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San Sebastián

Highlights of the Basque Country - No-fly self-drive

10-day no-fly self-drive from £1,610 pp


Short description

Discover the secrets of Basque Country – from stunning coastlines to medieval cities


  • Relax on the broad sand beaches of San Sebastián
  • Explore the Gallic delights of Hondarribia and the charms of Argómaniz
  • Stay in historic paradors and luxury hotels
  • Visit world-class wineries in the heart of Basque Country
  • See the world-famous Guggenheim Museum

In Brief

  • 1 Night Brittany Ferries
  • 2 Nights San Sebastián
  • 1 Night Hondarribia
  • 2 Nights Argómaniz
  • 2 Nights Bilbao


Recommended for:
Beach | Food & wine | History & culture | No-fly | Self-drive

This self-drive itinerary is bookended by overnight ferry transfers from the UK, so you can skip the airport queues. You'll explore Basque Country's pretty seaside towns, ancient fortifications and rolling vineyards, as you head inland from San Sebastián and back again. Discover the charms of Hondarribia and the world-class wineries of the interior, finishing with a stay opposite the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Along the way, you'll stay in historic paradors and luxury hotels, and taste authentic Spanish food and wine, as you uncover the secrets of northern Spain's treasured heartlands.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
UK to Bilbao

Avoid the airport queues and reduce your carbon footprint with an overnight ferry crossing from the UK to Bilbao. Relax in the comfort of your Premier Outside 2-berth Finistere Club cabin with ensuite facilities as you cross the Channel and the Bay of Biscay en route to Spain.

Stay: Brittany Ferries

Day 2
Bilbao/San Sebastián

Today you'll arrive in to Bilbao, collect your hire car and head off along the scenic coastal road to San Sebastián. Pause along the way at Gernika and learn about its tragic Civil War past and its links to Picasso's work, or enjoy a light lunch in an intimate cafe in Leiketio, known for its picture-perfect beaches. Once in San Sebastián, you'll check into your villa accommodation. Set amongst a collection of stately buildings and perfectly manicured grounds, this 19th century boutique property is ideally located within a few minutes' walk of some of the city's highlights.

Stay: Hotel Villa Soro (Superior)

Day 3
San Sebastián

Today, you're free to explore San Sebastián at your leisure. This former European Capital for Culture winner has plenty to offer, from its grand Belle Époque buildings to its broad golden sand beach – Playa de la Concha. Formerly a summer retreat for the Spanish royal family, it's now a lively family-friendly resort town, famous for its calamari and chorizo – three of Spain's seven three-star Michelin restaurants can be found here. Have a drink and some tapas in one of many pintxo bars and take a wander through the Parte Vieja old town, before returning to your hotel for a well-earned night's rest.

Stay: Hotel Villa Soro (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 4

This morning, you'll have more time to explore San Sebastián. Tour some of the local art galleries or perhaps try surfing at Zurriola beach, before you continue along the coast to Hondarribia. There's a distinct Gallic influence here, from the colourful fisherman's houses on the water to the picturesque plazas in the charming old town. You'll stay in a historic parador – a hilltop fortress dating back to the 10th century – with views across the city and the Bidasoa estuary.

Stay: Parador Hondarribia (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 5

Today you'll head inland towards Argómaniz, stopping along the way to visit Tolosa, a historic market town that perfectly showcases Basque Country culture. Situated on the banks of the River Oria – an important trading route – the town's medieval centre is a maze of narrow streets, Gothic architecture and little squares. The Santa María Church is a highlight, its 13th century frontage giving way to an elegant, neoclassical interior. This afternoon, you'll check into another parador, this one a Renaissance palace with views across the Álava Plain and the Sierra de Gorbea Mountains.

Stay: Parador Argómaniz (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 6
Vitoria-Gasteiz and Laguardia Wine Region

Today you have plenty of time to explore the heart of Basque Country, starting with Vitoria, its quiet capital. You'll find local tapas bars and hidden art galleries as well as Napoleonic battlefields that now offer walking and cycling trails past lakes and herds of deer. There are six parks around the city that, as part of a green belt project, offer a continual green space for pedestrians and cyclists to escape to. Alternatively, drive south to Laguardia, a 10th century walled city surrounded by lush vineyards. A guided tour is perhaps the best way to get to know its charms.

Stay: Parador Argómaniz (Superior)

Meals: B

Days 7-8

Today, you'll drive back to Bilbao, stopping in at Amurrio to visit the oldest producer of txakoli wine – the Txakolineria. A Basque Country favourite, it's light, dry, and sparkling – best paired with fresh seafood. On arrival in Bilbao, you'll check into your luxury hotel, opposite the world-famous Guggenheim Museum. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city, perhaps wandering through the network of laneways in the old town. Tomorrow, you have a full day in the city – with plenty of time to enjoy some authentic paella or some more Spanish wine in one of the many restaurants and bars dotted among its colourful centre.

Stay: Hotel Miro, Bilbao (Superior)

Meals: B

Days 9-10
Bilbao to UK

Today, you'll return your hire car and board your overnight ferry home, arriving back in Portsmouth the following day.

Meals: B



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior

10-day no-fly self-drive
from £1,610 pp


Apr / Nov

from £1,610 pp.

May - Oct

from £2,280 pp.

Package includes:

  • Portsmouth to Bilbao return foot passenger ferry crossing with Brittany Ferries
  • Overnight ferry cabin accommodation - Premier Outside 2 berth Finistere Club cabin with TV, and ensuite facilities
  • 7 nights B&B accommodation
  • 8 days car hire

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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