Basque Food Adventure

8 days
from
£1,549
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
ABS
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–18

Uncover the gastronomic & cultural delights of the Basque country. 

Home to nearly thirty Michelin-starred restaurants and where people spend most of their disposable income on food, it comes as no surprise that Spain, and in particular the Basque region, represents one of the best destinations for a foodie trip. Due to its distinctive geographic and cultural landscape, the mix of sea and mountain cultures offers an incredible food range. Our comprehensive food journey starts in Bilbao when we will visit the famous markets and have a cooking class in a Michelin-recommended restaurant. We will then head to the countryside and embark on a pinxtos bar crawl before exploring a vineyard in the Rioja region to learn more about the wine making tradition of this region. In the Basque capital of San Sebastian we will have the chance to dine at an exclusive gastronomic society before visiting a cider producer to not only witness the production but also taste some of this famous local drink.

Highlights

  • Explore the trendiest cities of the Basque region and the pilgrim village of Logrono
  • Wander through the most famous Bilbao’s markets followed by cooking class in a Michelin recommended restaurant
  • Be a winegrower for a day in Rioja and taste some of the popular wines of the area
  • Enjoy a pinxtos crawl in Logrono
  • Cider house experience in San Sebastian

Key information

  • 6 nights 3-star hotels
  • Sample a variety of local specialities during the included produce and wine tastings
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 18 yrs
  • Travel by private minibus and taxis

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Bilbao; dinner at a hand picked traditional restaurant.

    The trip starts in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao. After check-in, we will have some free time to relax until the welcome meeting will take place. Have your insurance and next of kin details on hand as the leader will be collecting them at this meeting.

    In the evening we will have a welcome dinner at a traditional restaurant in Bilbao, one of the most renowned foodie cities in Spain due to the vast choice of products, both from the sea and the surrounding countryside.

    Hotel Conde Duque or similar

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Visit Bilbao's famous market; interactive cooking class in a Michelin-recommended restaurant; free time.

    As a start of our unforgettable food adventure we will visit some of the best markets and shops in Bilbao, such as the ‘Mercado de La Rivera’ (located by the river), as well as the classic cod shops (bacaladerías) where bacalao (dried cod) and Iberian ham are sold. We will be accompanied by a culinary guide who will provide explanations and insights about local products and customs, before taking us to the cooking venue. At the restaurant, we’ll be welcomed by the chef who will share with us the secrets of becoming a master in the kitchen. Put on your apron and be taught to create your own delicious meal! We'll enjoy our lunch with expertly paired wines. The remainder of the day will be free to explore Bilbao at your own pace. The Guggenheim Museum is located not far from the hotel, designed by the American architect Frank Gehry, represents an architectural masterpiece not to be missed.

    Please note: cooking classes are usually given by Paul Ibarra, who trained under Fernando Canales, chef at Michelin star restaurant Etxanobe. Paul Ibarra is currently chef at Los Fueros which is recommended by the Michelin Guide.

    Hotel Conde Duque or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    ASE: 3: Transfer to the pilgrimage city of Logrono, sightseeing and pinxtos crawl in the evening

    This morning we travel by private minibus to the town of Logrono (approx. 1h30min) which is situated in the famous wine region of La Rioja. The town sits on the banks of the Ebro River and is the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region. The city is rich in history and traditions, preserved since the Middle Ages. It also boasts one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in the country, home to some of the best tapas bars in the whole of Spain, all crammed into its small medieval centre. After checking in to our accommodation we will get the chance to stroll through the streets of this favourite stop for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. A handsome city of medieval fortifications, where much work is being done to restore it to its full glory. In the evening we will head out on a pintxos crawl. The sheer concentration of tapas bars in the old town has led to intense competition and incredibly high standards.

    Hotel FG Logrono or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Rioja vineyards, wine tasting and picnic lunch; free afternoon

    Today we will experience what it is like to be a winegrower as we will be the protagonist of an ancient tradition for a day. With the guidance of a professional we’ll be able to carry out different activities in the vineyards and winery, as well as acquire in-depth knowledge of all the work associated with producing a good Rioja wine. Spend the morning participating in the tasks associated with viticulture in the vineyard and in the winery, along with carrying out experiments to understand the wine fermentation processes. After working in the vineyard, we get to enjoy an appetiser made with Rioja products. In the winery we’ll have the chance to taste some of the wines straight out of the barrels to observe their evolution during the ageing process and determine the one we like best. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town.

    Hotel FG Logrono or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Transfer to San Sebastian, free afternoon and dinner at an exclusive ‘private dining club’

    Travel by private vehicle to the city of San Sebastian, jewel of the Basque country and a city obsessed with food. With its family friendly beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastian is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop, consume pintxos, or just to soak up the sun.

    In the evening we will head out to 'a local society', where our dinner will take place. Founded in 1931 with 110 members, Itzalpe is what we could call a private eating club. Basque society is very female-oriented: a husband brings home his pay and hands it directly to his wife, who controls the household. Basque men felt they needed a place they could congregate and play ‘king of the castle’ so they founded these clubs where members could reserve a table and cook with friends. The clubs used to be exclusively male, but that has changed now. Women can come along, but they are not allowed in the kitchen. Tonight’s activity is known as Xabi - being a member of this society and for locals being a chef at the same time.

    Hotel Europa or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Take part in a cider house experience; farewell dinner with Basque specialities at the cider house

    Enjoy a day at leisure until the late afternoon when we will travel by taxi to a local cider house. Once there we will embark on a tour of the cider house and learn how to make the traditional Basque cider.

    As a perfect ending for our culinary trip we enjoy a magnificent, traditional cider house menu including chorizo sausage cooked in cider, salt cod omelette, salt cod with peppers, bone-in ribeye steak, Basque cheese, quince jelly, walnuts and almond tiles - all washed down with the locally produced cider, served directly from the kupela or barrel in true `txotx' ritual fashion.

    Hotel Europa or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    End San Sebastian

    Our trip ends in San Sebastian following breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Spain

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 dinners are included. Lunch on day 2 will be a cooking class in a Michelin recommended restaurant. Other gastronomic experiences that are included in the itinerary:

  • Dinner at a well-known restaurant in Bilbao
  • Pinxtos crawl in Logrono
  • Wine tasting and picnic lunch in the Rioja region
  • Dinner at a `local society' in San Sebastian
  • Cider house experience with dinner in San Sebastian

Please be advised drinks are not included with meals or on the pinxtos crawl tour.

The Basque Country has now become the most important tourist destination in Spain in relation to food. Being a coastal and border region allows for its local dishes to be a mixture of sea and mountain cultures with modern top-quality cooking. This trend emerged over the last decades with the appearance of the so-called Basque Nouvelle Cuisine. The good food is the centre of any social occasion and is a reflection of the character of the Basque people, a people devoted to tradition and cooking.

Please note meal times in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 20:00hrs and 21.30hrs.

 GLOSSARY

The Basque country had its own language called Euskara which is one of the most unusual and difficult languages in the world.

A few useful words for your food adventure:

Zurito - a tiny beer 

Txotx - toothpick (pronounced chotch) 

While this word literally means toothpick, it is also said when you tip the cider out of the barrel to announce to everyone that the barrel is open and they should fill their glasses. 

Pinxtos – toothpick food (pronounced peen-chos)

While this word literally means toothpick food, it is the Basque word for tapas. the main difference between pinxtos and tapas is that pinxtos uses toothpicks to avoid the food top from falling off the bread slice bottom. Here’s where the name it’s coming from.

Txakoli - Basque sparkling wine (pronounced chakoli) 

Weather

In the Basque country the climate tends to be mild on the coast and a little more continental and dry in the south.

In May and October expect temperatures in the 12-19ºC with higher chance of rain showers though it could also be simply partly cloudy and more temperate. Temperatures in June and September tend to be about 3ºC warmer than May and October. Expect a combination of sun, showers and clouds.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is Activity Level 1 for Leisurely.

This is a food and cultural trip exploring the Basque country and the wine region of La Rioja. There is some gentle walking involved on most days during the sightseeing and in relation to the activities, but the focus is on gastronomy. The overall Activity Level for this trip is 1 (Leisurely) meaning that it is suitable for all people who are in good health.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels

Please be advised that the below accommodation listed in each location are the usual hotels. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at other hotels of similar standard and quality. We use a mix of well located 3-star hotels during our trip, chosen for their comfort and convenience. Please note that interior rooms might be allocated subject to availability.

All rooms are double/twin with and all hotels offer free Wi-Fi.

Hotel list:

Bilbao: Hotel Conde Duque or similar

Logrono: FG Logrono or similar

San Sebastian: Hotel Europa or similar

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 020 8772 3936