- Tour Bilbao's historic center and visit the Guggenheim Museum
- Take a cooking class and learn how to prepare traditional Basque cuisine
- Visit the Basque countryside and the Cantabrian Mountains
- Stroll the streets of San Sebastián on a guided tour
|Day 1||Arrive in Bilbao, Food & City Tour||Bilbao|
|Day 2||Guggenheim Museum Tour||Bilbao|
|Day 3||Transfer to San Sebastián, Coastal Tour & Wine Tasting||San Sebastián|
|Day 4||Walking Tour of San Sebastián||San Sebastián|
|Day 5||Depart San Sebastián|
Day 1: Arrive in Bilbao, Food & City Tour
Welcome to the largest city in the Spanish Basque Country! Upon arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in the city center. After unpacking, you'll hit the streets with an expert guide for a city tour. There's a lot to enjoy about Basque culture here, not least of which is the incredible food. To that end, this tour combines the culinary offerings of the Spanish Basque Country with the highlights of Bilbao.
On this walking tour, you'll visit the city's historic Casco Antiguo (Old Quarter). Bilbao is located near the estuary of the Nervión River, and the Casco Antiguo is right on the waterfront. This pedestrian area is filled with colorful old buildings, cafés, bars, markets, and boutiques.
In the heart of Casco Antiguo are Las Siete Calles, the original "seven streets" of the city, which date back to the 1400s. As you stroll the cobbled streets, you'll visit emblematic buildings such as the 14th-century Bilbao Cathedral, the Plaza Nueva (New Square), the 16th-century Church of Saint Anthony, and the Mercado de la Ribera (Seaside Market), the largest covered market in Europe.
The Old Quarter is also the best place to indulge in the local cuisine. The Basque region is known for tapas called pintxos. Many bars, cafés, and restaurants in Casco Antiguo serve some version of these bite-sized delicacies, and they're best paired with a glass of txakoli, the local white wine.
Day 2: Guggenheim Museum Tour
In the morning, you'll visit the most famous building in Bilbao: the Guggenheim Museum. This guided tour focuses as much on the museum's architecture as it does the exhibits inside. The building is a contemporary masterpiece designed by the legendary Frank Gehry— a glimmering titanium structure that looks like a sculpture, with sleek lines sensually curving in seeming defiance of physics. Inside, the museum's 24,000 square meter space houses a treasure trove of works from great artists such as Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, and Eduardo Chillida.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Transfer to San Sebastian, Coastal Tour & Wine Tasting
In the morning, you'll leave Bilbao for San Sebastián. While it's only an hour's drive from one city to the other, the Basque coast is too stunning to rush. Start your full-day tour by meeting your driver/guide and head off from Bilbao for the wild Cantabrian Coast.
Your first stop is the islet of Gaztelugatxe, perched atop 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.
From Gaztelugatxe, you'll 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, 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. From Bermeo, you'll travel a couple of miles deeper into Urdaibai to the town of Mundaka, which sits on an estuary home to magnificent wetlands.
At this point, you'll drive a short way to the Gorka Izagirre winery, which has 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. Then, you'll head up the hill to an adjacent Michelin-starred restaurant where you'll sit down to an elaborate gourmet tasting menu with wine pairings. After the meal, you and your driver will continue east to San Sebastián. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and can spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 4: Walking Tour of San Sebastián
In the morning, you'll meet a private guide and enjoy a four-hour tour of San Sebastián. It begins in the famous Old Town, which is situated in the east of San Sebastián between the ocean and the River Urumea. You'll stroll around the neighborhood, stopping at pintxos bars and cafés as you go.
At the edge of Old Town is the iconic San Sebastián City Hall. Constructed in 1887, it was the Gran Casino during the Belle Époque period until it was closed in 1924. The building still overlooks the bay, where an elegant promenade with railings and street lamps runs along the crescent-shaped La Concha Beach.
For great views, you and your guide can take a ferry to the iconic offshore island of Santa Clara or ride a funicular up to Mont Igualdo, which offers sweeping panoramas. You might also stroll the banks of the Urumea River, where you'll find the 19th-century Victoria Eugenia Theatre, the palatial Maria Cristina Hotel, and many aristocratic houses dating to the turn of the 20th century. You can get some good pictures walking across the Puente María Cristina, the bridge that crosses the river.
After the tour, you'll return to your hotel and can spend the remainder of the day however you see fit. Once the sun goes down, however, you'll likely want to head back out and indulge in San Sebastián's famous dining scene.
Day 5: Depart San Sebastián
It's time to say farewell to Spain! Depending on the time of your flight or train reservation, squeeze in one more morning of sightseeing, perhaps picking up some last-minute souvenirs. At the designated time, you'll be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport or rail station for your departure onward.
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