Our trip to the Spanish Basque Country was definitely one of the most memorable trips we’ve had! We got to make new friends, eat lots of different and amazing foods to our heart’s contents and become a lot more open to travel.
In the past, I’d (like everyone else I suppose) been particularly keen on visiting places I’d known about for ages and when we visited the Basque country, this was one of the first time I’d been to a place I didn’t know much about and effectively had to wing things as we went along.
It was incredible! Suddenly, this whole new series of options for travel planning and travel destinations opened up and to be honest, it’s very liberating! Since then, we’ve been so much more open to visiting places we’ve never been to before and travelling without having a real idea of what sights we’d like to see when we visit.
Personal development aside, there’s also the whole thing about how beautiful the Spanish Basque Country is! The landscape is quite dramatic and unlike anywhere else in Spain we’d ever been in before and the pace of life here is amazing! Everything is all centred around family and friends and even in bigger cities, there are still so many close knit communities (which tends not to happen as much in places like London) so it’s such an exciting place to visit.
To that end, we’ve put together an itinerary to help you explore the Spanish Basque Country and soak in all of it’s brilliance in just 4 days!
1.) Arriving to Bilbao Airport and pick up your rented car (you can use public transport but if you can rent a car, for your own flexibility, it’s probably best to do this).
2.) Drive to Arantzazu in Oñati (city) and stop for typical basque food at Sindika restaurant (you’re really here for the view though).
3.) Go on a guided tour of the Sanctuary of Arantzazu in Oñati which is an old Franciscan monastery and of huge importance to the wider region.
4.) Visit Arrikrutz caves in Oñati (not to far from the Sanctuary). The caves have such an amazing history behind them and was home to several extinct prehistoric animals including cave lions!
5.) Check into your hotel. We stayed in the Hotel Torre Zumeltzegi which was the home to the old Count who ran the town and has now been converted to a hotel by the family who’ve own it for several generations.
6.) Pop out for evening drinks and a mini walk around the village. No one has dinner in the Basque Country early!
7.) After drinks, get yourself some dinner and then get back to the hotel for a good night’ sleep!
1.) Breakfast at Hotel Torre Zumeltzegi (it’s included so…)
2.) Head over to the city of Pasaia where you can learn all about Basque cuisine in Ziaboga restaurant. Don’t worry, you can get as involved (or as un-involved as you like) – all before you tuck into all the food you’ve been talking about all morning. 🙂 (Do try the monkfish when you’re here – it’s so good!)
3.) Take a boat ride from the restaurant to the Albaola foundation (Basque Maritime Heritage Foundation) where you’ll get a fascinating insight into Basque culture! (You don’t have to spend too long here but you’ve gotta do it for the boat ride and the chance to stretch out in the sun while your food digests).
4.) Drive to San Marko’s Fort in Errenteria and take a guided visit of this fortress. Oh, and stop for drinks afterwards (there’s a bar here so why not!)
5.) Head over to Rural Hotel Higeralde in Hondarribia. You’ll be exploring Hondarribia the next day and the owner cooks up one mean feast! Also expect to be dining till late accompanied with lots of Spanish wine! This hotel is actually the owner’s home in his farmhouse (it’s quite big – there were several other guests there when we visited) and it’s another amazing way to immerse yourself in Basque country life! It’s like being a guest at a family dinner – definitely worth experiencing!
1.) Have breakfast at Rural Hotel Higeralde.
2,) Head down to the centre of Hondarribia town where you should take a tour of the historical route around the town to old castle (13th century).
3.) Head over to San Sebastian where you’ll check into the Hotel Londres and subsequently spend far too much time taking photos from your hotel room of the city and the beach.
5.) Chances are that all this walking has your tummy rumbling so settle your hunger pangs by venturing into the pintxo area. Pintxos are little portions of food – akin to tapas, so the plan here is to hop from one place to the other, trying out pintxos and having as much Spanish wine/beer as you can handle.(Pintxos are a must do in the Spanish Basque country – especially on Sundays).
6.) Visiting Igeldo mountain and enjoy Igeldo amusement park in San Sebastian.
7.) Head back down to the city for dinner after which, it’s back to the Hotel Londres for bed time! (Unless you wanna boogie – in which case, do your thaaaang!).
1.) Breakfast at hotel Londres in San Sebastian.
2.) Visit the city of Oñati properly and take a walking tour.
4.) Have lunch in Oñati.
5.) Leave for the airport/train station/bus stop