Discover the most emblematic spots of this gentle corner of Spain. Ancient history, culture, and language, but a modern way of life with amazing gastronomy and wines. For nature lovers, you also have a selection of great outdoor activities and lovely cities with fantastic beaches at the foothills of the Pyrenees. This 5-day itinerary was designed to help you discover these great places, and learn about the Basque Country and its people.

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore the city of Bilbao Bilbao
Day 2 Coast of Biscay & Fishing town of Getaria Getaria
Day 3 Txakoli, Elkano and St Ignatius San Sebastian
Day 4 Discovering  San Sebastian San Sebastian
Day 5 Hike through Ulia Mountain to Pasajes de San Juan  

Day 1: Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Starting from the city of Bilbao, we highly recommend a visit to the Guggenheim Museum (perhaps the Fine Arts Museum, as well). We can go straight to the museum, and then walk all along the Nervion river towards the Casco Viejo (the Old Part) admiring the astonishing renovation of all this part of the city, once a very active industrial center, and all the modern buildings and constructions, such as: the Isozaki Towers, the Santiago Calatrava´s Zubizuri Bridge, Rafael Moneo´s Deusto University Library, Cesar Pelli´s Iberdrola Tower.

A walk in time to get to the modernist area with Joaquin Ruicoba´s City Hall, Luis Ispizua's Train Station, Arriaga Theater, La Ribera Market and the gothic  Cathedral of Santiago. The Casco Viejo or The Seven Streets is the oldest district and the original nucleus of the city of Bilbao, a "must" in Bilbao to understand the beginnings of this city and try some pintxos.

Day 2: Coast of Biscay & Getaria

Biscay Bay Asturias, Spain

Starting from Bilbao, we will go to Donostia through the amazing Coast of Biscay. On our way, we will visit  the impressive World Heritage Bridge of Biscay, Getxo, the astonishing San Juan de Gaztelugatxe island, Bermeo, Mundaka and the famous village of Gernika. 

In the afternoon, right by the ocean, the pretty town of Getaria will be our host town for tonight. After an intense and very interesting day, time to enjoy an amazing dinner in one of the very prestigious restaurants of this charming fishing town where the best fish of the region is well prepared in the barbecues. 

Day 3: San Sebastian

You'll have options in the morning to visit Getaria, the interesting Cristobal Balenciaga Museum (a famous fashion designer) or the monument that explains how Juan Sebastian Elkano, a famous local sailor, lead the first expedition that circumnavigated the Earth in the 16th century. You can also visit a Txakoli (local white wine) winery under the D.O. Getariako Txakolina or the historic sanctuary of Loiola, birthplace of San Ignatius of Loiola, founder of the Jesuits.

After an educating morning in the Urola region, it's time to enjoy a ride along the coast and through the mountains passing the towns of Zarautz and Orio, before we get to San Sebastian. We will spend the night in San Sebastian. Tonight, time to explore the local gastronomy in town with a must-to-do ¨pintxos tour¨in the Old Quarter with a local host.

Day 4: San Sebastian

A stroll by the best beach in Europe and the sixth in the world, the famous La Concha Beach, the pretty Miramar Royal Palace (built in 1893 for the queen Maria Cristina who was for 40 summers one of the main "mecenas" of this picturesque and elegant city). She really was who put San Sebastian in the map.

Once by Ondarreta, a visit to the famous Eduardo Chillida's Peine del Viento at La Concha Bay is a must to do here. Right there, we'll visit the Royal Tennis Club and options of visiting the 1912 Amusement Park of the Igueldo Mountain (options to take a centenary funicular to get up there).

If you love walking, a stroll around the famous promenade is a great way to get a feel for this pretty city. Passing by the famous La Perla complex, we'll get into the city center (also called the Romantic Area), the part of the city designed by Cortazar after the pulling down of the walls in 1964. Here, the Avenida de la Libertad, Plaza Gipuzkoa, Buen Pastor Cathedral, our lovely City Hall (once the most famous Casino in Europe built in 1887) and the lovely Maria Cristina Hotel and the elegant Victoria Eugenia's Theater true symbols of the Belle Epoque the city of San Sebastian lived at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. 

Then, cross the Urumea river and explore the lovely area of Gros, at one point called the Garage Neighbourhood, now it has been transformed into a young, active and modern area with its wild beach of La Zurriola and the impressive Kurssal Convention Center. 

Crossing again back the river, you'll enter Parte Vieja (the Old Town). Through its old and narrow streets, you will discover the fascinating world of pintxos, restaurants and private Gastronomic Clubs, mixed with the friendly people of Donostia.

We will stop at the food Central Market of La Bretxa where we'll discover the main secrets of world-renowned Basque cuisine. You'll interact with the farmers and explore local food stands (ham, olive oil, fish and meat experts will show us the different products we use here to cook "rico rico"). For lunch, we can get into a private gastronomic club where will cook some local specialties. Time to relax in the afternoon. For dinner, maybe  a Top Michelin restaurant? Did you know San Sebastian is the area with more Michelin starred restaurants per square metre and inhabitant in the world? or do you prefer a more traditional style? Nowadays

Day 5: Pasajes de  San Juan & Hondarribia

Pasajes San Juan — or Pasai Donibane in Basque — is a small village located just 10 km. from San Sebastian. It is part of a larger region called Pasajes, composed of San Juan, San Pedro, Antxo and Trinxerpe located around a river and surrounded by mountains and sea.

Without a doubt, the most beautiful village in the Pasajes complex is San Juan. Upon arrival, visitors will notice the strong fishing tradition of this beautiful town as well as the strong Basque character of its people.

We will get to this beautiful village in a very enjoyable hike through Ulia mountain. A drink and a snack in a local fishermen bar interacting with locals is the best reward to our effort of the day. 

In the afternoon time to explore the lovely town of Hondarribia right in the border with France.

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

Essential basque country - 5-day itinerary, Basque Country - May 2 - May 2, 2018

Traveler: Mary W. - Local specialist: Iñaki Rubio

Inaki was really wonderful. He was very good at giving us a full experience on all the many facets of the Basque country. He is very enthusiastic about his country and is extremely knowledgeable. I had a great time and he was very, very good. Was attentive to our needs and gave up choices. The Cooking Lesson and the Pintos tour was a lot of fun. He also did a video of our trip for us. What a nice touch!

Essential basque country - 5-day itinerary, Basque Country - May 2 - May 2, 2018

Traveler: Judy M. - Local specialist: Iñaki Rubio

Inaki was fantastic. He has very attuned to our needs. We were four woman and he kept us all happy. He had made special every where, so no matter where we went to sight se, cook or eat he knew someone and we were given the royal treatment.

We would all use him and again and have already written to our friends who will be coming his area.