Your private guide will meet you at your hotel and you will depart for a walking tour of Biarritz. As ritzy as its name suggests, this stylish coastal town, 8km west of Bayonne, took off as a resort in the mid-19th century when Napoléon III and his Spanish-born wife, Eugénie, visited regularly.
Along its rocky coastline are architectural hallmarks of this golden age, and the belle époque and art deco eras that followed. Although it retains a high glamour quotient, it's also a magnet for loads of surfers, with some of Europe's best waves.
The main sights include the lighthouse and climbing the 258 twisting steps inside the 73m-high Phare de Biarritz , the town’s 1834 lighthouse, rewards you with sweeping views of the Basque coast, Le Rocher de la Vierge, at the end of Pointe Atalaye is Rocher de la Vierge (Rock of the Virgin), named after its white statue of the Virgin and child. Views from this impressive outcrop extend to the mountains of the Spanish Basque Country, the chocolate museum, if you are chocolate passionate delve into this real-life Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for an indulgent exploration through the world of chocolate, from its earliest beginnings to the mass production of today. Near the Église Alexandre Newsky is the doll’s-house-sized Chapelle Impériale, constructed in 1864. Empress Eugénie was the inspiration for this.
BILBAO - THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM
The Guggenheim museum is great place to visit in a lifetime. The museum was inaugurated on 18 October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I of Spain. The Guggenheim Bilbao’s collection spans from the mid-20th century to the present day, concentrating on postwar painting and sculpture in America and Europe. The collection includes key works by significant artists including Anselm Kiefer, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Gilbert & George, and Richard Serra.
FULL DAY TOUR
Your tour guide will meet you at your hotel this morning & you will depart for a full day discovery tour of the Basque Country.
Your first stop will be at the lovely hilltop village of Sare. Surrounded by superb Basque farmhouses, this pastoral and peaceful setting rests in the shadow of the Rhune Mountain and in the heart of what was once known as the old smuggling region. A stop here at Sare's preserved, typical Basque House, gives an opportunity to view the interior of a traditional Basque home as well as enjoy a tasting of local treats that have been produced from the surrounding farms. This may include cheeses, apple marmalade, cider and wine.
You will then drive to the village of Ainhoa, which was nearly totally destroyed by the Spanish in 1629. The houses you see here today were rebuilt during the 17th and 18th centuries. Your guided tour down the town's main street showcases some of the finest homes built in the Labourd style, with the dates of construction and owner's name engraved on the lintels above the doorways.
Lunch in Ainhoa.
In the afternoon you will drive to the town of Espelette, known worldwide for its ‘Piment d’Espelette’ (chili peppers).
Then on to Saint Pee sur Nivelle, one of the 3 towns which form the ‘North’ Basque country. From the XVIth century onwards this town, at the geographical crossroad linking the coast to the Basque hinterland, has sheltered pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St James of Compostella - witness the shell-shaped arch above the church's altar-screen and the many "hospice buildings" in the vicinity. The town is surrounded by typical Basque country farms.
Back to your hotel around 5pm.
St. JEAN DE LUZ – HONDARRIBIA
FULL DAY TOUR
You will drive along the coastal road ‘’la Corniche’’ through the village of Bidart & Guetary to arrive in St Jean de Luz.
At the foot of the Pyrenées mountains & facing the sea, the fisherman's town of St Jean de Luz is one the the gems of the atlantic coast. The town has been a very well known seaside resort since the 19th century & has managed to keep its unique & authentic heritage.
From there, you will then cross the Spanish border & visit the charming village of Hondarribia.
This border town was described by Victor Hugo as the ‘’silhouette of a town of gold with a sharp bell tower in the depth of a blue gulf’’. Many travelers before & after him have referred to Hondarribia.
You will discover the important cultural & artistic heritage. It is one of the very few fortified towns in the Basque country & the walls are constantly being restored in order to evoke the past & impregnate every corner & alley with aromas, flavors & sounds that will take you back to other times.
If time permitting, you may even go to another charming Spanish town: San Sebastien.
FULL DAY TOUR
This morning you will depart from your hotel in Biarritz & drive across the border to the town of Bilbao.
Upon arrival, you will enjoy a visit of the infamous Guggenheim Museum: Instantly hailed as the most important structure of its time, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has celebrated more than a decade of extraordinary success. With over a hundred exhibitions and more than ten million visitors to its credit, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has changed the way people think about museums, and it continues to challenge assumptions about the connections between art, architecture, and collecting.
You will enjoy lunch in the charming fisherman’s town of Guetaria.
Then on to San Sebastien, the belle époque city, often referred to as the Pearl of the Seas.
You will enjoy the the main sights of the city such as the Miramar Palace, the Cathedrai of the Victoria Eugenia Theater. You will also enjoy a walk through the Old Quarter where you will find an eclectic blend of shops, restaurants & squares as well as historical buildings such as the Church of San Vicente.
St. JEAN PIED DE PORT
FULL DAY TOUR
This morning you will depart from your hotel & enjoy another day discovering the Basque country. You will drive out to the charming Medieval town of St Jean Pied de Port with it’s citadel & monuments listed by Unesco. You will also enjoy a tour of the surrounding country side & taste some of the Basque country’s best specialties: wine, cheese & most importantly Gateau Basque.