Basque Country: Spain and France

Basque Coast

The Basque Country is a small isle of Europe, offering timeless views of a language, people and territory deeply interwoven in the origins of European evolution. We immerse ourselves in both the French and Spanish territories, beginning in the Cantabrian Mountains.

High limestone towers stand regally over centuries-old forests and stretches of alpine meadow. Shepherding has been a way of life here for 5000 years, and we stay in a restored ancestral farmhouse, traditionally used by the shepherds, and tastefully brimming with antique wood furnishings and relics.  We dine on traditional Basque cuisine: fruits from the sea, expertly-aged cheeses, hearty soups, farm-raised meats, peppers of all varieties, sweets and confections, each with the distinct and subtle flavor of the territory from which it comes.

We explore castle ruins and sample private vintages. Birchwood bowls, hand-tooled wineskins, chestnut baskets and knit stockings decorate the vineyard country and its crumbling ruins of Navarre and the Rioja Alavesa. We trace the Camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage route across the western Pyrenees, to the small village of Ainhoa, a picturesque 17th-Century town, on the French side of the mountains.

Our adventure continues on the Atlantic Coast, where we walk historic fishing villages, once home to the great Basque Whaling fleets that sailed the seas of the New World.

Our journey begins and ends in the cosmopolitan city of Bilbao and offers you an opportunity to experience the grandeur of the new Guggenheim Museum.

Days/Nights:   11D/10 N

Meeting/Ending Location: Bilbao, Spain

Comfort Notes: 3-4 star small hotels and inns.

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