Anyone who adores food, needs to visit the northern Spain’s Basque Country at least once. Gastronomy, from the most basic pintxos (Basque tapas) to home cooking and Michelin-starred fine dining, is an integral part of this region’s DNA. Many locals belong to a gastronomic society, the Basque equivalent of a Masonic lodge, but with social cooking, ample drinking and extensive socializing at its core. And with a love of food comes naturally to the charismatic Basque who are lucky enough to call this northern Spanish coastal town home. With its nearly 40 Michelin starred restaurants, the Basque Country is one of the best fine dining destinations in the world. From traditional to experimental dishes, it’s all here.
On this 5 Day Tour you’ll not only savor mouthwatering Basque cuisine, taste a wide range of Txacoli wines, bathe in centuries of Roman and Middle Age history, but you’ll relish a profound getaway in one of the most iconic coastal regions of Spain.
This trip was our first group travel and won’t be our last! Extremely well organized and the personal contacts you shared with us gave us a view of Portugal and their wines that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. To the entire Catavino Team, job well done!
Start your Basque adventure in San Sebastián, a charming city in the northern region of Spain renown for its gastronomy and wine. Your English speaking driver will meet you at the airport and bring you directly to your boutique 5-star hotel with its stunning views of the water front. Once settled, we’ll get you started with a privately guided old quarter pintxo (basque style tapas) tour where you can learn about the city, its history, the Old Town, and the Concha seaside. Your culinary experience may include mouthwatering dishes such as: creamy risotto made with Idiazabal (Basque sheep’s cheese), braised beef cheeks, locally harvested anemones, homemade Euskaltxerri pastrami, tuna stuffed pepper, and the rare octopus brochette (pulpo). A delicious dinner with gourmet grab and go dishes like carrilleras de ternera (veal cheeks) or croquetas de rabo de toro (oxtail), all paired wines exceptional regional wines, is a great way to jump into local culture. If the weather or your energy allows, end the night with a stroll along the coast to take in the exceptional coastal views.
Wake up to a fabulous gourmet breakfast in your hotel including: Pastel Vasco, a traditional pastry made up of a dense cake crust encapsulating a soft creamy interior of crème patissière and sometimes cherries. But save some room, as you’ll experience an unforgettable privately guided tour of San Sebastian’s La Bretxa Market, followed by a cooking class with a local Chef using the fresh ingredients collected from the market. This small, elegant, seaside city has the highest concentration of Michelin stars in the world and is at the forefront of the modern Spanish culinary movement; hence, you’re in for a treat! After your class and lunch, you will have a free afternoon to rest and relax before an outstanding Michelin starred dinner at Arzak. Run by the father-daughter dynamic culinary duo, Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak. Their tasting menu of avant-garde basque cuisine is an incredible experience. It’s no wonder why they are constantly considered one of the best restaurants in the world with dishes such as Egg Balloons with Foie Gras dusted with Onion, Coffee and Tea and Hemp Mustard and Lobster.
Today, you’ll dedicate your time and taste buds to Txakoli, one of the most intriguing Spanish white wines in the Basque region. This particular region is a cool, wet place and much more suited to white wines. Our first visit will be at a century old vineyard, which is magnificently set between basque hills and the Cantabrian coast. During your guided visit, you’ll enjoy a leisurely stroll through the vineyards and experience a VIP tasting paired with basque products. Afterwards, you will head to our second winery for the day to savor an extensive regional meal made with fresh farm (or sea!)-to-table ingredients such as: Roasted Salt Cod in a parsley and garlic sauce, Grilled Calamari, Kidney Beans stewed with Chistorra, and juicy Grilled Lamb. This visit will focus the winery’s efforts to promote sustainable any bio-dynamic agriculture. After lunch, you’ll wander through their lush vineyards and taste their exquisite Txakoli. You’ll then head back to San Sebastian for a little rest before an exquisite dinner in the old quarter of the city.
This morning, your private driver will pick you up from your hotel lobby to bring you to Spain’s cultural city of Bilbao. Here you will start with a private guided tour of the impressive Guggenheim Museum, a delight for both art and architecture enthusiasts. Following your visit, you proceed with your cultural tour to explore the very coveted parts of the Old City and Nervion River. When hunger strikes, you’ll be guided to the best pintxos (Basque tapas) in the famous Plaza Nueva to experience flavors such as: croquetas, artichoke tempura with crispy jamón, marinated anchovies with fish eggs and tartar sauce, veal filet with foie gras, spider crab au gratin. Afterwards, you’ll wander through the Mercado de la Rivera, the Santiago Cathedral, and the charming little streets ending in the Nervion river. Satiated and relaxed, you’ll settle into your boutique luxury hotel to revel in the memories of the day. If interested, we’re happy to reserve one of the many fantastic restaurants in town for dinner, or if you prefer, you can return to the old town and wander from pintxo bar to pintxo bar, doing as the locals do!
For your last day of this exquisite Basque adventure, your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby begin a tour of the seaside lined with charming villages, dramatic coastlines and world-class surfing beaches. Our first stop will be a short hike out to the island of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe – the film location for Game of Thrones’ Dragonstone. We’ll then pass the beautiful beach villages of Mundaka and Bermeo, before reaching the picturesque town of Lekeitio, for a brief visit and little stroll around town. Finally, you will stop at Zarautz where people from all around the world spend their summer enjoying Basque culture, gastronomy and surf. Here we will pop into one of our favorite little taverns for a leisurely lunch before your private transfer to the airport.
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