If you are a lover of Spanish Rioja wines – those heady, full-bodied reds – you will love a holiday to the Basque country where the vines grow, and the wines are crafted. This intriguing and lavish adventure starts in Bilbao, capital of the Basque Province of Viscay, and includes San Sebastian, Burgos, Salamanca, and La Rioja villages and vineyards. Your memorable experience ends in beautiful and romantic Madrid.
A representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in the heart of the old town, only a few minutes’ walk from the ultra-modern Guggenheim Museum. One architect described the Guggenheim as “the greatest building of our time”. The Museum’s collection of 20th and 21st century art is a great way to spend a couple of hours.
Or…let Bilbao’s fabulous beaches entice you to the shore. Enjoy an evening meal at your hotel or taste test a culinary delight at one of the local old town restaurants.
The following morning, stroll through the cobbled lanes and visit the magnificent Gothic cathedral. Don’t forget the Teatro Arriaga, the home of theatrical events, and the city’s famous opera. The busy market square – the Mercado de la Ribera – at 10,000 square meters is a marvel of fresh produce, fish markets, butcher’s shops and lovely fresh flowers.
Now, the time has arrived. The drive you’ve anticipated through the amazing Basque countryside begins. First stop is Getaria for lunch, dining on the local specialty – a tartare of line-caught squid – with which you may enjoy txakoli, the locally produced, slightly sparkling, very dry white wine.
Your destination is San Sebastian and the comforts of a charming 19th century manor house, which will be your home for the duration of your stay.
San Sebastian has many of its own treasures to offer:
Visit the church of Iglesia San Vicente and wonder at the amazing light cast by the stained glass.
Shop in the Calle Loiola. This main shopping street is pedestrianised. A trip to the harbour is well worth your time, where €3.80 buys you a trip out to the Isla Santa Clara in the middle of the bay. There is a tiny beach, with an outdoor bar, and a jetty from which you can dive and swim.
You’ll be anxious for the next morning’s drive through more of the beautiful Basque countryside and your visit to the La Rioja wine region. Here you can get up close and personal with the heady, local reds, visit the family-owned Calaos wine caves, and roam the Roda Estate. Have lunch in one of the local restaurants, sampling the Basque cuisine. Then it’s back to San Sebastian for a leisurely evening.
The following day you travel to Madrid, stopping at Salamanca on the way. In Salamanca, pause for a coffee in the Plaza Mayor, along with half of the population of the city, or stand on the Roman bridge spanning the Rio Tormes, and watch the ducks playing below you, while storks fly overhead.
Your incredible journey ends in historic Madrid. Spend the evening sampling the renowned tapas of the region, and enjoy a glass or three of the local Rioja, or indulge in the Restaurant Café Varela at the Hotel Preciados, where you spend the night. The Café Varela is one of the most famous and historical cafés in Madrid, dating back to the end of the XIX and XX centuries, with traditional Galician cooking techniques certain to tempt the most discerning palate.
The next morning, consider a delicious breakfast of churros (sweet Spanish doughnuts) together with hot chocolate – a typical Basque breakfast - before heading to the airport for your next flight.
Of course, the Basque countryside and way of life may enchant you into staying for a day, a week…or returning soon.
Why Choose a Peregrine Reserve holiday?
With over 30 years’ experience, Peregrine Reserve offers a difference in travel from the comfort of small touring parties to the uniquely created itineraries. Abandon the beaten path, spend time with a local family or try your hand at preparing the area cuisine.
Peregrine Reserve’s itineraries can be taken as a Private Journey. Choose your dates, and Peregrine will make all the arrangements. Any existing itinerary can be changed to suit your needs and interests. The pace can be as relaxed or adventurous as you’d like.
You want the very best. So, take a look for yourself and prepare to be enchanted and amazed by the luxury and charm of a bygone era combined with the efficiency and ease of the modern world…Peregrine Reserve. The world is your oyster. Where do you want to go—in style?