• Bayonne, France
  • St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France
    St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, France
  • Bullring during San Fermín, Pamplona, Spain
    Pamplona’s Bullring
  • San Sebastián, Spain
  • Tapas bar in the Basque Country, Spain
    Tapas in Spain's Basque Country
  • Along the Camino de Santiago, Spain
    Camino de Santiago in Spain
  • Basque Sheep Farm
  • Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Call 425-608-4217

Basque Country of Spain & France in 9 Days Tour

from $2,495 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $625

See Tour Dates

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, 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

2020

    • May 1–May 9 (Fr–Sa)
    • $2,495 + Air

    Join Waitlist
    • Sep 11–Sep 19 (Fr–Sa)
    • $2,595 + Air

    Filling Fast

What's Included

  • 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 tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 13 group sightseeing events • Bayonne walking tour • Bayonne Museum of Basque Culture • Walled town of 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 • Navarre wine tasting and lunch • San Sebastián walking tour • Guernica • Basque sheep farm • Bilbao walking tour • Guggenheim Museum…and more
  • 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 (or books) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2020
  • 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.

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2–4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2–6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2–8 miles of walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain.

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. Sleep in or near Bayonne (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

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. No bus. Walking: moderate.

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. Sleep in Pamplona (2 nights). Bus: 3 hours. Walking: moderate.

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 capital of Spain's Navarra region and as a key stop along the Camino de Santiago trail. 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. No bus. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: All Day on the Camino de Santiago

Today, we'll board our bus and drive deeper into El Pais 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. We'll stop for a well-deserved lunch and tasting of Navarre vintages at a local winery. We'll arrive in San Sebastián this evening 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. Sleep in San Sebastián (2 nights). Bus: 2 hours. Walking: strenuous.

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, 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. No bus. Walking: moderate.

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 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. This afternoon, we'll head to a sheep farm where we'll learn firsthand the importance of sheep to the Basque culture and make our own yogurt. Then we'll make a beeline for bustling Bilbao, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 3 hours. Walking: moderate.

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! No bus. Walking: moderate.

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

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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!"

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."

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."

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"

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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

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."

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!"

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"

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"

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"

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

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Tom

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to recall."

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"

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."

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."

Gary

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the Camino time"

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."

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"

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!"

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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

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.

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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!"

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Susan

Media, PA

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was somewhat unfamiliar with Basque region before this tour but Agustin brought it to life beautifully. What a gorgeous area!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the running of the bulls in Pamplona was a true bucket list experience."

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."

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."

Felene

Lake Elsinore, CA

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have never been on a tour before so we were not expecting anything special. The tour guides were wonderful and the area spectacular. We were impressed with the group of people we were with. We became friend during the trip. Thank you and we will see you in the future!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the entire basque region!"

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."

Michelle

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the region, the language and culture. I think Agustin and Claire infused us with their love of their home in such as way as to entice me to want to explore the area more in the future. I could have enjoyed a few more days in Pamploma, San Sebastian, and Bilboa. They all were unique and interesting. I had a couple of days in Bayonne at the start of the trip so feel as if I got to experience it. I understand why it was chosen as a starting point to educate us on the Basque culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think for me it was the first night at dinner when we go to laughing so hard that everyone thought we had been drinking when in fact we were enjoying ourselves and getting to know one another. The fun loving attitude continued with singing on the bus, theme songs to old TV programs, while sharing photos in airdrop, eating and drinking together! So probably the eating and drinking,scheduled and spontaneous!! Boat cruise and dinner on last night! None of us wanted to sat goodbye!"

Leanne

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

So much fun, as usual. Great guides, group, meals, and experienced!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino!"

Abbie

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am so happy my in-laws recommended we take this tour together. What a great introduction to the Basque country, no way could we have put together a similar experience ourselves. I brought along a book to read and barely touched it the whole trip - there was too much to do during the day and I was too exhausted in the evening.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The walking tour of Pamplona was excellent. Francisco is such a great tour guide - weaving personal experience and history together in masterful storytelling. It was special on this tour to see both the bull-fighting collection and the bar in Cafe Iruna."

James

South Salem, NY

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed every aspect of this tour. James is an excellent guide, very personable, always going the extra mile for the clients. The hotels were very good to excellent, the food th3 same, the local guides the same. Not a bad one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me there were two: The first was crossing the pass at Roncesvalles and thinking of the pilgrims, and WWII Resistance members and downed airmen who crossed these mountains, sometimes in winter. Second was the first view of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao."

Peg

Prescott, AZ

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful Encore from a great previous RS Basque tour, 2012. Excellent itinerary with Pamplona added and a different, 5-mile Camino walk. Versatile, compatible tour mates, of mixed generations. Hotels and meals a bit more upscale, a nice touch. Enjoyed the unhurried Cafe Iruna stop and more time in the Hemingway wing. Catching up with gregarious,home-grown Pamplona expert Fran(cisco),special treat for me. Activities well-paced. Consider more time in Bilbao, with more to see than Guggenhenheim.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Basque Museum was full of "wow" information. Perhaps due to different museum guide (and I don't recall having the hearing device last time). The tour was absolutely fantastic! A longer and somewhat tiring tour, but so full of information about Basque culture, I persevered in want of more. Nice that the docent invited participation among our group to demonstrate the cultural rules and generational expectations. "Wow" that I completed 5 Camino miles on challenging terrain."

Ann

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A truly delightful trip through four cities and the back roads of the Basque Country. We chose this tour as an introduction to the Basque region, language, history and foods before traveling for a couple of days on our own. My heritage is from the Viscaya villages of Ea and Bolibar near Bilbao, so the tour stops in Getaria, Gernika, and Bilbao were much appreciated. Four of my family found our "Roots".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Camino de Santiago was our outstanding memory. We had our Credencial del Peregrino stamped at 9 different churches and cathedrals. We even walked part of the Camino del Norte at my grandfather's village of Ziortza-Bolibar! The pintxos at Donostia as well as the gastronomic society dinner were a close second.Put the Nervion River cruise on your tour, too (good architecture tour before an outstanding farewell dinner!)."

Don

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 3rd tour with the Rick Steves organization and for the 3rd time in a row - we had a blast! Everything was thoughtfully planned and the schedule was excellent - plenty of activity but also built in time for rest, relaxation or just being free to do what you wanted on your own. Loved learning a lot about the beautiful Basque people and their history in France and Spain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Thoroughly enjoyed the communal meals with the gastronomic society in Pamplona and the winery (Bodegas Lezaun) on our way to San Sebastián. There was much singing of CANTOS REGIONALES after that sumptuous meal (the wine flowed freely)!"

Mario

Feasterville Trevose, PA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've taken multiple tours with you, so obviously we think highly of your approach. A good tour goes beyond the obvious landmarks, which is why we especially appreciate your guides' often going beyond merely showing us the obvious sights and discussing their personal lives, culture, history, food, music, current events, etc.; making us comfortable using local transport; patiently helping us overcome our disorientation and navigate cities on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was Francisco's heart-felt and stirring talk in Guernica in front of the ceramic tile reproduction of Picasso's "Guernica." It stirred an emotional reaction from the tour members, some teary eyes, and applause."

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."

Gail

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thought the tour was wonderful. The other guests were friendly and easy to get along with. Our guide, Francisco, was knowledgeable and entertaining. The hotels were nice. The buses were comfortable and the drivers were safe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francisco, our guide, was born and raised in Pamplona. I enjoyed the tour of his hometown and his stories about growing up there and running with the bulls when he was a young man. I know many Americans are very opposed to bull fighting but his presentation helped us to understand the history and tradition."

Noreen

Arden Hills, MN

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a very good tour of the Basque Country for a number of reasons including the following: an exceptional tour director, beautiful countryside views, wonderful views of the ocean, interesting history lessons about the cities and the Basque culture, great food and drink, and interesting tour companions. The tour was quite active with many opportunities for walking. The hotels were well located so that we could walk to numerous restaurants and other activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several wow moments so it's hard to pick just one. I thought the Pyrenees mountains provided many "wow" moments as did the architecture in Bilbao especially the Guggenheim museum."

Ellen

Glen Allen, VA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

Interesting but not a WOW tour. Others have been full of more interesting material and filled with more meat. I was disappointed, but this tour was the only one that fit out travel schedule. There was too much down time. The scenery was beautiful. The tour guide was great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The birth of "little Ricky.""

Lawrence

Covington, WA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guide Francisco was great. The hotels were well located. We had time to explore on our own, but the guided part always felt like we were learning and visiting places we wouldn't othrtwise know about or see.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mountains,"

Brenda

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderfully focused itinerary provided rich opportunity for in-depth learning about Basque history and culture. I had done lots of preparatory reading, but I was still delighted and surprised every day. Great cities, experiences, faces, places to stay, and group meals. Amazing how different the cities were from each other. Especially, the best guide and local guides, inspiring tours and lectures, something for everybody. Totally satisfying.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had wanted to go on this trip for many years because of my wish to put my feet on the Camino. Our day of walking was certainly a WOW for me. Francisco also helped me get a pilgrim passport, reminded me to get it stamped as we traveled, and offered help and advice for continuing our journey to Santiago de Compostela."

Jennifer

Fair Oaks, CA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved traveling around the Basque Country and learning about the Camino Trail, the people and their culture. The hotels were excellent, the food delicious,made better with the complimentary wine. The towns we visited were all interesting thanks to Francisco. All of our tour members were enjoyable company

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We saw a lamb being born on a sheep farm. There was a suggestion that the lamb should be called "Ricky" We rode up the mountain on the funicular and saw the beautiful view of San Sebastion The visit to the town of Guernica which was very emotional"

Kathy

Charlottesville, VA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a fantastic time - sites were interesting and varied, group was cohesive and fun, and Francisco kept things moving and the food and wine flowing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think there were three - 1. Francisco's heartfelt interpretation of Picasso's painting of Guernica and the background and lessons thereof that brought tears to everyone's eyes 2 Our visit to the sheep farm learning to make cheese and petting the goats and sheep, when all of a sudden one sheep decided to give birth! 3. Walking about 12 miles of the Camino (6 on our own on a free afternoon and 6 the next day)- with gorgeous views of Pamplona and the countryside in the distance."

Steve

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every RS tour we have done (this the 6th) has been outstanding but this was just about the best. While the Basque country is not that unusual or has any of the big famous spots the tour is very well balanced and our guide , Francisco brought it to life in a way I have not had happen on other tours (OK, maybe Declan in Ireland was similar). Rather than just experiencing a list of pretty places and their history I felt a deeper connection to the land and the people than on any other tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guernica! From the story of the attack to the detailed interpretation of the Picasso painting to the symbolism of the Guernica tree Francisco brought a powerful, personal perspective that had me in tears by the end. WOW and then some."

Peter

Fair Oaks, CA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual everything was ready to go, from the first meeting until the last dinner, the group was good size and the guide exceptional

Favorite "WOW" moment

"View of San Sebastian Bay from the tower"

Rogene

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide Well organized schedule Tour members were compatible Plenty of free time Good choice of restaurants for meals Nice hotels

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Food and wine"

Lauri

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well planned, interesting, and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guernica and Francisco's explanation of the events and his passion for his country. Also loved the lamb birth, but I realize that doesn't happen every time!"

Joanne

Reno, NV

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fascinating tour of the Basque culture, language and landscape. A great introduction to an epic culture, its food and customs. Great accommodations in the center of historic cities and towns. Outstanding food and thoughtful insight into cultural practices.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francisco's talk in Guernika in front of a tile copy of Picasso's masterpiece. He was eloquent discussing both the painting and the troubled political history of Spain and the Basque countries in particular. I'll never forget his passion and humility."

Ron

Loveland, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Best RS trip ever - 4th trip overall. Great guides and wonderful itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino right from Pamplona with a small group. Also Francisco's Guernica talk - I was in tears."

Donna

New York, NY

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was very well organized. It was a perfect combination of guided time, free time, bus time, etc. What makes these tours special are the unexpected stops along the way. ie. the visit to the woman's home in Pamplona, visiting the sheep farm, dinner at the private club in Pamplona. It was a real treat. Our guides were terrific. Francisco is a true professional and Claire is well on her way to being an impressive guide. I would have given an "outstanding" but have feedback on hotels

Favorite "WOW" moment

"i have to admit, everything was very impressive. i am a big Picasso fan so probably visiting Guernica and understanding what happened there."

Suzanne

Loveland, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

From the opening meet and greet to the final dinner, this was a WOW trip. We were a compatible group of travelers from the get-go and having Francisco and Claire at the helm started us off on a great footing. Both of them were so friendly, knowledgeable and inclusive and made us all feel special. We laughed and had such a good time sharing experiences and comparing cultures as well as learning so much about their different background experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about and walking a portion of the Camino de Santiago was a highlight. Another fun memory was when 3 teenage boys nervously approached us at the Guggenheim Museum in Balboa and asked in their best English to answer some generic questions for a school assignment. Francisco stopped them when they asked us how old we were! I love watching the people who live and work wherever we travel and this trip did not disappoint."

Laura

Berea, OH

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved seeing the Basque country--one country (unofficial, I suppose) that incorporated parts of France and Spain. The other people on the tour were part of what made it fun--we were lucky that everyone seemed accepting and happy to share. We had a good mix of free time and planned time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking part of the Camino de Santiago (out of Pamplona) was wonderful. A neat thing happened later, days after the trip, when I crossed paths with a young woman in an airport lounge and she looked at me and said "You were on the Camino." We had met only briefly in a church, hadn't even talked, yet there was a sort of bond--that was acknowledged in those minutes. (That was it, we didn't have much else to say--but it was special to me.)"

Robert

Robbinsville, NC

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

we had a great time on this tour. We had a great group on this tour, easy going and fun. Our guides were also wonderful.The towns we visited were interesting despite being smaller than some we have visited on previous tours. We thoroughly enjoyed our "Basque" experience.We found the food and wine excellent.I would recommend this tour to anyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastian"

Gregory

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fourth Rick Steves tour with each one better than the last. All have been outstanding. We know what to expect when touring with you and we have not been let down. Tour preparation materials were excellent and all arrangements for travel and transfers were good. Bus drivers were expert and buses clean and comfortable. Bags loaded and unloaded with no effort or delay. The itinerary was well laid out with wow moments well dispersed and with crescendo near the end. Guernica and Bilbao

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is rare to me that my WOW moments were inspired by my guides rather than a place or event. Francisco's interpretation of Picasso's "Guernica" was moving and profound. His soliloquy at the end where he compared it to our 9-11 brought me to tears. Walking the Camino Santiago. This experience was enhanced by Francisco's introductory comments which explained the history and significance of the trip. we learned of its spiritual nature and came away with a life experience nonpareil."

Lynn

Fort Walton Beach, FL

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour guides made the tour! Don't get me wrong, the country side was beautiful, food and drink spectacular, but the love of their country made it a special trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Overall, on this trip - wasn't a big "Wow" moment. It was more just experiencing this area. However, San Sebastian was truly a beautiful place. Views, walks and area was breathtaking. A different but very fun day was when we hiked some of the Camino and then went to a winery for lunch. Another shout out to Francisco and his interpretation of Picasso's Guernicca."

Ronnie

Westminster, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great blend of culture, cuisine, and history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Great selection of food and wine for our lunches and dinners."

Brian

Oak Ridge, NC

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Nice tour which focused on a unique region and culture lead by passionate guides from the region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking along the Camino and Francisco's passionate explaination of Picasso's Guernica"

Rose

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fourth Rick Steves' tour. All of them have been wonderful but this topped them all. Our group was fun and friendly. The guides were outstanding and made the trip extra special. The Basque Country is full of surprises and special experiences. What a "country!" We learned so much. The trip also provided a good balance of guided and free time. We loved it!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every moment with Francisco and Claire in our midst was a WOW moment. Francisco is the consummate professional guide/historian/teacher/friend and Claire is well on her way. Three experiences that stand out for me were Claire's sweet singing at the farewell dinner, the Camino hike, and Francisco's heartfelt, moving, and beautiful speech at Guernica ~ worth the entire trip!"

Susan

Breckenridge, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guides were excellent, Francisco was exceptional in the history of the area and the people of the region. His enlightening and passionate descriptions were wonderful and personal, such as a local's view of bull fighting and historical perspective on Guernica. A true highlight of the trip. I enjoyed the variety of experiences on the itinery. Free time was appreciated for further investigating or taking in a local cafe or ice cream stop. The pace of the travel was great!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many WOW moments and I will not pick a favorite."

Doane

Norman, OK

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Also enjoyed walking the Camino de Santiago."

Gay

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fifth RS tour. People ask us which one was the best, and we don't know the answer. They were all wonderful as was this one. Why? In no particular order, we like the small groups, compatible tour members, big busses, great guides, lots of free time, and interesting places to visit that we would probably not have discovered on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting Guernica was my WOW moment. Before 9/11 I had seen the painting in Madrid. I read the placard and thought to myself, Picasso is so weird. Fast forward 18 years later. We visit the town and learn the story behind the painting first hand. Francisco takes us through the once demolished town and explains the significance of the details in the painting. He passionately compared it to 9/11 in the US and brought us all to tears. I don't think I will ever forget that moment."

Debra

Westminster, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque Country tour was my 4th RS tour, and the best one so far! I loved learning about the Basque people and the Basque history, so much I didn't know (isn't that the best thing about traveling?) Every village we visited, every city we explored, spending a day walking the camino - I walked the Camino Frances in 2016, so this was a very special day for me! What really made everything mesh together effortlessly was our guide Francisco and his assistant Claire. They were outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Every day I woke up in the morning and said "WOW! I'm in the Basque Country!" Was there a non-wow moment? My first glimpse of San Sebastian, seeing the Guggenheim at sunset, drinking delicious txakoli (learning how to pronounce "Txakoli"), exploring Pamplona with Francisco, so proud of his city, realizing how tall "Puppy" really is when you stand next to it! Roncesvalles nestled in the trees of the Pyrenees. And Guernica... so much emotion that day. And I found out fresh anchovies are good!"

Joanne

Carmel, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Agustin was the most informed, patient, and awesome tour guide. He oriented us to each new city/town and pointed out areas of interest as well as shared the history of the area. As a result I learned so much about the Basque culture which is of particular interest to me as I have a relative who lives in Biarritz. Now I see why she loves it there. The tour was well paced - 9:00 am start time was much appreciated. We had just the right amount of time to be on our own. The food was incredible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao from the river was breath-taking. The walk on the Camino de Santiago was a high point and the reason I was on this tour. Agustin's narrative on the Guernica by Picaso really brought home the ravages of war. Every meal was a "WOW" moment!"

Nancy

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful introduction to Basque Country and culture. I loved the combination of group walks and site visits balanced with plenty of free time to pursue our own interests.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim in Bilbao. Pictures don't begin to capture the magic of that building or the art inside."

Melinda

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I appreciated the diversity of this tour, medieval Romanesque towns, charming small cobbled-street villages, alluring Pamplona, wide open countryside busy with agriculture, attractive old fishing villages, tantalizing chocolate factory, small interesting museums, provocative Guernica, seducing San Sebastian, the Guggenheim in Bilbao BUT the Camino de Santiago was absolutely mesmerizing. I loved the history surrounding the walk, the actual physical trek and seeing all the pilgrims.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The monument at Alto de Perdon and the view was a WOW moment. The view of San Sebastian from atop the Monte Igueldo lookout was also a WOW moment."

Melissa

Carmel Valley, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour. Learned a lot about a region I knew very little about

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have wanted to go to the Guggenheim Museum for years and finally got there!!!"

Theresa

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Agustin Ciriza, our guide, was fantastic. He knew everyone's name from the first day! He kept us entertained with his wealth of knowledge. He really made the trip. He even helped us arrange a birding guide for an extra day we stayed in Bilbao. The hotels were are lovely. The food plentiful and good. The one thing I would advise is to get the "bibliography" from Agustin that he sent out after the trip and send it out beforehand. (If you haven't access to it, drop me an email and I will forward

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It to you.)"

Lori

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour overall. The pace of each day was good, allowing for rest and exploration on our own. Just when we felt tired a coffee break was offered. There is a lot of walking but at a reasonable pace. Walking around a town or city allows for the best views and best way to get immersed quickly in the culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to list! Chocolate factory in Bayonne, Camino de Santiago trail in the rain and in the sunshine, views of San Sebastian from the hilltop. There were more but jet lag takes over at this moment."

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."

Ronald

Pensacola, FL

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Interesting region. We had a lot of rain, which had some negative impact. Best day was the sunny walk on the camino. Guernica raises some questions: very important place for Basque history and because of link to Picasso masterpiece. Isnt that enough? But otherwise, the town is not so interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking in the Bilbao old town saturday night and watching all the people snacking, drinking, chattering, enjoying themselves and their friends. Why arent they home watching tv!"

Elizabeth

Malvern, PA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A thoroughly pleasant and enlightening tour. I feel I learned so much about the Basque region from Francisco's ability to share his native culture through knowledge and humor. A terrific, personable guide! The local guides, as always, were excellent. I expected food to be a highlight of this tour, and it did not disappoint. This introvert even got comfortable ordering in tapas bars.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Because every day was filled with interesting, wonderful stops, choosing one WOW is difficult. Perhaps the one moment that will stay with me always is Francisco's passionate description of Picasso's Gernika, relating it to other world events, during our stop in Gernika."

William

Auburn, WA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I knew very little about the Basque Country before going on the tour with Francisco. I came away with profound respect for the people, the history and the culture (not to mention the food!). Each day was an adventure. Our tour group was what you'd expect on a Rick Steves tour -- good folks to travel with. This is one tour I'd consider doing a second time (as long as we could have Francisco as our guide).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino de Santiago. We got a taste of what pilgrims experience in St. Jean Pied-de-Port as we obtained our passports and seashells. We walked a small bit of the Camino there and in Pamplona. When we arrived at Alto del Perdon, our Camino experience went to a whole new level. Francisco prepared us well for our memorable six-mile hike. It was only a fraction of the distance "real" pilgrims walk, but it gave us a much better understanding of why people undertake this 500-mile odyssey."

Mary

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 3rd, and absolutely the very best tour. Everywhere we went was beautiful. Everyone we encountered in the various towns/cities were friendly and helpful. As close to perfect as a tour could possibly be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francisco's speech in Guernica. The Men's Gastronomic dinner. Walking on the Camino Santiago. Bayonne San Sebastian (And everything else!)"

Francis

Richmond, MA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour focused on a people and culture about which little is known. It was very informative. The only short-coming was the absence of any discussion about who the original basque people were and where they may have come from. Even a modicum of research in Wikipedia would have helped with this understanding, and it could have been included in the written materials we received prior to the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to say. The Guggenheim? Guernika? The walk on Camino de Santiago? The food? The tour group, including Francisco?"

Sue

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time. The amount of free time left plenty of opportunities to explore on our own and all group activities were interesting and informative. The food experiences were delicious and so much fun! Our guide, Francisco was great! He is informative, friendly and funny, with a serious side that is a joy to behold. The wine was great, the cheese was great, the bread was great, the culture very interesting. I loved it all,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"If I had to pick one, it would be the dinner that the men cooked at the supper club."

Magda

Seal Beach, CA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim museum"

Valerie

Olympia, WA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As this was the first tour I've ever been on, I wasn't sure what to expect. The Basque country is absolutely gorgeous in the spring! I loved the special experiences that were part of the tour, absolutely adored our tour guide, and learned a ton.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking on the Camino on a perfectly sunny day, looking out over the expansive vista of rolling green hills, thinking about the thousands and thousands of pilgrims who have walked that same stretch of land, and feeling connected to all my friends and family."

Robert

Lincoln, NE

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Although I had been to France and Spain several times, I had not been in the Basque regions. I was sure a Rick Steves tour would be a great way to learn about this part of Europe, and I was not disappointed. This was my eighth Rick Steves tour. As always, most everything was great, and I don't think I could have done this trip on my own any better or cheaper. This was the shortest of my eight RS trips, and it covered the most compact geographical area (no long bus rides).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were really no WOW moments, but there were several very moving moments. One was the walk from Uterga to Muruzabal on the Camino. Another was Francisco's very touching talk in front of the tile replica of Picasso's Guernica. There was not a dry eye in the group."

Don

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Superlatives for every aspect of the tour. The history of the Basque people/ culture was fascinating, brought to us by our fantastic guide, Francisco, who created a wonderful atmosphere through his knowledge, sense of humor, and professionalism. His heartfelt delivery of Picasso's "Guernica" had me in tears. The group dinners were all superb; from the food and wine to the venues. Also, I really liked the small amount of road time because of the small geography covered. Nice group too!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Someone said it best, and I paraphrase " There wasn't a "wow" moment as that would denote some activities better than others. They were all so good!""

Sue

Torrance, CA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I was quite impressed by the quality of the hotels and food. I have done four prior Rick Steves Tours and traveled on my own with my husband a lot on our own in Europe. I was also greatly impressed with Francisco, probably the best guide we have ever had. I was a little disapointed in the local guides and would have liked more historical information.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing the Guggenheim in Bilbao from across the river from our bus as we arrived in Bilbao. Our driver took us on a route that allowed a panoramic view of the museum, artwork and bridges."

Jacob

Santa Fe, NM

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another excellent RS tour. We enjoyed all the cities, buildings, locations, and sites in the Basque region, its long, interesting, and colorful history, great art and architecture, beautiful scenery, delicious food, great wine, and congenial, interesting people. It just felt good for us to be there - one of the best trips we've ever had. Our fellow tour members were experienced with RS tours and all followed your guidelines; we hope to see many of these new friends again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching the sunset as we walked along the San Sebastian promenade. Or maybe walking the Camino, enjoying the beautiful scenery and chatting with friends. Or maybe seeing the Guggenheim at Bilbao. Or maybe enjoying pinchos and crianza at one of the many bars. Or maybe seeing St Jean Pied de Port from the top of the ramparts. Or maybe dining at a local Sociedad Dining Club. Or maybe learning about Spain's civil war and their recovery. Or maybe....what a minute, this is an unfair question!"

Carole

Half Moon Bay, CA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This felt like a smorgasbord of a corner of France and northern Spain. It was ideal that our guide was a native Basque from San Sebastian.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I've not been a fan of modern art, so I was shocked just how excited I was seeing the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. The Sagrada Familia on the previous tour of Barcelona left me cold, so I was surprised how much I truly enjoyed and delighted in the Guggenheim's art AND architecture! A visceral experience!"

Indra

Arlington, VA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoy the tour very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"(1) Walking on Camino de Santiago. (2) Visiting the sheep farm."

Liesye

Arlington, VA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the tour tremendously. The itineraries are well-thought out and it showcased the beauty and abundance of the Basque Country, its culture and food. The food is fantastic and visit to the private bull-fighting collector's home is truly special. Plan to go back someday.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Highlights: 1) The visit to the bull-fighting collector's home. To come so close to the outfit and paraphernalia is so special. Francisco's narration educates and entertains at the same time. 2) Walking the Camino Santiago (appreciate the passport). 3) Stopover in the scenic Zarautz area and finding out about the Balenciaga connection. 4) Taking pictures of the raging sea without leaving our room--priceless (altho Hotel Parma is the worst of the lot). 5) Patxi's farm visit. 6) San Sebastian."

Lynn

Fair Oaks, CA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There was no moment that I did not love, even when it was raining sideways. The tour was well thought out and well organized. The guide was as good as it gets and the group coalesced quickly. I especially loved opportunities not available to the general public like gastronomic club, sheep farm, etc. I've already recommended this tour and guide to several folks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"BIlbao, although I must admit, my favorite wow moment in Bilbao was on the architectural boat trip that was not part of the RS tour. I and the several RS tour members on the boat tour wondered independently and then collectively why that boat tour is not part of the trip. It provided excellent context and detail that presented the city and recent history really well. If you can't include it, it should be strongly recommended."

Lollie

Victoria, BC

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the Basque tour in spite of some nasty wet windy days. The variety of activities was well balanced and we had a very companionable group of seasoned travellers. The accommodations were well beyond our expectations, especially the palatial hotel in Pamplona. The invitation to Francesco's eating club was a wonderful opportunity to really get in "the backdoor". Thank you for that opportunity and the great food they cooked for us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wonderful moments and none that were more outstanding than the others. The serenity of walking on the Camino, the Basque Boat Regatta in Bayonne, the hike up to the castle in San Sebastián - all were wonderful experiences and are memory makers for sure."

Maureen

Northampton, MA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I feel like I came away with an appreciation of an area I had known little about. I loved Bayonne . The museum of Basque life was charming. I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring it. All the guides to specific areas were outstanding and Agustin could not have done more.Sending resources for further exploration of Basque culture after the tour was a perfect ending by Agustin I could have spent less time in Pamplona and San Sebastián. I would have liked an extra day in Bilboa

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim-it was breathtaking ,the museum guide was excellent,a free afternoon gave me time to explore furthers I also loved Bayonne- the guide was great introducing basque culture and the museum charming"

Barbara

Urbandale, IA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim museum."

Susan

Lees Summit, MO

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Top to bottom it was AMAZING! Very organized. Great group of travelers. Wonderful guide Augustine!! I will take another Rick Steves tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our group dinners"

Robert

Lafayette, CA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

another wonderful experience ! each trip[INVALID]my second as a single- has been very enjoyable. there's lots of planning by the RS organization & it consistently shows...it's a pleasure to watch the schedule unfold with the aid of a wonderful guide Agustin....the local guide(s) were very informative and kept us interested. after many trips to Europe (using Rick's books), I want to also emphasize the "time well spent" and "bang for your buck" his trips provide ! the group ???...CLASSIC !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim Museum (the structure !!) absolutely LOVE all the old towns....it really makes the experience worthwhile.... the same "wow" as Italy, France, Britain, Germany etc p/s thank Agustin for putting up with my 'humor'"

Becky

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was great- fellow travelers, tour guides, hotels and restaurants. Augustin was an exceptional host, the local guides were all good. It was a wonderful introduction to an area that I knew nothing about prior to the trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the camino- I'm not a religious person, but walking in the footsteps of pilgrims from the middle ages really touched me."

Monty

Victoria, BC

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The first guide we had in Bayonne, Claire, was excellent and gave us an excellent Basque Country history of how the family hierarchy works. She had a sense of humour and was very engaging.

Patricia

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Crossing the Pyrenees on a beautiful day."

Julia

Woodland, WA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a great combination of history, food, culture and countryside. Especially enjoyed Pamplona and our local guide, there. Loved hiking the Camino de Santiago and the visit to Guernica.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Favorite wow --- the Modern Art Museum in Bilbao!!!!"

Jean

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great. The places where we stayed in particular in Pamplona. Loved the guggenheim in Bilbao. Loved walking on the camino. Loved Bayonne.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim tour with our guide and the guide/private showing of bullfighting in Pamplona."

Stephen Sanborn

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, this was a great tour. I learned so much about the Basque country and felt that we received a very personal insight.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked the visit to the sheep farm - the free range hilly land, all the farm animals, getting up close to the sheep (and milking them). But the most impressive part was meeting the farmer. He was so down to earth and very passionate about his sheep and taking care of them and producing an authentic regional cheese. Also learning about making cheese and doing it ourselves. Delicious tastings."

Ann

Santa Cruz, CA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first visit to the Basque country and we loved it. Our enthusiasm was sparked by our guide, Augustin, who is from San Sebastian in the Basque Country. His knowledge and love of this area was evident. Not only did we get first rate history, but wonderful personal insights as well. Plus, we had a few additional surprises in the tour itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide gave us a great background to the Camino de Santiago and then to actually be able to walk part of it was amazing. I am sure each of us had our own experiences with nature or spirituality or sport, but it was a lifetime experience for me. Getting my own "Credencial del Peregrino" stamped was awesome! Guggenheim Museum was impressive too!"

Jeffrey

Danville, CA

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first time, but won't be the last. Outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hotel in Pamplona. Also most of the meals on tour were great!!!"

Barbara

Burlington, VT

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Amazing, well planned, thoughtful, educational, fun, groovy time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many WOW moments to say: Figuring out bus in Bayonne, shuttling hubs and I too Biarritz, for a walk one day then A swim the next day. Driving to the top pinnacle outside the city of San Sebastian before we reached hotel for a great overview. Pamplona, and meeting the gracious woman who shared her husbands bull fighting collections. Walking across the bridge in Bilboa early morning. Seeing The Guggenheim in all that early morning light. The Gastronomy Club. Walking the Camino. Many Thanks."

David

Lake Orion, MI

Tour: 09/26/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We usually travel with just a Rick Steves guidebook and our own wits, but having our guide Agustin with us made for an even more relaxing, enjoyable experience. We would start each day knowing he'd already done a ton of work to make sure it was a great day. It allowed me to only have to worry about couple of extra itinerary items that Agustin would even help with. Can't say enough. We will certainly go on more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was Agustin sharing with us his experience of the troubles in the Basque region during the height of the separatist movement. He shared a touching story of when he was with his son and saw an exhibit of that era and was overwhelmed by how many people who had died. As far as sites, the bullfighting museum in Pamplona was an interesting experience. It was so neat to have the homeowner walk us through her husband's collection."

Susan

Alcoa, TN

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Even better than we were told it would be. (Learned about on another RS tour)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"First glimpse of the Bay of Biscay"

Bill

Cleveland, TN

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an excellent trip mixing small towns, beautiful countryside and Bilboa. We came in 1 day early and the start in Bayonne was enjoyable. We took this time to visit the beach at St. Jean de Luz. Your guides add so much to the trip. Francisco taught about the Basque people and local culture. He showed us how to get tapas the local way. Then there were the fine meals and wine. The fellow tour members were a great group for sharing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wee so many WOWs. Based on the number of photos: Bilboa and the Guggenheim. The fine food, included the special meal in Pamplona at the sociedad private dining club. Then how about the Palacio Guendulain hotel. Just relaxing good times were in San Sebastian. Or learning about the bulls in Pamplona. Especial our fellow travelers helped make the trip special."

Anita

Madeira Park, BC

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the area, loved the specific slant of the tour (Basque culture), loved the tour guide, loved the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Had to be Francisco's passionate talk at Guernika."

Carter

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Prior to the tour, I knew very little about the Basque Country. Now, thanks to Francisco, I have a newfound love and appreciation of the Basque Culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Fracisco took us to his private dining club in Pamplona, where two of his friends prepared us an exquisite meal. I appreciated this rare opportunity that I could not have hoped to experience on my own."

Paula

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francisco is an outstanding tour guide, and it is very important to me to have a local guide. Our tour group was compatible and fun, and we all were interested in the Basque culture. I really think this tour should be longer than 9 days and include a free day as well as an overnight in a smaller Basque village.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had a wonderful group dinner in a Basque "Men's Club." I do not think this cultural experience would have been possible without our Basque guide from Pamplona."

Rebecca

Medford, OR

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a special tour! Instead of focusing on a country or even a geographic area, this tour zeroes in on the unique culture and history of the Basque people. It stretches you linguistically as you move from French-speaking Basque towns to Spanish- and Basque-speaking towns, and you learn so much about the rich folk traditions, family structures and incredible food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me, there were two WOWs: Guernica and the Church of Saint Mary of Eunate near Muruzabal. As a teenager and art student, I studied Picasso's painting, Guernica, and learned the history, but to finally be in the town where the horror of April 26, 1937, unfolded was incredibly emotional--this is what travel can do for us. The Church of Saint Mary of Eunate was an unexpected surprise and intriguing mystery. On a warm day on the Camino, this place sent chills up my spine. Not to be missed!"

Janet

Paso Robles, CA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the Basque Country! We learned so much that we didn't know about the culture, government, & people. Our son-in-law is part Basque, so this had particular relevance.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Francisco's speech at the Dali painting in Gernika."

Joy

Byron Center, MI

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the private collection of everything to do with bullfighting in Pamplona."

Marti

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour! Loved our guide, Francisco, our group & the experiences we shared. Saw beautiful scenery & architecture, and learned about a fascinating culture. In general I prefer the countryside & smaller towns to the larger cities so particularly enjoyed our stops at Roncesvalles, the cheese farm Alluitz, Saint Jean Pied de Port,and Guetaria. Of the cities my favorites were Bayonne and Pamplona.The chance to walk a bit of the Camino de Santiago was a big draw for me and it did not disappoint.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had two: Santa Maria de Cunate on our Camino walk was peaceful and beautiful, the perfect culmination to a day of introspection which I won't forget. Guernica was gut-wrenching but also unforgettable, as were Francisco's touching words there."

Jola

Cleveland, TN

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an extra special trip. The Basque country is not an area well known to American tourists, and as this was our 9th RS trip, we were looking forward to something new...it did not disappoint. I loved the small hilly villages and the seaside towns in both France and Spain. Before the tour, I read quite a bit about the Spanish Civil War and the town of Guernica. To actually go there became part of my "bucket list". Our guide, the great food-wine and companions completed it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour of Guernica had to be one of my wows. Our guide, Fransisco, not only introduced us to the famous Guernica Tree (who knew about that?) and the horrific bombing of this village, but gave a very emotional talk in front of the replica of Picasso's painting, Guernica. We were in tears when he finished. Also won't forget Camino day!"

Sue

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 09/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francisco MADE this trip. We were thoroughly immersed in the Basque culture and loved every minute of it. Francisco's knowledge of the region and its people were imperative to the trip's success. However, Alan and I both felt that it was Francisco's warmth, humor, compassion and ability to build our little traveling community that made this trip the hit parade. We've been on three of your tours and hands down, this was our best guide. Francisco made us all feel like family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Camino. Wow, wow, wow. And the little church we we're left to at the end of our walk.Also, Francisco's speech to us in front of the "Guernika" wall. It brought us to tears. It came from his heart, was off the cuff and unrehearsed."

Elizabeth

Ellington, CT

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual, the tour itself was spectacular as was our guide Amanda

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being caught up in the parade of the "Giant Heads" was awesome. Just experiencing that camaraderie was spectacular!"

James

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque Country tour included varied and interesting experiences, expert local guides, great food and the best RS guide (Amanda). Amanda conducted herself as a consummate professional at all times, she had a sense of humor, corralled her geriatric field trip attendees with firm grace, compassion for our needs and a love of her adopted country. She steered us through a maze of activities and handled unexpected events with calm and deliberate action.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was touched by the Camino, walking in the footsteps of thousands beforehand. It was privilege to be called a "pelegrino" by the locals and to stop at so many stops along "the way.""

Linda

Indianapolis, IN

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third tour with a RS group. Our guide, Amanda, masterfully set a positive tone for our time together at our initial group meeting. She was friendly, knowledgable and humorous yet made expectations clear. Little time was lost waiting on "stragglers" and the group stayed positive throughout. Experiencing the rich culture of the Basque region was an experience I won't soon forget.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is always difficult to answer because there were many memorable moments. I might have to say the time spent in the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. I have never been a big fan of modern art but I may have to change my mind after touring this museum. I was captivated by the creative approach to finding new ways to express art. The building itself is a wonder and the exhibits inside were creative, clever and stunning. My way of thinking about modern art has been transformed."

Linda

Albuquerque, NM

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything I wanted from the tour of the Basque Region was present and more. I wanted to learn more about the history, culture, women's issues and past and currrent politics and was easily able to do this. Amanda and the various day leaders were excellent. I was hoping the food was as good as the late Anthony Bourdain said and it was! The weather was perfect. The transportation was very comfortable and the drivers excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Waking in a parade with a band at night in Pamplona celebrating the little San Fermin festival. The energy was incredible. I also made it to Beatriz for those chocolate filled delicacies so it was a great night!! Music, fun people, red wine and chocolate, can not go wrong!"

Paul

Eastham, MA

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a wonderful tour led by our kind, caring and knowledgeable guide, Amanda. My fellow travelers were also very enjoyable and we all had a fine time. My only regret was that it was too short, as I certainly would have liked at least one more day in San Sebastian, especially since we were there on a Sunday and Monday.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coastline of Biarritz was breathtaking, right up there with San Sebastian."

Robert

Hamburg, NY

Tour: 09/19/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour offered and fulfilled my expectations on the history, culture and cuisine of the Basque regions of France and Spain.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastian was an absolute delight. The ocean and the city were a delight. The grilled octopus dinner was amazing."

Sam

Boerne, TX

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was well worth the time. Enjoyed the town experiences, people and food. The Camino Walk was just about the right length to give a feeling of the overall walk. The people were all helpful. The Hotels were up and down but overall very acceptable. The pace of activities was just right and the time to explore on our own was some of the most memorable. We especially enjoyed Biarritz on our own and San Sebastian.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The private tour of the home in Pomplona with all the Bull Fighting memorabilia. She was most acceptable and gracious on sharing her home and items."

Michael

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a great time. The tour was well organized. Our guide, Jorge, was outstanding. He was well prepared and had the perfect guide personality.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had several "wow" moments. The walk on the Camino. The beautiful hotel in Pamplona. Jorge's advice on pintxos. The visit to the bull fighter museum. Lunch at the winery. Dinner at men's club. Tour of the Guggenheim."

Alicia

Owego, NY

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I learned so much about the Basque culture. Always like the museums. the tour guide in Pamplona was great, lots of fun and interesting. The Camino trail interesting and a change of pace. Food was great and so much fun to go to bars and try different things. .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a number of them . The Basque museum because it showed the basque in such a different light. The small old church on the Camino trail, and the Guggenheim Museum . Also the goat cheese at the farm."

Mary

Williamsburg, VA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. Wonderful group of people, and Jorge was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to say. So many!"

Rosemarie

El Segundo, CA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed learning about the Basque culture....their dedication to ancient traditions, the proud Basque people we met, the beautiful countryside we saw. Hiking on the spiritual Camino de Santiago,eating pintxo and vino and beer,strolling along the beautiful beaches of San Sebastian and Biarritz, visiting a sheep farm and milking sheep, drinking wine with the wife of a famous bullfighter in her home dedicated to bull-fighting...were some of the awesome experiences we won't forget!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our wow moment would have to be visiting a Basque sheep farm, learning about the process of raising sheep, feeding some of the sheep and goats on the farm---and then milking a sheep! Plus, we had the opportunity to make sheep cheese with a charming young lady as our guide. And... at the end of our visit, we ate the cheese we made, drank some wine, and made friends with the roosters! Actually felt like we had a little Basque in our blood during that experience:)"

Douglas

Williamsburg, VA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Lots of great food & wine - we were well fed. Jorge our guide was excellent. All the local guides were also excellent. The tour had a good mix of experiences to maintain interest. Also, there was sufficient free time on our own. It would have been nice to have another day in San Sebastian.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a difficult question. There were many great experiences (typical Rick Steves). Here are some of the highlights: Bayonne Hotel in Pamplona 1st leg of the Camino hike San Sebastian Guernica Gugenheim in Bilbao Food & wine"

Gerry

East Berlin, PA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Loved the region, places we visited and tour members as always with the RS tours. Our guide was not as terrific as we find RS tour guides. He seemed perhaps tired and burnt out. He seemed to be counting his days until his tours were done.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite was the visit to the collector of all things bull fighting in Pamplona! That she opened her home and this wonderful private collection to a group of American tourists was just amazing!"

Cassandra

Milton, MA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour surpassed our already high expectations. It offered a diverse set of great experiences; the blend of culture/art/history, food/drink, and natural beauty was even better than we could have anticipated. To allow for this, the itinerary was paced perfectly. We saw and did an incredible amount, but at each stopping point, there was just enough time to wander, relax, and enjoy.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were too many to pick just one. Top four, in no particular order: the group dinner at a "sociedad," a private Basque men's gastronomic club; the multi-part hike along the Camino de Santiago followed by lunch at a family winery (with excellent and inexpensive wine for purchase); the stop at a farm outside of Bilbao, where we milked sheep and learned about the production of cheese and yogurt; and the visit to the town of Guernica."

Keith

Milton, MA

Tour: 09/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great! Great guide, beautiful country, fantastic food, just overall fantastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Camino de Santiago was incredible and such a unique experience."

Mark

Long Branch, NJ

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Plenty of structure and also plenty of free time. Guide was very good. Great fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking on the Camino de Santiago"

Maxine

Farmington, MN

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve's tour, although my husband and I have traveled many parts of Europe using the detailed guidance of the Rick Steve's books. Knowing the bus transportation and the hotel accommodations were always ready and waiting, made the trip effortless and relaxing. I learned a lot about the Basque Country culture, history and cuisine (and met a lot of neat people in the process). It was a great experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite memory from the tour was walking along that portion of the El Camino trail! It was a glorious day, a beautiful hike and a great way to either gregariously connect with others or reflectively gather inspiration from the journey. Having lunch at that winery after the hike was also a delicious highlight! (The best gazpacho I've ever tasted!)"

Sylvia

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour left me energized and excited about the Basque region. It was an excellent mix of activities. I always enjoy touring the cities and visiting the museums, but the activities outside of that were really value added. I had not done my homework prior to the trip, so exploring the roots of the Camino de Santiago was a great surprise and an amazing experience. In addition to the cultural aspect of the area it gave a nice focal point to trip. Agustin was an amazing guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to the sheep farm! Meeting the sheep and making cheese was a fun and educational experience. The family that runs the farm were fun and engaging. I personally loved the dogs, sheep, goats and horses. It was a really fun break from museums and cities. I also loved the bull fighting collection. It was a WOW moment to see how many artifacts had been collected by the family. It was really interesting. And who doesn't love the post glass of wine on both of these tours!"

Paul

Monroeville, PA

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall the tour was very good, organized and well thought out. Pamplona was a horrible, over-hyped, lack luster, dirty, graffiti laden town with one claim to fame...the running of the bulls. I would reduce the experience there to a stop-over with the local guide who was very good. Other than running of the bulls (and I am far from a PETA person) the town has nothing to offer. In my European travels from Ireland to Istanbul, Pamplona is bar none the least enjoyable European destination.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"RS gets a big WOW for having tour members in their late 70's risk their health, well being and the remainder of their tour by trekking a rock strewn, down hill frankly dangerous segment of the Camino de Santiago. Augustin described the initial trail as down hill and rocky but no one was truly prepared for having to carefully place each foot fall along the rock strewn path in order to avoid injury. Yes, he stated no one HAD to take the trail but I think it misguided to offer it at all."

Janis

Eagan, MN

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the tour was interesting, very well organized, provided excellent tour guides, and excellent locations for rooms and food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino. It was way more of a spiritual, connecting to others and the history, event than I anticipated. It was a beautiful location and having learned more of the history it had all the more depth of an experience."

Susan

Salem, OR

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Beautiful country we'd never want to drive it. San sebastien lives up to image- great swim there. Reading before departure really increased experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going into the ocean"

Teri

Davis, CA

Tour: 09/12/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first time on any tour. Our guide, Augustin, was wonderful, as were the members on the tour. The transportation, hotels and activities were very well organized. We personally were not thrilled with the food [INVALID]ions during the large group dinners, but that was just us. We did feel that we got our money's worth with the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment was the walk on the Camino de Santiago. It was divided into two days and was just the perfect amount of time and two well selected areas."

Priscilla

Littleton, CO

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved it all; delightful small towns, learning our way around the old districts, the fabulous food & wines, specialized local tours, extras like the cork farm visit & meal, great fellow travelers, and an accomplished and enjoyable guide. As always the balance between time with the group and time on our own was just right.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dinner at the members only dinner club in Pamplona was one of my highlights. The underground setting was so special, the food was delicious & Basque-centric, and the group had bonded so that we all delighted in the joint experience. Other highlights were the camino walk, the little but meaningful Santa Maria De Cunate church, eating pintxos, the heartfelt discussion at Guernica, and the architecture of Bilbao."

Mary

Bradenton, FL

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This Basque Country tour visits jewel box cities, both medieval and avant garde, each of whom serve memorable cuisine. Mountain passes, thousand-year-old pilgrimage paths and world class beaches provide a fitting backdrop for immersion in one of the most fascinating and hospitable cultures on earth.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Santa Maria de Eunate Chapel on the Camino de Santiago was a moving encounter with ancient architecture and spirituality. Very profound."

Rhonda

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything we saw, heard or experienced was grand. My favorite Rick Steves' tour yet!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all wow. Guernica and the Picasso painting with our guide explaining it was the most emotional moment and walking the Camino de Santiago was the most physical and spiritual."

Randy

Austin, TX

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized, excellent tour guide, meet really nice people, love the country

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Beauty of the Spanish beaches and mountains, Francisco's talk at the "Guernica" tile reproduction picture"

Sara-Jane

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour definitely enriched my knowledge of the Basque region. Having Francisco as our guide was especially great as he added many personal reflections on life in Basque Country, always ready to answer any question we might have. His pride of country was heartwarming. The three guides who assisted him were very knowledgeable and added more dimension to their territory. Places I had been before were better, having insight from these people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, Francisco's talk about the Guernica painting was a highlight. I loved visiting the home of the bullfighting memorabilia collector. I had visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao before but was absolutely amazed by the stunning fabric art installation in the center court. I think after seeing all of the lovely churches,windows,countryside and cities that this was a perfect finish to this trip. A modern gift I will not soon forget."

George

Leaburg, OR

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learned a great deal about the Basque country and its people. Guide provided us with a variety of rural and urban experiences

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our expectations on Rick Steves tours are very high. We were not disappointed. Perhaps a very high point was Francisco's impassioned discussion of Gernika conducted at the mural in the city. Also, the bull fighting museum in Pamplona was a gem, as were the varied architecture of Bilbao and the old town section of San Sebastion"

Linda

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What an interesting tour of an area we knew little about with fun, curious folks! Our guide, Francisco was fantastic!! There was a good balance of free time for individual interests & meals on your own as well as local tour guides & group meals. The Basque Country is lovely with beautiful beaches, old towns, & the Pyrenees mountains. We had a morning to walk some of the Camino. We spent several nights pre-tour in St Jean de Luz at Hotel de la Plage which was one of our favorite spots.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We visited Picasso's painting of Guernica on a previous RS tour to Madrid so the visit to the town of Guernica which was bombed by Hitler in 1937 was very much a "WOW" moment for me. Francisco's moving speech in Guernica had us in tears - showed us his love for his Basque country & for the US. The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, the town of St Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenees, the beaches of San Sebastian, St Jean de Luz, & Biarritz were all "WOW" moments."

Charles

Littleton, CO

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We tell our friends that Rick Steves tours give the traveler a great overview of the country or region being explored. In addition, the tours include visits to a carefully refined list of top attractions. There are no "duds" or hokey tourist traps. The buses are comfortable with enough seating that everyone gets a window view of the countryside. Hotels are all clean and safe plus they are close to the top attractions. All these factors make the Rick Steves tours a great value.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "WOW" moment was the group dinner at the "Members Only" Dinner Club in Pamplona. By Day 4 of the tour our group had gotten to know each other and bonded into a "merry band of travelers" so there was plenty of camaraderie. This dining experience let us rub elbows with the citizens of Pamplona and gave a special insight into the flavor and culture of the Basque people. The physical location in the cave and the great food added to the experience."

Clay

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good as usual. The only negative was the Overlord guide whose facility w/ our English needs work!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pamplona"

Lauren

Somerville, MA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide. Couldn't have been better. Great co travelers. All levels were accommodated. Great food. Great choices of sites. Right balance of personal and group time. Well organized. Not a lot of waiting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Don't have one favourite. I guess learning about Basque culture and feeling like we weren't exactly in Spain!"

Wayne

Soquel, CA

Tour: 09/07/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

On September 11, 2018 the group was to walk down the Camenio Santago trail. We were give ample warning that this short first part of the trail was very difficult and were told that only experienced hikers should walk the first four kilometers. I have had both of my knees replaced so I intended to take the bus to the next village, four kilometers away. I was taking photos of my wife walking when the bus drove away. (my fault) I started down the steep, rough terrain and fell. (See below)

Sara

Mesa, AZ

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I found our tour leader Jorge to be extremely knowledgeable about the Basque region, our hotels were excellent and there was more food and drink than anyone could finish.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"After a walk on the campo we stopped at Santa Maria de Eunate. That was amazing experience. I also loved Bayonne and had fun practicing my french in the pharmacy."

Elaine

Plano, TX

Tour: 09/05/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guernica"

Ann

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the itinerary and the guide was awesome!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Camino!"

Jane

Bellbrook, OH

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I took this tour primarily for the opportunity to walk on the Camino de Santiago and for the Basque food I had heard so much about. But as soon as the tour started, I knew it was going to exceed my expectations. The city of Bayonne was so charming, as was the nearby seaside town of St. Jean de Luz. I loved the energetic vibe of Pamplona where I first experienced the fun of ordering pinxtos and a drink at a bar. San Sebastian was a delightful blend of old and new,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the metal sculptures of the pilgrims on Alto de Perdun was my first "wow" moment of the day, followed by walking on the Camino. I loved watching the pilgrims walk by with the scallop shells attached to their backpacks, and I actually did feel like a pilgrim for a few hours. I loved the cautious challenge of the rocky descent on the first 2 miles of our hike. Finishing our pilgrimage at the ancient and sparely beautiful Eunate Church enhanced the spirituality of the experience for me."

Laura

Winston-salem, NC

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very positive. The group guide was excellent both in his leadership skills and knowledge of the region. The tour group itself was just the right size and comprised of interesting and fun people. It was a nice mix geographically as well as personalities and backgrounds. The towns and museums and local guides enhanced the historic settings. Physical activity was another plus, with lots of walking to keep us limber and enough free time to round out individual goals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several. Having an art background, the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao was certainly one of these moments. Not only the exterior of the building and accompanying sculpture but also the interior. The collection we were shown, was fabulous and added to the amazing architecture of its surroundings."

Gary

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I am once again very surprised how much I learned on this tour. I walked away with a deep understanding, admiration and appreciation of the Basque people and their culture. Having Agustin,a Basque, be our guide was the reason. His personal stories growing up with friends and family brought us so much closer to a proud and amazing culture!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"By the time we got to the hallowed ground of Gernica, we had a great appreciation for the Basque culture. The evil created by the two dictators, Hitler and Franco, working together was horrific! Still they could not break the Basque spirit!"

Janet

Tuckahoe, NY

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual it was a great RS tour. We saw the highlights as a group and had sufficient time to see other sights of interest (or just sit and observe the city we were in). All hotels were in the center of the city and food and points of interest in the guide book were spot on. Along with a few not in the book "lets try this place" turned out well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We saw some wonderful sights and heard interesting history but the place I will always remember was the Peace Museum in Gernika. I visited it during a break and found it to be a positive experience despite the worldwide need for its existence."

Suzanne

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 08/29/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Agustin was as excellent guide and a true pleasure to be with during this tour. He is a great ambassador for the Basque Region as well as an outstanding representative for RSE. I did not know what to expect and found it is definitely underrated and the tour exceeded my expectations. I had not anticipated such a beautiful region -- and food was delicioso!! The itinerary was diverse and a very good introduction to the region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the view of San Sebastian from the hilltop. What a spectacular introduction to a fabulous city. It still takes my breath away when I look back at my pictures."

Allison

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We really enjoyed this tour. We were lucky to have Francisco as our guide- he was wonderful. We really enjoyed seeing these parts of Spain and France, which were new for us. It was nice to be in quieter towns and cities to experience more of the culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We really enjoyed the day trip to Guernica and learning about the history there. Francisco did a fantastic job interpreting the history of the town and connecting it to Picasso's famous painting. The Camino de Santiago was also really cool and Francisco did an awesome job explaining the history of the chapel there (where he got married!). We also loved the Sheep Farm/Cheese trip. We're still enjoying the cheese at home."

Richard

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For my wife, her wow moment was the explanation, history, significance and walking the Camino de Santiago. For me, I will remember more of the Basque culture and how proud they are of their heritage (language, customs, historical significance, shepherds/fishermen) and Guernica."

John

Wichita, KS

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding in all respects.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the sheep farm was realy special. Also, the last night farewell dinner in the local restaurant nearby."

Ann

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed this tour. The food was delicious-best octopus I have ever had; our tour guide was enthusiastic and it was good to have a second guide. It was easy to get to know and to get around the small cities. It was a bit difficult to adjust to eating such late lunches and dinners; once I figured out to have a snack around 11:30, I did better. We really didn't know that much about the region before we leaft so we really appreciated learning about the history, culture and language.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, hiking the Camino Santiago, the beauty of the Pyrenees and the city of San Sebastian. I just wish the weather had been better in San Sebastian-will have to return! We also enjoyed St. Jean de Luz on our own-it should be included in the tour. The city of Bilbao is beautiful!"

Virginia

Cambridge, WI

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide's take interpretation on Guernica."

Andrew

Chapel Hill, NC

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Perfect balance of a professionally led group tour of awesome venues and the appropriate amount of alone time to explore on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The views overlooking the beautiful city of San Sebastián. I will never forget that breathtaking view!"

Carol

Wellsville, NY

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque Country is an area of which I previously knew little. I now feel very enriched with a great understanding of the people, their history and culture. The tour enables one to take in the entire area within the allowed time, easily moving from town to town, savoring the scenery, experiencing the local customs. It's a perfect adventure for those who have done the big focal points of Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW's were not locations, but the in-depth and very moving preparatory talks by our guide Francisco. He set the stage giving so very much from his heart. Guernica was not just a bombed town; it is more. The Camino is not simply a hike; it is a solo chance reflective with nature. Basque is not just an area between Spain and France; it is people with heart and soul."

Terry

San Carlos, CA

Tour: 08/24/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We didn't know what to expect as this was our first Rick Steves' tour. Specifically I didn't know if we could keep up especially on the Camino de Santiago day. The trip exceeded our expectations. We had memorable experiences and learned about Basque culture as well as try new foods. It was definitely a trip to remember.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We booked this trip for the day on the Camino de Santiago. We knew we would never have the time or stamina to walk the whole trek but the 5 miles was doable. Standing at the top of the mountain and looking down to the valley where we would be walking was absolutely breathtaking."

David

New York, NY

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was impressed by how much I enjoyed the activities and how well timed they were. Some tours spend too much or too little time at the stops. I really liked the age diversity of people on the tour. James, our tour guide, did a masterful job of engaging every individual, including the locals he was working with. His assistant, Lisa, was also a joy and extremely competent. I think of them both as friends and would gladly join another tour led by either of them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sheep farm was unexpectedly awesome. I also loved having time to wander around the old part of Bilbao alone at night."

Barbara

St Augustine, FL

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steve's tour and I'm already looking at the 2019 trips for my third. I truly enjoy the rhythm of these trips; two days at lovely hotels that include historic walks and talks and fabulous meals with plenty of free time for independent activities. I enjoyed my guides and the people I traveled with. I'm a solo traveler and it's very comfortable having my own room but enjoying meeting new people while discovering new cities and activities. This trip was incredible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning the history of the running of the bulls and having balcony seats for the experience. I enjoyed both James and Franco's explanation of the history and also the respect shown for the culture of the bull ring and the bull fighting. We had a unique experience of visiting a personal museum in a private home. I also loved walking part of the Camino de Santiago! Again, learning the history and being able to actually partake in part of this journey was very meaningful."

Bruce

Southwest Ranches, FL

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very well organized. Our guide, James, was awesome - extremely knowledgable, helpful, tactful and dedicated to making our trip meaningful and memorable. Our group was a great mix. The choice of sights visited was excellent. James went out of his way to help us make reservations at a restaurant in San Sebastian, which turned out to be one of many highlights of our trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Running of the bulls in Pamplona; Guggenheim in Bilbao. Hard to say. So many."

Ann

Columbus, OH

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

james and lisa were great....lots of walking which I expected; organized, well informed; inclusive, cohesive, fun, spot on the tour outline never had to wait for hotel room; all was ready when we arrived

Favorite "WOW" moment

"by far the running of the bulls but a wow for the Guggenheim in bilbao; exhibit by joana, and marc chigall the walk on the camino was also a wow moment...like wow am I ever gonna get there?....peaceful, beautiful, pastorale"

Bridget

Sugar Land, TX

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved all of the tour, the tour guides were outstanding and made the tour even more special. The restaurants were just great and a wonderful experience. The hotels were fine, there is room for improvements.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Everything was great, I loved running of the bulls, the Camino de Santiago and the Guggenheim the most."

Norman

Boise, ID

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour of the Basque Country was a great experience and we would highly recommend it. The Basque culture is rich and interesting. I would strongly recommend the San Fermin festival for a raw look at this endearing culture. The Rick Steves staff put together a perfect itinerary and facilitated it with top notch guides.....really impressed with the value. Furthermore, we had a fun tour group loaded with great personalities.

Ann

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I loved this trip! The scenery was so beautiful and the tour group was very fun. We enjoyed our tour guide, James, very much. We have seen most of Spain in previous trips and this area of this beautiful country was new to us. Gorgeous!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wow" moment was the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona! The hotel we stayed in was lovely and in a perfect location to see and experience all the festivities. We loved putting on our red scarves, sashes, and white shirts and joining the crowd to celebrate this yearly event. Standing on the balconies and watching the bulls chase the 3,000 plus participants was exciting! We loved the bands playing and crowds cheering and eating pinchos! Fabuloso!"

Robin

Richmond, TX

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was jam-packed with memorable experiences. Pomplano, the Camino Santiago, and Bilbao were standouts. I learned more about Spain and the Basque Country than I ever understood before. We had a great group and the best guides! It didn't hurt that France won the World Cup during our trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim Museum needs to be experienced - just describing it does not do it justice. The architecture, the whimsy, and the Joana Vasconcelos exhibit were all mind bowing! Such fun.."

Gary

Denver, CO

Tour: 07/11/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour so we had fairly high expectations given our past experience. This tour did not disappoint. All of the towns we visited were charming, our tour guide and assistant were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. We would definitely go on another Rick Steves tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls.The hotel we stayed at was fantastic, and our local guide Francisco was very knowledgeable of the Corrida. He was also quite helpful. We had tickets to the bullfight and he had his mother take me down to the hotel to pick them up."

Malcolm

Modesto, CA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent activities and relevant, meaningful tours and exploration. Superb group meals (dinner and lunch) engaging first-rate local cuisine. Good balance of group time vs individual free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pamplona, esp. the private bullfighter museum and the private balcony for the bull running. These are local people who graciously invite us into their homes. We felt humbled and honored for each moment, receiving a highly unique experience not covered by other standard tours. That is, we aren't merely "American tourists," but genuine guests engaging regional traditions at a very intimate level."

Sinde

Modesto, CA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent. Agustin Ciriza was a first rate tour guide. He showed the culture , families, traditions of the Basque Country. First, the meals provided were fantastic. I really enjoyed having lunch and dinner experiences. ( trying new foods and spending quality time getting to know our tour members). Also, I was able to learn and experience many different activities that were exciting and I had never experienced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Meeting the people in their private homes in Pamplona and learning about their experiences."

Wayne

Webster City, IA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide was amazing. His first hand knowledge helped us understand why the Basque is a proud people and the history is truly colorful on the Spanish country they have occupied all these generations. Thank you for so carefully selecting the best guide we could have ever imagined.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Of course it was the ringside seats in the bullring when the chaos arrived in the bullring, and then the next day on the balcony watching "The running frenzy"."

Ann Marie

Webster City, IA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour and our guide was exceptional. Beloved evry stop and tour he planned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was the running of the bulls and every spot we had to watch the constant celebration. We were excited that every TV in Spain is tuned to the running during the entire two weeks."

Melvin

Bedford, TX

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was great - well planned - just the right amount of free time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Very difficult to say - the Running of the Bulls and Pamplona experience would probably win but the experiences on the Camino de Santiago were a close 2nd."

Gail

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We enjoyed every part of this well planned tour! Our guide, Agustin was knowledgeable and passionate about the Basque region of France/Spain. Each day held a new adventure whether it was a visit to a museum, an event (such as the Running of the Bulls), a walk on the Camino de Santiago, or just taking in the beautiful scenery while on the bus. We traveled with a great group of people and had delicious meals together that featured traditional Basque foods.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As with all Rick Steves tours there is always more than just one "wow" moment for us. The top three were: being in Pamplona and feeling the energy of hundreds of thousands of people during the Running of the Bulls, hiking a bit of the Camino de Santiago trail and the view of San Sebastian from the Monte Igueldo viewpoint."

Agustin

New York, NY

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a lifetime experience for my family.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Fermin festival was the icing on the cake when visiting Pamplona, Basque County."

David

Gilroy, CA

Tour: 07/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Visiting the Basque region of France and Spain was a terrific experience. It was great to learn about the culture, history, and customs of the Basque people. It was a very enjoyable tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite WOW moment was being able to see the running of the bulls in Pamplona from a balcony. It was so much fun to be a part of one of Europes great festivals!"

Terry

Everett, WA

Tour: 06/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We prepared for the Basque Region tour, reading, watching the video, studying the map. And then we arrived at Bayonne for our experience. The Basque Region was much more than we expected. Excellent in every way. We have traveled extensively from Australia to China to Turkey, all of Europe and further. This trip was terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We would not limit our "favorite" to one moment because there were several, each different from the others. Pamplona was exceptionally pleasant; lunch at the small winery was very good and relaxing; the fresh, colorful markets were inviting; Gernika was emotional and so thought provoking; and the six-week old puppies at the sheep farm stole my heart."

Patricia

Concord, CA

Tour: 06/22/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of the best trips to Europe we have taken. The tour was a good length and our guide Francisco, the hotels, coach trips, local guides, and food were perfect! It was a delightful contrast to other tours that focus on large cities. I enjoyed the balance of guided time and free time. Most importantly, the group was friendly and enthusiastic.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Like many others who have taken this tour, my WOW moment was provided by our guide, Francisco. His description of Picasso's "Guernica" brought most to tears. As a wife and daughter of US veterans, the European perspective of our history and 9-11 was a unique one for me and touched me deeply. There were many other WOW's as we learned about the rich, proud Basque people and their culture."

Weather

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 online customer 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 customer 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 Basque Country guidebook.