Discover the unique culture and stunning landscapes of Spain’s Basque Country, or Euskadi as the locals call it, on this wonderful seven-night holiday. You will be based in the city of Bilbao, home to the striking metallic curves of the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, with included excursions to the medieval town of Laguardia in the heart of the wine-producing region of La Rioja, the historic city of Vitoria and the sophisticated seaside resort of San Sebastián, famed for its spectacular beaches and its exceptional cuisine. You will also have the opportunity of visiting Gernika and the wildlife-rich Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, while there will be plenty of excellent Basque food and drink to enjoy, including txakoli wine and pintxos, a tasty and distinctive regional variety of tapas.
7 nights in hotel (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Bilbao. Upon arrival, transfer to our hotel for the next seven nights, the Hotel Zenit Bilbao (4T). Dinner is included this evening.
Day 2 Bilbao
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of Bilbao, taking in sights such as the old town, known as the Casco Viejo, the 14th century cathedral, the neoclassical main square, the Plaza Nueva, and the Baroque opera house. This afternoon you are free to explore the city independently, or you may choose to join us on an optional tour of the world-famous Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, designed by Frank Gehry and regarded as one of the world’s most important and influential examples of contemporary architecture. It is one of the biggest museums in Spain, hosting exhibitions of modern art.
Day 3 Laguardia
Today’s full-day included excursion takes us south to the province of La Rioja, a region noted for its high quality wine, stopping in the medieval walled town of Laguardia, located on a hill surrounded by vineyards. Points of interest include the 14th century Church of Santa Maria de los Reyes, which features an especially ornate figural doorway, and the Plaza Mayor, with its chiming automata clock. We will enjoy lunch, and a taste of the local Rioja wine, at a traditional bodega.
Day 4 Bilbao
You are free to relax or make your own discoveries in Bilbao today. Alternatively, you might like to join us on an optional excursion to Gernika, infamously bombed by the Nazi Luftwaffe in 1937 at the request of their Spanish Nationalist allies, a tragedy that inspired Pablo Picasso to paint one of his best-known works, ‘Guernica’. You can learn more at the town’s Peace Museum, while the Euskal Herria Museum houses displays on Basque history and culture. Our tour continues with a visit to the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, comprising diverse landscapes of sandy beaches, salt marshes and holm oak forests which are home to a wide variety of bird and animal species.
Day 5 Vitoria
We spend today in the Spanish Basque Country’s unofficial capital and seat of its parliament, Vitoria, taking in the sights of the old town on a guided tour including the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria, the 16th century Church of San Vicente Martir and the charming city park, La Florida. There will be free time this afternoon for you to explore further.
Day 6 San Sebastián
The coastal city of San Sebastián, known as Donostia in the Basque language, is today’s destination. The city is renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches, thriving cultural scene and excellent restaurants, including nine Michelin-starred establishments and numerous little bars serving pintxo - the local version of tapas. Our guided tour this morning takes in the highlights, such as the picture-postcard Playa de la Concha beach, the Baroque Basilica of Santa Maria and the charming Old Town, or Parte Vieja, with its narrow lanes and the grand Plaza de la Constitución, its main square. This afternoon is at leisure.
Day 7 Bilbao
You are free to explore independently today, or you could choose to join our optional tour to the Mercado de la Ribera, said to be the largest covered food market in Europe and filled with stalls selling all manner of fresh produce and regional specialities. We will also enjoy a typical Basque lunch with wine in a traditional txoko, a kind of gastronomic society with an informal and sociable atmosphere.
Day 8 Bilbao - London
We transfer to Bilbao Airport for a direct scheduled, British Airways flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.