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San Sebastián, Bilbao & Pyrénées

Basque Cultural Walking Adventure

7 DaysStarting at $5,495

Overview

A museum sheathed in titanium. Wild horses that eat baguettes. Villages with names in three languages—Basque, French and Spanish. Every time we venture onto the gentle western slopes of the Pyrénées on our tours of Spain and France, the richness of Europe’s oldest culture surprises us again. Farmers on tractors yield the right of way to fierce but friendly pelota games in village squares. Garlands of brilliant red pimientos dry in the sunlight…then show up on a dinner plate stuffed with seafood. This region may well have more festival and market days per person than anywhere else in Europe, and we’re always happy to change plans and join in. As this Classic Journey moves between France and Spain, we go from the scenic green meadows of the Jaizquibel to medieval market towns to the dramatic Guggenheim museum you’ve heard so much about. The Basques have a deep affection for Americans and you’ll experience it time and again as you go exploring with our local Basque guide.

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Classic Journeys provides unbeatable access to experiences around the globe.”
Travel + Leisure

Highlights

DAY 1 - SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ
Our tour of the Basque country meets in Saint-Jean-de-Luz (1 night), where we take an afternoon walk in this French resort and fishing village. Just north of the Spanish border, our seaside hotel reflects the water with its crisp blue and white tiles.

DAYS 2-3 - BIDARRAY
The ancient pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela all converged on Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port…and we visit this town with its singing church bells, too. In the afternoon, our hosts arrange a game of pelota (similar to jai alai) for us, then we settle in for the first of two nights at Bidarray. The next morning, we travel east into the heart of Basque country. On a countryside stroll in the rolling green foothills of the Pyrénées, we visit a local farmer and see how he makes goat cheese.

DAYS 4-7 - SAN SEBASTIÁN / BILBAO
One of our favorite footpaths takes us from Ustaritz, the first capital of the province, to Bayonne, where along the way we sometimes spot miniature wild horses and stand with one leg in Spain, the other in France. We'll explore the seaside resort of San Sebastián—enjoying its elegant corniche (beach) and a lunch of tapas. Other highlights include a walk to the top of Jaizkibel, as well as a guided exploration along the cobblestone streets of Hondarribia. On our final day, we spend time at Bilbao's futuristic Guggenheim museum before parting company in the afternoon.
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Map

  • Starting Point:

    Saint Jean-de-Luz – 3:00 pm – Lobby of hotel
  • Ending Point:

    Bilbao – 1:00 pm – Bilbao

Why Choose Classic Journeys

Travel + Leisure has awarded Classic Journeys the #1 World's Best Tour Operator multiple times and says, "Classic Journeys provides unbeatable access to experiences around the globe." Here's what that access means for you.

  • Experience the world on foot and at eye level. Each day, join your guide on the most cinematic footpaths in the region.
  • Exceptional full-time local guides who become your well-connected friend. Our amazing guides are with you throughout each day of the tour, share their lifelong connections as well as engaging anecdotes about the history and culture of the region.
  • Small groups that provide you unrivaled access. An average of fewer than 10 guests per departure means we can offer you special access to sites like Stonehenge so you experience the stone circle when it's closed to the general public, a guided visit to Zion Narrows that other companies cannot arrange because of larger group sizes, and vineyard walks with a count and countess in Tuscany.
  • Award-winning hotels are waiting for you at the end of every day. Luxuriate in the finest and most distinctive accommodations in the region you're exploring, including rainforest lodges, 16th century villas, and award-winning properties that show up on World's Best and Gold lists.
  • Eat like (and with) the locals. Food is a foolproof way into the hearts, homes and history of the places you visit with us. From gourmet picnics to coveted local restaurants, our meals offer you opportunities to explore native food traditions and fine dining.
  • Handcrafted itineraries with all activities included. With our long-term friendships, we know our walking tour regions more personally than anyone else. So you get thoughtfully curated itineraries that combine explorations of the villages, organic farms, archeological sites and the people who know them best.
  • Sustainable travel that supports the places you're visiting. We put our local currency into the pockets of the people who live where we travel. It's your guarantee that you'll have authentic, up-close experiences on your trip. Best of all, our person-to-person approach helps sustain their ways of life.
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Dates & Prices

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Family Departure

Select our “Family Departure” to travel with other families.

Accommodations

Hotel De Londres Y De Inglaterra

With its location on La Concha Bay, this grand beachfront hotel is the perfect spot to enjoy vibrant San Sebastián. Built in 1865 and lovingly renovated, the rooms blend romantic touches with modern amenities and have views of the wide beach and the sea.

Ostape

A cluster of Basque-style farmhouses on a hilly estate, this unique property in the Navarre region offers the comforts of a 5-star hotel. Each suite blends classic and contemporary design. The heated outdoor pool overlooks pastures dotted with sheep.

Madison Hotel

Located in the heart of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, just a few steps from the beach, the historic hotel offers elegant modern rooms combined with traditional Basque charm.

What’s Included

  • All breakfasts and 5 dinners
  • Full-time experienced guide(s) who are with you throughout the trip and handle behind-the-scenes logistics
  • Admissions to tastings, historic sites and other scheduled events as noted in the detailed daily itinerary
  • Gratuities for hotels, meals, and baggage
  • All land transportation during the trip

Above & Beyond Benefits

Invisible Check-In

  • When your group arrives, we whisk you and your bags to your room immediately. No waiting – no tipping.

Wine on Us

  • In many regions, we uncork wonderful local wines at every dinner, compliments of Classic Journeys.

Perfect Pairings Dinners

  • A special dinner prepared by one of our favorite chefs with a procession of wines tailored to each course.

Privileged Access Events

  • One-of-a-kind access to remarkable people, places and activities arranged just for you.

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