Get ready for the dream like tour of five days from Bilbao to Basque Country. You will be delighted to visit the important places like Sanctuary of Loyola, San Sebastián, La Rioja and Vitoria. We will also cover the lovely small spots and amazing villages on the way and praise the beauty and charm of the famous historic monuments.
What you can expect
Depart from Bilbao for the lush green landscapes of Basque Country and move towards Durango, a lovely village. After this, move towards Valley of Biscay by passing through Eibar, Elgoibar and Azkoitia and finally reach at the Sanctuary of Loyola, which is a popular Pilgrimage.
Move ahead to the coastal village of Zumaia for its two beautiful beaches. After this, get ready for the charm of Getaria, a fishing village. Next, we will go for the Gothic church of San Salvador and also admire the beauty of the monuments of Elcano. Pass by Zarautz, which has the longest beach. After this, move to San Sebastian for the sight of Ondarreta beach. Reach Mount Igueldo and Mount Urgull, which acts as a defence against the tides of bay of La Concha.
We will go for the San Sebastian panoramic city tour to admire its major attractions, like Kursaal Palace, Anoeta Stadium and Victoria Eugenia theatre. Leave for Vitoria by passing through the beautiful natural landscapes and historic places of Lasarte, Andoain, Villabona and Tolosa. The visit to Ordizia will delight you with the beauty of historic monuments and then, move towards Onati, the most charming village of Gipuzkoa for having the beauty of amazing monuments. Next, go ahead to the Sanctuary of Gipuzkoa,a famous pilgrimage. Visit Salinas de Leaniz, a town which is known for the Salt Museum. Afterwards, reach Rioja for its wineries.
Move ahead for a panoramic tour of Vitoria for being impressed to see the Government Buildings and other monuments. Admire the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Church of White Virgin and Casco Viejo. Later, head towards the inner parts of Alava Province and reach Gesaltza. After this, leave for the tour of Orduna, a beautiful island, and later, visit to Amurrio to find Cejudo Palace. Explore some villages for green landscapes on the way. Visit Ayala Land for the verdant landscapes and beautiful mountains. We will also halt at Quejana, the ancient Monumental Complex. Next, pass through Artziniega, Balmaseda and Avellaneda, famous for Encartaciones Museum. Then, we will reach the beautiful coast by Santurtzi, a fishing town. Move ahead to Portugalete to praise the beauty of the Transport Bridge of Biscay. We will cover inward places too, like Bilbao la Vieja, Cathedral of Santiago, the Mercado de la Ribera, Plaza Nueva and Guggenheim Museum.
Day 1: Bilbao
Get assistance at the airport of Bilbao and reach to the hotel. Spend your time to explore the places, shop or in ultimate relaxation. Get back to soothing environment of the hotel.
Overnight: Tourist class - Abba Parque. First class - Sercotel Coliseo or NH Villa Bilbao or Hesperia Bilbao
Day 2: Bilbao – Sanctuary of Loyola – San Sebastian
Have breakfast and set off for the journey to the Sanctuary of Loyola by passing through the lush green landscapes and the mountains of Basque. First, you will visit Durango, which is popular for a magnificent Etxezarreta Palace. Museum of Durango, which contains many basque paintings, artifacts and period clothing, also worth a visit. This journey will take you further to the mighty valleys of Biscay and here you will also get a chance to see Eibar village, which is beautifully trapped in the mountains. In a similar way, you will visit to Elgoibar and Azkoitia places to finally reach to the Sanctuary of Loyola. Here you will surely admire the areas of the inner Basque country with rural valleys along with mountainous villages. Then, you will follow your way towards the sacred shrine of harmonious proportions. It was made to honour and glorify Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.
Next you will continue your journey to Azpeitia to pave your way towards the coast at the coastal village of Zumaia. Zumaia is located along the Urola river. This beautiful, coastal village is known for it’s historical monuments and lovely palaces. It has almost everything that you love to see, like blue river, modern merina, mountains, cliffs and green landscapes.
Keep following the coastal road to see the alluring and majestic views of Bay of Biscay to arrive to the amazing village and to birthplace of Getaria, Juan Sebastián Elcano. Then, you will walk to the arc of Catrapona, it is a parish church of San Salvador (XV C.). It is famous for its lovely restaurants, bars and also for gothic gems, fishing port and the great monument of Elcano.
Afterwards, the journey continues to pass through Zarautz, which is an old enclave and a great tourist attraction since the XIX C. It has a breathtaking beach, which is the biggest one of Gipuzkoa province.
Enroute to San Sebastian, you will get to see the magnificent view of Ondarreta beach and the same road will take you to the popular promenade of the shell and will show the the most amazingly mesmerizing beach and the fishing port.
The bay of La Concha is the most stunning urban beach in Europe, popular for having the lovely beachside mentions with a famous spa, called as La Perla. You will get to see the panoramic view and the major attractions of San Sebastian.
You would fall in love to see the beauty of Kursaal Palace, which is the brilliant architecture by the Rafael Moneo as well as the Anoeta stadium, Victoria Eugenia theatre and the Manor houses of limestone are surely the delight to see.
Afterwards, the free time is given to hunt the old part of the city with its narrow streets, typical pubs and Pintxos bars, restaurants and other must visit places like Dominican Convent (XVI C.), the Basilica of Santa Maria de Coro (XVIII C.) along with the Constitution Square. This will put a cap on an absolutely memorable journey. Have fun or relaxation as per your own wish and convenience.
Overnight: Tourist class - Serotel Codina. First class - NH Aranzazu or Barcelo Costa Vasca or Silken Amara Plaza
Day 3: San Sebastian – La Rioja – Vitoria
Have breakfast at the hotel of San Sebastian and drive towards Vitoria vía Lasarte, Andoain and Villabona, which are known for their rural setups, artistically historic values, archaeological and especially amazing naturalistic view. We will also pass by Tolosa, being one of the old towns with the largest number of public buildings dating from the XVI and XVII C. The journey will take us further to Ordizia, which is typical village of Spain with some old historic monuments. We will reach Onati by passing through Beasain, Ormaiztegi and Zumarraga.
Oñatii is proud to have the ancient university of the Basque Country. It also houses many historical monuments. It also boasts of having International Institute For The Sociology of Law.
After this, we will move towards Sanctuary of Gipuzkoa, the Shrine of Our Lady of Aranzazu. On the way, you are really going to admire, not to be missed charm of the hills, which makes this journey more pleasant. The visit to the sanctuary is really an amazing experience and shrine is so much praised that it generally attracts lot of devotees. Apart from the religious sentiments, it is also fondly visited for being placed on the stunning high mountains.
We will progress in our journey to Aretxabaleta, Mondragón and Eskoriatza. In these places, they can find the typical culture of Basque country. We travel near Salinas de Leniz, a town, which has got the popularity for its ancient salt and Salt Museum which uniquely displays the various aspects of production of “White Gold”, which was considered as something really significant in the bygone era. Finally, we will reach to the Rioja Alavesa area by making our way through Labastida, which stands for a typical village. After this place, we reach at Laguardia, Which is a paradise for the wine lovers, wine is the speciality of this place for which it holds the popularity. Apart from some historic monuments and churches, it is also known for its local cuisines, bars and restaurants. You can spend your free time to explore the town more on your own and go for your favourite independent lunch.
We will continue our journey towards Vitoria and go for the panoramic view of this awesome city, which is the second largest city of Basque Country. This city was found in 12th century and it proudly boasts of having the most urban designs. It also possesses endless places of the great ancient flavour, like White Virgin Square, the “Casco Viejo”, it is an old or main square of Vitoria that bustles with exciting life and activity. You will find amazing market, chain of restaurants along with old buildings.
We will also pay a visit to the Old 14th century Gothic “Santa Maria Church”, which is known for its awesome Gothic interiors and delightful paintings by Rubek and Van Dyck.
Apart from it, you will find many Government buildings here, along with the headquarters of the Basque Government and residence of the Basque President. This city is such a beautiful place that it offers great standard of living, quite green environment and all the modern facilities.
Rest of the day, you can explore this magical city on your own to experience the culture and other captivating spots.
After having a fabulous city tour of this wonderfully alluring city, head back for your pleasant stay at the hotel.
Overnight: Tourist class - AC General Alava. First class - NH Canciller Ayala or Silken Ciudad Vitoria or Sercotel Boulevard
Day 4: Vitoria – Bilbao
Breakfast. We will start the route heading towards the inner parts of Alava province. We will arrive to Gesaltza (Salinas de Añana), where we will appreciate its primitive system. We will continue the tour through the town of Orduña, located in a valley surrounded by the mountains of Sierra Salvada. Orduña is an island geographically located in Alava. We continue the trip through Amurrio, the most ndustrialized area and rich in ancestral house such as Urrutia Ugarte or Larra and the beautiful Cejudo Palace of the XVI C. During this stretch, we will be able to pass next to small villages and we will contemplate the magnificent natural life with its mountains and verdant landscapes. Following the tour we will arrive to the Ayala Land, one of the few places where Nature is so generous. Steep hills with strange shapes, green fields and vast forests of oaks, provide some of the most beautiful areas of the Basque Country. We will stop at Quejana and visit the Monumental Complex, which was during the XIV-XVI centuries the ancient site of the Ayala lineage closely linked to the town. The strategic location of Quejana made it an ideal place for the defence in medieval times. Subsequently, following the route will pass through the town of Artziniega and Balmaseda, capital of Encartaciones. We continue passing by Avellaneda, with its modern Encartaciones Museum and after Sopuerta reach the coast by Santurtzi. We will enter this town located on the left bank of the estuary of Bilbao, with its fishing port and seafaring tradition. Then we continue the journey along the edge of the sea to Portugalete, where we will able to see The Transporter Bridge of Biscay, famous for its hanging bridge, which dates from 1893, it is the oldest transport hanging bridge of the world which stills working. The current Bilbao was born in what is now known as “Bilbao la Vieja”.
We will discover the most intimate corners through a tour into the Seven Streets, The Plaza of the Cathedral of Santiago with the same name, the church of San Anton, the Mercado de la Ribera, the tranquil Plaza Nueva and Guggenheim Museum (the entrance to the Guggenheim is included, with its permanent collections and temporary, it will not be guided). Balance of the day at leisure. Accommodation
Day 5: Bilbao
Enjoy your sumptuous breakfast at the hotel. Cab will be provided to take you back to the airport and it will mark the end of our services.
Hotels detailed above are subject to change