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San Sebastian

Northern Spain

Basque vibrancy & quiet delights

Visit Northern Spain

Introduction

Northern Spain is a world away from the country's crowded southern coasts. There is a multitude to see and do – from discovering hidden tapas bars and local fiestas, to the walking trails of the Picos de Europa mountains and one of Spain's most outstanding museums – the Guggenheim in Bilbao. That's without evening mentioning the miles of beautiful coastline of its own, dotted with historic towns alive with Basque culture.

Most introductions are made in Bilbao, northern Spain's largest city and a cultural heavyweight. It's best known for the architectural masterpiece that is the Guggenheim Museum, but it's home to a number of other intriguing landmarks and an artsy scene to match. To the east lies San Sebastián, the Basque Country's most popular beach resort – a delightful city overlooking a beautiful bay. It hosts an international film festival each year and is widely regarded as Northern Spain's gourmet capital, full of atmospheric tapas bars and surrounded by green hills dotted with cider farms.

The Fiesta de San Fermín in Pamplona is one of the most famous local events, best known for the "Running of the Bulls". Another festival of note is the Batalla de Vina – the Battle of Wine – that takes place, appropriately enough, in the celebrated La Rioja and Navarra wine regions. Here, world-class Spanish red wines can be enjoyed on guided wine tours year round. However, even if you're not imbibing, the rural scenery and centuries-old towns are simply gorgeous.

Special offers in Northern Spain

Salamanca Wine Experience‬‬ at Hacienda Zorita

6-day tailor-made break staying at Hacienda Zorita from £565 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

SUMMER SALE

Stay 5 nights, pay 4 plus 15% discount on Spa treatments – Save up to £85 pp
Book by: 31 July 2019

Staying in a 14th-century country manor among the vineyards of the Duero Valley, you'll enjoy sommelier-led tastings, spa treatments and the chance to explore Salamanca’s heritage charm.

The Gastronomy of Galicia

9-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,070 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

SUMMER SALE

1 Free night accommodation in A Coruna – Save up to £110 pp
Book by: 31 May 2019

Uncover the rich past and gourmet delights of Spain’s northwest with everything from winery tastings and seafood dinners to tapas-tavern indulgences hidden among medieval laneways. It's all linked by gorgeous drives and half-board stays in historic paradors.

Top itineraries in Northern Spain

Salamanca Wine Experience‬‬ at Hacienda Zorita

6-day tailor-made break staying at Hacienda Zorita from £565 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

SUMMER SALE

Stay 5 nights, pay 4 plus 15% discount on Spa treatments – Save up to £85 pp
Book by: 31 July 2019

Staying in a 14th-century country manor among the vineyards of the Duero Valley, you'll enjoy sommelier-led tastings, spa treatments and the chance to explore Salamanca’s heritage charm.

Spain’s Paradors

Tailor-made self-drive routes from £370 pp incl. flights

Spain's paradors are a network of historic palaces, fortresses and castles converted to luxury hotels. Take a look at our favourite parador itineraries or get in contact to tailor-make your own, with plenty of superb-value offers available.

Rioja & Navarra Wine Route

5-day tailor-made self-drive from £570 pp incl. flights

Taste your way through two of Spain's finest wine regions as you explore the quieter, rural charm of the country's north on super-scenic drives and stays in historic accommodation.

Highlights of the Basque Country

8-day tailor-made self-drive from £790 pp incl. flights

Explore everything from postcard-perfect coastlines to medieval cities and tempting vineyards of, all the while staying in Renaissance palaces, seaside villas and thousand-year-old castles. This is northern Spain at its best.

See all itinerary ideas

Top places to stay in Northern Spain

Gran Hotel Domine, Bilbao

Contemporary hotel

Having opened in 2002, the Gran Hotel Domine exhibits all the designer considerations of its famous neighbour – the Guggenheim Museum.

Hotel Saiaz, Getaria

Traditional hotel

Escape to the Basque coast with this pretty medieval town and its 15th century stone tower – the Hotel Saiaz. Here, sweeping sea views are complemented by a charm both historic and contemporary.

Casa de Los Arquillos, Vitoria-Gasteiz

Traditional hotel

Housed in stone walls that back to the early 1800s, this is contemporary freshness among heritage charm. It’s ideal for longer stays, too, with apartment-sized rooms featuring full kitchens.

El Transcantábrico Gran Lujo, Northern Spain

Luxury train

Across its original 1923 Pullman carriages, the Gran Lujo hosts gourmet dinners, cocktail evenings and splendid private suites, realised in polished woods and brass fittings.

See all places to stay

Where to go in Northern Spain

San Sebastian

San Sebastián is an attractive city on the northern coast of ‘El País Vasco' - the Basque Country - with a glorious natural setting on the curving beach of La Concha (‘the shell'), with the Bay of Biscay beyond. Its stunning sandy beaches have made San Sebastián the Basque region's most popular sea…

Pamplona

Pamplona is the capital of Navarra, situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees. An ancient city with a vivacious appetite for its traditions, it's among Pamplona's cobbled streets that one of Spain's best-known festivals takes place - the Fiesta de San Fermín, a colourful and heady occasion focussed…

Bilbao

Bilbao is a sprawling city with a strong Basque identity and rich heritage, which has rapidly transformed from a rather unattractive centre of industry into a buzzing cultural capital bursting with civic pride. Further back, Bilbao was originally a small medieval fishing village on the Rio Nervión.

La Rioja & Navarra

La Rioja and Navarra are neighbouring regions in Northern Spain. Both are noted for their winemaking, although La Rioja is better known internationally, amid landscapes of gorgeous rural countryside dotted with old stone towns and villages.

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When to go to Northern Spain

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Northern Spain articles

  • The best things to do in A Coruña

    From still-operating Roman lighthouses and Picasso masterworks to delicious seafood and ultra-modern funiculars, discover the secret gems of northern Spain's A Coruña.

  • Top 10 driving holidays in Spain & Portugal

    From wild coastlines and beach curves to mountain peaks and rolling countryside, the charms of the Iberian Peninsula are seemingly endless. To help point you in the right direction our destination experts have put together the following self-drive routes that showcase the best of it all.

  • The best places to visit in northern Spain

    It's easy to love Spain's sunny beaches and stylish cities, but the north of the country has a charm that's a little bit rustic, a little bit traditional, and full to bursting with personality and gorgeous holiday experiences.

  • Europe's Best Coastal Holidays for 2016

    Europe's many seas means there are a huge number of quality beaches to enjoy. Different countries, cultures, foods and landscapes vie for your attention so it's easy to pick a great spot. Here is our list of the best places to lay down your towel.

See all articles

Meet our Northern Spain experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7664 2264

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7664 2264 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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