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  • Bayonne, France
    Bayonne
  • St-Jean-Pied-de-Port
  • The Pyrenees
  • Pamplona
  • Navarre Wine Tasting
  • Tour members gather for a group photo on the Camino de Santiago, Spain
    Camino de Santiago
  • Beach promenade in San Sebastián, Spain
    San Sebastián
  • Guernica, Spain
    Guernica
  • Basque Sheep Farm
  • The Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain
    Guggenheim Bilbao

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Basque Country of Spain & France in 9 Days Tour

from $2,495 per person + air

Single Supplement $575

See Dates & Prices

Straddling the modern-day borders of Spain and France is one of Europe's most ancient, independent-thinking regions: the Basque Country. Starting in Bayonne and ending in Bilbao, this tour happily immerses you in the rich art, history, and culture of Europe's Basque Country — including the distinctive towns of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Pamplona, San Sebastián, and Guernica. You'll also enjoy the region's gourmet cooking and full-bodied wines, a working sheep farm, and a time-tripping hike along the centuries-old Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. Join us for the Basque Country of Spain & France in 9 Days!

Dates & Prices

2022

What's Included

You'll get at least 13 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!

Here's what you'll see and do on our Basque Country tour:

  • Bayonne walking tour
  • Bayonne Museum of Basque Culture
  • St-Jean-Pied-de-Port
  • Drive through the Pyrenees
  • Pamplona walking tour
  • Pamplona Private Dining Society (sociedad) dinner
  • Pilgrimage walk along the Camino de Santiago trail
  • Wine tasting and lunch
  • San Sebastián walking tour
  • Basque sheep farm
  • Guernica
  • Bilbao walking tour
  • Guggenheim Museum

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of the Basque Country come alive for you
  • All group transportation from Bayonne, France, to Bilbao, Spain
  • 8 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (when available) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2022
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions for important details regarding everything listed above.

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Basque Country

We'll gather at our hotel in Bayonne, France, at 5 p.m. for an introductory meeting. Then we'll take a neighborhood orientation stroll and start getting to know one another over dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. No bus. Sleep in or near Bayonne.

Day 2: Basque Bayonne

This morning we'll take a walking tour through half-timbered Bayonne, the capital of the French Pays Basque. After getting to know the cobbled-street ambience of the city's Old Town, we'll take a tour of Bayonne's superb Museum of Basque Culture — setting the foundation for all we'll learn about Basque culture and history. This afternoon you'll have free time to enjoy Bayonne or take a short train or bus ride (20 minutes) to the seaside towns of St-Jean-de-Luz or Biarritz.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in or near Bayonne.

Day 3: St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Pamplona

Today we'll say au revoir (agur in Basque) to France, but not before we make one last stop for a visit to the walled French town of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a traditional starting point for hiking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. Here we'll learn about the humble pilgrims who have trekked across the north of Spain since the Middle Ages to pay homage to the remains of St. James. This afternoon our bus will take the scenic route, crossing over the impressive Pyrenees mountains to Pamplona. After a short orientation walk, our guide will introduce us to the unique culture of eating tapas.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Pamplona.

Day 4: Proud Pamplona

Let's run with the bulls today — figuratively speaking, of course — as we take a walking tour through the historic heart of Pamplona ("Iruña" in Basque), including its cathedral and ramparts. We'll learn about Pamplona's importance as the capital of Spain's Navarra region and as a key stop along the Camino de Santiago. We'll also learn about Pamplona's association with author Ernest Hemingway — who hailed from Illinois but is celebrated here as a native son. Tonight we'll be invited to dine like the locals at a traditional sociedad private dining club.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Pamplona.

Day 5: All Day on the Camino de Santiago

Today we'll board our bus and drive deeper into El País Vasco — the Spanish Basque Country. But we'll also make our way to San Sebastián as pilgrims, hiking along a stretch of the famous Camino de Santiago. We'll stop for a well-deserved lunch and tasting of regional vintages at a local winery, arriving in San Sebastián in time to get oriented to our new neighborhood. The evening is all yours to simply soak in the sights of the beautiful Bay of Biscay surrounding you.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in San Sebastián.

Day 6: Savoring San Sebastián

We'll begin our day with a walking tour of elegant San Sebastián ("Donostia" in Basque). Our guide will give us a view of Spanish Basque life and culture as we tour the lively Old Town, step inside the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, and walk the promenade down to the town's beautiful beach. You'll be free this afternoon and evening to spend more time in the Old Town or at the beach, ride the funicular up to Monte Igueldo's viewpoint, or hike around Monte Urgull. Tonight, you'll be ready to make your own San Sebastián dining discoveries.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in San Sebastián.

Day 7: Guernica and Bilbao

We'll start our day driving along the rugged coastline of the Bay of Biscay as we make our way to a family-run sheep farm. After learning firsthand the importance of sheep to the Basque culture, we'll make our own yogurt before continuing on to the town of Guernica (Gernika). We'll dive further into the independent Basque spirit as we visit the town made infamous by the 1937 air raid that inspired Picasso's anti-war masterpiece (now housed in Madrid). Today, Guernica is considered the very heart of the Basque nation. We'll learn more about the Spanish Civil War and current political issues as we tour the Assembly House and its symbolic Oak Tree, where Basque leaders have met since medieval times. Then we'll make a beeline for our final destination — bustling Bilbao.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Bilbao.

Day 8: Bilbao and the Guggenheim

This morning we'll devote our time to Frank Gehry's dazzling temple of modern art: the Guggenheim Bilbao. We'll take a tour of the museum's best architectural and artistic attractions, then set you free for more museum meandering — or to explore more of Bilbao's Old Town maze, its Fine Arts Museum, and other sights. Tonight, we'll rendezvous for a farewell dinner together, where we'll share travel memories and toast new friends. Topa!

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. No bus. Sleep in Bilbao.

Day 9: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. Bilbao's airport can be easily reached by taxi or bus and provides easy connections to Madrid and all major European airline hubs. Your guide will help you get pointed in the right direction for home, or to continue your travels in Europe. Agur!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Basque Country of Spain & France in 9 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks) and up stairways to reach your hotel, then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing, for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.
  5. Eat group dinners as late as 9 p.m.

Reviews

Charles

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque country tour was my first experience with Rick Steves' travel although I had been on tours with other companies. Without hesitation I can say the Rick Steves was by far the best. The guide was very knowledgeable, and paid close attention to details (I have an allergy to walnuts and he was very careful about protecting me from possible encounters). The accommodations were consistently in high end hotels. The daily events were a correct mixture of guided tours followed by free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Milking a sheep on a farm high in the mountains."

Jeff

Sturgis, SD

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed everything about this tour. The sights food and culture where all outstanding. Great guides

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really enjoyed the private home (Bull fighting museum.) in Pamplona"

Suzanne

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful trip in a beautiful part of the world. We learned a lot about the Basque people and where they live.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino trail. It was beautiful and we passed many pilgrims."

Sanders

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We wanted to see the Basque Country, its food, its wine, its people and its culture. We accomplished it all. This was an active tour, which is what we like. We had plenty of free time which is important for people to know who tend to avoid tours because of regimentation. Another Rick Steves wonderful tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but, loved the beautiful views in San Sebastian. Loved our walk on the Camino. Felt like a real insider when we went to the private bullfighting museum in Pamplona! Lots of wow moments."

Wendy

Cornwall, VT

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the balance and variety of the tour. Good information about each new place, guided tours of the highlights and enough free time to spend on your own. I also like the balance of meals together and meals on your own. I liked that this tour was a culture within a culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The El Camino de Santiago. The information, the towns, and our actual 2 mornings of hiking."

Janet

Bend, OR

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the format of group guided parts and on your own parts. This trip was super educational; we learned so much about the Basque culture, history, politics,...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many - I just can't pick one."

Frances

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Thu tour was a very comprehensive immersion into Basque Country, history and culture. I am amazed that so much was included in the experience. Every day brought new and interesting experiences both big and small. As the only single traveler it was a huge disappointment. Never once did anyone on the trip reach out to me to tag along during free time or share a meal. Any attempt by me was discouraged. By the end of the trip one couldn't help feeling shunned. Shocking. Very lonely and NOT fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino."

Gary

Cornwall, VT

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Superb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking on the Camino with others and alone. Surrounded by the Pyrenees mountains above, and the red pepper fields below."

Charles

Thornhill, ON

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour delivered what was advertised plus more thanks to Augustin and the local guides. Our limited knowledge of the Basque culture and the impact of the Civil War was greatly enhanced by their passionate input.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coastal vistas and the Guggenheim."

Carolyn

Olympia, WA

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was may first Rick Steves tour and it was delightful! The tour was well-balanced with group learning and free time for ourselves to explore on our own. I really appreciated that aspect. I loved the guided city orientation walks. The fact that we spent at least two nights in every town where we stayed was a plus, I never felt rushed. The tour was a fun and informative experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a hard question to answer, as there were many. But I'm going to have to say the sheep farm was probably my biggest wow. It was in the most idyllic setting, first of all, and then we had an enthusiastic (and quite adorable) workshop lead who taught us how they make their cheese. We all got to experience the sheep, goats and dogs first hand. And then enjoy some cheese and wine while taking in the scenery. This place was really special to me."

Susan

Flat Rock, NC

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great - Particularly loved the cohesiveness of this group

Favorite "WOW" moment

"arriving at the Il camino de Santiago and walking the first part, stopping and taking in the view and soaking in the experience. Loved the sheep farm and the visit Francisco arranged at this friends home in Pamplaco - the bull fighting displays."

Mark

Ixonia, WI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonder food, locations, history, tour members and Francisco! Never knew there was so much interesting history in this area. Francisco made it come alive and kept us engaged. The city guides were just as impressive with the knowledge they gave our group. I would come back to this region at the drop of a hat. San Sebastian's choice of hotel was outstanding. Looking out our window where the river meets the Bay of Biscay Watching the huge waves crashing on the granite rocks flowing up the river.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First, stopping at the sheep farm and learning about sheep cheese making. Added bonus was the animals. I think we were all missing our pets back home and seeing, touching, petting brought a smile to everyone's face. Second, was the village of Roncesvalles, Spain, where the Moors were defeated by the Christians. Such a fascinating ending with these priests reporting directly to the Pope. Who ever knew that, except those on a Rick Steve's tour."

Barbara

Canton, MI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an outstanding tour, I enjoyed everything about it

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a land locked midwesterner I loved the seacoast at San Sebastian. The Guggenheim museum was also a Wow. Actually, there were quite a few wow moments!"

Kenard

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fransisco gave us a wonderful, interesting and informative experience. Loved his sense of play. Will ask for his leadership anytime.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gernika and The Camino portion of our tour."

Douglas

Battle Ground, WA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My "overall" tour began in Paris and ended in Barcelona. Sandwiched in the center of this 21 day adventure was the RS "Basque Country" tour. This tour portion of my adventure was memorable for the dedication I felt from the RS team. This is a marvelous tour. Francisco (our tour guide) Claire (our local guide in Bayonne) and Agustin (our local guide in San Sebastian) provided excellent leadership and quality decisions regarding our tour's content. I greatly admire all three.

Favorite "WOW" moment

""Becoming Basque" for a week. I felt a strong identification with the locals of this region and I sincerely appreciated the opportunity to walk among them.The Basques are noble people - and that nobility is infectious. I feel like I'm a better person for having known them."

Debra

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque area has such a rich and complicated history. We enjoyed the beautiful, rugged scenery and picturesque towns and villages, as well as learning about the culture and traditions. We had an excellent guide, Francisco, who helped us learn more about the Basque communities and explore the many cultural and historic sites. We enjoyed traveling with a fun, compatible group of people from around the US.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many - overall beautiful communities and natural areas, learning more about Guernica's tragic history, the sea in San Sebastián, Pamplona's history with the bulls and Hemingway's influence, charming Bayonne and Bilbao's architecture and the Guggenheim. Loved the small villages and time on the Camino de Santiago."

Pamela

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Educational, interesting, eye opening. Guernica was heart wrenching. There was too much time spent at the sheep farm. One hour would have adequate. I had to wash my travel pants because they smelled and were covered with sheep nibbles.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pamploma walking the way of the running of the bulls. The home visit was so special and standing on the balcony I could visualize the running of the bulls."

Russell

Canton, MI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was great in that it had a significant cultural learning content in addition to some neat places to visit. The Basque culture is one that only gets a footnote in our US knowledge and much of that has been negative due to incidents in modern times. I found the food in this region to be really good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably visiting the Guggenheim in Bilbao. I found the structure to be amazing."

Mary

Claremont, CA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was among the best trips I've taken, whether with Rick Steves tours or others: a fairly in-depth experience of a culturally and historically rich part of the world--the Basque Country. I learned so much. Our guide, Francisco, was incredibly knowledgeable as well as funny and warm and very well-organized. The fellow travelers were lovely.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moments were probably not the same as for others, since my two main reasons for taking this trip were to get to 1) St. Jean Pied de Port to walk in the place where the Camino starts for so many people and 2)to visit the place where Charlemagne crossed the Pyrenees and the tragic death of Roland occurred near Roncesvalles. Being able to do these things were very fulfilling for me. Francisco's heartfelt presentation at Guernica was so impressive."

Richard

Henrico, VA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my tenth RS tour and was definately one of the very best because of our guide, the group, the food, the hotels, and, of course, the Basque Country and its people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Waliking into the Guggenheim Bilbao and looking up - WOW! Standing on Monte Igueldo and looking down on San Sebastion - WOW! Listening to Francisco describe Picasso's masterpiece while standing in Guernica's market square - WOW! Praying the rosary while walking the in the solitude of the Camino - WOW!"

Sue

Valencia, CA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Having previously done the Best of Spain in 14 Days tour, I knew I wanted to see more of Spain and its people, and I was curious about this area of France. Both French and Spanish Basque communities and cultures are included and it was educational and interesting to compare/contrast. I learned so much from Augustin and the local guides. This tour has only three bus days and that was only for a few hours each time, giving us more time for experiences. Also, great food!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I don't have one wow moment, but several fond memories: seeing where the bulls run in Pamplona; walking the Camino; visiting the sheep farm."

Debbie

Clayton, CA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We liked the size of the group (25) and loved that everyone was punctual, enthusiastic and friendly. The pacing of the tour was perfect, i.e. we didn't feel too rushed but we were not bored. We liked having some dinners with the group and some on our own. The buses were above average in comfort. The 4 cities that we visited were all beautiful and interesting and we learned a lot about Basque history and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking out from our balcony in Pamplona at the San Fermin Txikito festival parade of giant mannequins and also walking the Camino de Santiago."

John

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great mix of city, country and village. Excellent food and drink as well as a great entre into Basque culture and history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. Learning about and walking on the Camino de Santiago. Visiting small towns and villages. Pintxo...wine...repeat. A great lifestyle. Fun creating our own happy hour with the group, using snacks and beverages that we all sourced and then shared."

James

Mount Vernon, IL

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This part of Spain is absolutely wonderful. The scenery, the food, the people, were all some of the best in Europe. The tour arrangements were top notch and the guide knowledgeable and accomodations normal RS picks. They were clean, friendly and in the heart of the action in each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each small city was a wow moment. Seeing beautiful beaches, sites you have seen forever on TV, and quaint old city centers always fun. Visiting Guernica, was very moving. Seeing where and how the running of the bulls in Pamplona was special. Walking the Camino de Santiago was fantastic. And last but not least, was seeing the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao thrilling. If I were to pick a city to stay in for a while, it would be San Sebastian. This town just oozed welcome."

Roger

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 6th (of 7) RSE tour, and one of the best. The site selections, hotels, transportation arrangements and guide services were first class.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim Bilbao museum was an exceptional experience."

James

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our overall experience was excellent. We really enjoyed Agustin (our tour guide) and his insights. He did an excellent job! The others travelers in the group were fun to be with, and the Basque region is really beautiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one, but maybe going to the dining club in Pamplona was something we couldn't have done on our own, and it was a wonderful experience."

Susan

Mount Vernon, IL

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a lovely tour -- rather low key and in smaller towns. The weather was beautiful, we had great companionship with the other travelers, an excellent guide and good food. I feel like we saw a lot of different places and things and learned quite a bit. Perfect!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Finally getting to Bilbao to see the Guggenheim Museum. I am a Frank Gehry fan and have looked forward to that for years. It did not disappoint. Plus we had a very good local guide there."

Don

Marana, AZ

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well paced tour with enough free time to enjoy private time with my wife. Fun, educational and eye-opening. We had just finished a tour with another company and found the Rick Steves tour a whole lot more to our liking.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just how beautiful the landscape is in Spain."

William

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I learned a great deal about the history and culture of the Basque people. The tour was sequenced in such a manner so as to allow me to build upon my knowledge and grasp of the art, customs and development of Basque society. Agustin and his local guides provided excellent explanations and a great foundation that allowed me to explore in greater depth when I had free time. As is typical of Rick Steves tours, the culinary experiences were magnificent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Basque sheep farm and then watching a video in San Sebastian at the museum of Basque history that provided an in depth history of sheep farms. I must also say that the Guggenheim Museum was another major wow experience!"

Kenneth

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although we had traveled to Europe on our own utilizing the Rick Steve's books many times over the years, this was our first actual Rick Steve's Tour. The tour contained just the right amount of structure and free time. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would highly recommend both this trip and our guide, Agustin Ciriza.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking a part of the Camino de Santiago de Compastella trail and realizing that pilgrims had been during this for hundreds of years."

Deborah

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I loved the idea of following in the footsteps of Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. Pamplona was very much as I expected (from reading) yet so much more, especially since we were there for the Little San Fermin festival. Bayonne was a great introduction to the Basque culture on the French side and I enjoyed the town even more than Biarritz and St. Jean de Luz. Visiting St. Jean Pied de Port was important to introduce us to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage which followed us along on this trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The walk on the Camino de Santiago, which has always fascinated me. It was such a relaxing morning and helped us develop an appetite for our delicious lunch!"

Marie

Brooklyn, NY

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From start to finish the Basque Country Tour showed its travelers the highlights of the region through the backdoor. The tour was filled with beauty,history , culture and all that makes this area what it is today. When visiting a region for the first time the tour/tour guide are key to a great trip. Our guide & tour were excellent.Francisco's knowledge of the region is outstanding.He is filled with a passion and energy that he uses to move and guide his group through an amazing tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As with all of RS tours there is never one "wow" moment. The first would be The Guggenheim Bilboa. It is an amazing piece of architecture filled with a very diverse collection of art. Second, the coastal town of San Sebastian is beautiful with all of the pedestrian crosswalks that allow you to cross from one part of town to another. Third, walking part of Camino de Santiago. We walked alot on the tour but walking this Pilgrimage trail will never be forgotten. Ohhh such a memorable trip."WOW""

Debra

Shakopee, MN

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 2nd RS tour and it did not disappoint. We experience the culture and learn the history of the places we visited. I feel like I'm back in history class but in a fun way. The tour was well-planned and we were always informed of what was coming up and what to expect. I especially like the scheduled free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stop stop in Guernica and Francisco's explanation of the Picasso painting. Finally I understood the meaning behind it and it will stay with me forever."

Stephen

Woodway, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful trip in every way. We learned a lot of history and important facts about the area. Our Guide was a class act. Fran explained history and connection with the group on an emotional level. I really appreciated his passion, and ability to explain things. Fran was also a motivator and made me think about things that are important. For example, the Guernica story as heartbreaking and provided some opportunities for reflection.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment happened twice. 1. Arriving in Pamplona during the Saturday of the San Fermin Festival. 2. Walking the full day on the Camino."

Maureen

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The education I received on this tour was so satisfying. I wanted to learn about the Basque country and culture and our guide, Francisco, gave us many opportunities to bathe in it. His knowledge is extensive and his means of conveying it were interesting and heartfelt. Every city on the tour brought us a little more information and a visual wonder of the life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'd have to say the architectural wonders of the city of Bilbao. I was fascinated with their beauty. A close second was visiting the Cathedral in Pamplona which had an interactive exhibit on the history of religions and how they changed throughout history and how they affected Pamplona. Our guide gave us wonderful information and a marvelous speech at the final exhibit. Very moving."

Lisa

Woodway, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my husband's and my first Rick Steve's tour. And first real tour of any kind. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will definitely think about doing another one at some time. Our guide Francisco was wonderful. He loves his culture, Spain, and sharing his love of all thing's Basque with all his tour members. He has a great personality, lots of jokes, and really defines the ultimate guide. We couldn't have asked for anyone better. All of our hotels were centrally located, the rooms

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pamploma! We didn't know it before the tour but we ended up being there during the San Fermin Festival. During our morning walk we received a tour of the city and ran into the parade of giants and marching bands. We also had a private tour of a Running of the Bulls museum which was excellent. From the balcony we could watch people below and the parade go by. WOW"

Roblin

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was hesitant to do a group tour altho my wife had done two. On this tour, however, the fellow travelers were fun, interesting and supportive so establishing new relations became a major part of the positive experience. Our guide was Wonderful; can't imagine anyone better for any tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many: The goat farm, Bilboa and the Guggenheim, view from the hills as we approached San Sebastion, the discovery of the Basque."

Ricardo

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very impressed with this tour, mostly because it's location. I was so enchanted by the landscape, the people and the food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the San Sebastián bay from the top of Monte Igeldo Mendia"

Shirley

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was rich in varied experiences. I knew so little about this region that I didn't know what to expect. Every day provided a fresh surprise. The food was so different from our American fare, delicious and abundant. Cathedrals (of course), a museum of bullfighting memorabilia in Pamplona, sunny San Sebastian beaches, and the incomparable Guggenheim in Bilbao are just a sampling of our experiences. And I should mention hiking a bit of the Camino de Santiago... You get the idea.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our bus drove us to a hilltop overlook high above San Sebastian before taking us to the center and our hotel. It was a brilliant sunny day, warm with lots of sun worshipers on the beach, and surfers riding the waves. The city just sparkled before us, and our vantage point showed it all. I will never forget how delighted I was, and grateful for this exciting introduction to San Sebastian."

Dan

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a relatively short tour, but I appreciated the variety provided within the context of the overall Basque culture. The range was excellent from the Guggenheim in Bilbao to the sheep farm and the partial walk of the Camino with checkpoints in small towns.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I generally don't have wow moments, but one of the highlights of the tour was the 2 1/2 mile downhill of the camino. The weather was perfect, the country side attractive and I met a personal goal of doing that stretch in a relatively short time[INVALID]perhaps not the spiritual experience one would expect, but meaningful for me. A surprise moment was in a cathedral in Pamplona where a bishop had established a more or less museum which provided a history of religion and our guide turned serious."

Richard

Oakley, UT

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have traveled in Europe off and on for over 20 years and this was the best vacation we have ever had.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Claire, Claire, Claire and Claire!!! She must be the most precious jewel in Rick Steves' crown."

Steven

San Dimas, CA

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 10th RS tour was amazing! Great guide in Claire, Assistant guide Andrew was very helpful. and a group of friendly, studious, and thoughtful participants! All in a region of intriguing history, customs and people. Every day offered an enlightening and spiritual experience, beautiful sites, and excellent food, drink, and the world's best chocolate! What could be better is beyond me!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many "Wow" moments! The day on the Camino was spiritual and emotional, punctuate with the beautiful poem sung by Claire in the chapel at Eunate! A "wow" 4 hours spent with local guide Francisco in Pamplona as he brought to life the feast of San Fermin(running of the bulls) and the sites and sounds of his beloved home!"

Richard

Concord, NH

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was fantastic. Our tour guide was wonderful, extremely knowledgeable. She knew the ins and outs of all the areas that we traveled to, and gave us some wonderful insights into the people and their culture. In addition to great introduction tours and orientation tours through all the towns we visited, we were given some great advice for thingsto do during our free time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but the ones that jump immediately to mind are the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the private Bullfighting collection, Dinner at a private Gastronomic society and making cheese and meeting with local shepherd."

Shelly Ann

Oakley, UT

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful vacation. Everything went perfectly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A private docent tour of the Guggenheim."

Richard

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was fabulous and I did not expect it be so enjoyable. A combination of history, culture, everyday living experiences, cuisine, scenery and surprises that made for a memorable total experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"WOW, this is a hard one. While doing laundry is San Sebastian in a tiny laundromat adjacent to a workingman's tapas I met I film producer who was exhibiting at the local film festival. Discussed life in Spain and New York (where he now lives). A slice of life!! A close runner up is the glorious walk down the Camino; made me feel a part of history."

Rodney

Meridian, ID

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour. Great guides and fun group to travel with and share the journey.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting relatives birthplace. British museum."

Kate

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very well-paced with two night stays in each city. We learned, or tried to learn, Basque history, cuisine, geography, religion, and politics. The only Basque word we thought we mastered was thank-you. Our walk on the Camino de Santiago and tour of Guernica were things we never would have done ourselves. Hearing a justification for bull-fighting in a private bull-fighting museum was also a special Rick Steves' touch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were two, both in Pamplona - the Cathedral (Santa Maria la Real) and the private gastronomic club. The Cathedral's neoclassical facade clashed with its Gothic interior. The carved figures around the fifteenth century tomb of Charles III of Navarre and his wife were exquisite. The state of the art Cathedral Museum exhibit's lighting, sound, and smell complemented the religious art. The final video installation crowned the exhibit. I cannot adequately describe our scrumptious dinner."

Margaret

Pewaukee, WI

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful to learn and experience so much about an area of the world we had never been to before

Favorite "WOW" moment

"all of San Sebastian"

Ronnie

Midlothian, VA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves' tour and they keep getting better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"You may laugh at this but it was the afternoon tour bus ride thru the Pyrenees on the way from Pamplona to San Sebastian. The vistas were truly unbelievable. Next was the view of San Sebastian from Monte Igueldo."

Thomas

Saint Joseph, MO

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We, my wife and I, were really impressed by the interesting experiences we were afforded. The bullfighting mini-museum and men's club dinner in Pamplona. The walk on the Camino de Santiago, on and on. Overall, an awesome experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The food. Every place we went had great, and interesting, food."

Janet

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing tour filled with many memorable experiences and new adventures. Our guide, Jorge, was able to bring the region and its people to life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many wow moments...walking the Camino, bull fighting museum home in Pamplona, dinner at the men's club and our winery visit are just a few. Oh, how could I not mention milking a sheep at the cheese farm. All so unforgettable!"

Karen

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We knew little about the Basque Country when we sighed up for this trip but were interested in learning. It was an amazing experience and we will strongly recommend it to our friends who are also avid Rick Steve's travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting to walk a few miles of the Camino and learning about the historical significance of that journey and how it now blends with current pilgrims."

John

Choctaw, OK

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall it was a wonderful trip filled with the fun and highlights and insights that make-up a Rick Steves Tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking by myself on the Camino de Santiago Trail. Simply a moment of inner pease and quiet that I rarely experience as I go about life's daily business ."

Karen

Midlothian, VA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour far exceeded my expectations We had interesting activities every day and then time to explore on our own to new areas or to go back to ones we found particularly interesting

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had 4 WOW moments: 1) Seeing the pilgrims on El Campo de Santiago 2) The upbeat, happy atmosphere in Pamplona 3) The hot chocolate in Bayonne 4) The array of tapas/pinchos in the neighborhood bars"

Steve

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Did Scotland for first trip last year. Raised our expectations wondering how it could ever be matched. We did basque then Portugal. Rick-you and your coworkers have created an amazing company. You are touching lives of us traveling and everyone we all come in contact with. Your commitment to creating a better place (earth) is taking place Jorge in basque and Fatima in Portugal are everything you want. They are caring,empathetic,direct,knowledgeable,fun Enthusiastic and good people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day was complete and full. lunch at wine and men's club dinner. Camino walk. Bull fighting house. Pork cheeks, bear meat to eat. Jorge is fantastic"

Pam

Glenview, IL

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Who takes a RSE trip twice and asks for the same guide? The Basque is so unique and our favorite place in all of Europe, thanks to Francisco when we first did the tour in 2012ish. Francisco translates an enthusiasm for the Basque that is homegrown; his life intersects with Basque history and culture. The outstanding memories are the Camino, the bull-fighting house, Guernika and the Guggenheim. Lots of down time, favorite beaches and squares (San Sebastian).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francisco at Guernika. He tells the story with such personal passion and then brings it around to 9/11. We were all weeping for our shared humanity. Pamplona was an unexpected surprise. The woman with the bull-fighting relics was beyond fascinating. To be in her personal home and see the from her perspective was very personal. We were in her house, standing on her balcony, eating tapas and drinking wine. It was as like a private party. I could feel the Running of the Bulls atmosphere."

Herb

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour exceeded our expectations largely due to our outstanding guide, Francisco, and a great itinerary. Our travel group quickly became new friends and the pace of the tour was relaxed but incredibly interesting. We are now totally sold on the Rick Steves format and will certainly look to do more tours in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The opportunity to visit and enjoy a private, men's social club in Pamplona was very special."

Gary

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the Camino time"

Julie

Matthews, NC

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour. We had very interesting and varied experiences. Knowing little about the Basque culture when I arrived, I felt it gave us a wonderful introduction to the culture and the history. We had enough time in each location so that we didn't feel we were missing out on anything. Our guide Francisco was incredible. He was knowledgable,interesting, organized and last but not least, entertaining.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several wow moments. A few at the top of the list are stopping by the town of Guernica, and being able to see the reproduction of the famous painting and hearing Francisco's impassioned talk about it. Also at the top was walking part of the Camino Santiago. I can imagine the experience of pilgrims who walk the entire trek. For some this may not have been a "wow" moment, but I really enjoyed the sheep farm also, learning how they make the sheep cheese, etc."

Joyce

Highland Falls, NY

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

this was my 6th Rick Steves tour and already have my next one planned. Loved Loved Loved this tour. Fascinating to learn about the Basque country, an area I knew very little about.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the description from our outstanding tour guide Francisco of Picasso's Guernica and walking the Camino."

Bruce

Alamo, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent. Tour was well planned and the guide's knowledge and enthusiasm were outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gehry Museum"

Nancy

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was my first Rick Steves Tour and it was OUTSTANDING!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking and surviving the Camino de Santiago was wonderful - but the sheep farm and Sylvia were a definite highlight. She is just CHARMING and so DELIGHTFUL! The other standout was the visit to the WONDERFUL bull fighting private "museum" was beyond my expectation. While I am not sold on bull fighting, Francisco's friend was just LOVELY. From a collector's point of view (like my husband & somewhat myself) her collection was simply OUT OF THIS WORLD. All I could do was thank her, take photos and"

Tom

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to recall."

David

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour[INVALID]consistent with all of our prior Rick Steves tours[INVALID]is umami for the traveler[INVALID]a perfect blend of group activities and free time, with a healthy dose of experiences that would not be possible on our own, such as milking Basque sheep and making cheese at the direction of a kind old Basque herder at a remote farm surrounded by the towering Pyrenees.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was our tour guide Francisco's incredibly poignant and powerful analysis of Picasso's Guernica in front of a replica of the painting during our visit to Guernica."

Tom

Glenview, IL

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

THIS WAS OUR 2ND BASQUE TOUR WITH FRANCISCO. WE LOVE THE BASQUE COUNTRY AND FRANCISCO.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"FRANCISCO'S DESCRIPTION OF PICASSO'S GEURNICA WAS TRUELY MOVING."

Jeanne

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a great time on this tour. Activities were really fun and informative on history and culture of the Basque Country. I always appreciate that R.S. tours provide the chance to interact with locals in their milieu. The sheep ranch, Gastronomic Society, and private bullfighting collection were really enjoyable. Our tour group was terrific and added to the outstanding experience. Everyone interacted with one another and were positive and engaged (no grumps!)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our visit to the private bullfighting collection in Pamplona was a very special experience. It was so generous of our hostess to welcome us to her private space, share her collection, and to offer us wine and pinxtos. She was a very gracious lady and obviously proud of her collection and connection with bullfighting. Visit to Guernica and the recreated mural was a close second...thanks in large part to Francisco's very thoughtful context setting and discussion for the past and present."

Margaret

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very fun tour! Our guide, Francisco, was full of positive energy and laughter every day. The itinerary was well planned and well paced with a good variety of activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love modern architecture. The Guggenheim in Bilbao was incredible and exceeded my already high expectations - it puts the NYC Guggenheim to shame!"

Mark

Fremont, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Tour Guide Francisco was fantastic. Well organized, prompt, very friendly, and extremely knowledgeable. He mixed well with all his guests and a delightful companion.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"standing on the ridge overlooking San Sebastian and the Bay of Biscayne."

Scott

Matthews, NC

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 7th Rick Steve's tour and perhaps the best overall. We had a great group of fellow travelers and a fantastic guide in Francisco. The tour provided an excellent balance of group activity versus free time to explore on your own. The stops we had between the destination locations on the tour were well planned out and proper time allotted.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's really hard to pick a single Wow moment as each day was quite an adventure. I have to say the day we hiked 5+ miles on the Camino de Santiago and stopped at Iglesia de Santa Maria de Eunate was very special for me once the group was completely silent for a couple of minutes of meditation. Also, the energy that Francisco brought to our group and the camaraderie was quite special!"

Daniel

Dracut, MA

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great tour. Our travel guide, Clair, was phenomenal. She made the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastian was a surprise."

Glenda

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, we (Lloyd, my husband and myself) enjoyed the tour activities, scenery, architecture, cultural and historical experience. We liked learning about the Basque people and their history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going swimming at the beautiful beach in San Sebastian and the puppies and goats at the cheese far."

Robert

Euless, TX

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Claire and Mitch did an excellent job as guides for our tour of the Basque Region. It is hard for me to accept that this was Claire's first Rick Steves' tour. She is the consummate Professional and knew how to handle each issue that arose; however, I cannot remember any specific problems that arose during the trip. Claire is extremely knowledgeable and was happy to share her knowledge and pride of the Basque Region with each of us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard for me to pick one. But, if I have to choose one I would have to say that it was our dinner at the supper Club in Pamplona, Spain. It was outstanding and a great time was had by all. And the food was pretty damn good, too! And, I loved the opportunity to get into the kitchen!"

Lana

North Richland Hills, TX

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 2nd RS tour, and it did not disappoint. The tour again provided experiences that would not have been possible outside a tour. In Bayonne, we certainly would not have had an explanation of the chocolate making, nor a tasting. In Pamplona, we never would have been invited to a sociedad for dinner. We never would have been able to walk a portion of the Camino with transportation awaiting us on the other end. We never would have gone to a cheese making sheep farm.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the day at the sheep farm (again an experience I would not have had outside the tour). And I thought this was a fantastic balance to the sobering Guernica stop that morning."

Kathleen

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved learning about a new area, people and history. Not to be missed!!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking through a forest on the Camino de Santiago."

Thomas

Clayton, MO

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the tour quite a bit. Good pace, well worked out logistics, and lots of varied sites to make sure we got a good feel for the area.

Kathryn

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and it was everything we'd heard of and more. Our guide Claire was fantastic. She shared her Basque culture with us, giving us insights we never would get on our own. The extra experiences included in this tour were also fabulous and an education we could never have had on our own, even with Rick's books. I appreciated that activities always started on schedule. The flow of the tour was well thought-out. There was plenty of free time to explore on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino, short though it was, was more powerful than I thought it would be. I will cherish my pictures of that day, pictures from my camera and from my heart."

Thomas

Ames, IA

Tour: 09/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour is a good design. We got a good understanding of 4 cities with overnight stays and local guides. The bus time was limited and rewarding in that we toured additional communities and enjoyed great meals. The hotels were very nice with great staffs and good breakfast buffet. Our tour guide did a good job of keeping the group focused and was very helpful on a personal basis.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Laying on the beach in San Sebastián, listening to the waves, watching the surfers and drifting off to a delightful nap."

Daniela

Stratford, CT

Tour: 09/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first tour ever and I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed it. The group of people we had in our tour were all very nice. I enjoyed getting to know each person. Our tour guide Jorge was very informative and pleasant to be around.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Camino de Santiago was to me a unique experience. I had vaguely heard about it but had no idea why one would consider walking for so many miles. Even though I was able to walk a very short part of it, I could sense and feel a peaceful, spiritual and personal purpose in wanting to continue the journey. My husband and I talk about some day going back to complete the camino. If it wasn't for your tour I might have never had the courage to even consider doing something like this."

Salvatore

Stratford, CT

Tour: 09/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour turned out much better than I expected as it was the first group tour my wife and I have ever done. I really enjoyed getting to know my favorite travelers and was quite impressed by all the stops along the tour as well as some of the little surprises. I could have never planned such a trip and pulled it off as successfully on my own. It was a good balance of group time and private time. We loved exploring the food, wine, culture and history of the Basque people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino was one of many highlights of this tour for us. Since I had read a book about it many years and enjoy hiking as well, in addition to being spiritually inclined, this really struck both my wife and I as an essential part of this tour. We've been talking about walking the entire Camino when we retire and yearn to go back to Basque Country."

Patricia

North Venice, FL

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Extremelly pleased with our first Rick Steves Tour. We were very impressed with how well-organized each day was, and the expertise of our tour guide, Francisco, and Andy in Bayonne.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The morning we spent walking the Camino. We really would have loved more opportunities to hike various parts of the trail."

Sharyn

Vero Beach, FL

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I throughly enjoyed my first experience on a Rick Steves tour. I am not a tour type of person as I plan my own trips. Have done a few other tours in the past. I found the group very easy to travel with and enjoyed the planned schedule on most of the days. Enjoyed the amount of free time given The tour guide was excellent and made the whole tour so much fun. The tour was very well organized which I really appreciated. I enjoyed the Bask region and would love to return some day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Sebastian and the new city tour in Bilbo"

Julie

Centennial, CO

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Francisco was a fabulous guide - personable, knowledgable, and lots of fun! The tour however was not as immersive as other Rick Steves tours I've taken. I would have enjoyed more up-close-and-personal experiences with locals; more unique opportunities. I found Pamplona and Bilbao fascinating with abundant places/things to explore, however other stops on the tour felt more like shopping opportunities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't say there was really a "wow" moment. My favorite experiences were dinner at the men's club, seeing the course for the of the bulls, walking the camino, and the Guggenheim."

Kathryn

Layton, UT

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour was my first Rick Steeves tour and it won't be the last! I'm already saving up for and planning my next one! The food was excellent and made it hard to come home to my own food, and I'm a good cook! I loved the places we stayed; especially the Palacio Gwendulain in Pamplona.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Sheep farm; the time for shopping, and singing in a chapel to show the acoustics."

Kathleen

Medina, OH

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 5th Rick Steve's tour and It was absolutely flawless. The tour guide was so fun, knowledgeable, funny, and I found after the tour I was actually missing the daily contact and attention he gave us. Thanks Francisco. The sites were beautiful, full of new learning, history, good food, fun shopping options, easy to learn mapping. I really cannot say enough good about this trip. I want to return to each city and spend a week in each one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastian, when we drove to the look out site and viewed the bay from above. I thought to myself, why the heck have I not known about this place. Breathtaking!"

Linda Marie

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, super sites and happy group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking Camino de Santiago."

Carolyn

Casper, WY

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed traveling the Basque country. Fran was exceptionally attentive to my and the group's needs. Beautiful country and enjoyed learning about the culture and history of the area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The camino trail was my favorite moment."

Tricia

Chicago, GA

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed this tour. I had no clue about the Basque culture and absolutely feel in love with the people and food. I plan to come back and highly recommend this tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was spending the day at the beach at St. Jean de Luz. Later, we had lunch at a great restaurant. It was a perfect day."

Brandon

Dallas, TX

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience! I continue to be impressed with the activities, guides, and turn-key nature of Rick Steves tours! So many of the activities are not places or things that I would think of or find on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views in San Sebastian. What a beautiful place."

Lisa

Asheville, NC

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I couldn't have anticipated the many awesome sights, sounds, and tastes we experienced. This was an amazing cultural experience and I walked away with such an appreciation for this region. Agustin and all of our local guides shared their beautiful country with special knowledge and love of their home. Each experience was made memorable because of their sincerity. Hotels and hotel staff were delightful. Pace is brisk with ample time to explore on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is impossible to pick one "wow' moment as each one seemed to be surpassed by the next. I felt most at peace the moment we arrived at the sheep farm. Standing in the green valley and looking up at the rocky mountain touched the soul. We seemed to be tucked into our own little world."

Roberta

Jamaica Plain, MA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Impressed with the wide extent of knowledge about culture, art, history and politics of the region."

Retta

Nipomo, CA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I felt high on life after our day in Pamplona. Our city tour guide Francisco ____________, I can't remember his last name was EXCELLENT. Honestly, this is our 4th Rick Steves' tour and he is the best ever. I enjoyed him on your RS Podcasts for the Basque region but to hear him in person..... wonderful. The opportunity to visit the Bull Fighting museum was such a gift. I could have stayed there several more hours just asking the host questions. That was also a WOW moment."

Kerry

Vernon Hills, IL

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed meeting Agustin and the other members of our tour group. Even though the initial tour information indicated moderate level of activity I found myself walking quite a bit which was fine. The tour did allow for enough free time to explore on your own ( in addition to the planned tours and group activities) and I took advantage of that to walk and explore where we were. This was my first Rick Steve's tour and I was very pleased with all aspects of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many. Enjoyed the private dinning club experience where a member of the club cooked for our entire party. The time walking on the Camino. Each city/town we visited had it's own charm and personality. Enjoyed the beached of San Sebastian, history of Pamplona, and Guernica. Each day and each destination had it's own "wow" moment for me."

Janice

El Cajon, CA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Augustine was amazing. He was raised Basque and so he had an enourmous wealth of information about the Basque people, the politics, the way they lived and it was wonderful to see the Basque country in France and Spain with his personal touch. We always LOVE Rick Steve's tours...and the value for the price was amazing. We toured chocolate factories, had wonderful meals and one late lunch we were given access to a full red wine barrel in the cellar that was amazing! No limits!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Bilbao museum from the outside as well as the inside. It was truly a life moment."

Wendy

San Diego, CA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the whole tour,was very organized,entertaining ,informative . Since I came home I am still thinking about how wonderful it was!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was hard to pick just one,but I love the el Camino pilgramage walk,going through the little towns along the way,how beautiful it was."

Kip

Mundelein, IL

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had hoped to do your Portugal tour, but it was sold out. We are happy we wound up on the Basque tour. We learned a lot about a culture and a people we knew very little about. I feel we were given a great introduction to the Basque and saw Basque life and beautiful scenery and architecture. And I loved the food and wine. It was nice that this tour did not require a lot of time on a bus. Bus rides do not bother me, but this was nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but the best for me was the first night in Pamplona. Across the street from our hotel, a Basque men's community choir was performing in a space in the old city wall. On our way back from dinner, we had seen young men sitting outside a tavern singing Basque songs in harmony. To get back to the hotel and hear even better singing was a serendipitous experience. A close second was walking on the Camino. The dinner at the gastronomy club was one of the best meals in our 6 tours."

Amy

Boston, MA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

On the tour I learned about a part of the world that was basically unfamiliar to me--its politics and culture and food ways and physical beauty.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking on the Camino, which was very peaceful and beautiful. Also, the tours by local guides of the Basque Museum and the Guggenheim."

Patricia

Oxford, MD

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I both enjoyed this tour very much. It was well organized, and our tour guide, Agustin, was a joy. His knowledge of the Basque region was phenomenal, and he did an exceptional job managing a group of Americans! The only disappointment was the Cider House restaurant. We understand that this was perhaps a last minute restaurant change because of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona; however, knowing that San Sebastian has several Michelin Star restaurants......

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Without a doubt, the San Fermin festival in Pamplona. View from the balcony during the running of the bulls and the morning watching the masses and bulls enter the ring. I did not approve of the "taunting" of a single cow by masses of people....should have had more bulls in the ring to make it even!"

Bill

Escondido, CA

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was better than expected, and we were expecting a lot. The complete tour delivered. I must caveat my evaluation in that this was our first RS tour, and I am not that much of a traveler. I thought we were on a Rick Steve's tour that was out of the ordinary, but everyone we talked to that had been on previous RS tours said this tour was pretty much typical of what you get from RS. The guides, what we saw and the hotels were the best.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona was definitely the highlight. Everybody must experience this event once in their lifetime and to do it properly, you have to go thru a RS tour. First off the City of Pamplona runs a great event, which is the biggest festival in Europe. Going thru RS made it a lifetime experience. The accommodations could not be better, throw in the guides, balcony view and, bull ring seats for the run, and being part of the festival made it an event I will never forget."

Francie

Orlando, FL

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking on the Camino Trail and the Guggenheim Museum."

Joe

Orlando, FL

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 15-th RS tour and as all in the past have been the Basque Country tour met our expectations. The directions to the first hotel in Bayonne are bad! We got lost trying to find the hotel. There is construction in the plaza where we think we were supposed to go to get towards our hotel. I would have expected that real time updates to these type directions would be a standard part of the RS office. The opportunity to hike the Camino was rewarding, although we did not need our treking

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Well this one is easy since our tour included the running of the bull in Pamplona. The experience of seeing the running from a safe 3-rd floor balcony is certainly a valid reason to select this slightly more expensive tour. You only go around once so thoroughly enjoy it."

Linda

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved, loved, loved this tour! I only wish it could have been longer. There was such a wonderful variety of places from the cities like Bilbao to the villages in the Pyrenees, as has been true of all the Rick Steves tours that we have taken. I especially loved getting acquainted with the Basque culture and history. The whole experience was fascinating and wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think my favorite experience was the day on the Camino. Francisco did such a fantastic job of introducing the day while we were on the bus and recommended we walk alone to get as much out of the experience as possible. His explanation of why people, religious and non religious, come from all over the world to walk as pilgrims was very moving, and his suggestion that we view the cairns that others have left as unshed tears really hit me and made the day very meaningful for me."

Catherine

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was very organized. The experience was more pleasing and enjoyable than my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially enjoyed walking the Camino. The Camino was never on my bucketlist and the experience of walking portions of it was calming, inspiring and motivating all at the same time."

When To Go & Weather

Any time between May and October is a good time to visit the Basque Country. However, the months of May, September, and October offer the best combination of good weather and lighter crowds. September and October don't have long days.

Spain / San Sebastián

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email as well as in the Itinerary section of your tour account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour in the Documents section of your tour account.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements and transfers are completely up to you.

Most tour members arrange to fly into Biarritz, France (BIQ), and out of Bilbao, Spain (BIO) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. The Biarritz airport is a 20-minute bus ride from Bayonne, where the tour begins. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Europe.

We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Snapshot: Basque Country guide.