Day 1 - Wednesday June 9th
Upon arrival at Bilbao airport, Mark & Annie will be welcomed by a private driver and escorted during a short transfer to your hotel in Bilbao, an impressive 5* design hotel just in front of Bilbao’s landmark: the Guggenheim Museum: the hotel Gran Domine.
Check-in, relax after your trip and enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure.
Day 2 - Thursday June 10th
- A guided visit of a "Txakolí" (white local wine) winery
- Enjoy lunch at steakhouse in a 17th century farmhouse in the middle of the forest, a "temple of the best produce"
- Be amazed by the beauty of the Urdabai Biosphere Reserve and its fishing villages
After a delicious breakfast on the top floor of the hotel with views over the spectacular Guggenheim building, Elias will meet you at the lobby to start exploring the Basque region for the next four days.
Your driver will pick you up at the hotel to drive you out of town and, after a short drive, you will enter the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, an extraordinarily beautiful space where nature, heritage and culture, and its towns and people coexist in harmony.
You will start your day by discovering a family-run winery of the local wine "Txakolí".
Txakoli is a delightfully refreshing local wine. It is also slightly effervescent which is why you’ll often see it poured from arm’s length, in order to enhance the bubbles. They say that there are four main factors that influence the quality of this wine: the soil, the sea, the climate and, most importantly, the Basque people. A hundred years ago, families would produce Txakoli in their country cottages for personal consumption. In fact, “txakoli” is Basque for “cottage wine.” Nowadays, long-standing winemaking families open their doors to share their passion, tradition and, of course, their wine with you. Enjoy a visit to the vineyards, the winery and a wine tasting in small family-run winery.
After the visit, you will continue exploring the beauty of this spectacular natural reserve by car. For lunch, you will reach a rustic and imposing 17th century farmhouse, nestled in the Urdaibai natural setting. Its owner is a professional with encyclopedic knowledge and masters the pantry with which he works, the peculiarities of the plant world, the seasons of fish and the great secrets of red meat.
You may choose from their creamy and crispy batter croquettes. The spinach and blue cheese are delicious, and the garlic prawns are no less fine. As convincing as their grilled hake cocochas, which are sprinkled with a light pil-pil. Or the squid roasted whole with their skin, which are arranged on a stroke of their own ink.
Beyond any other specialty, however, the great milestone of this steakhouse revolves around the beef chops that they treat with extreme care. The owner selects the ribs, lets them mature for just the right time, and roasts them over charcoal embers according to a personal method that allows him to offer tender and juicy meats. Chops are presented with bell peppers roasted in oak embers.
After the feast, you will continue to the fishing ports of Mundaka & Bermeo, both picturesque fishing villages perfect for a relaxing stroll after lunch. You will return back to your hotel for some time to relax.
Richard & Claire will be transferred from the airport to the hotel as soon as they land in Bilbao on a private car.
This evening, you will be escorted for a welcome dinner all together in a restaurant next to your hotel. In La Despensa de Etxanobe you will enjoy the great traditional Basque cuisine, starring the best products, always fresh and identifiable in each of the dishes of the menu, all wrapped in a modern, fun, comfortable and surprising environment.
Day 3 - Friday June 11th
- A private guided visit to the only Rolls Royce collection in Europe with all models manufactured between 1910 and 1990
- A walking tour of Bilbao's historic town and its busy shopping district
- Enjoy two meals at traditional Basque restaurants with the best meat, fish and seasonal vegetables in the market
After breakfast, your guide and your driver will meet you at the lobby to continue exploring this fascinating region. This morning you will be driven to the countryside around Bilbao to discover a special place.
Located in a captivating landscape between the mountains of the Basque Country thirty kilometers from Bilbao in a region -the Encartaciones- where nature, art and history join forces, the majestic fortress of Torre Loizaga, formerly built in the fourteenth century will be waiting for you. A precise and chosen place to shelter a unique collection that began with the Founder’s special enthusiasm for Rolls-Royce. An impressive set of cars collected through an exhaustive study of the British firm complemented by a series of pieces from different brands of classic and modern cars dating from the dawn of the automobile era to the present day.
You will enjoy this exclusive compound visiting the historic tower and its Museum of Classic and Antique Cars. It has become an indispensable meeting point for all motor, nature and history lovers.
After the visit, you will enjoy a short scenic drive across the mountains of the area and you will reach a tradicional 16th century Basque "Caserío" or farmhouse from whose huge windows and from the terrace you can see mountains and forests. Mendiondo is a place of pilgrimage for lovers of traditional recipes, quality genre and the hand of an invisible cook who, out of shyness, refuses to go out when the diners ask for it. Mendiondo is a family business: Loli Correa governs the kitchen and Josu Lezama runs the room while his father and uncle help with what is needed, but it is also a hamlet with the garden and the pigs that supply the pantry.
After this unique and authentic local experience you will be driven back to Bilbao. You may choose to relax in your hotel and continue exploring Bilbao before dinner or explore Bilbao right away and relax before dinner.
The plan for the evening would be a sightseeing tour of the most interesting places of Bilbao's city centre. During this walking tour you will discover not only the city’s most famous sights, but also the little hidden corners of the city, known only by locals. You will begin in the Casco Viejo (Old Town), then head to La Ribera, the largest covered food market in Europe. The tour continues to the Ensanche neighbourhood, the well-heeled bourgeoisie area and the central business district.
Dinner will be this evening on a temple for meat lovers: Amaren. A restaurant created from a dream: rescuing authentic ox meat, because what is sold as ox meat in restaurants and butchers only 1% is authentic ox, and they are proud to be part of such an exclusive 1% .
They travel throughout the Iberian Peninsula personally selecting the best oxen that they can find, all their oxen are over 5 years old and they dry-age the meat as long as 150 days. You will enjoy such a distinguished and rare delicacy are grilled in their kitchen open to the public. A complete menu offering fish and different options will be available to choose from if you are not in a mood for meat today. After dinner, you will enjoy a pleasant walk to your hotel.
Day 3 - Saturday June 12th
- A guided sightseeing tour of San Sebastian, the pearl of the Basque Country
- An escorted pintxos bar crawl visiting the best bars in town
- A visit to Cristobal Balenciaga's museum and its spectacular haute cuture collection
- Enjoy dinner at the best restaurant in Spain for grilled fish & seafood in Getaria, a charming fishing village
After a sumptuous breakfast with views over the Guggenheim museum, your driver and your guide will pick you up from the hotel and you will be driven to San Sebastian (1h 15min), the pearl of the Basque Country, an elegant coastal town with influences of the French Riviera.
In the late 19th century the seaside town on the southern point of the Bay of Biscay became a favourite destination for royalty and aristocrats who came to enjoy the sunshine and newly recognized therapeutic properties of sea bathing.
As soon as you arrive, you will enjoy a walking tour of a few interesting spots starting with the central farmers market where you can feel the freshness of the produce they sell in a lively market where locals gather every day to buy local food. This is slow food at its best. After finishing up at the fish market, you will be lead through the charming Old City that is home to various shops and bars. This area of the city is famous for its world-class tapas, or pintxos in the local language of Euskera. You will spend your time site-seeing, shopping, and for an informal lunch today, you will go bar hopping for local pintxos and beverages escorted to the best local bars in town. You will also be given time to head over to the local beaches and soak up some Spanish sun with a G&T or a coffee in your hand.
In the afternoon, you will be driven to Getaria (30 min), one of Spain's most remarkable fishing villages, home of great sailors such as Juan Sebastián Elcano, the first man to circumnavigate the world.
Getaria is for sure the port with most flavour in the Basque Country. Its fishing fleet and modern facilities make it possible the treatment of the recently caught fish. The port has many canning industries, restaurants and steakhouses. Grilled fish of the Bay of Biscay is the town's speciality, and you will enjoy dinner in one of the best restaurants for grilled fish and seafood in Spain.
Before that, Annie and Claire will be escorted to the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum, where you will be introduced to the work of the genius, its relevance in the history of fashion and design. The collection is related to the professional career and personal profile of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the famous designer from Getaria, who dominated 20th century haute couture. The collections housed the museum, largely put together thanks to the collaboration of people related to the couturier and their families, is an important demonstration of the material and immaterial legacy left to us by Cristóbal Balenciaga
While they are enjoying the museum, Mark & Richard will be guided around the village to discover this spectacular fishing port.
Dinner will be in probably the best restaurant for grilled fish & seafood in the country, Elkano, awarded with a Michelin-star and a "temple of product" (simple technique, excellent produce). An institution in Spain since 1964 and right in front of the Museum, at Getaria's town centre.
After dinner your driver will take you back to your hotel in Bilbao (1h).
Day 4 - Sunday June 13th
- Enjoy lunch at one of the best restaurants in Spain awarded with 3 Michelin stars: an unforgettable experience
Today is a relaxing day in Bilbao for you to sleep in and enjoy a delicious breakfast overlooking the beautiful Guggenheim building. Late on, your guide will escort you to the Guggenheim Museum for a visit to this spectacular exhibition centre. You will enjoy it at your own peace with an audio-guide that will fill you with all the information you need about the exhibtions and the building designed by Frank Gehry.
After the tour, your driver and your guide will pick you up to drive you to Azurmendi, a 3* Michelin-starred restaurant outside of Bilbao. This restaurant is located in the heart of the countryside in a striking glass - fronted property with an impressive layout and superb views. The chef is fully committed to the concept of sustainability, preparing innovative, personalised cuisine that combines quality and unquestionable technical ability. A txakoli wine cellar and a vegetable garden complete the picture.
After lunch, you will be driven back to your hotel to relax for the rest of the evening. You will enjoy some free time for you to relax. Recommendations will be provided and more activities could be arranged by request for this evening.
For dinner, you guide will escort you to a traditional Basque restaurant in Bilbao for a farewell dinner.
Day 5 - Monday June 14th
Today, it is time to say goodbye to your adventure in the Basque Country. With some time to do some shopping or relaxing at your hotel in the morning, a transfer to Bilbao's airport for Richard & Claire on time for their flight will be the saddest experience of your memorable stay in Spain.
- about this tour
June 9 - 14th 2021
What’s included? Everything you need. Plus everything you'd
want. Plus a few things you never knew you wanted until you got them.
In a word: everything. In eighty words? A private chauffeur tour guided by an English-speaking local guide, an interesting, fun and like-minded travel companion; authentic and innovative local cuisine; world-class local wines; wine tastings; all victuals and libations; all the endorphins you can handle; new insight; a feeling of total freedom. In short: an extraordinary, hassle-free journey of discovery. Travel at your own pace: Our tailor-made holidays are very flexible, allowing you to start road journeys or sightseeing when you choose – within reason.
- All hotel accommodation
- 5 nights -- BILBAO -- Hotel Gran Domine 5* for Mark & Annie
- 4 nights -- BILBAO -- Hotel Gran Domine 5* for Richard & Claire
- Daily breakfast.
- All meals at Michelin-starred, signature and traditional restaurants and all other meals as indicated à-la-carte (4 lunches & 4 dinners) with wines and drinks included à-la-carte (no fixed menus, you may choose from each restaurant's public menu what you want to taste).
- All transportation from airport pickup to drop-off in a chauffeured air-conditioned brand-new vehicle: Mercedes Class V . Your safety and comfort are paramount. You will enjoy touring Northern Spain in safety, comfort and style.
- English speaking guide during the whole trip. Translator services and assistance at restaurants, hotels & experiences. We will break the language barrier for you so you can get the most out of your experiences during your trip.
- All the experiences, visits and activities included in the itinerary.
- 24h concierge service during the whole trip.
- All baggage transportation.
- All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service.
- All currently applicable taxes.
What’s not included?
- International Flights
- Medical Travel Insurance
- Personal expenses
What to expect
- A laid-back pace with free time to relax
- Plenty of scrumptious local food and wine as well as time to really appreciate the dining experience
Do you want to change anything of the trip to fit your needs?
More days, different accommodation, some other food you would like to try...?
No problem. You will have a custom trip designed exactly to your interests. Like a tailor making a bespoke suit, it will fit you perfectly.
We work to plan your dreamed trip. Click below, pick your dates, your group size and tell us what do you want to experience in Spain with us. We will exceed your expectations. Promise.