Pilgrim Trails, Pintxo Hopping, and stunning Bilbao

Overview

Basque country is a world apart, with its own language, renowned cuisine and wine, and some of the most gorgeous hiking trails in Europe. With our Basque Trip Leaders, we’ll hike the coast, countryside, mountains, and some of the best parts of the famed Camino de Santiago for an immersion in culture, legend, and cuisine. Our insider’s journey brings us to evocative megalithic monuments, ancient Basque farmsteads, and from France into Spain on a historic pilgrim trail. Eating well is the second religion of the Basques, and we’ll have classic lunches among farmers and fishermen, taste local mountain cheeses, go pintxo-hopping in the foodie capital of San Sebastián, and enjoy a special dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hondarribia, a colorful fishing village with an up-and-coming culinary scene.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Biarritz, France / Saint Étienne-de-Baigorry / Mount Okabe

Meeting in Biarritz, one of our hikes is on Mount Okabe, with its Iron Age stone circle, and we descend through pasturelands for a lunch at a gathering spot for shepherds. Overnights are in Saint-Étienne-de-Baigorry, an idyllic Basque village in the foothills of the French Pyrenees.

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Days 3-4
Camino de Santiago / Roncesvalles, Spain / Pamplona

Starting at the historic cross at Biakorre, we hike one of the most beautiful stretches of El Camino, the epic pilgrim trail into Spain, ending at Roncesvalles Abbey, where the Basques defeated Charlemagne’s army in 778. Another hike on the pilgrim trail brings us to medieval Puente la Reina, with its graceful arched bridge. Our charming hotel in Pamplona is the same one Hemingway used to stay in!

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Days 5-6
Village Hike / Hondarribia / San Sebastián

A village to village hike brings us through southern Basque country, with lunch in a cafe where we’ll join local farmers—it’s a classic spot. In San Sebastián, the views are fabulous as we hike from Monte Igueldo down to the magnificent bay of La Concha, then join in the tradition of pintxo-hopping—a foodie “pub crawl” to sample the best tapas. A renowned local professor will give us a talk on Basque history while we sip Txakoli (Basque white wine), and we enjoy a special dinner in a Michelin-starred Basque restaurant. Our accommodation is a lovely seaside parador in Hondarribia.

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Day 7-8
Bilbao / Depart

Heading along the coast to Bilbao, we have lunch among fishermen in a small fishing harbor. The afternoon is free to visit the Guggenheim Museum, and we celebrate with a Farewell Dinner. Depart on Day 8.

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Highlights

Highlights

Hike from France to Spain on the pilgrims’ route, discover mountain, coast, and village trails
Enjoy local wine, delicious picnics, and meals in local Basque gathering spots
Experience Basque country with Trip Leaders who have a passion for sharing their culture and cuisine
Savor a special Basque dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hondarribia

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $5495  
Arrive: Biarritz, France
Depart: Bilbao, Spain
Lodging: 7 nights historic hotels and inns
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Culinary
Trip Level:

6 hiking days on moderate trails, some steep sections, 2-5 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike)