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

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Email [email protected]

Basque Country of Spain & France in 9 Days Tour

from $2,995 per person + air

Single Supplement $625

See Dates & Prices

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

Book a 2025 tour by 6/30/24 and save $100 per person! See details.

Dates & Prices

2024

2025

What's Included

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

Here's what you'll see and do on our 2025 Basque Country tour:

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

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • A small, friendly group of 24–28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art, and culture of the Basque Country come alive for you
  • All group transportation from Bayonne, France, to Bilbao, Spain
  • 8 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and 4 other meals
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (when available) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken with us
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

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

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Basque Country

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

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

Day 2: Basque Bayonne

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

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

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

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

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

Day 4: Proud Pamplona

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

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

Day 5: All Day on the Camino de Santiago

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

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

Day 6: Savoring San Sebastián

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

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

Day 7: Guernica and Bilbao

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

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

Day 8: Bilbao and the Guggenheim

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

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

Day 9: Tour Over After Breakfast

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

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

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

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

Reviews

John

Tour: 05/24/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had high expectations because, well Rick Steves tour - trip exceeded expectations. Come for the food, stay for the art and history lessons delivered via fire hose by expert guides. Tour stops and venues were well-thought out - clear indication of Rick's European History degree from UW. Enough time allotted for guided tours and free time to wander. The struggle down the Camino left my hips and outer thighs howling but was worth it, and we hustled to keep up with the 70 year olds. Would do again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No dice - trick question, there wasn't a single one. A couple of stand outs: the Guggenheim museum - the titanium building, not the contents. Not a fan of modern art, but if you agree that cardboard boxes stapled to the wall were indicative of a consumer society, well who am I to wreck your time. Guernica - the town and mural were overwhelming. Churches - if you want to wipe out a country's art inventory, bomb their churches. FOOD and wine were phenomenal and never-ending. San Sebastian great"

Martin

Tour: 05/24/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Francisco, was exceptional. The Basque Country was unique and welcoming.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francisco’s presentation in Guernica about the German, Italian and Spanish atrocities was very informative and emotionally moving. First rate. "

Beth

Tour: 05/24/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour of an area that has a unique and tragic history. Fran led us with sensitivity, compassion, humor (where appropriate), and knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in front of the reproduction of Guernica and listening to Fran’s moving analysis of the painting. "

Irene

Tour: 05/24/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Each town was unique from the others, so there was always something new. I really liked walking on the Camino de Santiago, as it was pretty and we really didn’t get enough walking otherwise, especially in the beginning. The food and wine were generally great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would be hard to choose between Bilbao and San Sebastián. Both were fabulous cities in terms of sights, food and wine."

James

Tour: 05/17/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very enjoyable. James Scalan was always very helpful and attentive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The regional tour guide for Pamplona was exceptional, funny, & informative. Insofar as a "wow moment" it would definitely have to be San Sebastián. Great town and we had a good group time with the pinchos evening."

Teresa

Tour: 05/17/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful places. Enjoyed the culture. Great group of travellers

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Guggenheim appear as we entered Bilboa"

Geoff

Tour: 05/17/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour of places history and culture. Balance formal tour and own time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim museum"

Frederic

Tour: 05/17/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All good - trip leader, itinerary

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Bilbao art museum and the El. Amino"

John

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Over all this is a great tour. Everything is very well organized and all the activities planned were doable. Our guide Adriana was the best, she has a total concern for her heard of travelers. She is very good a keeping people organized and on schedule. Her knowledge of the Basque Country is a real plus and she offered insight we would have never gotten.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the "Alluitz Natura" sheep farm, such an authentic experience and the owner was the real deal, very into his sheep and the cheese he produces. Having visited the farm gave one a real insight to the lives of the locals."

Patricia

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The unseasonable Spanish weather was starting to wear on is when we started our Basque tour, but our guide Adriana put a smile on everyone's faces. Again, another terrific tour leader who formed us into a caring and cohesive travel group. some of the best hotels we've had on an RS tour and variety of activities- some fun, some somber. RS tours have yet to disappoint and this was #10.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing at the Alto del Perdon and looking into the valley of our Camino walk, then going home, rewatching The Way" and seeing Martin Sheen in the same spot. "

Betty

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This Basque tour gave me a more easy paced, rural flair of Spain. Definitely varied and new experiences

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Maybe not a Wow but I really enjoyed the sheep farm and cheese making."

William

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide and great group of fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino Santiago was both unexpected and special. It was one of the few days luckily that we had a sunny day"

Deborah

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour with a fantastic knowledgable guide

Behrooz

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a safe and pleasant experience, we were in great hands with Adriana as our wonderful tour guide visiting a few great cities and experiences scheduled for our time there.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Definitly walking the coastline of Biarritz. Also we had an amazing visit to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port learning about Camino. also several other wow moments too long to mention."

Alison

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Adrianna is amazing! This was my 5th tour, and just like the others, it did not disappoint. Really enjoyed my fellow tour members too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved seeing St Jean du Port and walking a portion of the Camino. I was with a group of 3 other friends and we hiked the last 117km of the Camino after the tour. It was wonderful seeing some of what we would have missed. The day was perfect! "

Susan

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved the group congeniality….guide was over the top fun and educational

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim museum structure"

William

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide Adrianna made the trip exciting and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually walking the Camino. "

Tom

Tour: 05/14/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent mix of information, organized activities, free-time, with fun moments of spontaneity.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim Museum"

Linda

Tour: 05/10/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our wonderful, experienced guide Luis made our group “click” from the beginning. The itinerary, accommodations, transportation, meals and local guides were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially enjoyed the sheep farm. Making cheese and feeding the sheep was a fun aside."

Sharon

Tour: 05/10/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was impressed with the balanced nature of the tour with scheduled time balanced with free time, group vs. independent meals, and walking vs. time to relax.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao"

Wendy

Tour: 05/10/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded our expectations

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Pamplona was very cool. Learning about running with the bulls and the matadors, the museum"

Francisco

Tour: 05/10/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I knew little about the Basque people and their culture before this tour. I now have a deeper appreciation despite a still developing understanding of the Basque people. Consistent with our previous seven RS tours, the lead and local guides were terrific, the experiences offered were varied and stimulating, and the tour group members were engaged and flexible and always willing to learn. Luis, our lead guide, was excellent. His enthusiasm, energy, and care for all tour members set the tone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is always difficult to pick just one. A favorite wow moment was in Bilbao when the bus made a turn and the Guggenheim was "suddenly" right there. I have seen countless pictures and watched many clips of this magnificent structure, but nothing compares to seeing it in person, from afar and up close, both afforded by this tour. However, nothing compares to the resilience of the Basque people. Their ability to preserve and cultivate their culture despite all odds is admirable and wow-worthy."

Michael

Tour: 05/10/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Luis, the lead guide, and the local guides, were excellent. Luis worked hard to provide a fine experience for each member of the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to mention."

Jennifer

Tour: 05/03/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

While long time users of Rick Steve's books, we had never taken an organized tour before so we signed up with some hesitation. We had an amazing trip and plan to take another Rick Steves Tour next year.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many wow moments to pick just one. I will say I think our tour guide, Adriana, was key to a great experience each and every day. "

Sharon

Tour: 05/03/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another informative and enjoyable Rick Steves' Tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino De Santiago, even if it was only for 5+ miles. We had a lovely day. Seeing San Sebastian, which is a city I never thought of much. Guggenheim Bilbao"

Christopher

Tour: 05/03/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Camino santiago"

Paige

Tour: 05/03/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Of our four RS tours, this was our favorite. It was a combination of amazing food and wine, the history of a geographically isolated culture, an up-close examination of Fascist invasion of Guernica in 1937, beautiful scenery, and an opportunity to experience the Camino de Santiago—a pilgrimage important to many. The distances covered by this tour are rather small, so there is not an abundance of time on the bus—more time for adventures. Great camaraderie with our group. Fine people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All four cities we visited were spectacular, but Pamplona stands above them. I had visited in 1980, so this was special. Our city guide, Francisco, fascinated us with his tales of running with the bulls. The visit to the bullfighting museum at Maria Carmen’s house was thought-provoking. Regardless of one’s opinion about bullfighting, this was a world-class opportunity to learn about this controversial culture. Another “wow” was our fantastic guide, Adriana. The best. "

Frank

Tour: 05/03/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

good people we met on the tour, great guide, stops were interesting, & we had enough fixed sights vs our own time. Food was great & recommendations of where to go on our own was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing the Guggenheim in Bilbao"

James

Tour: 05/03/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had never been on a tour before preferring to travel independently so we were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed this tour. There was plenty of free time built into the tour which was a nice balance. The camaraderie was very enjoyable. We loved our guide Adriana who was quite knowledgeable about Basque culture and history but also was a very fun genuine person that created a "we are in this together" environment among tour members. Our world became much bigger learning about the Basq

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Adriana and Francisco were wow moments and also created wow moments for us through their storytelling and experiences they provided. They both are gems and very good at what they do. It was fun meeting Francisco live in person after "meeting" him virtually during the pandemic on Rick Steves Monday Night Program and following him on facebook. Another treasured experience was walking on the Camino and experiencing community among the pilgrims."

Lauri

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guide(s) and group were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing the Guernica and having it explained to us by our guide."

Donald

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, fun tour members, interesting and memorable sights throughout; one of the best tours I have been on.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several, particularly the explanation by Fran of Picasso's Guernica, which brought me to tears; the sights of Pamplona, Fran's hometown, and the Camino."

Audrey

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour guide Fran is the absolute epitome of "how to run the best-ever Rick Steves tour." His passion, enthusiasm, level of engagement, and mastery of the history of the Basque region, people, and culture made this experience exemplary. He is a credit to the RS team, and he sets the bar for other tour guides to emulate. Fran loves what he does, and it shows!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"From learning how to eat pinxtos in stunning San Sebastian to experiencing the peace of walking the Camino to hearing Fran's emotional explanation of what transpired in Guernica--each experience contributed to the overall enlightenment and delight of visiting the Basque region."

Fran

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour offered a terrific "through the back door" glimpse of beautiful Basque Country and its people, history and culture. We were delighted to experience such an assortment of activities, from walking a segment to the Camino and learning about bullfighting to sampling pintxos and wine and basking in Bilbao's Guggenheim. Our gifted guide, Francisco, made us laugh and cry, as he shared his knowledge and his love of the region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Francisco's moving description of the experience of the Camino. My husband and I had walked it a few years earlier and Francisco captured it exactly."

Daniel

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Outstanding tour focusing on culture, history, and political differences between Basque region and countries of Spain and France. Great tour tempo, excellent guides, and lots of free time to explore and enjoy the area on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastian. Though tough to select just one, San Sebastian more than lived up to its reputation of a beautiful beach resort with outstanding food choices. FUN, FUN, FUN!"

Karen

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

In keeping with the Rick Steves tradition, this was a great tour. Our guide was warm and friendly while teaching us all about his country. The food and the local guides were also excellent. The Basque Country was full of gracious and welcoming hosts who made us feel at home. As with prior tours, I learned a lot about an area with which I had little prior knowledge.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Fran's explanation of the Guernica mural at Guernica. He explained that painting in a way that I had never heard before and also talked about it on a very personal level that was very meaningful to me. We were all in tears. It was a very special and touching moment."

Tom

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've done several Backroads trips, but this was our first Rick Steves trip. By far the guides on the Rick Steves trip were way more resourceful and had loads more info and knowledge/history about the areas we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide expressing gratitude to the United States for preserving and returning the Guernica painting"

Patricia

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized and executed. This was our first Rick Steve's tour. I'm sure we'll be back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There was not a single moment. It was the collection of all our guides stories and narrations."

David

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The quality of RS guides, the curated experiences and selected activities were excellent. Fransico was outstanding-- truly gifted.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A guide is a story teller. A great story teller casts a spell on you to put you in the story. You become emotionally invested. And when a guide does this to you over and over again — whether its over the pilgrimage of the Camino, the travails of the Basque people, the running of the bulls, of living during the time of Franco, the Guggenheim effect, of Guernica bombing and Picasso expressing that on canvas— well, it’s more than impressive.It's magical. The whole trip was a wow moment, Hats off!"

Michael

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Two must have’s make for a great tour. The people on the tour and the tour guide. Both were superb on this tour Most of the participants had been on many RS tours, travelled a lot, and were very enjoyable. But even better was Fran, our tour guide and his assistant Luis. They were excellent, had lots of excitement, were very knowledgeable, funny and as organized as could be.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hands down this has to be Fran’s explanation, thoughts and advice on Guernica. No one could go away from that experience, his heartfelt feelings and impression left with us on it."

Karen

Tour: 04/26/24

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great. Just the right amount of group activities & free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It would have to be in Guernica due to Fran’s emotional description of Picasso’s painting. "

Anne

Tour: 10/06/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful sights, incredible guides, and a great travel group! The meals (at the Men's Social Club, the winery) and the fun moments (making cheese and feeding the sheep) were definite highlights At every stop our local guides were so knowledgeable and interesting. And Augustin was incredible everywhere we went...always offering personal touches to make each place a memory.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose...San Sebastian is beautiful, and I loved the Guggenheim in Bilbao.. Hiking the Camino was amazing, the trails were easy and the scenery spectacular "

Ann

Tour: 10/06/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Basque culture makes for an interesting tour. But I didn't realize we would be in big cities the entire time. I missed the countryside more prominent in other tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the sheep farm. Also the tour to the Bullfighting epherma museum in the woman's house in Pamplona. Very cool. Wish we could have stayed longer."

Nicole

Tour: 10/06/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful, meaningful, FUN experience. Guide Agustin was welcoming, knowledgable and organized — a true pro. I loved the itinerary, especially exploring the beautiful small cities of Bayonne, Pamplona and San Sebastian. The Camino de Santiago’s rich association with the region and our opportunity to walk two little chunks of it was special. And the food! Fantastic local cuisine and wine in interesting venues — almost reason enough to take this tour if you are a foodie.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Among many special moments, I really liked walking the Camino through the beautiful countryside and small villages. I doubt I would have ever experienced this on my own and and am grateful for the opportunity. "

Martin

Tour: 10/06/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our Guide Agustin was awesome. Local tour guides were also amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim Bilbao. A remarkable event. "

Melanie

Tour: 10/03/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a fantastic travel and learning experience about all things Basque. The food, cities, landscape, and history made for a wonderful adventure. Todd was a fabulous guide, giving us a great overview of the area and culture. I feel like I've had a mini-course in Basque history and culture. I guess I did!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There are always so many. Perhaps it was the visit to the Bilbao Guggenheim, an amazing piece of architecture on the River Nervion/Nerbioi. Seeing the "Puppy" and walking by the river outside the museum. "

Jodi

Tour: 10/03/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Not knowing much about the Basque culture before I went on the tour, now I can say I have a very good understanding and appreciation of the history, culture, food, and language of this unique corner of the world. Todd as our tour leader really made the tour. He is knowledgeable, passionate, well travelled, even keeled,and a great asset to Rick Steve's Tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While there were many outstanding moments on the tour, I would say my Wow Moment was visiting the private Bull Fighting collection in Pamplona. The owner of the collection was so passionate and obviously excited to share her late husband's lifelong interest and then her generosity in sharing homemade pintxos and local wine was the cherry on top. The local tour guide in Pamplona was also incredible and made the visit a stand out experience. "

Michael

Tour: 10/03/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Better than I expected! Rick Steves tours have a high standard that just keeps improving!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Finally understanding who the Basque people are. The food, the energy and the land."

Maria

Tour: 09/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic tour! - great sites, outstanding guide, memorable cultural experiences, all very well planned and executed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were 2 emotional and ‘wow’ moments: walking a portion of the Camino, and experiencing Guernica, with the explanation and context of the Picasso painting provided by our guide, Francisco. "

Lan

Tour: 09/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

John

Tour: 09/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time, learning all about Basque history and culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing old towns of each city and leaning to order tapas as locals do."

John

Tour: 09/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francisco was an outstanding guide and gave us a wonderfully in-depth overview of the Basque country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Guernica, Francisco gave us the most affecting, emotive and poignant presentation of Franco's 1937 bombing and of Picasso's painting. It was not only my "wow" moment of the trip, it was one of the "wow" moments of my life. Thank you Fran, it was beautiful. "

Mary

Tour: 09/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We loved all the information about the Basque culture and locations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I’m Bayonne, France my husband met another Yrigoyen that our tour guide had pointed out. "

Claudine

Tour: 09/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The daily activities were fantastic. The pace of the walking tours were a mix of slow and fast, depending upon the location, time of day, and how large the crowds were in those locations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the private collection of the bullfighting memorabilia in Pamplona left me awestruck! "

Phyllis

Tour: 09/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There were so many wonderful places we were able to visit. Learning about all the history of the places we were seeing was extra special. All the group lunches and dinners gave the opportunity to get to know our traveling companions. Being able to visit places like the cheese farm that other travelers aren’t able to do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So hard to pick just one. Very impressed with the visit to Guernika and the beautiful mural."

Pamela

Tour: 09/26/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Molly

Tour: 09/26/23

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Despite testing positive for you know what, and having to stay behind only half way through the tour, I still had a good time. The tour guide was very nice and engaging. We also had great local guides through Bayonne, and beyond, I'm sure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was very impressed with the Basque museum in Bayonne. I also found a really great archeological museum in Bilbao whilst on my own, that I would recommend. Then the Guggenheim, of course. That is a must see! If you can, take a side trip to St. Jean de Luz. Maybe it's the ocean lover in me. But I really enjoyed our little jaunt there."

Marcia

Tour: 09/26/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A good balance of group activities and free time, with limited bus time. All group dining opportunities were wonderful local experiences (NOT HOTEL RESTAURANTS!) and tasty and plentiful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The lovely Camino de Santiago walk!"

Scott

Tour: 09/26/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second Rick Steves tour, and I continue to be impressed with how well organized everything is. Our guide (Agustin) is a native and current resident of the area, and was able to share his passion and knowledge of the people and it's history. As an introvert and someone who has historically traveled alone, I was a little nervous about being part of a "group". I found that followers of the Rick philosophy make great travel companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is always the hardest question, because there are so many; hiking two sections of the Camino, visiting a family's bull-fighting museum, dining at a private club, lunch at a winery where we had access to casks of wine, making cheese at a family's sheep farm, and visiting the amazing Guggenheim in Bilbao are but a few. One true memory was visiting a laundromat and running into a couple from Australia who were following Rick's guidebooks as they swept through the UK, France, and Spain. "

Catherine

Tour: 09/22/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque Country Tour was so amazing, that I will be signing up for future tours with Rick Steves. This was my first RS tour. I brought my two adult sons. Several people in my group had been on 12-19 RS tours. Now I can see why! The food, wine, accommodations, bus, tour guide, sites were all top notch!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in Pamplona, on the very street of San Fermin "Running of the Bulls." You get a strong "vibe" from the people of Pamplona that this is tradition. So much pride! I hope to be watching from one of those balconies one day!"

Troy

Tour: 09/22/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a jewel of a tour! Todd was a great guide with his knowledge of the region, food and wine. The country was beautiful and the food was a gastronomic delight! I would rank this up there as on of my favorite tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastián is a beautiful town with great food."

Christine

Tour: 09/22/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed everything included in the tour. Learning about the Basque people and their history, as well as the beautiful scenery, delicious food, great tour guide, friendly group, and exploring during our free time, made for a memorable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking on the Camino de Santiago on a sunny day, followed by the fabulous lunch at Bodegas Lezaun, and then arriving in San Sebastion at the beautiful view from Monte Igueldo."

Sheryl

Tour: 09/22/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Todd did an outstanding job of organizing our tour. We enjoyed multiple experiences that we would not have done so on our own

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the cathedral in Pamplona and experiencing the beach at San Sebastián at sunset. "

Jacqueline

Tour: 09/22/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I had an amazing time on the RS tour of Basque Country ! Lucky for us, we had a fun and enthusiastic group of fellow travelers. Todd, our guide, was one of the best guides we've ever had! Super organized, personable and fun.T

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim in Balboa"

Thomas

Tour: 09/22/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour guide (Todd), fantastic food, wonderful local guides, and a very well organized tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guided tour of Pamplona."

Anne

Tour: 09/22/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved each of the destinations—Bayonne and Pamplona were my favorites. San Sebastián was beautiful and fun; less crazy about Bilbao but still glad to experience it. Our tour guide Todd was warm, welcoming and very knowledgeable; and our fellow travelers were also fun and interesting. Everyone was punctual and cheerful. Local guides were very good, especially Fran in Pamplona. I would like to tour the Basque Country again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is tough—I loved Pamplona from start to finish. I was in heaven walking the Camino and the sheep farm was a surprise highlight for me! Loved it. I really enjoyed the stop in Guernica and was humbled by its history. "

Susan

Tour: 09/22/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another “exceeds all expectations” Rick Steves tour, delivering over the top experiences along our journey. Todd was a stand-out guide, sharing his expansive history knowledge of the Basque Country, along with his Gastronomy lessons helping us expand our palates to enjoy new foods specific to the region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastián was a completely unexpected gem as we thoroughly enjoyed our daytime and sunset strolls along the beautiful beach promenade. Very special to hiking a short stretch along El Camino de Santiago. "

Paul

Tour: 09/19/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is an incredible part of Spain/France. Very friendly, clean, beautiful and affordable. Endless great food and wine. Charm that never ends

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tapas! All 4 cities were spectacular but Pamplona really hit the mark for me. The Guggenheim is WOW on steroids. "

Joanne

Tour: 09/15/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque Country is such an interesting and beautiful, yet complex region. We loved the cultural mix of Basque, French and Spanish, and the itinerary was so varied. From tiny medieval St. Jean Pied de Port, the seaside resort of San Sebastián to vibrant, modern Bilbao, we enjoyed it all. Our fantastic guide, Francisco, brought it all to life for us with his deep knowledge, personal stories, and wonderful sense of humor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Roncevalles, Fran demonstrated the incredible acoustics of the 13th century St Augustine chapel for us. That plus the incredibly beautiful Santa Maria church in the middle of nowhere, plus the chains that signified the start of Christianity in the 1200’s. Roncevalles was definitively my “wow”!"

Trudi

Tour: 09/15/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great group of travelers, excellent guide, and fascinating history made this a marvelous trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was the visit to Guernica, learning about what happened in this town which inspired Picasso’s painting of the same name. While I had seen the painting, I did not know the horrific event prior."

Vicki

Tour: 09/15/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great hotels, food, places to see and tour guides. The schedule was good and it was followed. A lot of free time to see things in the area. The tour guide was wonderful and had a lot of great information and stories. The sheep farm, winery, gastronomic club, and bull running “museum” were all experiences you could not see on your own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The food was great, especially at the winery with the big casks."

Gisela

Tour: 09/15/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations in many ways. Even though I grew up in Germany I did not know anything about Basque cultures or which areas belong to the Basque region. I liked every single stop on this tour. The hotels were good, we had some amazing dinners and it did not hurt that the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Out transportation (and bus driver) were great , and most of all, we had a really fantastic group of fellow travellers and the most amazing tour guide ever.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Entering the, at first dimly lit.cathedral in Roncesvalles. I am not a religious person and I have seen my share of cathedrals, churches and monasteries , but this church WOW. And I wondered at first why are we stopping here in a place which seems to be in the middle of nowhere. Now I know!"

Kathryn

Tour: 09/15/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque area is beautiful with a rich culture. Enjoyed the wide variety of experiences the tour offered.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I enjoyed ever aspect of the trip . the food was great as well s the landscape. Fran, our guide, is charismatic. and goes out of his way to assure a seamless and culturally rich experience. "

Ralph

Tour: 09/15/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fantastic tour through the Basque region: educational, informational, and comfortable. collegial and our primary tour guide worked his touche off to make it the best tour experience possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our tour guide's interpretation of the Guernica by Pablo Picasso was a moving experience. Fran lays his emotions on his sleeve and I was truly moved."

Timothy

Tour: 09/15/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very enjoyable! Fran was an excellent guide. He made some of the less dramatic parts of the tour enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The surf…"

Michael

Tour: 09/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic! Where else can you have all of your tour arrangements including transportation, lodging, meals, site visits, etc., pre arranged for you, and have a tour guide (Adriana) that is vibrant, intelligent, articulate, and dynamic! All of the cities in Basque country were modern and unique with their own beauty and special significance. The hotel rooms were very nice! The meals and vintage wines were incredible! Our group was wonderful! We were able to see so much!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So much to see and eveything so great! Gernica was tough, but had special significance to me because I am Basque! The individuals in our group were friendly, fun and enjoyable! Adriana was the guiding force behind us all developing into a fun, cohesive group! Sharing this incredible experience with my lovely wife Dawn was my wow moment on this trip!"

Karen

Tour: 09/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour of the Basque Country was beautiful, inspiring & oh so fun. Adriana was an excellent guide: kind, caring & knowledgeable. Her choices for local guides was well done. Our group was a good mix of interesting people from throughout the US & Canada.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino de Santiago as a temporary pilgrim. And then going to Santiago de Compostela cathedral. Another moment, crossing the Pyrenees. Have seen them on TV in so many international cycling races, it was thrilling to be there in person. "

Laurie

Tour: 09/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed this tour. In a country with so many interesting aspects I was impressed how this tour was able to stay focused on the Basque culture. Adriana did such a great job of keeping everyone on track and unified. At no time did she lose patience, focus or direction. I think that really impacted the "feel" of the whole experience. As usual, the RS tour is beautifully structured, but the leader really keeps the atmosphere positive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The food. Wow! was that food amazing!"

Kevin

Tour: 09/12/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour guide Adriana was fantastic and knowledgeable. Great itinerary that immersed us in the great basque culture. Great basque food and central hotels. Only thing I would change is a little more free time and extra day in san sebastian.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about the camino de Santiago and about the pilgrims that walk the trail. Then being able to walk part of the trail and interact with the other walkers from around the world. Being able to do over 5 miles of it and in awe of the pilgrims that do the whole 500 miles."

Robert

Tour: 09/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very, very good. Excellent quarters, right mix of time with the group and time free. Our guide was very knowledgeable, personable, helpful, accommodating, inclusive, fun, compassionate, cheerful and committed. 10 stars out of 5. The group was kind, caring, and committed to each other. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Unexpected for me was how much I enjoyed our short walk on the Camino. My wife has wanted us to walk the Camino for years and I resisted. Our short walk proved to be a delight. Expect she will come back to Spain to walk more. "

Dana

Tour: 09/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first organized tour of any kind. It did not disappoint. The entire tour was fantastic! Our guide, Todd, was knowledgeable, friendly, fun, and accommodating. He did an outstanding job!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were lots of WOW moments on this trip: The Basque Country was far more beautiful than I expected. The food. Oh my goodness the food. So delicious!! San Sebastian and the Guggenheim. My two bucket list items. INCREDIBLE!!"

Nicholas

Tour: 09/08/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Todd, our leader, went out of his way to prepare extra materials for us. The activities were many and varied.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We both accomplished the 5 mile walk along El Camino de Santiago de Compostela!"

Brian

Tour: 09/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The food was amazing at all scheduled stops."

Ellen

Tour: 09/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was the first tour for me and my husband. It was so good - we will be going on another Rick Steves tour in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the King and Queen of Spain in Pamplona."

Roger D

Tour: 09/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exceeded my expectations. That said, I've travelled extensively to both easy and difficult locations around the world on my own for years but this was my first tour ever. I think the key elements are a balance of both information provided by the tour guides and enough free time to seek out new experiences on your own. Our tour guide was knowledgeable, amiable, energetic and most importantly passionate, professional and incredibly patient. The local guides were also very knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"One of my desires has been to walk the Camino de Santiago. This trip provided me with the background and, short experience walking it, that showed me some of the deep history behind this pilgrimage. Now I want to do all the Camino more than ever."

Grace

Tour: 09/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well laid out and fun. It allowed us ample alone time and exploration. The guide was passionate, thoughtful, caring, and knowledgeable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gernika. And Fransico's description was emotional, heart wrenching and amazing."

Sara

Tour: 09/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Top marks for all the guides. Augustin, our main guide, was always cheerful, informative and available to speak to our questions. He dealt with several small emergencies coolly and efficiently. The Pamplona local guide, Carlos, I believe, had a wonderful sense of humor about the city’s convoluted history. All sites we visited were well chosen. I especially liked the bits of the Camino Santiago that we walked, great way to see the countryside. The trip had a fine balance of indoor/outdoor time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sheep farm. The sheep were entertaining, their people delightful, and the “lesson” in cheese making totally enjoyable. The site of the farm is breathtakingly beautiful."

Anna Marie

Tour: 09/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and first time ever to Europe! I’m so happy I chose Rick Steves The Basque Country tour. There were so many “value adds” that I don’t believe I’d have experienced with another tour company. Our main guide, Augustin was so knowledgeable and helpful. The fellow travel participants each added something valuable to the overall experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hmmm… there were many! Probably being at the Bilbao Guggenheim for the Yayoi Kusama light exhibit and recognizing what she gifted us by enduring deep mental distress throughout her and choosing to create such beauty for the rest of us to enjoy. "

Thomas

Tour: 09/01/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide did an outstanding job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Enjoyed walking on the Way of St. James."

Alan

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding, beautiful places to see and a wonderful group of people to travel with. Todd is in an incredible guide, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and energetic and we so were lucky to have him!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visting Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and the view from the Citadelle paired with the walk on the Camino starting in Roncesvalles that Todd added to the tour."

Don

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was well planned and had sufficient free time to explore the three cities we visited. Our guide was outstanding and extremely knowledgeable (I dubbed him "The Professor" as I am a college professor).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Surprisingly it was our visit to a farm to make curds and cheese from sheep's milk. Feeding them was quite enjoyable! "

Richard

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is an outstanding itinerary with so many unique sights and cultural experiences. Of course the culinary options are exceptional in a fairly compact area.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to enumerate."

Robert

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide, Todd, was very knowledgeable about the Basque history. He always had printed handouts which were very helpful in reviewing what we saw and heard. Very busy tour. It was great to spend two days in each town. Great local guides too. Wonderful hotels

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the family owned sheep farm was a wonderful experience. There was an incredible connection between the sheep and the owner of the farm. We made yogurt. Dinner at the private mens club was great. Guernica was a reminder of the atrocities of Franco and Hitler. Beautiful Bay of Biscay There were so many wow moments. "

Richard

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good itinerary, leader (thanks, Todd) and group chemistry. Fun trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino! "

Linda

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good itinerary, nice hotels to stay in, good local guides, generally good food and Tod was great your guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have two. Bayonne is such a beautiful city and the Guggenheim museum "

Robert

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our tour guide, as well as the local guides, were all great and made every effort to assure all the tour participants' comfort and safety. It was a pleasure getting to know the other tour participants, The lodgings were comfortable and clean and most of the meals were outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the bullfight museum in Pamplona."

Rebecca

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time on the Basque Country tour. Todd our guide & the local guides & bus drivers were great! Todd continually went above & beyond sharing his knowledge & passion for the area & local cuisine recommendations. He was organized & clear communicator with helpful handouts. The group of people were all welcoming & we had a great time. If you are looking for a beautiful place, not a lot of time on a bus and exploring the Camino de Santiago this is the our for you. Nice hotels too!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I got chills in awe of the Cathedral in Pamplona & the local tour & Bull fighting museum were awesome. After a rainy day, I was able to catch a beautiful sunset & rainbow with a couple other tour group members in San Sebastián. So many more wow moments!"

Susan

Tour: 08/29/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip. Todd was amazing. Great venues for lunches and dinners. Local tour guides were well organized and gave us great info on each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many-had to say."

Victoria

Tour: 06/09/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always, everything went like clockwork and we had a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It’s always the little things that make a difference. Like our Pamplona guide reminding us that “General Franco is still dead”. (Chevy Chase, SNL ‘75). "

Christopher

Tour: 06/09/23

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

My response would have been "Outstanding" except that my wife came down with covid she picked up on the tour. One of the fellow travelers did not disclose she had tested positive just before the tour. When she reported that three days into the tour, Todd (our guide) retested and then when it was positive excluded the couple. But the damage was done. At least one other member of the tour reported getting covid and my wife had symptoms the day we returned.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Gugghein. "

Brenda

Tour: 06/09/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great! Enjoyed the tour very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Driving through the country side. I love the country side when traveling. "

Michael

Tour: 06/09/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Good value and a fun tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting amazing Bilbao "

Katherine

Tour: 06/09/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was even better than expected. The countryside is stunning. Todd was great and provided us with so much wonderful information. Also the local guides were wonderful as well, especially Francisco in Pamplona—Fran is so passionate about his city and so knowledgeable—he is the best! Anna our guide at the Guggenheim was EXCELLENT as well—I’m not fond of modern art but she made that one of the highlights of the trip. The only thing I wish for was more time on the Camino.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our time on the Camino"

Maggie

Tour: 06/09/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

No negatives except the appearance of Covid halfway through. By the time we got home we tested positive. Otherwise the tour went very well with some really memorable moments.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the sheep farm. We were outside embraced by steep green hills watching the freshly shorn sheep nuzzle the farmer as he spoke in Spanish with Todd. Apparently the farmer said of the sheep, "they are very affectionate" I can't explain it but that was the moment I got a deep sense of where I was. I fell in love with the place."

Karen

Tour: 06/09/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a great time. Our guide was terrific, food was great, sights eere interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Bilbao museum "

Susan

Tour: 06/09/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Basque Country tour was a nice tour for our first “post Covid” overseas travel. I prefer more rural travel and you don’t spend time in any huge cities on this tour. Francisco was a wonderful local guide in Pamplona. He gave me a different perspective on bull fighting. Our meal and experience at the Men’s Gastronimical Society in Pamplona did not disappoint! The visit to the sheep farm felt more like an elementary school field trip than an adult experience. Overall, a great trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved the Camino walks! Also, two nights in St. Jean de Luz prior to the trip to recover from jet lag. This town is a little jewel! "

Dan

Tour: 06/02/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Greg

Tour: 06/02/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We wanted to tour in an area we weren't familiar with and enjoy travel with more focus on smaller communities. A connection with the Camino was also an important factor.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had a spectacular day walking a section of the Camino. The weather was fluffy cloud perfect and the fields were full of red poppies. It was literally a breath of fresh air with views that seemed to go without interrupted for miles."

Robert

Tour: 06/02/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the tour very much and would recommend it to anyone. Some of the local city tours were a little long but they were very informative. The pilgrimage walk was great and inspiring. I doubt that I will go back and make the entire 500 mile walk but it was fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking down the street in Pamplona where they run the bulls was fun and quite informative as to how crowded it is for the running. The stop in Guernica was very moving and informative and well worth the time. "

Neil

Tour: 06/02/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Guides were passionate and knowledgeable in their areas. The tour provided lots of historical detail and conversations could go deep in local history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was in Gernika, I did not know the history with Franco and Hitler and the cruelty imposed on the Spanish people. Also how surrounding countries just looked the other way, it was an impactful moment for me. "

Thomas

Tour: 06/02/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque country tour was full of surprises - such a fascinating and beautiful area. So many great things to say about the tour...fun/interesting tour guide, great camaderie within the group, fantastic food, and so much more!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our walk on the Camino de Santiago was such a unique and inspiring experience for me...so much fascinating history and such beautiful towns as we made our way along the Camino....although it was a relatively short "journey" for us, I gained an understanding as to why this is so important to many people."

Lawrence

Tour: 06/02/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great city tour guides for the 4 cities we visited. James Scanlon was outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of Pamplona was so great because Leo the guide was so funny. His jokes about running of the bulls were like a stand-up comedy act. This helps me remember everything he said. I made a video and replay it when I need a laugh."

Lori

Tour: 06/02/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tour of the Guggenheim"

John

Tour: 05/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my fifth Rick Steves tour. It did not disappoint giving an authentic experience of the history, art, cultural and cuisine of the Basque people.The guide was top notch and always available to the tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Gernika, the town that was bombed during the Spanish Civil War, was a moving and enlightening experience as narrated by our guide, Francisco."

Darcy

Tour: 05/30/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Fabulous guide! Fransico had interesting and thought provoking perspectives, on various subjects, through out our tour. Our guide had endless patience, energy and very entertaining. Hotels were what we expected comfortable clean and friendly our Bilboa hotel was the least enjoyable, but worked. I was surprised by how much free time was available as well as on our own meal foraging, not sure how I felt about that. enjoyed as always the unique experiences you provide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Fransico's comments on the Camino and description of Picasso's Guernica! The bullfighting museum and the Guggenheim were really different. The winery was not interesting way over crowded with other tours."

David

Tour: 05/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great. Our guide Francisco is the best of the best. Speaking from his experience as Basque and Spaniard, his passion for culture and knowledge of history is captivating. Francisco's anecdotes, family stories, and humor drew everyone in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Francisco's telling of history in Guernica. The first view of the bay in San Sebation was spectacular. Lunch at the "men's club" was a blast!"

Dennis

Tour: 05/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

learning about the history of the area from a very knowledgeable person (s).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Camino. Knowing that there were so many people who walked it before"

Patricia

Tour: 05/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I had a great time on the Basque country tour. Our guide, Francisco, was knowledgeable and fun, our fellow-travelers were interesting and companiable, and the itinerary was a good mix of history, culture, and exploration.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about the history of Bilbao was eye opening for me. Discovering that this beautiful, modern city with its sparkling river had been a filthy industrial town merely 50 years ago is so impressive."

Tony

Tour: 05/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Although physically challenged at age 76 (now 77) and despite some problems: (a fall at CDG airport with a black eye that lasted the whole trip), theft of my wife's luggage at CDG, and contracting viral “walking”” pneumonia in Pamplona, which lasted throughout the rest of the trip, and my wife's respiratory virus contracted after San Sebastian, we --nevertheless -- had a great experience although we couldn't fully participate in a number of activities. Credit our superb guides & itineraray.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me it was the communicat at Roncesvalle (Ronveaux) on the Amino where the Basques defeated the Francs led by Roland and some four decades later stopped the advance of the Moors into northern Europe. The chapel with the sarcophagus of the king of Navarra and the splendid stained glass depicting the latter battle were very evocative. Our guide Fran also chanted a prayer in a Basque tenor to demonstrate the phenomenal acoustics if the chapel. This site was holy Basque history -- entirely new"

Kathy

Tour: 05/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I went to an area that I knew little about. I learned so much about the area and people. Great experience

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning about and seeing Guernica. Very powerful. "

Lynn

Tour: 05/30/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything went smoothly. Our guides Francisco and Adrianna were just delightful, funny and kind. We loved learning about the Basque culture and we ate a ton of good food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we walked into the bullfighting collection in Pamplona. I knew nothing about bullfighting and I'd never seen anything like it. Also, the view from the mountain down into San Sebastián. Oh yes, then there was the hot chocolate at Cafe Iruna! Delish!!"

Bonnie

Tour: 05/26/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved every minute of this tour! Our guide Todd was professional, kind, full of information & thoughtful. It was a great mix of scheduled activities & free time. I learned so much about the history & culture of the Basque Country while experiencing wonderful food & beautiful scenery! The people we met on the tour were all very nice & friendly - it was hard to say goodbye! The tour was well planned, everyday brought more adventures. This was our first tour but definitely won’t be our last!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide Fran in Pamplona was amazing and brought the history of the cathedral to life! Walking on the Camino, and the purpose/history of it. The sheep farm was delightful. Bilbao & the history/architecture was so interesting and beautiful. Really, so many wow moments for me! Many thanks to Todd our guide for bringing them to life! "

Robyn

Tour: 05/26/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We learned so much about this beautiful country. Can’t wait to go back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Looking at San Sebastián from the amusement park—wow! We’re really here!"

David

Tour: 05/26/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As was the case with our previous RS tours, overall it was excellent. While the Basque Country may not have some of the spectacular sights of other RS tours, it has much natural beauty and unique food and customs.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sunset over the bay in San Sebastián, and the local guided tour of Pamplona."

Howard

Tour: 05/26/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My wife and I enjoyed our tour through Basque country. We felt well taken care of by our tour guide Todd Hudnall . It is amazing how people from all walks of life and beliefs can come together as a cohesive group like ours did as we followed the Camino DeSantiago pilgrims path . We made new friends as we immersed ourselves in the beauty of the northern Spanish countryside with its varied and interesting history. This pilgrim says Eskerrik Asko!

Favorite "WOW" moment

" The morning walk in Pamplona with our local tour guide Francisco. He brought history to life with humor and insight! It’s hard to pick a highlight of the day from the cathedral to the private bullfighting Museum and onto our private lunch it was a day of discovery and excitement !"

Beverly

Tour: 05/19/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fun, exceptional learning experience with top notch leader and wonderful tour participants.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Scenery while walking Camino de Santiago "

Henry

Tour: 05/19/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My experience was fabulous and we had a positive time. The group was fun and everyone got alone with each other. Our tour guide James Patrick Scanlan was the best! He was very informative and mingled with everyone making sure everyone was enjoying their self and engaged. Yet leaving time for giving folks space. James is a natural history teacher.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"James explained the work of Picasso’s, Guernica from the town of Guernica bombing! Oh wow. "

Billie

Tour: 05/19/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I knew from the start I would get a good amount of knowledge in the history of the country and culture, from every city we visited. I was not expecting the warmth of the fellow travelers, as we all come from different places. That being said everyone was so much fun! Our group had such a connection, and was felt by everyone, including James, the tour guide. We had the same bus driver twice and she was so great as well!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Accommodations for having to be gluten free! I brought a bunch of snacks and supplements and didn’t eat one protein bar while on tour! Bravo to James and the country for their knowledge and careful attention. It made me cry to be so cared for. The food was over the top, fresh and tasty! Otherwise, the History of the running of the bulls that we got in Pamplona and why they celebrate! Also the cost of the Tapas in San Sebastián and Pamplona. "

James

Tour: 05/19/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

History was well presented Pyrenees were much more stunning than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going through the Pyrenees."

Mark

Tour: 05/19/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip hi-lighted all that was on our list. We got the taste of French cuisine and the Spanish food (Tapas). The hotels were all centrally located so they were easy to find. Our guide was very friendly and full of energy and we enjoyed listening to his experience of living in Europe. The historians that were hired in each town were knowledgeable about the history the Basque people. We loved the architecture of the towns. Our group was full of interesting people who added to the experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our favorite "wow" moment was walking on the Camino. It was a long walk but it was mostly downhill. When we got to a town near the ending point, we got directions to the church at the end of the hike. We continued to where we could see the ending point but we ran out of energy because we still had a long way. Another pilgrim was able to contact our tour guide and he sent the bus to pick us up so we were able to stop for a well-deserved lunch and tasting of regional vintages at a local winery. "

James

Tour: 05/16/23

Overall rating: rating 1 of 5

At first, the tour was outstanding, however, once my partner and I tested positive for COVID and had to leave the tour, I'd rate it as poor. When we signed up, masking was required on the bus. Not long before the start of the tour, this requirement was removed. We decided to mask anyway, but only one other tour member did. Given this, the most likely way we were exposed was at a group meal. Had others masked on the bus, fewer would have been exposed to spread COVID during group meals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking part of the Camino de Santiago was a positive "wow". At least we got to do that. A negative "wow", as in I couldn't believe it was happening was that after testing positive for COVID, we had to leave the tour that evening. Given that we would not have had to leave if we had a cold or flu, and that masking standards had been waived and everyone was vaccinated, this was shocking to me."

Brian

Tour: 05/16/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Francisco Glaria was a fantastic tour guide. He helped to make the trip so enjoyable. Overall the trip was amazing; learning about the Basque culture, eating pinxhos and other delicious foods; walking around Bayonne, Biarritz, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Guernica, Bilbao, etc was so much fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking over 5 miles on the Camino de Santiago trail. "

Michael

Tour: 05/16/23

Tested positive for covid, so had to leave tour after 4 days.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Really enjoyed the Basque Museum in Bayonne and the architecture in Bilbao"

Debra

Tour: 05/16/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide was wonderful. Francisco was very knowledgeable and personable. I enjoyed all the cities and stops in between cities on our tour. The hotels and restaurants were great (for the most part) and the other tour members were all very congenial.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The docent led tour of the Guggenheim museum was my 'wow' moment. The building was so interesting, I don't think I would have appreciated the museum without the tour. The docent made the museum come alive. "

Dorothy

Tour: 05/16/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Fran, was excellent. In true Rick Steve’s form, he was able to show us the sights from a general and a personal perspective.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Camino and getting to visit the chapel where our guide was married. "

Brian

Tour: 05/16/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francisco was a consummate professional guide. Relative short distance between cities reduced bus time. We had a nice cohesive group. Each and every event gave us a deeper understanding of the Basque culture.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Since I am a cyclist, riding through the Pyrenees gave me an appreciation for the Tour de France cyclists. On a cultural level, Francisco’s emotional explanation of Picasso’s Gernika painting was a highlight."

Darlene

Tour: 05/16/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the Guggenheim Museum and appreciating the architecture."

Sofia

Tour: 05/16/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was amazing that the group felt like family and we all had such unique experiences. I felt like we not only covered all the 'must-see' attractions in each town we went to but we also got the chance to do all the things that locals love to do in their town too. We learned so much about the history and culture of the Basque country and our tour guide was extremely smart and oftentimes super funny and animated which made the overall experience that much better.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On the trip to the Basque Country we also got to walk part of the Camino de Santiago. We saw pilgrims every day on the trail and got to hear about the history of all the churches and historical sights they visit. It was cool that closer to our final days on tour we were able to walk part of it ourselves. They took us to a beautiful area around Pamplona to start and we finished at The church of Santa Maria. The section of the trail was broken into three parts so we could go our own pace."

John

Tour: 05/12/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide was excellent. The trip was well planned and the only issue was that the guide in Pamploma spent a little too much time in the cathedral.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The landscape beauty of the Camino de Santiago. "

Gail

Tour: 05/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The highlight of our tour was our guide, Agustin. Not only is he knowledgeable, he is respectful, patient, and kind. He has a gentle persona that puts everyone at ease while keeping us all on task. The Basque community is fascinating, beautiful, historic, and delicious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking on the Camino was inspiring. The fact that we not only learned about the pilgrimage and witnessed pilgrims on their journeys but were able to actually be on the Camino for 4+ miles was one I will never forget."

Donna

Tour: 05/12/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Augustin Ciriza was so knowledgeable, peaceful and funny. I learned a lot about the unique Basque culture. I especially love the smaller towns and cities and was amazed at the pristine rivers that joined the ocean throughout our travels.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many! Eating a pastry at a small French cafe' in Bayonne after just arriving for the tour. The artistry that wasn't in a museum but on the sides of paper stands, door engravings and in the people musing about their home. Driving through the Pyrenees and walking the Camino through Obanos and the Guggenheim, a wonder and a dream come true to see it. "

Lory

Tour: 05/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Augustin, was great. He listened to what everyone was most interested in seeing and made sure to include the "wish list" in the agenda.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved the stops in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the sheep farm in Guernica, and the walks along the Camino de Santiago."

Larry

Tour: 05/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great! Our guide, Augustin, was wonderful and we had a great time during our entire trip. The small cities and beautiful country was great to see and learn about.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking the Camino, The beautiful city of San Sebastian, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao."

Kathleen

Tour: 05/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour provided a great overview of the Basque region and culture. Our guide, Augustin, was great, He was very kind, knowledgeable, and organized. The food was delicious, and I enjoyed the company of our fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of San Sebastián from the surrounding hills was stunning!"

Robert

Tour: 05/12/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent guides, interesting excursions, good hotels and excellent meals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking 4 miles on the Camino"

Julia

Tour: 05/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour. The Basque Country was culturally fascinating, and beautiful. And our guide Francisco, was excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many wonderful experiences in during this tour, but if I had to pick one "wow" moment it was the time in Guernica, understanding the horrific events there, and most especially Francisco's interpretation of Picasso's "Guernica". Francisco's appreciation of that painting is very deep and emotional, and his sharing of that interpretation is very impacting. I am especially impressed by his interpretation transcending this one event, and seeing how it can apply to other tragedies."

Claudette

Tour: 05/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed this tour so much. Fran, our leader, was so much fun, and so knowledgeable and caring. I appreciated the slower pace compared to other RS tours I have been on. I learned so much about Basque and Spanish history and culture. It was a perfect balance of guided tours and free time and all the group meals were outstanding. Since I do not enjoy drinking alcohol, Fran made sure I had my drink of choice at each meal which I really appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were a few for me. The day in Pamplona when we saw the private bullfighting collection,then eating lunch at the gastronomic society and walking by the City Hall square and by chance seeing the local football team greeting their fans from the city hall balconies while the fans applauded and sang to them. Walking a few miles on the Camino and hearing the greeting “Buen Camino” as I walked by fellow pellegrinos was so special. "

David

Tour: 05/05/23

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall, a very good balance between scheduled activities and free time. I learned a lot about Spain and the Basque country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The beauty of San Sebastian. The beaches were breathtaking."

Beth

Tour: 05/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was so well planned!! All the guides , hotels and food was excellent !!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I guess it would be walking on the Camino It had been something that I have wanted to do for a long time There were so many “ wow” moments that’s it’s hard to pick just one !! A special moment was meeting and having Francisco as our guide!! He was fun, good natured and well informed Couldn’t ask for a better person to lead our group!!"

Carolyn

Tour: 05/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a great combination of tour lead activities and time on our own. The food at the group lunches and dinners were amazing. From the most delicious pea soup I’d ever had to monkfish and Spanish omelets, we were well fed.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me there was not one wow moment, rather there were moments of wow at various points. There was the bull fighting museum in Pamplona that was a hidden gem and only available to our tour group. There was the last dinner in Bilbao where the multi course meal was perfect and we had the entire family-owned restaurant. The walk along the poppy filled fields along the Camino was peaceful and jaw-dropping. And finally there was the heart filled talk by Francisco at Guernica. "

Mary

Tour: 05/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a very special tour, one with fewer major sights but with time to explore the beautiful Basque country, learn about the Basque people, and think about the significance of places like Guernica and the Camino de Santiago. We ate very well, as one should in that region, and enjoyed ourselves while exploring a region that was unfamiliar to most of us.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were the expected highlights such as the Guggenheim in Bilbao, but I particularly appreciated the unexpected wow moments such as arriving on foot at Santa Maria de Eunate, a romanesque structure off in a field near the Camino."

Stephen

Tour: 05/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fran,our guide, omg... was amazing. Passionate, knowledgeable and always upbeat. The region was spectacular and unique. Gained tons of respect and admiration for the spirit, culture and cuisine of the Basque country. Definitely want to return for the pilgrimage trail in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Coming over a final hill on the pilgrimage and seeing the beautiful, serene and peaceful countryside spread out before me, felt an Epiphony-like realization of why countless people had walked that trail throughout history. It was all set up by our guide, who wisely recommended solitude and reflection as we walked"

Mark

Tour: 05/05/23

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have done a number of Rick Steves tours and this one was just as great as the rest. Although it is impossible to visit each location in depth or to visit more places in Basque Country in just 10 days, I felt that we visited the places that gave us an adequate sense of Basque history and culture. I especially liked the way various aspects of Basque life were connected throughout the tour, such as food, the Camino, proximity to the ocean, architecture, Catholicism, bull fighting and politics.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each location seemed to be more interesting and beautiful than the last, but I especially chose this tour because I wanted to see the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. It was our final stop and served as an appropriate climax of our trip."

Jean

Tour: 10/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my third RS tour, and like the other two, it’s the group camaraderie that makes them exceptional. Our guide, Todd, was the perfect blend of historian, foodie, travel agent and friend. He understood and fostered our group dynamic from the first meet and greet to the final dinner. The relatively small Basque area that we covered gave us so much time to really explore each town. Absolutely loved this trip and can’t wait for our next RS tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I describe our tour to friends, I keep mentioning the strong sense of community we experienced in every town and city. The streets were walkable and very safe and busy with locals enjoying pintxos and vino after work. Feeling like a pilgrim on the El Camino was also a highlight! Would love to go back and do more of the trail. Thank you RS for another wonderful adventure!"

Gary

Tour: 10/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

See comments on my wife's survey as we did those together and or in complete agreement. This was a trip celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary by now we tend to think a lot alike.

Coralie

Tour: 10/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

wonderful overall tour guide (Todd Hudnall) and all local tour guides. Amazingly cohesive and like-minded group of 25 tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim museum but more for architecture than the collection."

Mark

Tour: 10/07/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The overall tour experience was wonderful. I enjoyed being in every place we went, our tour leader was terrific, almost all of the food was good or very good, and the lodging was fine but unexceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in the Guggenheim in Bilbao."

Franklin

Tour: 10/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful trip!!! Todd was knowledgeable, went above and beyond to ensure we enjoyed our trip. He was attentive to individual needs so everything ran smoothly. Todd helped us more fully understand the Basque culture, gastranomy, people and history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino pilgrim trail, San Sebastien, the food and wine!!!"

William

Tour: 10/05/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Nice tour. Augustine was a good tour guide as were the city guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Didn’t have any one event."

James

Tour: 10/05/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was well paced. Our guide Augustin was knowledgeable and professional. The group got along well. Included dining was very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The bullfighting museum. The detail of the founder's modeling was very impressive. I also was impressed by the view overlooking San Sebastion bay."

Robert

Tour: 10/05/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great accommodations, great food, tour guides were very knowledgeable and interesting. I love going to special places that you would never even know about if you weren't on the tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting off the bus at San Sebastian at the highest point for an incredible view of the city, bay and surroundings."

Faith

Tour: 10/05/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Relaxed pace with minimal bus time and only small cities was perfect for my first international travel post-pandemic. Tight focus of the tour enabled everyone to bask in each Basque moment (pardon the irresistible pun) rather than fretting about what came next. Ideal for travelers who have visited the big destinations and want to experience a unique region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch at the private men's club in Pamplona was my wow moment. The familial atmosphere, the delicious regional cuisine prepared by our hosts, and the free flowing sangria all contributed to many happy faces and much laughter among the tour members. "

Eva

Tour: 10/05/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I had a wonderful time with family and met interesting travel companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Architecture and artwork was amazing."

Pat

Tour: 10/05/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I knew nothing about the Basque people until going on this tour. It was an interesting mix of geography, food, and occupation. I loved the different cities we visited and walking on the Camino was a bonus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn’t one favorite. Being on streets where the running of the bulls takes place, the Guggenheim museum, walking parts of the Camino were all highlights."

Erik

Tour: 10/05/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I’ve been on lots of RS tours and enjoy them very much

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tapas in Pamplona "

John

Tour: 09/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

As a veteran of many Rick Steves tours, my expectations are high. I was not disappointed. This tour did not have many "blockbuster" sights like some of the others, but I enjoyed learning about the Basque culture, walking the Camino, seeing where the bulls run in Pamplona, visiting and learning about Guernica, and of course, the sheep farm in the Pyrenees was awesome. The guide, the food, and the fellow travelers made the tour a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have a few "wow" moments. The first one was the sheep farm. You could see the passion of the owner, how proud he is of what he does, and how he loves to share his experience with others. The second was the lady's house/bullfighting "museum" in Pamplona. This was one of those "secret" places that you only get with a Rick Steves tour."

Michael

Tour: 09/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was my 1st tour with Rick Steves. Everything was fine. The significant amount of free time allowed for personal exploration and discovery with respect to the people and culture of our host regions and cities. In the end, having fewer excursions and planned events, as compared with other tours, was perfect. The meals and get together events greatly facilitated getting to know your fellow travelers and establish relationships.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first dinner. I live in a very conservative part of the country. At dinner, our entire table was comprised people with common outlooks. Conversation was unguarded and meaningful. As it turned out, most on the tour shared open, moderate/progressive viewpoints."

Norman

Tour: 09/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a great group of people on our tour and that helped enormously to make it enjoyable. Our guide, Jorge, was excellent. The tour struck a good balance between group activities and time on our own to explore. This particular tour did not entail too much time on the bus. We also liked the choice of cities on our tour, all of which were interesting and attractive. The group meals were fun and the food and wine plentiful. The hotels we stayed in were all well located and comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim Museum was, perhaps, our favourite "wow" moment. The building is even more striking in the flesh than in pictures and the tour of the interior was very enjoyable. We were particularly impressed with the way in which the building's unique design respected and enhanced its surroundings."

Michael

Tour: 09/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

William

Tour: 09/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our guide was Jorge who did a GREAT job keeping us on schedule and delivering good explanations of all the various areas and events we experienced. The food was outstanding except for the last meal in Bilbao as the monk fish was poorly prepared. All the rest were exceptionally good. The Basque Museum tour was a bit long and became a little tedious. Everything else was "very good" to "excellent".

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The "WOW" moment for me was the drive up to the start of the Camino de Santiago with Jorge's very personal introduction of hat this hike means to him. The weather and the views for that day were very special making for a very "WOW" moment. Another "WOW" event for the whole week was the comradarie the group had throughout the week. Being our first RS tour, this was unexpectedly a pleasant surprise to have everyone so like minded on world events and enjoying the tour in a very positive manner."

Susan

Tour: 09/30/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great tour guide, fascinating local guides, delicious food and wine and friendly companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Interactions with local residents like the sheep farmer and the women who opened her bull fighting museum for us."

Robert

Tour: 09/30/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, fun group, and nice mix of both historic sights and learning about current life in the region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Finding a restaurant recommendation from the Rick Steves book and having an amazing multi-course meal."

Mark

Tour: 09/30/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was exactly what I expected, Charming hotels, good restaurants, great sites and our tour guide was terrific.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Several, The lunch at the winery after the El Camino walk. The sheep farm. I am an architecture fanatic so the Guggenheim was on the top of the list."

Thomas

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Every stop on the Basque Country tour was beautiful and each local guide was outstanding. But the food was the real star. Loved that the group meals were large midday gatherings instead of late night feasts. We ate a lot but walked it off on beaches, city streets and the Camino de Santiago. Tour guide Francisco was so great - smart, fun, loved art and made memorable food recommendations. Pointing to where his family lives and visiting the church he was married in made this an amazing tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was so excited to eat at a men's club in Pamplona. But when Fran said we could go in the kitchen, that was amazing. It was so small and they were cooking separate feasts for two groups of 25. The worn knives hanging on the wall, kettles of stew that smelled like heaven and mushroom caps sizzling in big old skillets, it was fabulous. "

Joanne

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It is a beautiful area, the Basque people impressive in accomplishments. Despite some rain, we saw and did, a lot. Nice fellow travelers, great guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We loved eating pintxos with txakoli in little bars and restaurants, so in Barcelona a few days later, we always looked for Basque restaurants."

Michael

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First of all, let me say our tour guide, Francisco, was amazing. His knowledge of history made the trip very interesting and enjoyable for me. And his choice of venues made it special.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I love the outdoors, so walking on my own on part of the Camino trail was special. But honestly, there were many other wow moments."

Julie

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very will organized. Our tour guide was amazing. He was very knowledgeable and you could tell he had a passion for sharing the History and love of the region.

Mercedes

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and it was outstanding Our guide, Francisco, was so knowledgeable, entertaining, caring, and passionate about the Cultural, Historical and Culinary aspects of the Basque Region The tour combined the right amount of urban and rural locations

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, but hiking the Camino de Santiago and the hilltop first view of San Sebastián stand out the most "

Kerry

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour is very well organized, with some down time and scheduled events. I did not feel over scheduled. The spirit of the trip is fun, interesting and informative. Our guide, Francisco, was fabulous! His love of the area and joy of teaching us about The Basque Country was wonderful. I had a great time, met new friends and now feel like I know the area and appreciate all I learned. I have already planned my next Rick Steve’s trip and look forward to another fun adventure.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to choose just one. I loved the Camino and all the history explained and Pamplona-the running of the bulls was so interesting and historical. San Sebastián was wonderful with all the food history and lovely beaches."

Patti

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic trip! From the first afternoon get together to the departure our guide Francisco went above and beyond to insure our experience in the Basque Country was phenomenal. Each day brought a new perspective from the visual beauty of the area to the vast historical and cultural aspects of the country. We were blessed with an incredible group of fellow travelers that I would gladly tour with again. Kudos for a well planned itinerary!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking along the Camino where so many pilgrims have passed for centuries was truly amazing. It was interesting to later view the sunburst signs marking the trail as we continued through villages on the tour. I think about those we passed who were walking the entire 500 miles and who will be on their journey for weeks. Perhaps we will return to join that journey another time but for this trip it was nice to feast on fabulous food and wine following our adventure!"

Phillip

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Francesco, was outstanding. He really took us into the culture of the Basque area in Spain, and made our trip very enjoyable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao was amazing - the architecture as well as the exhibits were incredible."

Sherry

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Francisco, was the most wonderful person. He really made us feel at home and part of the community.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"To many to select just one. 1) I loved walking the the Camino De Santiago- Very nice 2) Pamplona was very special, seeing the museum and dinner at the club was special. 3) San Sebastian was just lovely, the hike up to see Jesus was fun for me. 4) The dinner in Bilbao was the Best I have EVER had!! 5) The people in our group were all amazing."

Carolyn

Tour: 09/28/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous! Hotels were fine, our guide, Francisco Gloria, did a wonderful job. He was always upbeat and energetic and attentive to individual needs. The physical aspect was very demanding and everybody was extremely “fit.”

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino de Santiago, the small sheep farm where we made our own sheep cheese and yogurt and the precious little chapel in the midst of fields, Eunate, 12th century Templar church."

David

Tour: 09/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide as always!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastián "

Frances

Tour: 09/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Taking 4 years of Spanish in California tells you very little about Spain and the Basque culture and history. I very much enjoyed the sites the sights and learning the history and commentary by Agustin (and Rodrigo). So much adventure so many wars (reminded me a bit of Scotland and battlefields ) it was balanced by the sites along the Camino/seeking peace and the gastronomic field trips. Chocolate and seafood. Oh my. And all that lovely rain ❤️ Also reminded me of Scotland.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed the engaging talks of Andy Fisher in Bayonne and Francisco Xavier etc in Pamplona and Rodrigo in San Sebastián but the Steel silhouettes of pilgrims at the top of the rise and the Alta memorial to missing persons before the Camino walk was very poignant. "

Catherine

Tour: 09/23/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a great tour - very interesting and informative. We had amazing food in each city and everyone was friendly and helpful. It's a beautiful area- mountains, seaside resorts, charming cities, and more. I'm glad we got to see and experience so many towns in the Basque region but I'd prefer not to move every two days or so.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to choose just one moment from a great tour. Francisco's final parting thoughts at the end of our tour in Pamplona were so insightful and meaningful - it really moved me. He challenged us to live in the present and not focus on the past or future. And to experience life in person, not on social media."

Jean

Tour: 09/23/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The guide was fantastic, the hotel rooms were small but centrally located, and no one got Covid on our tour! The food was only average, and the weather was less than perfect, unfortunately. The tour activities were interesting, and we had plenty of free time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The running of the bulls information and actually seeing where it happens."

Dodie

Tour: 09/23/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour. The meals that were included with the tour were outstanding!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a personal "Wow" moment, When the elderly owner of the bull fighting museum spoke very slowly in Spanish so that it could be interpreted into English, I realized that I understood every word she said and I laughed out loud at the joke she told in Spanish. The rest of the group had to wait for the English translation before they laughed."

Joseph

Tour: 09/21/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Basque Country tour enabled us to experience this unique cultural region & it's people with a knowledgable and experienced guide

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My spouse's favorite experience was visiting the working sheep dairy farm, mingling with the ewes and ram, making & tasting the just-made cheese and sipping local Txakoli. My favorite 'wow' moment was the Guggenheim Museum in Balboa. Wow!"

Bruce

Tour: 09/21/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very good exposure to the Basque culture. The tour was more intense than the other RS tours we've been on. Probably due to the fact we were staying in very urban areas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Old town in San Sebastian."

Marcia

Tour: 09/21/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

enjoyed the variety of towns and the short hike on the camino , Wonderful, caring and thoughtful guide, . the experience at the sheep farm. not great vegetarian meals, not thrilled about Pamplona but enjoyed some aspects of the festival and time at the Bull museum. Really enjoyed the basque museum.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"on top of san sebastian"

Richard

Tour: 09/21/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding. Todd Hudnall was fantastic. Informed, enthusiastic, patient, and effective. I would take another tour and have recommended this one to friends.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I’m not real good at identifying favorites. There were no awful moments. "

Herbert

Tour: 09/21/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Each city had its own standout moment. "

Brian

Tour: 09/16/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized, informative, interesting, anf fun. Excellent tour guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The private bull fighting museum in Pamplona. "

Madelyn

Tour: 09/16/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved our guide Francisco. The towns/cities we visited were great. Hotels were good, not great

Favorite "WOW" moment

"walking the Camino de Santiago"

Ellena

Tour: 09/16/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Geri

Tour: 09/16/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a nice combination of time together with the group and guides, when we got lots of information, plus free time to do things on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide Francisco's explanation of the Guernica painting by Picasso."

Melanie

Tour: 09/16/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

i was impressed by the wealth of historical knowledge all the guides had. Sharing of personal connections with the points of interest added a special touch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning how important family lineage is to the Basque culture, seeing the abundance of food and how healthy the people are and how the Basque culture survives today despite centuries of invasions and Hitler’s attempt to exterminate an entire city. "

Bruce

Tour: 09/16/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were fortunate to have a wonderul guide (Francisco), great weather, and a great group of fellow travelers. Every location was new for us, and we loved the food, the sights and well, everything. Hotels, while not as luxurious as more upscale tours, were clean, comfortable and perfectly located. We would strongly recommend this tour to anyone not familiar with the Basque region, and strongly recommend Rick Steves' tours to anyone that hasn't tried one yet. Looking forward to the next one!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lunch at the Bodegas Lezaun winery....the food and wine both amazing! Close seconds would the farmer's market in Bayonne, our visit to the Guggenheim, and my two hours on the beach in San Sebastien."

Carol

Tour: 09/16/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour was what we expected - we came to get better understanding of Basque region and we did

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Have to say it was the day we spent walking the Camino with two other tour members. Love being outside in Europe"

Samuel

Tour: 09/14/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic, well ballanced, good pace from city to city, right amout of free time, sites, history, food, everything, fantastic!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hands down the winery and all the food! "

Robert

Tour: 09/14/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the tour of the Basque country very much. Very well put together and the guide Agustin was perfect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My wow moment was our time in Bilbao. The Guggenheim Museum was indeed a highlight as well as the overall look and feel of the city. Lots to see and do. Great restaurants as well."

Gail

Tour: 09/14/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved the mix of activities and pace. Fourth trip and we meet great people on every one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sheep farm, believe it or not. "

Sue

Tour: 09/14/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fifth Rick Steves tour and is among our favorites, due mostly to our wonderful guide Agustin. A true 'local' (from San Sebastian, Spain). Although we had been to Spain several times (once on a Rick Steves 'My Way' tour), the Basque Country of France/Spain was a new region for us. It was made extra special by having a 'local' share his history/knowledge of the area. Muchas Gratias, Agustin!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This is a tough one, but two stand out for me. Doing seven miles on the Camino de Santiago and the city of Bilbao. We spent three extra nights in Bilbao following the tour, enjoying the sights (Guggenheim Bilbao Museum), the tastes (dinner at Los Fueros) and just hanging out (taking the funicular to the top of Artxandra Mountain). Lovely city, lovely people! "

Rebecca

Tour: 09/14/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time, start to finish. First, our overall guide, Augustin, was so knowledgeable about the area, history, culture and politics and he was willing to share his personal insights as well as the facts. The special, interesting things we did which would have never been available to us as individual tourists (private bullfighter museum, eating in the private Basque gastronomy club, lunch at the family run vineyard, and visiting the sheep farm) were priceless experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the things mentioned above, plus I loved the vineyard lunch where we went to the big wine barrels in back to fill the table pitcher and our glasses with the excellent wine. In Pamplona, Augustin's instructions on how to order our drinks and pintxos, then going inside to try out our new expertise was fun and helpful. Visiting St Jean Pied de Port, then walking the 2 sections of the Camino. Honestly, everyday had "Wow" moments."

Jeff

Tour: 09/14/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The Basque tour provided us with an educational, historical, and cultural experience. Once provided with the general layout of the various planned cities visited, the free time allowed for personal exploring and discovering. The many special events made the tour feel like a custom trip catered to individual interests resulting in wonderful memories. Our guide was very receptive to the groups interests and suggested many activities in addition to our planned events. It was a great trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the running of the bulls route coupled with the private museum visit and explanation of the entire festival by the city building enabled me to visualize the activities of that week in July as if I were in attendance"

William

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour with a fabulous guide, Todd.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Considering relocating to San Sebastian. . ."

Edie

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have wanted to visit the Basque Country since my first student trip to Spain over 50 years ago. I visited Spain for the second time in the late ‘70s, but the Basque Country was still not considered safe. I am grateful that your company offered this tour, that I have seen Euskal Herria at last, and that it is as beautiful and interesting as I imagined.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wow moments—walking part of the Camino and seeing the Guggenheim. "

Todd

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed the activities, the food and wine, the group members ,and all the towns we visited and stayed in.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to the sheep farm to feed them and to make yogurt and cheese."

William

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Enjoyed everything. Todd was great and added a good deal to the experience. Nicer hotels than expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Guggenheim Museum up close. Photos do not do it justice; it was more "wow" than I expected, similar to seeing the Sydney Opera House. "You had to be there!""

John

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Basque Country is fascinating and beautiful with its rich history, delicious cuisine, eye-candy architecture, and picturesque countryside

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hilltop views of San Sebastián"

Ronald

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first international tour since the pandemic. We reunited with several friends we had met on the RS tour of Ireland in 2018. It was perfect. Great area to tour. Great people to tour with. Wonderful tour guide - informative and shared our love of good food. Great weather. What more could one ask for?

Favorite "WOW" moment

"No single wow moment. Just a reoccurring realization that we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves with a group of fun, fun people. "

Susan

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, food, and accommodations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking on the Camino de Santiago"

Kyle

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The group was very enjoyable and the guide knowledgeable...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was while on the bus... climbing the hill and cresting it seeing the bay of San Sebastian appear in front of me... it was magical."

Harold

Tour: 09/09/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Basque Country is very unique and very beautiful. This tour gave us both aspects in vivid detail.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The view of San Sebastian from high above at the old fort. Stunning!"

Mary Joy

Tour: 09/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each day of the tour was well-planned with engaging, informative and interesting local tours and activities -- really enjoyable. In a real sense, the guide 'makes' the tour, and Fran was simply outstanding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"(1) the 'Camino' experience (and Fran's introduction thereto); (2) two moving presentations: one at the Cathedral in Pamplona (that exhibit should tour in the US) and the other Fran's talk at Guernica; (3) a number of the meals on the tour. (so the food experience in Spain)."

Anita

Tour: 09/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary gave a good, comprehensive overview of the Basque country. Our guide, Francisco, was absolutely outstanding. He had a great personality, wonderful sense of humor, was quite knowledgable, and was really good at "herding cats' (i.e. our group).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Starting the hike on the El Camino de Santiago from the top of the hill; seeing the trail from above, winding around the rocks and fields; Making it all the way down without falling - all will be burned into my memory."

Ann

Tour: 09/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding. The guide was knowledgeable, patient, well-informed, and had a sense of humor. He was well-versed in the history of the region.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino!"

Shawn

Tour: 09/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is my 3rd RS Tour and I'm convinced more than ever about the importance of your tour guide. Francisco Glaria was informative, enthusiastic and caring making sure everyone was having a great time. (My 2nd tour did not have a good tour guide.) Each day of the tour had interesting and exciting things to see and experience. Never a dull moment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"#1 was the Camino de Compostela; both seeing the start at St Jean Pied de Port (and getting our passport and shell) to walking the Camino the following day. Close 2nds were the beach in San Sebastian, the cheese/sheep farm and Cathedrale Ste Marie in Bayonne."

Michael

Tour: 09/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Teriffic guide, as usual; congenial group of travelers, as usual. Intersting itinerary.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Santa Maria de Eunate."

Wendy

Tour: 09/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was relaxing, informative and fun. It had a variety of experiences that were allowed one to get a feeling of each town and it’s culture. The food was very good at both the restaurants and hotels. Several meals were outstanding. The hotels were always in a good location that made it convenient to walk to other places. This tour was shorter more low keyed with less time on the bus compared to the Eastern Europe tour and that was what we were looking for. Our guides were very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I thoroughly enjoyed the time at the Mens Club. It was fun to see another way of entertaining in Spain. The food was delicious and the setting was wonderful. The Guggenheim in Biblio was outstanding. Our museum guide made it come alive and we would never had understood or experienced the museum the way it should be without the guided tour. One more was the sheep farm. The owner and helper truly gave you a feel for what they do to make cheese. It was fun. Lastly walking The Camino. "

Ruth

Tour: 09/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A very well organized tour with a super knowledgeable main guide, Augustin, and subsequent other guides of specific locations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, but did enjoy the several times, we were able to go up to high spaces with gorgeous view below."

Randall

Tour: 09/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour, and it was outstanding in every respect! By far the most important aspect of a group tour, in my opinion, is the quality of the guide. We had a truly exceptional guide named Augustin Ciriza. He was a native of the Basque Country, which was where we toured. He was patient, attentive and very knowledgeable. And most importantly, he is a very nice person.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several, and one of the things that made them special is that they were not available unless you were with a group. We saw a really neat bullfighting museum in a private home in Pamplona. This was not available to the public, it was in a private residence. The lady who lived there gave us such an impassioned discussion about her bullfighting memorabilia, it really made an impact on me. There were many other “wow” moments - a cheese making demonstration on a rural, working Basque farm."

William

Tour: 09/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour, and it exceeded our expectations. Rick's travel philosophy fits neatly with our own travel philosophy (skip the luxury and go for value and experiences, travel light, etc). Especially liked the surprise experiences and those that we never would have found on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim"

Mary

Tour: 09/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was really wonderful. Our guide was Augustine and we could not have been more pleased. His organizational skills and historical perspective was top notch.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"For me the"wow" was the goat farm. I enjoyed seeing the process of making the yogurt and soft cheese. Anytime spent with local families is really lovely."

Lizabeth

Tour: 09/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can one pick? There were so many "wow" moments. I really enjoyed the sheep farm and being in the rural setting after all the beautiful cities that we visited."

Kellene

Tour: 09/02/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very positive overall experiences during the tour which isn’t an easy feat given the stresses of traveling these days. All the connections went smoothly and no one on our tour got COVID! One of my fears was that I or another member of my group might have to leave the tour due to illness. I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful combination of city life, country and water experiences on this tour. Our easy walk on the Camino gave us a glimpse of a significant journey many people aspire to make

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tour of the church and it’s special museum in Pamplona with a terrific guide. He made the tour stand out as well as his message. I loved the views the mountains and the sea from the ramparts and the welcoming spirit of the country and it’s people."

Gregory

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Francisco was wonderful. knowledgeable, passionate, entertaining and caring. We admired his rigor and ability to have fun while working. He was helpful always in many ways ,

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the journey was new, refreshing, sometimes eye-opening, and enjoyable. Favorite memories: Our guide Francisco's very poignant and thoughtful discourse on family and familia love at the Catedral de Santa Maria in his hometown of Pamplona. The tiny and mysterious church along the Camino de Santiago, where we were told delightful stories of a mystery and a wedding. Several intimate dining experiences reflecting the culture, fine food, drink and new friends. San Sebasttian is a wow city. "

Karen

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Incredible! Each day was filled with a balance of historical, contemporary, and cultural interest. Our guide, Francisco is a gifted storyteller. He made the scenes of the past come to life. I came away enriched in the Basque region and people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The visit to Gernika forever left its mark on my heart. The determination of the townspeople is almost inconceivable. To learn about the horrific siege of the town, and then see the story told through Picasso’s paintbrush was truly a moment to remember. The flower depicting love and hope is simply beautiful."

Douglas

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Discovering "Gildas""

Kristin

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 5th RS tour, and arguably one of my favorites! I've traveled throughout Spain a fair amount, but hadn't yet made it to the great north; what an exceptional place. Fran is an excellent host and my favorite guide to date, the group was kind and adventurous, the food was great, the places a delight. An excellent tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hmm... I think walking the Camino de Santiago. At the get to know you meeting, I said I was most excited for the Guggenheim, which did not disappoint, but the camino impacted in a way I didn't expect. I appreciated Fran's sensitivity, his ability to help us appreciate its significance and urging us to let the camino journey be our own. I didn't know I needed to walk those 5 miles until I started, and it helped me prioritize a few things I've ignored throughout the pandemic. "

Greg

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Immersed in the local culture and people. Learned lots about the Basque and personal stories from Francisco.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Meeting locals and the history of the area- Gernika, sheep farm, running of the bulls, dinner at members club."

Candis

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guide, group, food, sights and experiences, bus rides, and all hotels except maybe 1 were perfect! An excellent balance of experiences from walking the small portion of the Camino to eating in a Men’s Club to the Guggenheim! This was my 5th Rick Steves tour and was just as wonderful as all previous tours!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many, however our experience at Guernica with Francisco’s explanation was quite emotional and the Camino experience will always be remembered especially stopping at Santa Maria de Cunate at the end."

Teri

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As with every RS tour, this one was filled with great experiences, great guides, great infrastructure (bus, hotels, etc), and compatible fellow travelers. I did this trip alone for the first time ever since my husband passed away, and everyone was very welcoming of me, as I'd hoped they'd be. My third RS tour and as good as the past two.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino de Santiago. It was a beautiful stretch of the trail. Even more important, our guide prepared us for the walk on the bus ride to the trailhead by noting the spiritual nature of the trail. He suggested that we might want to walk as pilgrims and to focus on something in our life that has meaning--something to change, to forgive, to treasure--and to walk in quiet contemplation. Wow! It changed the whole dynamic in a good way. I'm very thankful for that experience."

Olivia

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our first Rick tour and it was amazing thanks to our fantastic guide Francisco! Fran is from Pamplona and he brought a festive and personal energy to the tour, fostering a fun and inclusive group dynamic. Our favorite moments were in Pamplona at private bull fighting museum and social club dinner and our day on the Camino we also enjoyed the tapas scene in San Sebastián. All our city guides were excellent and it was a high bar with Francisco as our tour coordinator.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Private bull fighting museum in Pamplona, Camino day and of course Francisco as our fearless leader!"

Lonni

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An excellent tour with a great guide.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots of wonderful scenery, food and side trips. For me seeing the Guggenheim in Bilbao was a wow"

Perry

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guide, beautiful locations, amazing experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastián. "

Edward

Tour: 06/03/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guides and tour venue. Learned a lot.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On arrival at 11 PM, watching the airport close and then, after about 1/2 hour, a taxi pulled up and rescued us. "

Lasha

Tour: 06/03/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Francine

Tour: 06/03/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour, wonderful Guide, very informative local guides along the way.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Dinner at the social club."

Geoff

Tour: 05/20/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We were glad to get back to Europe after the Covid hiatus. It was great to be with other people enjoying the sites, culture and food.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The walk on El Camino de Santiago was a unique "Rick Steves moment." It was inspiring to be on the path that has be used for over 1200 years by countless pilgrims."

Glenys

Tour: 05/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great tour perfectly planned with a moderate pace and so many wonderful experiences we would not have found traveling on our own. Francisco proudly led our cohesive group of happy travelers through his native Basque Country. All hotels were very nice and served bountiful, delicious breakfasts. All group meals were excellent with delicious food and wine. There was a good mix of time with our group and time on our own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several: the gorgeous view of the bay from the mountaintop as we we entered San Sebastian, Francisco's moving presentation of his analysis of Picasso's painting "Guernica" as we stood before a replica of the painting in the town where the portrayed genocide took place, and the fantastic Guggenheim Bilbao. "

When To Go & Weather

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

Spain / San Sebastián

Hotels & Flights

Tour Hotels

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

Flights

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

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

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