your own. Maybe take the funicular to nearby Santa Cova. Also known as the "Holy Grotto," this is a religious shrine located in a mountain cave and is an important pilgrimage site. Or you could visit the Museum of Montserrat. This impressive museum features archeological items from throughout the monastery's long history and paintings by masters like Caravaggio, Dalí, and Picasso.

Afterward, you'll hop in the car and transfer about 30 minutes from Montserrat to Oller del Mas, a 10th-century castle that's also a venerable winery. Oller del Mas is located outside the city of Manresa in Pla de Bages, a small grape-growing region in Catalonia that enjoys a Designation of Origin (DO) status due to the fine wines it produces. Located at the foot of Montserrat, from the castle you'll be able to look back at incredible views of the mountains. 

Before visiting the winery, though, you'll stop at the Oller del Mas country club for a traditional, multi-course Catalan lunch with wine pairings. Later in the afternoon, you'll walk over to the vineyards where and enjoy a tour led by an expert oenologist. Not only will you see the vines, but you'll visit the production plant and old cellar, which is located inside the castle. Then it will be time for a tasting of three different wines produced by Oller de Mas and paired with delicious cheeses. 

Afterward, you'll transfer back to Barcelona.

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Day 5: Train from Barcelona to San Sebastian & Culinary Experience

San Sebastian, in Spain's northern Basque country
San Sebastian, in Spain's northern Basque country

After breakfast, transfer to Barcelona's train station where you'll embark on a five-hour railway journey. The destination is the northern Atlantic coast and the city of San Sebastian, which sits on the Bay of Biscay near the border with France. It's located in the heart of Basque Country, one of Spain's most beautiful regions and a haven for foodies across the globe.

In the afternoon, you'll meet a local guide who will take you on a foodie tour of a city that's famous for its delicious cuisine. 

After meeting your guide, head to the famous Parte Vieja ("Old Quarter"), which is situated in the east of the city between the ocean and the River Urumea. At the edge of Old Town is the iconic San Sebastian City Hall. Constructed in 1887, it used to be the Gran Casino during the Belle Époque period until it was closed in 1924. The building still overlooks the bay, from where an elegant promenade with railings and street lamps runs along the crescent-shaped La Concha Beach.

The Basque region is known for a type of tapas called pintxos (pronounced "peenchos"). Most bars, cafés, and restaurants in the Parte Vieja serve some version of these bite-sized delicacies, and naturally, they're best paired with some delicious local wines. Here it's possible (and indeed encouraged), to hop from pintxos bar to pintxos bar, grazing until your heart's content.

Day 6: Day Trip to to Hondarribia & Pasai Donibane

San Sebastian
San Sebastian

On this tour, you'll have the opportunity to visit a Txakoli winery and visit the streets of the city of Hondarribia, as well as Pasai Donibane.

Depart from San Sebastian and drive to Hondarribia, where you'll have a walking tour of the city from the Old Town to the colorful fishermen's homes of the marina. The walls of this ancient city hide thousands of stories, and your knowledgeable guide will bring them to life as you meander through the alleys and courtyards. Among other notable historical events, Hondarribia was besieged several times by French troops. 

After visiting Hondarribia, head to Pasai Donibane (San Juan) for some free exploration time and a stop for lunch. From here, head to a winery to visit the vineyards and get an insider's look into the production process of the local wine. You'll have the opportunity to taste the winery's wines and enjoy an aperitif and tapas. 

Afterward, end your tour and drive back to San Sebastian for a laidback evening in the city.

Day 7: Free Day in San Sebastián 

Walking through the golden fields

Today you have a free day to discover San Sebastián on your own, or you can decide to do an optional day trip with a private guide. Options include:

  • Visit the first Underwater Winery. Your guide will take you north to Plentzia, where you will visit the world's first underwater winery. Enjoy a tasting and learn about the unique underwater wine-making process.
  • Take a culinary day trip to Getaria, located a half-hour down the coast from San Sebastián. The town is one of the most popular entry points in Basque Country for fresh tuna and shiny Cantabrian anchovies. You'll glean insight into the area's rich fishing culture by meeting and chatting with various artisans who work on the waterfront hand-packing fish. End the trip with a tour of the surrounding countryside and a stop in the postcard surfer village of Zarautz, where you'll take a mini-tour of the local food scene, indulging in more pintxos and toasting new friends with glass after glass of regional wine.
  • Spend the day hiking along the famed Camino de Santiago along the coast. Enjoy the views of the Basque Coast, then end the hike in the fishing village of Pasajes San Juan, where the famous French writer Victor Hugo resided and got the inspiration for some of his works. 
  • Hike to Mount Ernio, visit a nearby mountain village, and stop to see the religious sanctuary of Loiola in the afternoon.
  • Enjoy a food & wine tour of the countryside. You'll visit a traditional sheep farm to see how the local Idiazabal cheese is made and try your hand at making your own batch of cheese. Continue the tour to the local white wine Txakoli region to see the vineyards of a family-owned winery and enjoy a wine tasting, paired with local pintxos. 

Day 8: Transfer to Bilbao, Coastal Tour & Wine Tasting

Enjoy the ride
Enjoy the ride

Your private driver will take you to Bilbao along the coast while you stop to try different wines. You'll drive a short way to the Gorka Izagirre winery, which boasts the largest txakolí wine cellar in Basque Country. This local white wine pairs perfectly with the delectable fish and shellfish of the region, and you'll discover its white fruit and floral notes on a tasting tour. 

You'll travel a couple of miles deeper into Urdaibai to the town of Mundaka, which sits on an estuary home to magnificent wetlands. Continue driving a few minutes along the coast to the colorful fishing village of Bermeo. Not only is this the Basque region's most important fishing port, but it's also located at the edge of Urdaibai, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and protected area home to some of Spain's most gorgeous coastal landscapes.

Your final stop before arriving in Bilbao is Gaztelugatxe, perched atop which is a hermitage dating back to the 11th century. This little island is most noteworthy for the long stone bridge that connects it to the mainland. Game of Thrones fans will recognize it as the filming location for Dragonstone, which was featured in season seven. 

Day 9: Bike Tour & Urban Winemaking in Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum is the star of Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum is the star of Bilbao

You'll have the entire morning to discover Bilbao by bike on a guided tour with an expert local guide who will take you to the more colorful neighborhoods in the city, particularly along the waterfront. The guide can also tailor the tour according to your interests. 

In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to create your own wine bottle to bring home. This is a fantastic opportunity for wine lovers to delve into the world of wine without leaving the city center of Bilbao. This urban winery is set up by prestigious oenologists Pepe Hidalgo and Ana Martin. Apart from a splendid selection of international wines, the handpicked premium Spanish wines change weekly, so you're always in for a treat.

Here, you're invited to taste varietal wines decanted straight from the vats and blend your own wine under the watchful eye of the expert oenologist.

Day 10: Free Day in Bilbao

City Hall in Bilbao
City Hall in Bilbao

Today you can explore Bilbao on your own.

You can start in the center of Bilbao, at Plaza Moyua which was established in 1876 and features a beautiful fountain and gardens. Here you can admire the architecture of the 19th-century palace, Txabarri Jauregia. Walk toward the eastern side of the river and cross the Arenal Bridge, where you can view the 18th-century San Nikolas Cathedral and the Teatro Arriaga.

If you have more time, stroll through one of the city's parks, such as the hilly Parque Etxebarria with views over the city, or Casilda Iturrizar Park, which is filled with gardens and fountains. 

For dinner, do as the locals and hop from bar to bar in search of traditional pintxos, which are similar to tapas. 

Optional activities for the day include:

  • Join food expert Paul Ibarra, awarded with a Michelin Bib Gourmand, for a hands-on Basque cooking class to master local mouthwatering dishes. You'll start your culinary adventure at Bilbao's Ribera Food Market, in the midst of fishmongers and local farmers, then make your way to the cooking studio. In this cozy setting – aprons strung, chopping, and chatting away – and assisted by our award-winning chefs, you will rustle up some culinary triumphs. Afterward, relax and sit back to sample your culinary creations, of course, accompanied by a glass of premium wine
  • Indulge in the finest pintxos Bilbao has to offer while traversing the vibrant quarters of the city with your expert guide. Nibble your way through Bilbao as your guide dishes out some savory tales about Bilbao's culinary habits. From the elegant classics to the highly creative newcomers, immerse yourself in the city's zesty food scene. 

Day 11: Transfer to Barcelona & Wine Tour of La Rioja

Sunset over the La Rioja vineyards
Sunset over the La Rioja vineyards

In the morning make your way back to Barcelona. On the way, stop at La Rioja, Spain's famous wine-producing region, for a winery tour and tasting. More than a tasting, this visit is an immersive viticulture experience that showcases the entire winemaking process, from planting the vine to labeling the bottle. 

The tour begins with your arrival at a local family-run winery and a walk through the vineyards. Here you'll learn about the growing cycle of the vines and even participate in cultivation. Depending on the time of year and the state of the grapevines, you can take part in the pruning, canopy-thinning, and even harvesting, provided the berries are ripe to do so. Afterward, you'll relax and enjoy a light snack right in the vineyards.

At the end of the tour, continue to Barcelona. Enjoy your last night in Spain with a flamenco show, or opt for a relaxed evening at the hotel.

Day 12: Depart Barcelona

Sunset in Barcelona
Sunset in Barcelona

It's time to say farewell to Barcelona. Depending on the time of your flight, enjoy one last walk through the city. At the designated time, you'll transfer to the airport for your departure.