• $3,155
  • $600
  • AHI
  • Moderate
  • Land Only
  • ,

Spain’s remarkable Basque Country has inspired travelers for centuries with vibrant culture and fascinating history. Explore old-world towns and villages imbued with Basque heritage. Marvel at the region’s natural beauty and discover cross-border influences on local traditions in both Spain and France. This remarkable journey offers a not-to-be-missed travel experience.


Day 1

Depart from gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Bilbao, Spain. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: BIO.
Meals — Appropriate in-flight meal service

Day 2

Bilbao, Spain/San Sebastian

Arrive at Bilbao Airport. AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. Transfer to the Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra. Please note if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available. Gather with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception and Dinner.
Accommodations — Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
Meals — Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

Day 3

San Sebastian

This seaside town, called Donostia in Basque, is the 2016 European Capital of Culture. See its Old Town, including Buen Pastor Cathedral. Stroll along Paseo de la Concha, a promenade that hugs the curve of the shoreline, for a beautiful view of the bay. The afternoon is free to explore San Sebastián on your own. Take a walk on the Paseo Nuevo, which takes you around Monte Urgull, one of the two hills that overlooks the city. At the top of the hill is a medieval castle that was integral in the defense of the city over several centuries. Nearby is the Museo de San Telmo, where exhibits on Basque culture and Spanish art are on display. This area of Spain fiercely protects its unique identity. Learn about its culture and history. Meet a diverse group of donostiarras, residents of Donostia (San Sebastián), for a delicious dinner and conversation about Basque Country and life in Spain today.
Accommodations — Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
Meals — Breakfast and dinner

Day 4

Bayonne, France/Biarritz

Bayonne sits in the heart of France’s Basque Country. En route, stop in Hondarribia, a charming Spanish border town to see the Castle of Charles V. This castle has been converted into an exquisite parador, one of the Spain’s historic national hotels. Continue to Bayonne, which sits at the confluence of the Adour and Nive rivers. The city is the capital of the Basque region in France. Visit the Sainte-Marie Cathedral and its cloisters during a walking tour of the Old Town. Take a break for lunch at a traditional cider house, where diners sit at long wooden tables. Enjoy the ambience of the exposed beam ceilings and stone walls. Huge casks line the walls, and servers put on a dramatic display as they pour glasses of cider from the casks. Travel to Biarritz, formerly a whaling town, Biarritz today is a chic seaside resort on the Bay of Biscay. Walk along the waterfront promenade for a sweeping view of the coast. Start at the Casino Barriere and make your way to the Rocher de la Vierge, an outcrop connected to the shore by a bridge built by Gustave Eiffel. A statue of the Virgin Mary stands atop the rock. Napoleon III tunneled through the rock, creating more expansive views of the coastline. From the southern side, you can see San Sebastián on a clear day. Visit the medieval Atalaye watch tower, where fishermen kept an eye out for whales.
The evening will be at leisure to try one of San Sebastián’s many fine restaurants, which range from pinxtos (tapas) bars to molecular gastronomy restaurants. San Sebastián has built a culinary reputation second to none. In fact, many people believe it is the best city in Spain, if not one of the top cities in the world, to enjoy a meal. The city boasts nine restaurants with Michelin stars, the benchmark for measuring fine dining. In fact, Mugaritz, which has three Michelin stars, the highest rating, also has been named the ninth-best restaurant in the world in 2017 on another prestigious list, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. If dining at one of these noted restaurants is part of your plans during your free time, please note you may wish to make a reservation directly with the restaurant as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Enjoying pintxos, however, is a much more casual affair. Head to the Old Town, where there are many pintxo bars. Each bar usually offers different bites. Platters of cold pintxos usually line the bar, but you’ll have to order the hot dishes. Many people enjoy a drink and a couple pintxos at one place, then head to the next place for the next round of drinks and dishes, and repeat!

Accommodations — Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
Meals — Breakfast and lunch

Day 5


Explore the medieval walled city of Laguardia. See the church of Santa Maria de los Reyes and the Plaza Mayor. Notice the bodegas, wine cellars, built into the walls. Continue to Pagos de Leza, a bodega (this word also is used for wineries) just outside the city in the Rioja Alavesa region. Tour the wine cellar and sample the wines at a tasting. This pilgrimage has several stops in Basque Country. It is both a spiritual and cultural journey. Discover why it remains popular today.
Accommodations — Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
Meals — Breakfast and lunch

Day 6


Go back in time at Maison Ortillopitz, a 16th-century Basque country home in the French Basque region. Learn about Basque life and traditions. Continue to Espelette, a picture-perfect town where strands of the eponymous red peppers adorn whitewashed homes, the traditional method of drying the peppers. Savor a delicious lunch in Espelette before continuing to St-Jean-de-Luz. This pretty town has a swashbuckling past! In the 17th and 18th centuries, fishermen traded their nets for swords and cannons to become feared corsairs. St-Jean-de-Luz also was the site of a very important 17th-century royal wedding between France’s King Louis XIV, the Sun King, and Maria Teresa of Spain. See the St-Jean-Baptiste Church and stroll through Place Louis XIV, the main square. Enjoy time on your own in St-Jean-de-Luz before returning to San Sebastián.

Accommodations — Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
Meals — Breakfast and lunch

Day 7


Visit the Guggenheim Bilbao, which itself is a beautiful piece of art designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. Filled with exciting and thought-provoking works of modern art, the museum is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Explore the museum with an expert guide. Enjoy lunch in Bilbao before returning to San Sebastián. Discover writer Ernest Hemingway’s passion for Spain and its culture. Hemingway devoted many years over a period of three decades to living in Spain, which influenced much of his work.
Accommodations — Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
Meals — Breakfast and lunch

Day 8

San Sebastian

Enjoy a full day at leisure. Take a final stroll through the Old Town. Stop at the San Telmo Museum, where everything from archaeological finds and traditional Basque artifacts to paintings and photographs by Basque artists are on display in a 16th-century Dominican convent. Stop for an alfresco lunch at one of the restaurants lining the Plaza de la Constitución. If the weather is fine enough for a picnic, pick up cheeses, meats, bread and fruit at La Bretxa market, where both locals and the city’s renowned chefs shop for the freshest ingredients, and head to the beach or one of the parks. In the afternoon, you may want to shop for souvenirs, maybe a txapela, a traditional beret, or a pair of espadrilles, the Basque shoes that have become popular around the world. Those who choose the elective activity will go about in Pamplona. Later on in the night, gather with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Reception and Dinner to celebrate your exciting cultural journey through Basque Country.

Elective Activity

Explore Pamplona, the city best known for its ties to Ernest Hemingway and the annual Running of the Bulls. See the famous bullfighting ring, the chapel of San Fermín and the Gothic cathedral. Lunch is included. Available at an additional cost.
Accommodations — Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra
Meals — Breakfast and dinner

Day 9

Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Bilbao Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.
Meals — Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service