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Explore Spain's Basque Country

Enjoy the delights of one of Europe’s finest corners and one of its most famous wine-producing regions, uncorked for your pleasure.

Based in the charming Blue Flag resort of Isla, on the Cantabrian Coast with its collection of pristine beaches, this holiday takes in some of northern Spain's greatest treasures. Visit San Sebastian's spectacular beachfront and beguiling old quarter, and enjoy a day in Bilbao that includes entry to the iconic Guggenheim Museum. Explore La Rioja, home to some of Spain’s most celebrated wines, and discover elegant Santander and French playground Biarritz on a pair of optional excursions.

What does this price include?

  • Seven nights' dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation in the three-star Hotel Isla Bella Spa (four-star upgrade available)
  • Guided tours of San Sebastian and Bilbao
  • Entrance to the Guggenheim Museum
  • A day trip to La Rioja
  • Return flights to Bilbao
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

  • Meet your tour manager and transfer by coach to the elegant resort of Isla and your hotel. Settle in, and get to know your surroundings.

  • Claiming, with no little justification, to be one of Spain’s finest coastal resorts, picturesque San Sebastian, is immediately engaging and intoxicating. The town juts into a wide, sweeping bay and straddles the River Urumea, and its Parte Vieja (old quarter), at the foot of wooded Mount Urgull, is a maze of narrow streets filled with bars and cafés, as well as countless places where you can sample the region's famous pintxos tapas or fish landed daily at the busy harbour.

    Get to know the city on our included guided tour, which will introduce, La Concha, one of the world’s finest urban beaches, as well as the old town and the elegant Gros district, with its Belle-Epoque buildings, across the river.

  • Enjoy a day free for rest and relaxation at your hotel or for exploring the famous beaches that make up Isla Playa. Most popular are Playa El Sable and Playa de los Barcos, both boasting fine sands and clear waters surrounded by the lush green landscape that characterises this wonderful corner of Spain.

    Your tour manager will be on hand to point you in the right direction and to help you make the most of the day.

  • Today’s fascinating visit takes you to the great Basque city of Bilbao, astride the River Nervión. This bustling, vibrant metropolis combines the ancient with the thoroughly modern – the former reflected in the lanes and elegant arcades of Casco Viejo, its old town; the latter a wonderful riverside stroll away at the astonishingly futuristic Museo Guggenheim.

    This vast, titanium-clad edifice, with its vast atrium, is guarded by striking sculptures of a spider and some space-age tulips, and is home to one of Spain’s finest collections of modern art. Entry to the museum is included in a wonderful day that might also find you taking a ride on the city’s funicular for the panoramic views, or enjoying lunch in the old town.

  • On today’s optional tour you'll cross the border into south-west France, heading through the foothills of the Pyrenees, past the exquisite resort of St Jean de Luz and its half-timbered houses, to Biarritz.

    The "Monte Carlo of the Atlantic" is a paradise for pleasure-seekers and surfers who flock to the resort’s famous beaches, including the vast Grande Plage backed by the Casino Barrière and some even grander hotels. Stroll the gilded shoreline, and perhaps take a seat in a café or salon de thé to watch the world go by and soak up the atmosphere of one of France’s most sophisticated and colourful playgrounds, before returning to Isla and your hotel for dinner.

  • Head south from the coast on today’s included excursion into the La Rioja region, famed the world over for its rich red, fine white and sophisticated rosé wines. You’ll pay a visit to bustling Haro, centre of the Rioja Alta and home to several historic bodegas, at one of which you’ll enjoy a tasting and the opportunity to buy some wine.

    South of Haro, the fabled Camino de Santiago pilgrims’ trail snakes its way through the vine-covered landscape, past towns like Santa Domingo de la Calzada, which you’ll visit this afternoon to see its improbably fine cathedral.

    After a wonderful day, we'll return to Isla for the evening.

  • Our final optional tour will take you to the regional capital, Santander. This elegant and sophisticated city-resort has been a long-time favourite haunt of Madrid’s discerning holidaymakers, rivalling San Sebastian or Biarritz, and boasts superb El Sardinero beach resort, a beautifully restored old town set some distance away, and the beautiful peninsula of La Magdalena - which itself offers glorious views of the bay, the golden beaches and the coast beyond.

    During the visit, you’ll enjoy a short introductory tour, after which you will be free to explore under your own steam, or perhaps just enjoy the wonderful beach. Don’t miss the fishing port or the pavement cafés and tapas bars that dot the tree-lined avenues.

    You’ll return to Isla for a final evening.

  • Bid farewell to your Basque hosts, and transfer to Bilbao Airport to catch your flight home.

Prices

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Hotels

Hotel Olimpo

The Olimpo is a family run hotel, and offers guests magnificent views of the sea or surrounding mountains from almost every area of the hotel. The centre of Isla is a short and pleasant walk away.

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Hotel Isla Bella Spa

The family run Isla Bella Spa enjoys an enviable location in the centre of Isla with direct access to the beach, and affords wonderful views of the dramatic Cantabrian coast.

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Further Information

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour and 15 minutes.
  • We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
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