Basque Cuisine in Bilbao from Pintxos to Txakoli

The Basque Country is synonymous with good food and a proud cultural heritage, and this is evident in the region’s largest city, Bilbao. From the medieval Old Quarter with its winding streets and gothic Cathedral, to the Abandoibarra Quarter, the famed former industrial corridor that has been transformed through urban restructuring into a vibrant avant-guard neighborhood boasting some of the world’s premier architecture, Bilbao will be yours to enjoy and explore. See such sights as Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, the Ibderdrola Tower, and the Calatrava Bridge, as well as the immense indoor Ribera market. Bilbao is just a short distance from some other amazing attractions, such as the town of Guernica (Gernika), especially dear to the Basques, the rocky island of Gaztelugatxe, and the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.

Spanish cuisine is world-famous, and the Basque Country offers some of the best. The Basque word for “tapas” is pintxos (“pinchos”), which you will explore both during a pintxos tour and a hands-on pintxos workshop, perhaps accompanied by some fine “Txakoli” (tcha-ko-lee), a Basque white wine.


Trip Details

You will participate in a pintxos workshop as well as a cooking lesson featuring traditional Basque cuisine. Your one-of-a-kind cooking courses will introduce you to the bold yet subtle flavors, colors, and compositions of Basque cuisine.


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Itinerary

Day One

Please note that depending on the dates booked the order of events may change. For example, the Guggenheim Museum is closed on Mondays, and most restaurants are closed on Sundays.
Pintxos on a cooking vacation in Spain

  • Arrival at Bilbao International Airport and transfer to your centrally-located hotel.
  • This evening, explore the Old Quarter with its “seven streets” and interesting architecture. The old medieval heart of the city, the Old Quarter features narrow pedestrians streets and lanes lined with Renaissance, Baroque, and Modernist buildings. Your guide will point out some of the most famous sites, such as the fourteenth-century gothic Cathedral of Santiago, the bridge and church of San Anton, and the arcaded Plaza Nueva.
  • This evening’s dinner will be an introduction to Basque cuisine at a new gastronomic restaurant.
  • Enjoy a short walk back to the hotel with your guide and overnight.

Gaztelugatxe, Spain


Day Two

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • After breakfast, depart for Guernica (Gernika), a town that is especially dear to the Basques. The town and its central oak tree were for centuries home to the political assembly in the region, but its most famous historical legacy is the 1937 bombing by German aircraft during the Spanish Civil, when Hitler’s planes sent to support Franco’s troops razed the city. The bombing inspired one of the greatest works of modern art, Picasso’s painting Guernica (which is housed in Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofia). During your visit to Guernica you will see the petrified remains of the symbolic oak tree that miraculously survived the bombing, as well as the Casa de Juntas, where the Basque parliament has met since 1979.
  • After Guernica, visit a winery located in the center of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, for a lesson on “Txakoli,” the famed Basque white wine that is slightly sparkling and very dry, produced only in a few Northern provinces of Spain. The guided tour will conclude with a light lunch and Txakoli tasting.
  • Continue the day with a guided tour along the coast. Urdaibai is one of the Biscay province’s most interesting destinations. Its sandy earth is a haven for many species of flora and fauna, and it is an important wintering spot for many marine birds during their migration from Europe to Africa. The development of forest reserves in the region for the purpose of environmental conservation have made Urdaibai one of the most diverse landscapes in northern Spain.
  • Your next stop will be at Gaztelugatxe, a small rocky island that is connected to the mainland by a causeway and that houses one of Spain’s most striking sites, an 11th-century chapel built to honor St. John. (Note that there are around 250 steps to reach San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.)
  • Stop in Getxo to see the Biscay Bridge, which was built to connect the two banks of the Nervión. It’s the oldest transporter bridge in the world and was built in 1893 by Alberto Palacio, a disciple of Eiffel. Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2006, it is one of the most revered constructions of the European Industrial Revolution and considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of the Nineteenth Century.
  • Transfer back to Bilbao for a special cooking class at a private “txoko,” “or a typical Basque gastronomic venue where locals come together to cook. Prepare traditional dishes of the region, then taste your creations with wine.
  • Enjoy a short walk back to the hotel with your guide and overnight.

Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao


Day Three

  • Breakfast.
  • Meet with your guide and you are off to see the city of Bilbao, which is the financial and industrial capital of the Basque Country. The city has been spectacularly transformed in the last decades, from factory and ports being renovated into renowned urban projects like the famed Guggenheim Museum, the Calatrava bridge, the Ibderdrola Tower, and the Isozaki Towers.
  • High above the city is the Archanda panoramic viewpoint. From here you can see the sheer size of Bilbao!
  • Next you are off to the famous Ribera Market, one of the largest markets in Europe with over 400 stands and almost 38,000 square feet. From its stained-glass entryway to its small catwalks over the river, the market is sure to enthrall. The farmer’s market is located on the top floor, full of bountiful produce, and the bottom floor houses some of the freshest fish in Spain, brought in on the morning’s boats.
  • After the market visit, it is off to cook! Enjoy a special Pintxos workshop, in which you will learn to replicate the sophisticated “tapas” snacks that line the bar tops in the Basque Country. From the simple “Gilda,” one of the city’s most traditional pintxos, to more elaborate avant-garde creations, the world of pintxos will be made fun and easy. And of course, you will enjoy your creations (with wine!).
  • After your class, enjoy a guided tour of the Abandoibarra quarter, a prime example of urban restructuring and vanguard architecture. You will see how an industrial city was transformed into a city famed for its culture and tourism, witnessing the urban evolution of Bilbao through a visit of the most relevant projects undertaken during the transformation, which are now some of the Spain’s leading urban landmarks.
  • Any tour of Bilbao’s modern architecture must include the city’s Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry and considered an architectural masterpiece. The massive titanium, glass, and stone-sculpted building houses nineteen galleries, which you will visit with an official guide.
  • Back to the hotel and time to freshen up for dinner.
  • This evening, your very special farewell dinner will be at a Michelin-star restaurant, where all of your senses will be engaged, and where each dish will invoke the season, the city, and the Basque Country. Return to your hotel by taxi (cost paid locally).
  • Overnight.

Tapas on a culinary vacation in Spain


Day Four

  • Breakfast and checkout.
  • Transfer to Bilbao International Airport.

Additional days/tours and hotel nights can be arranged for an extra cost. Options include: Rioja region: Visit the medieval city of Laguardia as well as three wineries; and/or San Sebastian excursion: Visit Mount Igeldo and San Sebastian (known as the Pearl of the Sea).


Trip Details

Included in the 3-Night Trip

Accommodations

3 nights accommodation in 4* hotel

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • Two lunches, drinks included
  • Three dinners, including one at a Michelin-star restaurant (drinks included)

Classes & Instructors

You will participate in a pintxos workshop as well as a cooking lesson featuring traditional Basque cuisine. Your one-of-a-kind cooking courses will introduce you to the bold yet subtle flavors, colors, and compositions of Basque cuisine.

Excursions

  • Tour of Bilbao’s Old Quarter
  • Excursion to Guernica
  • Txakoli winery visit and tasting
  • Visit of Urdaibai estuary and Gaztelugatxe
  • Visit of the Ribera Market
  • Tour of the Abandoibarra quarter and the Guggenheim Musuem
  • Stop at the Biscay Bridge

Transfer Details

  • Arrival and departure transfers from/to Bilbao International Airport

Miscellaneous

  • Entrance tickets to Guggenheim museum and Bizkaian Bridge

Not Included

  • Taxi transfer back to hotel after Michelin-Star dinner on Day 3.

Accommodation Information

Abando

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Nervion

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Pricing & Tour Dates

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Pricing:

3-night Program
US$2750 per person based on double occupancy

    30% deposit due to confirm booking.
    Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

    Single occupancy supplement, please inquire.

    Please inquire for special pricing for groups of 4 or more.

    Note that during convention and holiday periods the rates and availability are subject to change. Please inquire for details.


    Tour Dates

    Available any dates for a minimum of 2 people. Sample dates follow, other start days also possible, please inquire.

    2019
    December 15-18
    December 18-21
    December 22-25
    December 25-28
    December 29-January 1

    2020
    January 5-8
    January 8-11
    January 12-15
    January 15-18
    January 19-22
    January 22-25
    January 26-29
    January 29-February 1
    February 2-5
    February 5-8
    February 9-12
    February 12-15
    February 16-19
    February 19-22
    February 23-26
    February 26-29
    March 1-4
    March 4-7
    March 8-11
    March 11-14
    March 15-18
    March 18-21
    March 22-25
    March 25-28
    March 29-April 1
    April 1-4
    April 5-8
    April 8-11
    April 12-15
    April 15-18
    April 19-22
    April 22-25
    April 26-29
    April 29-May 2
    May 3-6
    May 6-9
    May 10-13
    May 13-16
    May 17-20
    May 20-23
    May 24-27
    May 27-30
    May 31-June 3
    June 3-6
    June 7-10
    June 10-13
    June 14-17
    June 17-20
    June 21-24
    June 24-27
    June 28-July 1
    July 1-4
    July 5-8
    July 8-11
    July 12-15
    July 15-18
    July 19-22
    July 22-25
    July 26-29
    July 29-August 1
    August 2-5
    August 5-8
    August 9-12
    August 12-15
    August 16-19
    August 19-22
    August 23-26
    August 26-29
    August 30-September 2
    September 2-5
    September 6-9
    September 9-12
    September 13-16
    September 16-19
    September 20-23
    September 23-26
    September 27-30
    September 30-October 3
    October 4-7
    October 7-10
    October 11-14
    October 14-17
    October 18-21
    October 21-24
    October 25-28
    October 28-31
    November 1-4
    November 4-7
    November 8-11
    November 11-14
    November 15-18
    November 18-21
    November 22-25
    November 25-28
    November 29-December 2
    December 2-5
    December 6-9
    December 9-12
    December 13-16
    December 16-19
    December 20-23

    Pricing & Dates

    Class Pricing

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