Best of Basque Country in 7 Days
Your 7 Day Tour of Basque Country
We have designed this itinerary to deliver the best of the Basque Country in just one week.
On this 7-day tour, you will have the opportunity to explore the vibrant cities and charming towns of this unique and fascinating region. From the world-renowned gastronomy of San Sebastian to the picturesque beaches of Hondarribia, and of course the capital of the Basque Country, Bilbao.
Day 1: Bilbao City
The largest city in the region, Bilbao is home to the famous Guggenheim Museum and offers a wide range of cultural and culinary attractions.
Upon arrival in Bilbao, your first stop will be the old quarter of the city. This area, known as the Casco Viejo, is the historical center of Bilbao and offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past. As you explore the winding streets of the Casco Viejo, you will see a mix of medieval and modern architecture, with Gothic churches and Renaissance palaces nestled alongside modern buildings.
The Gothic Cathedral of Santiago
Constructed in the 15th century, the Gothic cathedral of Santiago is one of the most important religious buildings in Bilbao. The cathedral is known for its beautiful architecture, with its soaring towers and intricate stone carvings. Inside, you will find a collection of art and artifacts, including a Gothic altarpiece and a series of frescoes.
The San Anton's Church
The church, a beautiful example of Renaissance architecture was constructed in the 16th century and features a facade adorned with sculptures and a richly decorated interior. The church is also home to the Museum of Religious Art, which showcases a collection of religious artifacts and artworks.
Guggenheim Museum Private Tour
Your guide will walk you to the front of the queue with your skip-the-line tickets for the Guggenheim Museum, one of Bilbao’s most famous landmarks. Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum is a masterpiece of modern architecture and houses a world-class collection of contemporary art.
As you explore the museum, you will see works by artists such as Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as temporary exhibitions and installations.
Classically Basque Meal
It’s time to enjoy a traditional Basque meal. Bilbao is known for its rich culinary traditions, and Casco Viejo is the best place to experience the local cuisine. You can choose from a wide range of restaurants and bars, each offering its own unique take on Basque cuisine. Whether you prefer seafood, meat, or vegetables, you will find something to suit your taste in Casco Viejo.
Evening in Bilbao.
Day 2: Exploring Bilbao
In the morning of Day 2 your guide will collect you after breakfast at your hotel to take you on another day out exploring the beautiful Bilbao:
The Ribera Market
The Ribera market is a bustling food market located in the heart of Casco Viejo. The market is a great place to see and taste the local cuisine, with a wide range of fresh produce, meats, and seafood on offer. The market is also home to many bars and restaurants, where you can try pintxos, the Basque version of tapas.
Bilbao Cooking Class
Following on from your market you will meet a private chef where you can learn all about the secret of making Basque-style favorites.
The local ingredients used in the class will depend on the season and the preferences of the chef and the participants. Some of the most classical dishes will use fresh seafood from the Bay of Biscay, such as cod and hake; juicy, ripe tomatoes from the region’s fertile soil; and delicious Basque cider.
During the class, the private chef may guide the participants through the preparation of traditional Basque dishes, such as marmitako (a hearty fish stew), bacalao al pil pil (cod with garlic and olive oil), and lamb al horno (roast lamb). The chef may also introduce the participants to modern takes on classic Basque cuisine, incorporating local ingredients in creative and delicious ways.
Enjoy A Performance In Teatro Arriaga
The Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao, also known as the Arriaga antzokia in Basque, is an opera house that was built in 1890 in the Neo-baroque style by architect Joaquín Rucoba. It is named after Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga, a composer known as the “Spanish Mozart”.
It is a historical monument and a cultural icon of the city, known for its striking neo-baroque design. Visitors can take a guided tour to see the interior and learn about its history and our team will consult with you beforehand to discuss what performances will coincide with your visit and if you would like us to reserve VIP seats for you.
Day 3: San Sebastian
San Sebastian, also known as Donostia, is a beautiful coastal city in the Basque region that is known for its picturesque beaches, charming Old Town, and world-class restaurants.
Over the two days, we have planned here, join your guide as you visit the promenade at La Concha Beach, the historic Old Town, and try the local cuisine.
Exploring San Sebastian Old Town & Cathedral
The Old Town is a bustling and lively area, with narrow streets lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. Here, you can visit the San Sebastian Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic-style building that dates back to the 19th century.
You can also explore the Plazas de la Constitución and de la Virgen, two of the city’s main squares that are filled with vibrant street life and local color.
Stroll Along La Concha Beach
Considered one of the most beautiful urban beaches in the world, La Concha Beach allows you to enjoy the stunning views of the Bay of Biscay and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters. In the evening, head back to the Old Town and try some of the city’s famous pintxos (tapas) at one of the many bars and restaurants. San Sebastian is known for its vibrant culinary scene, and the city’s pintxos are a must-try for any visitor.
Day 4: San Sebastian Continued
Start your day with a visit to Monte Igueldo, a small mountain located just outside of San Sebastian. Take the funicular up to the top of the mountain for beautiful views of the city and the surrounding area.
Head to the San Sebastian Museum of Contemporary Art (Musée San Telmo) to learn about the history of the city and see some of its most important cultural artifacts.
After lunch, take a stroll along the Paseo Nuevo, a promenade along the coast of San Sebastian. Stop to take in the views of the Bay of Biscay and the island of Santa Clara. Continue onto the Peine del Viento (Comb of the Wind), a series of sculptures by Eduardo Chillida located on the coast. The sculptures are inspired by the power of the wind and the sea and make for a stunning and unique photo opportunity.
For dinner, head to the old town and try some traditional Basque dishes at a restaurant. Some local specialties to try include hake, squid, and txakoli, a local white wine.
After dinner, enjoy a show at the Victoria Eugenia Theater, one of the city’s most popular cultural venues. The theater hosts a variety of performances, from operas and ballets to concerts and plays.
Day 5: Vitoria-Gasteiz
The capital of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz offers a blend of medieval history and modern culture.
Visit The Gothic Cathedral of Santa María
This impressive cathedral is one of the oldest and most important buildings in the city, and it is a must-see for anyone visiting Vitoria-Gasteiz. The cathedral was built in the 13th century and is a fine example of Gothic architecture.
One of the most striking features of the cathedral is its beautiful stained glass windows, which depict scenes from the Bible and the lives of the saints. The interior of the cathedral is also decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures, and the altarpiece is a work of art in itself. The cathedral also has a museum that showcases some of its most valuable treasures, including ancient manuscripts, vestments, and religious artifacts.
Explore The Basque Museum of Contemporary Art
This museum is dedicated to contemporary art from the Basque Country and features a wide range of works by local artists. The museum is housed in a modern building that was designed by the architect Manuel de Solá-Morales, and its collection includes paintings, sculptures, installations, and other media.
One of the highlights of the museum is its permanent collection, which features works by some of the most important Basque artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Eduardo Chillida, Jorge Oteiza, and Nestor Basterretxea. The museum also has a number of temporary exhibitions that showcase the work of contemporary artists from the region and beyond. In addition to its art collection, the museum also has a library and an auditorium where it hosts lectures, workshops, and other cultural events.
Walk Along The Green Ring: Network of Parks & Gardens
Stretching for over 10 miles, the Green Ring is a popular destination for both locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful walk in the park or an energetic bike ride, the Green Ring has something for everyone.
One of the highlights of the Green Ring is the Parque de Doña Olimpia. This park features a beautiful rose garden, as well as a pond where you can feed the ducks and swans. There is also a playground for children, making it a great destination for families. Another popular spot along the Green Ring is the Jardín Botánico, which boasts a wide variety of plants and flowers. Here, you can learn about the different species and how they are used in traditional medicine. No matter where you go along the Green Ring, you’re sure to be impressed by the beauty and tranquility of Vitoria-Gasteiz’s parks and gardens.
Day 6: Vitoria-Gasteiz Continued
On your second day in the city join your guide for a relaxing day touring the city’s green surroundings.
Visit The Salburua Wetlands: A Protected Natural Area
This unique ecosystem is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including many species that are threatened or endangered. As a protected area, the Salburua Wetlands are carefully managed to ensure the conservation of this important habitat.
Visitors to the Salburua Wetlands can explore the area on foot or by bike, with several marked trails available. The wetlands are a popular destination for birdwatchers, as the diverse range of habitats supports a wide variety of bird species. You can also see other wildlife, such as rabbits, foxes, and even wild boars. In addition to the natural beauty of the Salburua Wetlands, there is also a visitor center where you can learn more about the history and ecology of the area.
Try The Local Cuisine
Vitoria-Gasteiz is a city known for its delicious local cuisine. If you’re looking to try some of the area’s specialties, you should definitely visit one of the city’s many local restaurants. These restaurants offer a wide range of dishes, from traditional Basque fare to more modern creations.
Take A Stroll Through The Historic Old Town
One of the highlights of the old town is the Casas del Cordón, a group of historic houses and palaces that date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. These buildings are known for their distinctive architectural style, which combines Gothic and Renaissance elements.
The Casa del Cordón Museum, located in one of the historic houses, offers a fascinating look at the history of the city. You can also visit the Palacio de Ajuria Enea, which was once the residence of the king of Navarra. The old town also features several churches and other religious buildings, as well as a number of shops and restaurants.
Day 7: Hondarribia
A charming coastal town with a rich history and beautiful beaches, Hondarribia is located in the province of Gipuzkoa, in the Basque Country region of Spain.
It is located on the Bay of Txingudi, near the border with France, and has a population of approximately 16,000 people. The town is known for its historical center, which has been well-preserved and is a popular tourist destination. It is also known for its annual jazz festival and its culinary specialties, such as the Goxua dessert.
The Old Town
The Old Town is surrounded by a fortified wall and filled with colorful Basque houses and baroque buildings to explore with your guide. The old town is a popular spot for tourists to explore, with its winding cobblestone streets and picturesque buildings. Highlights to visit are the Santa Maria Gate and Kale Nagusia – the Basque name of the town’s ornate main streets.
The Marina Neighborhood
This authentic fishing quarter is known for its beauty and lively atmosphere. It is home to white houses with colorful balconies, as well as a variety of squares and terraces.
Enjoying a meal here is essential as Hondarribia has recently experienced growth in its culinary scene, thanks in part to young chefs who have studied under renowned chefs such as Martín Berasategui and Pedro Subijana. These chefs have brought their expertise to Hondarribia, resulting in an impressive array of new gastronomy that rivals what can be found in the more famous San Sebastian.
Spend your final evening in Spain strolling along the shore in the Bay of Txingudi and exploring its beautiful scenery and coves.
Contact Our Basque Country Tour Specialists
From the bustling city of Bilbao to the charming towns of San Sebastian and Hondarribia, this tour itinerary offers a full range of experiences and attractions to get a true flavor of the Basque Country.
We would, however, love to discuss how we can tailor this itinerary to your specific needs and interests. Our team is dedicated to providing you with a personalized and unforgettable experience in this unique and fascinating region. Simply get in touch with our tour planners today and we will get started crafting a Basque Country tour just for you.