Our trip to the Basque Country in Spain 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.
To that end, we’ve put together an itinerary to help you explore the Spanish Basque Country and soak in all of its brilliance in just 4 days.
1.) Arrive in Bilbao
Arriving at 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 to get around the more rural parts of the Basque Country.
2.) Drive to Arantzazu
Drive to Arantzazu in Oñati (city) and stop for typical Basque food at Sindika restaurant (you’re really here for the view though).
3.) See the Sanctuary of Arantzazu
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 the Arrikrutz caves
Visit Arrikrutz caves in Oñati (not too far from the Sanctuary).
The caves have such an amazing history behind them and is 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 have owned it for several generations.
6.) Go for an evening tipple
Pop-out for evening drinks and a mini walk around the village. No one has dinner in the Basque Country early!
7.) Time for sleep
After drinks, get yourself some dinner and then get back to the hotel for a good night’ sleep!
1.) Gorge at breakfast
Breakfast at Hotel Torre Zumeltzegi (it’s included so…)
2.) Explore Pasaia
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.) Visit the Basque Maritime Heritage Foundation
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.) See San Marko’s Fort
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.) Stay in Hondarribia
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 alongside 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.) Gorge at breakfast
Have breakfast at the Rural Hotel Higeralde.
2.) Explore Hondarribia
Head down to the centre of Hondarribia town where you should take a tour of the historical route around the town to the old castle (13th century).
3.) Visit San Sebastian
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.
4.) Explore the city itself
5.) Gorge on pintxos
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.) See the Igeldo Mountain
Visiting Igeldo mountain and enjoy Igeldo amusement park in San Sebastian.
7.) Dinner in the city
Head back down to the city for dinner after which, it’s back to the Hotel Londres for bedtime! (Unless you wanna boogie – in which case, do your thing!).
1.) Gorge at breakfast
Breakfast at hotel Londres in San Sebastian.
2.) Head on a walking tour
Visit the city of Oñati properly and take a walking tour.
4.) Go for lunch in the town’s little foodie spots
Have lunch in Oñati and stop at the place that serves the seafood you like most.
5.) Time to say goodbye
Leave for the airport/train station/bus stop