Day 1: Bilbao—Haro
Mid day arrival at the Bilbao airport.
Transfer to Haro, the capital of Rioja Alta wines. The town is built around an arcaded square and has a collection of attractive noble houses dating from the 16th century.
6:30 pm After a brief tour of the picturesque town, we'll be lead in a tasting of some of the famous local Rioja wines. We welcome you with a sumptuous dinner at the fine restaurant in the 4-star Hotel Los Agustinos, a restored monastery.
Day 2: Haro – Laguardia – Haro
10:00 departure We spend the morning learning about the wine making industry at the Rioja Wine Museum. You’ll understand how soils, climates, and vineyards come together to produce such a memorable taste – through both ancient and high-tech processes. From there, its time to visit one of the famous wine bodegas. The bodega off Lopez de Heredia keeps the ancient traditions of wine making alive. We'll tour the facility and cellar before tasting their wonderful product.
Lunch will be at Vieja Bodega, serving local specialties often grilled over the wood trimmed from the vines. In the afternoon, we'll transfer to the medieval city of Laguardia to explore the narrow cobbled streets within the city walls. Motor vehicles are not permitted because the ground below is tunneled with over 250 wine cellars. Besides serving as Rioja Alavesa’s key wine town, Laguardia is also home to a spec- tacularly painted 14th-century por- tal at the Gothic Santa Maria de los Reyes. We'll return to Haro where you will have dinner on your own.
Day 3: Haro – Samaniego – San Sebastián
10:00 am departure Our day begins with a visit to the private bodega of Ramirez de Ganuza, in a splendid stone mansion on the edge of the tiny village of Samaniego. Careful hand-selection of grapes is one of the hallmarks of the bodega’s complex and elegant wines. Your lunch will be at Restaurante Tubal, as we cross through the kingdom of Navarra on our way to San Sebastian. A pleasant walking tour servers as aour orientation and reveals San Sebastian’s many charms. We explore the fascinating La Parte Vieja or Old Town, the stunning tree-lined boulevards and dramatic ocean views.
Dinner on your own.
Day 4: San Sebastián
10:00 departure Our morning walk takes us to the famous La Brecha market which hosts beautiful displays of vegetables, fish and meat. You’ll witness firsthand the Basque passion for fresh food when you marvel at the firm, colour-rich produce, the just-caught fish and perfectly aged beef… and observe the culinary experts inspect and vie for the very best examples. The aromas of farm-fresh peppers, leeks, lettuce and herbs in the air, priming your appetite for the gourmet lunch to come. We will dine at world-famous Arzak (the highest Michelin-rated restaurant in the city; 3 stars). Chef Elena Arzak follows in the footsteps of her father and grandmother and is universally celebrated for her culinary creations.
Dinner on your own.
Day 5: San Sebastián
7:30 pm This evening we will have a private cooking lesson and dinner in one of the famed Gastronomic Societies. A male Basque chorus called an Otxote will serenade us with each course of the meal.
Day 6: Guernica – Bakio – Bilbao
10:30 departure Today, we head west for a visit to the famous oak in Guernica. This once-devastated village is famed for its"Tree of Guernica," the symbol of Basque heritage, law, and freedom that inspired the haunting Picasso mas- terpiece of the same name. There will also be time to visit sculptural monuments by Henry Moore and Eduardo Chillida. Our chef atRestaurante Zallo Barri will lead us through a sampling of delicious Basque cheeses. One type most associated with the region is Idiazabal, made from the milk of Latxa sheep who graze high in the green hills all the Spring and summer. We continue along the coast to the town of Bakio, known for its fruity young wine called Txakoli. We will tour one of the small bodegas before continuing on to Bilbao.
Dinner on your own.
Day 7: Bilbao
10.00 am departure. With almost a million inhabitants in the metropolitan area Bilbao is the dynamic engine that has fuelled Basque prosperity for the last century. In the new century, it has achieved an unsurpassed reputation for art and architecture, rebirth and renewal.
We’ll have a walking tour of the Casco Viejo or Old City, home to the original Siete Calles or seven streets and the bountiful Riverside Market where the food stalls spill over with a bounty of the land and sea beneath stained glass windows. After lunch on your own visit the architectural wonder of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a titanium sheated museum that lures the visitors around its sculptural form.
8.30 pm For our farewell banquet, we gather at Kate Zarra, an elegant setting high on a hill overlooking the city. This memorable setting come about with the dream of two brothers, architectural salvage of as many as 20 different Basque farmhouses, and luck in the New Years lottery.
Day 8: Departure
We transfer you to the airport and thelp you check your luggage and boarding passes for your flight home.
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