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The Basque region of Spain is a picturesque mix of beautiful beaches, verdant agriculture, sophisticated cities, and small towns. Perhaps above all, the Basque region in northern Spain is known as a true foodie and wine lovers delight. Rumored to employ more chefs per capita than any other part of the world, the Basque region is full of culinary delights. Explore the outstanding cuisine and internationally famous red and white wines on a wine tour in La Rioja. Leisurely encounter the history, culture, food, and wine scene of gorgeous surrounding areas.
The Hotel Agustinos, in Haro, dates back to 1373 when Don Diego Lopez de Haro built the licensed convent. Since then, its incarnations have included a military garrison, hospital, prison, and a school. Completely renovated in 2006, the hotel features a magnificent cloister which is covered in glass and wonderful accommodations. You will spend the first and second night in this hotel.
Located in the center of the town of Haro, next to the Breton theatre and 300 meters from the Winery Quarter and the Winemaking Research Station, the Hotel Los Agustinos is the perfect accommodation to enjoy tourist visits to the most iconic wineries in La Rioja. In the evening, the magnificent cloister of the Hotel Los Agustinos is the ideal place to enjoy a drink or a good book.
Double room.The hotel has 54 well-appointed double rooms, featuring a country-style dcor. The double room is equipped as follows: heating, air conditioning, safe deposit box, phone, hair dryer, amenities, mini bar (chargeable), and free Wi-Fi.
Junior suite.In addition to its spaciousness, this room also has an adjoining lounge. Luxury is evident in every detail: amenities, lounge, and king-size bed.
Single occupation room.The hotel has six functional, extremely comfortable double rooms for single occupancy. These rooms, just like the double rooms, include the following features: heating, air conditioning, safe deposit box, phone, hair dryer, amenities, mini bar (chargeable), and free Wi-Fi.
Suite.This is the most spacious and generous accommodation. Exquisitely decorated in the finest luxury to create a welcoming, and comfortable atmosphere. Including all the services and amenities to pamper guests and ensure that all their demands are met, whilst guests can also enjoy amenities, Jacuzzi bath, and lounge.
Triple room.Its triple rooms are noted for their spaciousness, ideal for families with children. The equipment quality and functionality is in line with that of the double rooms: heating, air conditioning, safe deposit box, phone, hair dryer, amenities, mini bar (chargeable), and free Wi-Fi.
The Hotel Saiaz, in Getaria, is converted from Gothic houses in the historic center and located on a narrow street of cobblestone. The hotel sits over the ocean and is minutes away from a wonderful beach - perfect for a swim before breakfast or dinner. The owner, Mikel, and his staff take excellent care of you. You will spend the third, fourth, and the fifth night in this hotel.
There are seventeen rooms, all with free Wi-Fi, minibar, safe, and television. Seven of them are located in the Gothic tower side, and one of them is fully equipped for disabled guests. Six of the sea side rooms have big windows with panoramic views. The superior double rooms (numbers 25 and 36) and junior suites (numbers 26 and 35), offer guests spacious rooms that can be suited for families. The gothic tower that rises between Gaztetape beach and the old town of Getaria since 15th century, is now the Saiaz Getaria hotel.
Among its thick stone walls you will find fireplaces, carefully collected antiques, with the comfort of a contemporary hotel. Its privileged location offers unique sea views from its living room, the cafeteria, the terrace, and its sea side rooms. You will be able to relax with the sound of the waves and will have breakfast watching the horizon of the Bay of Biscay. This is a quiet spot in the historic center of one of the oldest towns of the Basque coast.
Your guides will meet you in the heart of Bilbao, Spain, after lunch. If you arrive the day before, you will have time to visit the Guggenheim Museum and wander the winding streets of the historic center of this modern Basque city. You will depart for the bay of Biscay and a farm near the coastal town of Zarautz to sample Ramons artisan cheeses made from sheep milk.
Not surprisingly, his cheeses taste alarmingly good with Txakoli, a crisp white Basque wine with a slight sparkling quality. Your will then visit a nearby vineyard and speak with the grape growers about their harvest (and, of course, sampling the fruits of their labors) before heading to your final destination for the day: the small fishing village of Getaria on the coast. Your hotel rooms face the rolling waves of the sea - a reminder that the Basques are master fishermen. Tonights dinner includes the wonderful, famous Basque grilled fish.
If you wish, you can get a little exercise this morning by walking to the mouse - a small islet in the harbor connected to Getaria via a causeway. After breakfast, you will cross the nearby border into France and visit the major fishing port and beach resort town of Saint Jean de Luz - less than an hour away. There, you will sample wonderful chocolates, breads, macaroons, and other epicurean delicacies.
After, stroll along the crashing waves of the waterfront to pick out the perfect restaurant to enjoy a lunch of seafood that has recently been plucked from the sea with the mighty Pyrenees mountains as a backdrop. Then its on to San Sebastian, where your host will lead you on an historical walking tour through the narrow, winding streets of old town. You will then join the Spaniards in one of their most famous customs: a fun pinxtos (tapas) crawl of tapas bars in the city - a great way to try many of the local specialties.
Today you will leave the coast and travel south. It is time to go to La Rioja, the most respected wine growing region of Spain, and Haro, its wine capital. Haro is an ancient and beautiful town set on a hill above the Ebro river and is your base for exploring Rioja. You will begin your wine exploration with a tour and an outstanding wine-paired lunch at the esteemed Bodegas Muga, where you will enjoy special crianza and reserva wines with your meal.
You can partake in a siesta this afternoon or explore the town a bit on your own, after checking into your four-star hotel - a beautifully converted convent. Tonight you will embark on a culinary adventure: a chef-led cooking class of traditional dishes such as roast lamb, Bacalao a la Riojana (cod with peppers and tomatoes, white asparagus, tortilla espana (potato and onion omelet), or pimientos de padrn (small, bright green peppers that are fried and sprinkled with coarse salt).
Todays theme is classic Rioja wines. You will start out with a short walk to the prestigious Bodegas Lpez de Heredia Via Tondonia - or simply Via Tondonia, a 137-year-old winery that offers one of the best tours and tastings to experience, as well as a funky, decanter-shaped tasting room. Afterwards, you will shuttle to the nearby small town of Laguardia, a walled village that hasnt changed much since the thirteenth century. Bodegas Carlos San Pedro offers a barrel tasting in the underground caves below the city, as well as a taste of their locally-produced olive oil.
Laguardia is well-known for its love of food, so take your pick of any number of yummy places for lunch. In the afternoon, you will head to the town of Elciego and Marques de Riscal winery - world famous for its architecture and hospitality. The incredible main building was designed by Frank Gehry and is intended to mimic the vines in the surrounding vineyards. You will eat dinner in one of the two restaurants of the winery, both overseen by famous local chef Francis Paniego, and considered a must-stop destination for high-end food experiences in the region.
In contrast to yesterdays classic wines, todays theme is avant-garde. Behold a new tradition of Spanish winemaking. Enjoy a relaxing breakfast in the atrium of your hotel before departing for your intimate private tasting at Via Real, whose parent CVNE is legendary and whose architecturally innovative structure is shaped like a giant wine vat set into the hillside. After filling your head with as much wine knowledge as you can muster, you will visit Bodegas Baigorri - an award-winning winery in the town of Samaniego at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria.
The structure appears to be a glass box perfectly integrated into its surroundings and you will enjoy a spectacular view during your five-course wine pairing lunch. Afterwards, you can opt to visit the fascinating Dinastia Vivanco wine museum or enjoy some down time in Haro. You will celebrate with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant, Atamauri, just a few minutes walk from your hotel.
No wine trip to Spain would be complete without a taste of cava - Spains sparkling wine. After breakfast, you will walk to nearby Bodegas Bilbainas, which produces cava (which is not customarily made in Rioja). Similar to champagne, cava is also produced in varying levels from very dry to sweet and you will be able to sample multiple types to taste those variations. After checking out of your hotel and having lunch on your own, you will continue your journey by completing your loop back to Bilbao, where you will bid one another farewell and either travel onward, or depart for home.
This wine and food holiday will take place in the Basque Country and La Rioja regions, Spain.
During this holiday you will have incredibly delicious dinners, a few lunches, and breakfasts. You will also have the opportunity to taste traditional food, from unique cheeses to tempting tapas, including a sweet taste of local candies.
Please book your flight to arrive at Bilbao Airport (BIO).