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Basque Country, Rioja and La Rhune Mountain Railway

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Uncover the sights of both Spanish and French Basque country

8 days Sold out

2022 Tour code: SEG22

About the tour

Staying in characterful Hondarribia, we uncover the sights of both Spanish and French Basque country, enjoying visits to cosmopolitan cities and medieval walled towns, all the while tasting speciality dishes, wines and ciders. We also take a very special trip on the vintage La Rhune Mountain Railway into the Pyrenees.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – London and Hondarribia

From London St Pancras, we board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing our journey by rail to Hendaye. Here, we're met by a coach to take us over the border into Spain and on to our Parador hotel in Hondarribia. After time to check in and freshen up, we walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 – San Sebastián

Today we visit San Sebastián. Set within the fashionable and famous La Concha Bay, the city is the culinary capital of Spain, celebrated for its pintxos - the Basque equivalent of tapas. This style of eating is so much a part of the local culture, it even has its own name, txikiteo, and after a guided tour of the historic sights, we sit down to try it for ourselves at a traditional lunch, after which there's free time to continue exploring. You may wish to take a dip in the warm waters surrounding the city, with the beach easily accessible by foot, or take a boat trip out to the nearby island of Santa Clara.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3 – La Rhune Mountain Railway

Following a relaxed morning, we set out for St Jean de La Luz, a lively fishing port which you're free to look around. Transferring to French Basque country afterwards, we join the Petit Train de La Rhune for a journey into the mountains to the summit of La Rhune. Travelling in vintage carriages, we admire panoramic views across the Pyrenees, the Atlantic Ocean and beyond. At certain times of the year, we may even see the small horses - or 'Pottok' - who graze this high up. After our descent, we transfer to an artisanal cider house and restaurant in Txopinondo. Here, we enjoy another authentic meal, served alongside the delicious cider that's brewed on-site

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Hondarribia

Your day is free to get to know the coastal town of Hondarribia better. Considered to be one of the most beautiful Basque Country towns, this colourful fishing village has plenty to offer. You could take a walk through the well-preserved Old Town, fortified by the original town walls. Here, traditional Basque-style houses, with their painted wooden balconies, sit alongside Baroque buildings which have stood for centuries.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 – Bilbao

We make our way by coach to Bilbao, a city set between towering green mountains and the Bay of Biscay. Our destination is the avant-garde Guggenheim Museum. Devoted to modern, contemporary artworks by the likes of Jeff Koons and Louise Bourgeois, it's often the museum itself, with its curvy, titanium-clad exterior designed by Frank Gehry, which gets the most attention. After time to see the different exhibitions, you're free in Bilbao to stroll the winding streets of the Old Town, ride to the top of Mount Artxanda by funicular railway or take a boat ride along the Ría de Bilbao.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 – Hondarribia

With another free day, you might like to immerse yourself in Hondarribia's 'foodie' scene. Despite its small size, this is a destination known for its incredible cuisine. A mecca for up-coming chefs who have studied under Michelin-starred mentors, many come here to make a name for themselves, and there's plenty of pintxos restaurants to rival those of San Sebastián, which you'll find in the village's newer marina neighbourhood. The sandy beach here is also worth visiting, whether you want to spend a day relaxing in the sun or fancy a stroll to work off all the excellent food and drink.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 – Laguardia

Our coach delivers us to Laguardia for a guided tour of the medieval attractions, including the original ramparts, towers and fortified gates which make up the town's ancient walls. The gateway to Rioja's winelands, we continue to an historic underground cellar situated beneath the Palace of the Samaniegos for a wine tasting. Next, we head into the surrounding countryside for lunch at a modern winery carved into the mountains. Boasting a glass frontage, the views as we enjoy our food, expertly paired with more delicious local Rioja, are truly breathtaking.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8 - London

We bid farewell to Basque country after breakfast today, returning to London St Pancras by coach and rail, where, on arrival, our holiday draws to a close.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Please note: This may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Hotel

Parador de Hondarribia, Hondarribia

Parador de Hondarribia, Hondarribia

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Train

La Rhune Mountain Railway

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Basque Country, Rioja and La Rhune Mountain Railway

Uncover the sights of both Spanish and French Basque country

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Luke Simpson
Luke
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Helen Laverack
Helen