- Sip from the vintage vines of Bordeaux
- Bike along the Basque Atlantic coast
- Explore the food and towns of inland Basque country
- Experience the art and architecture in Bilbao
|Day 1||Arrive in Bordeaux||Bordeaux|
|Day 2||Farmers' Market & Wine Tour||Bordeaux|
|Day 3||Bay of Arcachon & The Medoc||Bordeaux|
|Day 4||Cycling in Saint-Emilion||Bordeaux|
|Day 5||Travel to Biarritz||Biarritz|
|Day 6||Bike & Basque||Biarritz|
|Day 7||Basque Villages||Biarritz|
|Day 8||Biarritz to Bilbao||Bilbao|
|Day 9||Art & Architecture in Bilbao||Bilbao|
|Day 10||Olive Oil & Wine Tour in La Rioja||Bilbao|
|Day 11||Depart Bilbao|
Day 1: Arrive in Bordeaux
Start off your trip in Bordeaux with a free day to settle in and explore. Bordeaux is one of France's most dynamic cities, with half of the city marked as a UNESCO World Heritage site—the largest urban site of the category. A busy university population, booming tourist scene, and recent new buildings by world-class architects have brought Bordeaux to a modern urban identity all its own, complete with coffee shops, food trucks, and of course, more fine wine than you can shake a glass at.
Day 2: Farmers' Market & Wine Tour
Spend the morning at the Capucin farmer's market, taking in the spread of fresh local fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, cheeses, breads, and pastries. Navigate between the stalls and vendors, rubbing elbows with local chefs who are doing their morning shopping, mustached vendors, and beret-clad customers for a true French experience.
In the afternoon, take a Wine in the City tour starting at the Place Royale, home of the famous wine classification of 1855. Learn about Bordeaux's historic riverfront port and the role it's played in the wine trade since the Middle Ages. Then hop on the tram to visit the Wine Museum, le Musée du Vin et du Négoce, housed in the former wine cellar of an 18th century wine merchant. Follow that with a stroll through the Chartrons neighborhood, the city's historic district and home to wine merchants and barrel makers for the past 300 years, and top it off with a final tasting at a neighborhood wine bar with a broad selection of Bordeaux wines.
Day 3: Bay of Arcachon & The Medoc
Follow a full-day tour of beaches and vineyards across two landmark landscapes of the Bordeaux region: the shores Arcachon’s Bay and the vineyards of the Medoc region. The inland sea of Arcachon's Bay is fed by the Atlantic, with its blue waters brushing up against a beach that's home to the Dune du Pyla, the largest sand dune in Europe. Then go inward to the Medoc region for more wine tastings, covering a full day of at least five wine tastings, an oyster tasting, and picnic lunch.
Day 4: Cycling in Saint-Emilion
Discover the vineyards of Saint-Emilion by bike on today's tour. Ride along the vineyards and famous chateaus of the region. Visit two of the chateaus, one scenic family-run estate and a Great Classified Growth estate, sampling the local vintages, particularly the standout merlot. Follow it up with a guided walk through the UNESCO World Heritage medieval village of Saint-Emilion.
Day 5: Travel to Biarritz
Travel over to Basque Country and the town of Biarritz. Once you arrive, spend your day exploring what was once the Monte Carlo of the Atlantic Coast and stomping ground of celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, and Ernest Hemingway. It retains its air of vintage glamour, particularly in the central focal point of the Casino Municipal on Grande Plage and the streets between the casino and Plage du Port-Vieux.
Day 6: Bike & Basque
Cycle along 9 miles (14 km) of the Basque coast on an electric bicycle, taking in the views between Biarritz and Saint Jean de Luz. You'll cruise along the wild coastline, away from car traffic, with minimal physical exertion required thanks to the bikes' electric assistance. Your guide will lead you to stops along the route to taste Basque specialties from local producers.
Day 7: Basque Villages
Explore inland Basque country on a villages and culture tour, stopping at points including Espelette, Aihnoa, Sare, and Saint Jean Pied de Port. You'll pop into local producers' farms and facilities to sample specialties including Bayonne ham, Espelette chili powder, and local cheeses.
Day 8: Biarritz to Bilbao
Spend the day slowly making your way over the border to Bilbao, stopping at some of these charming cities along the way.
Your first potential detour is Bayonne, known as the City of Art and History to the French for its rich gastronomy and local tradition. Continue on to Saint Jean de Luz, known as the corsairs' town, to wander through its narrow alleys and snack on Basque food specialties.
Across the Spanish border, you can visit San Sebastian, land of golden beaches, lush hillsides, and a bustling dining and cultural scene. Make your way to Bilbao when you're ready to end the day.
Day 9: Architecture in Bilbao
Bask in the Basque language around you as you explore the mostly untouristed city of Bilbao.
You'll enjoy a private tour of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, one of the city's most iconic sights. The twists of its contemporary architecture reflect in the surrounding pool and are only a complement to the many works of art inside. A guided tour will take you through them up close. Then follow your guide out to the Abandoibarra district, a former industrial docklands turned art district thanks in part to the Guggenheim's proximity.
Day 10: Olive Oil & Wine Tour in La Rioja
Explore one of Spain's most scenic wine regions in La Rioja, with rolling hills and medieval hamlets set against the backdrop of the Cantabrian Mountains. A full-day olive oil and wine-tasting tour will start you off with the former, teaching you how to properly taste this Mediterranean staple. Then continue to two wineries where you'll taste two to four of their classic vintages and enjoy the views and architecture of your surroundings. You'll also pay a visit to the village of La Guardia, home to medieval streets and subterranean wine cellars seated behind a 13th century wall.
Day 11: Depart Bilbao
Wave goodbye to Spain as you head homeward or off to your next adventure.