23 October 2016
When choosing Spain for a holiday most people head off to the sunshine beaches of the Costas in the south of the country, visit the big cities like the capital Madrid and Barcelona, or go exploring around Andalucia. But nearer to home, in the north of the country, you will also find wonderful cities, great seaside resorts and fabulous scenery which makes this fly drive trip, which begins and ends in Bilbao, a real must.
Welcome to the capital of the Basque Country. After your short flight you will pick up your hire car at the airport then drive into the city and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to go out and explore. If you have time it may well be worth visiting the amazing Guggenheim Museum today, which is a symbol of Bilbao. Designed by the American architect Frank O. Gehry, this avant-garde building, a work of art in itself, displays modern and contemporary works.
After a buffet breakfast in your hotel this morning you set off on a private tour with a local guide seeing all the sights. Great architectural and infrastructure projects have been the driving force of the urban and economic regeneration of the city, and you will see the Euskalduna Conference and Music Centre, Norman Foster’s Underground, Calatrava’s airport, the towers designed by the architects Arata Isozaki and César Pelli and, of course, have another visit to the Guggenheim Museum.
Today you say farewell to one great city and travel to another. After breakfast in your hotel, drive along the beautiful rugged coast road passing sandy beaches and fishing villages where you can stop for lunch or a coffee and admire the views. On arrival in the elegant city of San Sebastian, you can check into your hotel before taking an evening stroll along the magnificent seafront area seeing all the beautiful old hotels and the wonderful architecture.
A full day to enjoy the delights of this stylish seaside city. After a buffet breakfast in your hotel you are taken on a private tour of San Sebastian where you will visit its most interesting areas, avenues, Paseo de la Concha, and take a trip to the top of Mount Igueldo. Then you have plenty of free time to enjoy the lovely Bay and its magnificent views and go for a swim or surf. San Sabastian is famous as the Tapas capital of Spain, and in the evening you are taken to visit some of the bars in the old town to try the local dishes.
Another lovely drive today when you leave San Sabastian after breakfast and head for La Rioja. Check into your hotel then spend the rest of the day and evening exploring this new area. Tomorrow you will get the full on Rioja wine experience, but if you can't wait you could pop into one of the wineries for a tasting. La Rioja has some of the best red wines produced in the country and it goes well with the region's ochre earth and vast blue skies.
After a buffet breakfast in your hotel, today you will live the world of wine. Visit a traditional winery where you will be shown the age old ways that the wine is made in this area as well as the cemetery of wines, which has been guarded for years and is waiting to be opened. After the guided tour you have a special tasting session. Next stop is a modern winery where you see the contemporary techniques in a unique building constructed by the famous Santiago Calatrava.
The diverse Rioja region offers more than just the pleasures of the grape and today, on the way back to the north of Spain, you pass through lively towns and see quiet pilgrim churches. The first stops today is to visit the new landmark, a member of the Luxury Collection Marques de Riscal winery, designed by renowned architecht Frank O. Gehry. Wine tasting will follow your visit then check into your hotel and try dinner at one of the local restaurants.
The last day of your Northern Spain driving tour today, so make the most of it. After an early breakfast at your hotel enjoy the drive north back to Bilbao. Stop at interesting places on the route and then you may have some more time to explore other areas of the city before dropping off your hire car at the airport ready to catch your flight home. This trip is ideal for anyone wanting to discover a different Spain away from the usual tourist traps.
Standard 3* Accommodation fr £1008pp
Standard 4* Accommodation fr £1128pp
Standard 5* Accommodation fr £1325pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated