Basque holiday, food adventure

“An exquisite small group holiday to Spain’s Basque region, one of Europe’s most desirable foodie destinations, full of memorable experiences to satisfy any appetite.”


Basque foodie holiday | Bilbao | Mercado de La Rivera | Basque cookery lesson from a local chef | Logrono | Hands-on winery and vineyard tour | Xabi meal at a San Sebastian private eating club | Learn how to make traditional Basque cider |

Description of Basque holiday, food adventure

If you’re reading this with an empty stomach then you’ll be needing the button to make an immediate booking - it’s just to your right.

What follows is a feast of sensory experiences in Spain’s wonderful Basque region, home to almost 30 Michelin-starred restaurants, a place where people tend to spend most of their disposable income on food and, frankly, who could blame them?

Sandwiched between mountains and sea, the Basque region has a distinctive culture and geography that make its cuisine completely unique. Expect to discover the very best of it with this mouthwatering eight-day small group tour, beginning in Bilbao. Home to the renowned Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry, Bilbao is also well-known for its traditional cod shops and food markets. You’ll enjoy a fascinating hands-on cookery demo from a local chef before moving on by private minibus to Logrono in the prestigious La Rioja wine region, a favoured stop for pilgrims on the Santiago de Compostela route. Here you’ll tour the vineyards and take part in experiments that explain the wine fermentation process. Naturally plenty of tasting is included too.

Onwards to San Sebastian, home of pintxo culture, where you’re invited to spend the evening at a historic private eating club where local men come together to cook for themselves and their wives.

Finally, before returning to Bilbao, one final treat: a tour of a traditional Basque cider house, with a superb menu to accompany it including chorizo sausage cooked in cider, salt cod omelette, bone-in ribeye steak, Basque cheese, quince jelly, walnuts and almond tiles.

If you’ve managed to get to the end of this description without booking, then you must have very strong willpower. But now it’s time to give in to destiny – if you love your food, this tour will prove irresistible.

Travel Team

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13 May 2020
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03 Jun 2020
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14 Oct 2020
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Basque holiday, food adventure

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


Accommodation and Meals:
We will spend the week in various locally employed 3-star hotels. All hotels have to sign a cooperation agreement with our local operator in which encourages them to run their business in a sustainable and socially conscious manner. Where food is provided, Our local operators are always making sure that they work with locally owned restaurants where ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible. This will ensure that the money stays within the community. On one of the lunches, we have the opportunity to attend a cooking class in a Michelin recommended restaurant, where clients can attempt to create a local dish. There is also a chance to have a dinner at a gastronomical society in San Sebastian which is an exclusive dining where members come together to socialise and get together. Having a meal at these local societies allow clients to experience the true cultural life in San Sebestian.

Local craft and Culture:
On this trip, we will visit some of the best markets and shops in Bilbao, one of them is ‘Mercado de La Ribera’ which is a traditional market that provides a good introduction to Basque Country’s gastronomical goods. Many locals go there to buy fresh produce and have a drink and snack as well. It was also registered in the book of Guinness World Records for being the largest covered market in Europe. This is the perfect opportunity to interact with local people, purchase local produce and to support small street vendors by trying authentic food. We will also visit the most classic cod shops (bacaladerías) where bacalao (dried cod) and Iberian ham are sold.

We will also visit La Rioja, the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region, filled with rich history and traditions and also home to some of the best tapas bars in Spain. Over there, we have activities in vineyards and wineries, to educate our clients on the wine fermentation process and also have a chance to taste some of the best wines in Spain, where our visit will eventually help support local production.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.


We will spend the week in a variety of small, rural hotels throughout the trip. By spreading our commerce to several different local businesses, we are providing more financial benefit to the local community. Food is a massive part of Spanish culture and so where meals are provided (all breakfasts), our local staff are enthusiastic about showcasing fresh produce from the area. Your guides can make sure you’re acquainted with local restaurants and cafes, which is a great chance to both support the community and to get an authentic experience. The Rioja region is known for superb wines, but we also enjoy mouthwatering tapas, pinchos, menestras (vegetable stews) and succulent meats like goat and lamb.

We support a local charity called RAIS Fundacion, which works with homeless people in the area to provide housing and training opportunities. Annually, we arrange activities every year with RAIS so that groups working with the charity can experience cycling and walking day trips with us.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

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