Basque Country

Our last night we ate at Le Surfing where we were delighted by the tuna tartare and sushi and ate pasta and chicken skewers while mesmerized by the surfers until sunset at 9:30...
— Honey N.
  • More about your Oliver Guide: Honey Nachman

  • Trip Type: Adults

  • Ideal Trip Length: 1 week

To & From

  • Fly to Bilbao through Paris-- allow for a longer layover in case of flight delays. 
  • Rent a car for Bilboa and San Sebastian but turn it in before Biarritz where parking is impossible and a car not necessary.
  • Take a car service from San Sebastian to Biarritz.

 

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Stay

 

Eat & Drink

  • In Bilbao (and the entire Basque region) you must have pintxos – the little bites to eat early before dinner as you grab a rosado (rose) or tinto (red wine) or beer.  

Bilbao

  • Café Bar Bilbao in Plaza Nueva Bilbao, El Globo, El Viejo Zortzi and Gure Toki were our favorites.
  • The entire Casco Viejo neighborhood has a bunch. It’s fun to stroll from one to the next trying the different options.  Most places, you get a plate and help yourself and they charge you by the toothpick -it's a bit intimidating when it is crowded and your Spanish is far from fluent. 

Saint-Jean-de-Luz

Biarritz

  • Walk through Halles de Biarritz--there are two good restaurants, Bar Jean and Cafe du Commerce--both great lunch or dinner spots.  
  • Le Clos Basque (has a Michelin star)--loved--very local but friendly, relaxed service.  The ceviche was one of the best things we have ever tasted.
  • Our last night we ate at Le Surfing where we were delighted by the tuna tartare and sushi and ate pasta and chicken skewers while mesmerized by the surfers until sunset at 930...

San Sebastian

  • Do a pinxto guided tour with San Sebastian Food located in the basement of the Hotel Maria Christina.   A wonderful independent operation and will create amazing picnics for you or you can book cooking classes there--do NOT miss out on this.
  • Extebarri  -- We each had the tasting menu and were there from 1-4pm. An incredible place and experience. You need a reservation, about an hour outside of San Sebastian.  

 

 

Do

  • Between San Sebastian and Bilbao there is a beautiful hike along the Coastal Flysch Route but very hard to find the starting point so we would recommend getting a guide. Look at THIS for more information.
  • Hike along the Camino de Santiago from San Sebastian to Pasajes de San Juan--3.5 hours long and absolutely gorgeous.  Again, it was a little hard to find the entrance but ask your concierge and then ask the locals when you get close--THIS link gives helpful details-- (scroll down for hiking information.)
  • Surfing lessons in Biarritz through Pukas Surf --very doable waves for beginners/intermediates.
  • Walk & Shop in Biarritz-- check out L'egoiste & 64

 

Inside Scoop

  • If you want more structure,  friends have done and recommended a similar trip through Backroads.