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

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Email tour@ricksteves.com

Basque Country of Spain & France in 9 Days Tour

from $2,695 per person + air

Single Supplement $575

See Dates & Prices

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

Dates & Prices

2023

What's Included

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

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

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

Plus you'll get all this, too.

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

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

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Basque Country

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

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

Day 2: Basque Bayonne

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

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

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

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

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

Day 4: Proud Pamplona

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

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

Day 5: All Day on the Camino de Santiago

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

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

Day 6: Savoring San Sebastián

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

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

Day 7: Guernica and Bilbao

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

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

Day 8: Bilbao and the Guggenheim

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

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

Day 9: Tour Over After Breakfast

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

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

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

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

Reviews

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!!!"

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."

Coralie

Tour: 10/07/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

wonderful overall tour guide (Todd) 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."

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.

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"

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."

Carol

Tour: 10/05/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our first RS tour and we really enjoyed it. Our group was fun, our tour guide knowledgeable and helpful. Most our hotels were nice, all were very clean. Our meals were delicious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am not sure I can choose just one moment from this tour as the stand out moment. I thoroughly enjoyed walking on the Camino route, which gave me a look at the countryside, time to escape crowded cities, and to get some exercise. I loved the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, and the streets of Pamplona."

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."

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."

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

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.

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."

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, 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"

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."

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."

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."

Richard

Tour: 09/21/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was outstanding. Todd 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."

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"

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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"

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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"

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."

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."

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!"

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!""

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 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."

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!"

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."

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. 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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Douglas

Tour: 06/10/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Discovering "Gildas""

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."

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."

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."

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."

Jeff

Tour: 05/27/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was a well executed tour of the Basque cities that included a little bit of everything hiking wine tour city tours and even a sheep farm in just over a week.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The late sunset in Saint Sebastián over the Atlantic was amazing along the beach full of interesting people- hipsters, surfers, tourists."

Marvin

Tour: 05/20/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Was first time and wow had a fantastic trip. Can’t wait for my next RS tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked the running of the bull part and the museum with the artifacts."

Paul

Tour: 05/20/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great coordination from beginning to end. We enjoyed that this was a more cultural tour with a deep dive into everything Basque. Not as many blockbuster sites as other tours, but we felt we had a thorough introduction into the history, cuisine, and daily life. Two people in our group developed COVID, and we appreciated the communication and transparency from our tour guide James and the tour company.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our entire full day in Pamplona, from the mini bullfighting museum hidden in an apartment near the main square to our gastronomic club dinner. This is why we take Rick Steves tours - for backdoor experiences that we never would have found on our own."

Geoffrey

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."

Nancy

Tour: 05/20/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was so great to travel to Europe again. I learned so much about the Basque people, area, culture and more. It was wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastián beach"

Courtney

Tour: 05/20/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steve’s tour and everything from the tour guide to the experiences were absolutely amazing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Learning the history from each city"

Grant

Tour: 05/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was great to get back to Europe after a number of years away and we knew that a Rick Steves tour was the best way to reconnect to travel. Our trip leader was outstanding and made our visit to Basque country very rewarding.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Spending the morning walking the Camino De Santiago was one of the highlights. Our trip leader led us the last couple of miles to Iglesia de Santa María de Eunate, which was one of the most interesting religious sites I have visited."

Paul

Tour: 05/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was everything I had hoped for and more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hiking on the Camino and the view of the Pyrenees."

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."

Michael

Tour: 05/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have spent a considerable amount of time in Europe on business and touring by ourselves. Our first tour was fabulous! It will not be our last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Picasso painting in Guernekey and the discussion led by Francisco."

Micheline

Tour: 05/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful, we had Francisco as a tour leader and his generosity and joy where infectious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When we got a very special view of Piscasso painting of the massacre of"

Petra

Tour: 05/13/22

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

My overall experience was good to very good. This was my first Rick Steves tour and it was not my first choice in tour companies, but I picked it because the itinerary was exactly what I wanted.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite “wow” moment was the private bullfighting memorabilia collection."

Sandra

Tour: 05/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a fabulous experience and educational and spiritual.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would have to give our guide the Wow factor. Several moments he made the experience a Wow moment."

Hilary

Tour: 05/13/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Francisco was a wonderful tour guide. Good historical information and took care of us well. It was really special having a Basque guide for a Basque tour..especially at Guernica

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The sheep farm was the best!"

Laurie

Tour: 05/06/22

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It is so great to be travelling again!! The dynamic of our group was fantastic, and James was a knowledgeable and fun guide. Our emergence into the Basque culture and way of life was truly a wonderful experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastian for sure. We started our time there at the viewpoint on top of Monte Igueldo where we took in the overall beauty of the sweeping shoreline and town. Our hotel was in a great location, where we could experience the crashing waves as we walked the nearby waterfront. It was wonderful!"

Carolyn

Olympia, WA

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jeff

Sturgis, SD

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Charles

Washington, DC

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Charles

Thornhill, ON

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The coastal vistas and the Guggenheim."

Sanders

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Suzanne

Shreveport, LA

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Wendy

Cornwall, VT

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Janet

Bend, OR

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Frances

San Diego, CA

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino."

Gary

Cornwall, VT

Tour: 10/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Superb.

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kenard

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gernika and The Camino portion of our tour."

Mark

Ixonia, WI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

Flat Rock, NC

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great - Particularly loved the cohesiveness of this group

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Pamela

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Russell

Canton, MI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Barbara

Canton, MI

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an outstanding tour, I enjoyed everything about it

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Douglas

Battle Ground, WA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Henrico, VA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Claremont, CA

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Debra

Fort Collins, CO

Tour: 10/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Debbie

Clayton, CA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

John

Camarillo, CA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Don

Marana, AZ

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just how beautiful the landscape is in Spain."

Kenneth

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

Mount Vernon, IL

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Mount Vernon, IL

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

William

Bend, OR

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Deborah

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sue

Valencia, CA

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Greensboro, NC

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Roger

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 09/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Guggenheim Bilbao museum was an exceptional experience."

Stephen

Woodway, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Shirley

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dan

Bellingham, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ricardo

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Marie

Brooklyn, NY

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Debra

Shakopee, MN

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Maureen

Silver Spring, MD

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Roblin

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lisa

Woodway, WA

Tour: 09/25/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Shelly Ann

Oakley, UT

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful vacation. Everything went perfectly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A private docent tour of the Guggenheim."

Kate

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Steven

San Dimas, CA

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Concord, NH

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Rodney

Meridian, ID

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting relatives birthplace. British museum."

Richard

Oakley, UT

Tour: 09/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Margaret

Pewaukee, WI

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"all of San Sebastian"

Ronnie

Midlothian, VA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Thomas

Saint Joseph, MO

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Steve

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Karen

Midlothian, VA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

John

Choctaw, OK

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Karen

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Janet

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 09/18/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joyce

Highland Falls, NY

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Margaret

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Julie

Matthews, NC

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Scott

Matthews, NC

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mark

Fremont, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Nancy

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Tom

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to recall."

Pam

Glenview, IL

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Tom

Glenview, IL

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Herb

Vancouver, BC

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Bruce

Alamo, CA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Gehry Museum"

Gary

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

great time

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the Camino time"

Jeanne

Redmond, WA

Tour: 09/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Robert

Euless, TX

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lana

North Richland Hills, TX

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Daniel

Dracut, MA

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastian was a surprise."

Kathryn

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Thomas

Clayton, MO

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Kathleen

Bothell, WA

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Glenda

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 09/11/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Thomas

Ames, IA

Tour: 09/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Daniela

Stratford, CT

Tour: 09/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Salvatore

Stratford, CT

Tour: 09/06/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sharyn

Vero Beach, FL

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Tricia

Chicago, GA

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kathryn

Layton, UT

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kathleen

Medina, OH

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Linda Marie

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guide, super sites and happy group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking Camino de Santiago."

Julie

Centennial, CO

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carolyn

Casper, WY

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The camino trail was my favorite moment."

Patricia

North Venice, FL

Tour: 09/04/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lisa

Asheville, NC

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Amy

Boston, MA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Roberta

Jamaica Plain, MA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kerry

Vernon Hills, IL

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Retta

Nipomo, CA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Brandon

Dallas, TX

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kip

Mundelein, IL

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Janice

El Cajon, CA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Wendy

San Diego, CA

Tour: 08/28/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Francie

Orlando, FL

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joe

Orlando, FL

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Patricia

Oxford, MD

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Felene

Lake Elsinore, CA

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the entire basque region!"

Bill

Escondido, CA

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

Media, PA

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Michelle

Shoreline, WA

Tour: 07/08/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peg

Prescott, AZ

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Leanne

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking the Camino!"

Ann

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

South Salem, NY

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Don

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Abbie

Beaverton, OR

Tour: 06/21/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gail

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mario

Feasterville Trevose, PA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jennifer

Fair Oaks, CA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peter

Fair Oaks, CA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"View of San Sebastian Bay from the tower"

Kathy

Charlottesville, VA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lauri

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well planned, interesting, and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Brenda

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ellen

Glen Allen, VA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 2 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The birth of "little Ricky.""

Lawrence

Covington, WA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mountains,"

Steve

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Rogene

Madison, WI

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Food and wine"

Noreen

Arden Hills, MN

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Linda

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/07/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lynn

Fort Walton Beach, FL

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Laura

Berea, OH

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Doane

Norman, OK

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gay

Lenexa, KS

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Brian

Oak Ridge, NC

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Suzanne

Loveland, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Debra

Westminster, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ron

Loveland, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joanne

Reno, NV

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Donna

New York, NY

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Robert

Robbinsville, NC

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"San Sebastian"

Rose

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

Breckenridge, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ronnie

Westminster, CO

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great blend of culture, cuisine, and history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gregory

Scottsdale, AZ

Tour: 05/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Catherine

Los Altos, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Melinda

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Melissa

Carmel Valley, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Lori

Redwood City, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Nancy

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joanne

Carmel, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ronald

Pensacola, FL

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Theresa

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 05/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It to you.)"

Don

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Elizabeth

Malvern, PA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Magda

Seal Beach, CA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Guggenheim museum"

Sue

Torrance, CA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Francis

Richmond, MA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Valerie

Olympia, WA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Seattle, WA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

William

Auburn, WA

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sue

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Robert

Lincoln, NE

Tour: 05/10/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jacob

Santa Fe, NM

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Maureen

Northampton, MA

Tour: 05/03/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

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.