Basque Food Adventure
Uncover the gastronomic & cultural delights of the Basque country.* *
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Food & Drink
Activity Level Leisurely
Group Size Small Group
Home to nearly thirty Michelin-starred restaurants and where people spend most of their disposable income on food, it comes as no surprise that Spain, and in particular the Basque region, represents one of the best destinations for a foodie trip. Due to its distinctive geographic and cultural landscape, the mix of sea and mountain cultures offers an incredible food range. Our comprehensive food journey starts in Bilbao when we will visit the famous markets and have a cooking class in a Michelin-recommended restaurant. We will then head to the countryside and embark on a pinxtos bar crawl before exploring a vineyard in the Rioja region to learn more about the wine making tradition of this region. In the Basque capital of San Sebastian we will have the chance to dine at an exclusive gastronomic society before visiting a cider producer to not only witness the production but also taste some of this famous local drink.
* All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners
* 6 nights accommodation in 3-start hotels
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
Tour leader throughout
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Explore the trendiest cities of the Basque region and the pilgrim village of Logrono
- Wander through the most famous Bilbao’s markets followed by cooking class in a Michelin recommended restaurant
- Be a winegrower for a day in Rioja and taste some of the popular wines of the area
- Enjoy a pinxtos crawl in Logrono
- Cider house experience in San Sebastian
- 6 nights 3-star hotels
- Sample a variety of local specialties during the included produce and wine tastings
- Group normally 5 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 18 yrs
- Travel by private minibus and taxis
Start Bilbao; dinner at a hand picked traditional restaurant.
The trip starts in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao. After check-in, we will have some free time to relax until the welcome meeting will take place. Have your insurance and next of kin details on hand as the leader will be collecting them at this meeting.In the evening we will have a welcome dinner at a traditional restaurant in Bilbao, one of the most renowned foodie cities in Spain due to the vast choice of products, both from the sea and the surrounding countryside.*Hotel Conde Duque or similar*
Visit Bilbao's famous market; interactive cooking class in a Michelin-recommended restaurant; free time
As a start of our unforgettable food adventure we will visit some of the best markets and shops in Bilbao, such as the ‘Mercado de La Rivera’ (located by the river), as well as the classic cod shops (bacaladerías) where bacalao (dried cod) and Iberian ham are sold. We will be accompanied by a culinary guide who will provide explanations and insights about local products and customs, before taking us to the cooking venue. At the restaurant, we’ll be welcomed by the chef who will share with us the secrets of becoming a master in the kitchen. Put on your apron and be taught to create your own delicious meal! We’ll enjoy our lunch with expertly paired wines. The remainder of the day will be free to explore Bilbao at your own pace. The Guggenheim Museum is located not far from the hotel, designed by the American architect Frank Gehry, represents an architectural masterpiece not to be missed.*/Please note: /*/cooking classes are usually given by Paul Ibarra, who trained under Fernando Canales, chef at Michelin star restaurant Etxanobe. Paul Ibarra is currently chef at Los Fueros which is recommended by the Michelin Guide./*Hotel Conde Duque or similar*
Transfer to the pilgrimage city of Logrono, sightseeing and pinxtos crawl in the evening
This morning we travel by private minibus to the town of Logrono (approx. 1h30min) which is situated in the famous wine region of La Rioja. The town sits on the banks of the Ebro River and is the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region. The city is rich in history and traditions, preserved since the Middle Ages. It also boasts one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in the country, home to some of the best tapas bars in the whole of Spain, all crammed into its small medieval centre. After checking in to our accommodation we will get the chance to stroll through the streets of this favourite stop for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. A handsome city of medieval fortifications, where much work is being done to restore it to its full glory. In the evening we will head out on a pintxos crawl. The sheer concentration of tapas bars in the old town has led to intense competition and incredibly high standards.*Hotel FG Logrono or similar*
Rioja vineyards, wine tasting and picnic lunch; free afternoon
Today we will experience what it is like to be a winegrower as we will be the protagonist of an ancient tradition for a day. With the guidance of a professional we’ll be able to carry out different activities in the vineyards and winery, as well as acquire in-depth knowledge of all the work associated with producing a good Rioja wine. Spend the morning participating in the tasks associated with viticulture in the vineyard and in the winery, along with carrying out experiments to understand the wine fermentation processes. After working in the vineyard, we get to enjoy an appetiser made with Rioja products. In the winery we’ll have the chance to taste some of the wines straight out of the barrels to observe their evolution during the ageing process and determine the one we like best. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town.*Hotel FG Logrono or similar*
Transfer to San Sebastian, free afternoon and dinner at an exclusive ‘private dining club’
Travel by private vehicle to the city of San Sebastian, jewel of the Basque country and a city obsessed with food. With its family friendly beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop, consume pintxos, or just to soak up the sun.In the evening we will head out to ’a local society’, where our dinner will take place. Founded in 1931 with 110 members, Itzalpe is what we could call a private eating club. Basque society is very female-oriented: a husband brings home his pay and hands it directly to his wife, who controls the household. Basque men felt they needed a place they could congregate and play ‘king of the castle’ so they founded these clubs where members could reserve a table and cook with friends. The clubs used to be exclusively male, but that has changed now. Women can come along, but they are not allowed in the kitchen. Tonight’s activity is known as Xabi – being a member of this society and for locals being a chef at the same time.*Hotel Europa or similar*
Take part in a cider house experience; farewell dinner with Basque specialities at the cider house
Enjoy a day at leisure until the late afternoon when we will travel by taxi to a local cider house. Once there we will embark on a tour of the cider house and learn how to make the traditional Basque cider.As a perfect ending for our culinary trip we enjoy a magnificent, traditional cider house menu including chorizo sausage cooked in cider, salt cod omelette, salt cod with peppers, bone-in ribeye steak, Basque cheese, quince jelly, walnuts and almond tiles – all washed down with the locally produced cider, served directly from the kupela or barrel in true `txotx’ ritual fashion.*Hotel Europa or similar*
Our trip ends in San Sebastian
Our trip ends in San Sebastian following breakfast.
Please be advised that the below accommodation listed in each location are the usual hotels. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at other hotels of similar standard and quality. We use a mix of well located 3-star hotels during our trip, chosen for their comfort and convenience. Please note that interior rooms might be allocated subject to availability.
All rooms are double/twin with and all hotels offer free Wi-Fi.
Bilbao: Hotel Sercotel Arenal or similar
Logroño: F&G Logroño or similar
San Sebastián: Hotel Sercotel Europa or similar
All breakfasts, 1 appetiser, 2 lunches and 3 dinners are included. Lunch on day 2 will be a cookery class with a chef from a Michelin-recommended restaurant. Other gastronomic experiences that are included in the itinerary:
- Dinner at a well-known restaurant in Bilbao
- Pintxos lunch in Logroño and pintxos dinner in San Sebastián
- Wine tasting and appetisers in the Rioja region
- Dinner at a private dining club in San Sebastián
Please note that during the pintxos bar visits, the tour leader will order pintxos for the group, averaging 4 small dishes per person. 1 drink will be included in the first bar.
The Basque Country has now become the most important tourist destination in Spain in relation to food. Being a coastal and border region allows for its local dishes to be a mixture of sea and mountain cultures with modern top-quality cooking. This trend emerged over the last decades with the appearance of the so-called Basque Nouvelle Cuisine. The good food is the centre of any social occasion and is a reflection of the character of the Basque people, a people devoted to tradition and cooking.
Please note meal times in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 20:00hrs and 21.30hrs.
The Basque country had its own language called Euskara which is one of the most unusual and difficult languages in the world.
A few useful words for your food adventure:
Zurito – a tiny beer
Txotx – toothpick (pronounced chotch)
While this word literally means toothpick, it is also said when you tip the cider out of the barrel to announce to everyone that the barrel is open and they should fill their glasses.
Pintxos – Basque-style tapas (pronounced peen-chos)
While this word literally means toothpick food, it is the Basque word for tapas. the main difference between pintxos and tapas is that pintxos uses toothpicks to avoid the food top from falling off the bread-slice bottom.
Txakoli – Basque sparkling wine (pronounced chakoli)
Poteo or txikiteo (pronounced chikiteo)
The Basque tradition of moving from one pintxos bar to another, enjoying different dishes at each bar.
This trip is Activity Level 1 for Leisurely.
This is a food and cultural trip exploring the Basque country and the wine region of La Rioja. There is some gentle walking involved on most days during the sightseeing and in relation to the activities, but the focus is on gastronomy. The overall Activity Level for this trip is 1 (Leisurely) meaning that it is suitable for all people who are in good health.