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.
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.
Starting Point:Saint Jean-de-Luz – 3:00 pm – Lobby of hotel
Ending Point:Bilbao – 1:00 pm – Bilbao
Dates & Prices
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Select our “Family Departure” to travel with other families.
- 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
- 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.
- 7 days
- Starting at $4,795
- 7 days
- Starting at $5,595
- 6 days
- Starting at $4,995
- 7 days
- Starting at $5,195