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The Beautiful Basque Country

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3.8 stars(13 reviews)
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Small Group

Uncover the sights of both Spanish and French Basque country

8 days From £1,895 £1,745 per person
Booking Offer

Save £150pp on your Europe 2023 holiday when you book between 16th November 2022 and midnight 12th December 2022, for departure dates between 1st April 2023 and 31st October 2023.

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2023 Tour code: SEG23

About the tour

Staying in characterful Hondarribia, we uncover the gems of both Spanish and French Basque country, enjoying visits to cosmopolitan cities and medieval walled towns, tasting speciality dishes, wines and ciders along the way. We also take a 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.

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 try it for ourselves at a traditional lunch. After lunch there's free time to continue exploring. With the beach easily accessible on foot, you may wish to take a dip in the warm sea, 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. 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 Ascain, named Txopinondo. Here, we enjoy an 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 artists such as Jeff Koons and Louise Bourgeois, it is the museum itself - with its curvy, titanium-clad exterior designed by Frank Gehry - which often gets the most attention. After time to view the different exhibitions, you're free in Bilbao to stroll the winding streets of the Old Town. You might choose to ride to the top of Mount Artxanda by funicular railway or take a boat ride along the Ría de Bilbao. This evening back in Hondarribia we enjoy a wonderful meal at a local restaurant, Zeria, owned and operated by the same family since 1965 and located in a 16th century building.

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 are plenty of pintxos restaurants to rival those of San Sebastián - you'll find these in the marina neighbourhood. There's an inviting sandy beach if you'd like a day relaxing in the sun, or maybe stroll beside the sea after indulging in the excellent food and drink.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 – La Rioja

Our coach delivers us to Laguardia in the Rioja wine region. Here you have free time to explore this wonderful medieval village. This is the gateway to Rioja's winelands, and we continue to an historic underground cellar for a wine tasting. Next, we head into the surrounding countryside for lunch at a modern winery carved into the mountains. The winery's glass frontage offers beautiful views which we enjoy our food, expertly paired with more delicious local Rioja.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8 - London

We bid farewell to the Basque country after breakfast today, returning to London St Pancras by coach and rail, where 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

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Parador de Hondarribia, Hondarribia

Parador de Hondarribia, Hondarribia

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Train

La Rhune Mountain Railway

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Reviews

3.8 stars3.8 / 5 · 13 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (6)
  2. 4 stars
    (2)
  3. 3 stars
    (2)
  4. 2 stars
    (2)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

G Foulis

5 stars

Submitted 28/Oct

This trip offered something different every day. San Sebastián resort, Bilbao for Guggenheim museum, Rioja scenery and wine tasting, French coastal resorts, historical town as a base in the centuries-old Parador hotel which used to be a castle. Unfortunately the mountain railway is seasonal, so didn’t operate when we were there, but our guide made sure we saw similar scenery, and he did some lovely local walks with those who wanted.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mike Heath

5 stars

Submitted 27/Oct

Holiday was great, helped enormously by the tour manager (Julian Plested). Lovely country and superb hotel, shame they didn't have a restaurant though. We were impressed with the arrangement of the daily transport. The tour itinerary was very good, including the replacement tour of the cancelled La Rhune Railway.

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Mr Johnston

5 stars

Submitted 27/Oct

Great trips around the Basque Country. Wonderful group of fellow travellers.

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customer

4 stars

Submitted 22/Oct

All the travel went really well and Hondarribia was a charming town overlooking the river out to the sea. The parador was a good hotel and close to some excellent restaurants. Unfortunately the Rhune railway was not available but the bus trip into the Pyrénees was a fair substitute. The day spent in visiting the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao was not popular with all our group and it should be possible to find some better art museums in this town. Our tour escort was supremely first class.

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Jeff

3 stars

Submitted 22/Oct

The Basque Country is lovely and if the base of the tour were to be changed from Hondarribia to say San Sebastián I would recommend it highly but Hondarribia is a small town worth a visit but not ideal for a longer stay.

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J Wilson

3 stars

Submitted 1/Oct

Transfers In Paris a total shambles. With 2 free days it would have been better to have been based in San Sebastián. Otherwise an enjoyable trip.

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The Beautiful Basque Country

Uncover the sights of both Spanish and French Basque country

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