Day 1: Arrival
In Bilbao, the hotel awaits you. At 5:15pm we will meet in the lobby for a tour through the world-famous Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art. The evening is at your disposal.
Overnight in Bilbao
Day 2: Bilbao – Argomaniz (20 miles/32 km)
We start our cycle tour along the river Nervion through the slowly awakening city of Bilbao in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean. Mainly on cycle paths and quiet byroads, we witness the decline of the former industrial city as well as the emerging modern metropolis of Bilbao. In Portugalete the world's oldest transporter bridge takes us across the river Nervion. Since 2006 the Puente Bizkaia belongs to the the UNESCO world heritage. After lunch in the lively seaside resort Getxo with its elegant villas, a minibus takes us to the Embalse de Ullibarri, an artificial lake near Vitoria Gasteiz. On small paths near the lake we circumvent the rather unattractive capital of the Basque Country. In the late afternoon we reach the Parador, where an exquisite dinner awaits us.
Overnight in Argomaniz
Day 3: Argomaniz – Estella (29 miles/46 km)
In the morning a bus takes us in 30 minutes to the Sierra de Urbasa. On this deserted high plateau, barren grassland alternates with lush beech groves. Flocks of sheep, griffon vultures and grazing horses accompany our bike tour. After a descent with panoramic views on the bizarre rocky scenery of the Sierra de Santiago de Loquiz, and past pictorial villages, our route leads to Estella. On our round trip we see Romanesque churches like San Sepulcro with its impressive tympanum and the palace of the dukes of Granada de Ega. Dinner will be served at a highly praised restaurant.
Overnight in Estella
Day 4: Estella – Olite (29 miles/46 km)
Our day starts with a short bus ride to a Mirador, where we can admire the vast openness of Navarre. We start with a pleasurable descent through the beautiful Sierra del Pérdon to Puente de la Reina, where the French Camino de Santiago joins the Spanish. In Calle Mayor we discover architectural jewels such as the churches Santiago as well as richly decorated residences, silent witnesses of a long tradition of pilgrimage.
By noon we arrive in Artajona, towered by a legendary fortress of the 11th century. After a longer ascent we reach the wine growing area of Tudela, production site of the famous Rosados de Navarre. Along lonely trails we reach the former royal city Olite in the late afternoon. Our eventful day ends with dinner in a stylish ambience.
Overnight in Olite
Day 5: Olite – Vera de Bidasoa (36 miles/59 km)
Weather permitting, a minibus takes us in about 90 minutes to the summit of Mount Artxueta in the Aralar range. A splendid view opens up over the mountain range of Urbasa.
After a comfortable cycling leg mostly downhill, the bus takes us uphill again to another pass. Then our bikes roll almost 19 miles downhill into the most characteristic Basque region of our tour. In the pristine valley of Rio Ezkurra with its sleepy villages and magnificent views into the wildly romantic landscape, the specific culture of the Basque Country becomes evident. On our last miles we follow the former railroad track to Vera de Bidasoa where we are welcomed at the hotel. An excellent Basque dinner awaits us.
Overnight in Vera de Bidasoa
Day 6: Vera de Bidasoa – St. Jean de Luz (15 miles/25 km)
Today, a morning climb will be rewarded with a magnificent view and an impressive downhill into the French part of the Basque Country, to the village of Sare. Every single white house has its own name and a red or green wooden beam, decorated with dried peppers and flowers.
In the early afternoon, we reach St. Jean de Luz on quiet paths. For many Frenchmen, the former fishing village is the most beautiful bathing resort of southwestern France. The promenade invites for a stroll and attractive shops in the small pedestrian area offer typical Basque specialities and craftwork. We are welcomed at the charming accommodations. For another exquisite dinner we will meet at a small fish restaurant.
Overnight in St. Jean de Luz
Day 7: St. Jean de Luz – San Sebastian (21 miles/34 km)
We leave St. Jean de Luz cycling along rolling hills in the direction of Hendaye, the old French border town. A ferry takes us across the Bidasoa to Hondarribia thus returning to the Spanish País Vasco. From Mount Jaizkibel (1630 ft) in the extreme west of the Pyrenees, a long downhill with wonderful panoramic views of the Gulf of Biscaya and the evergreen back-country leads us to the picturesque port of Pasaia. We cross the natural harbor on a small boat and as weather permitting, hike up Monte Ulia along quiet paths to reach the peak with breathtaking views over the city and the famous Conca Bay.
After a short descent we cycle through the most interesting parts of San Sebastian. We will celebrate our typical Basque farewell dinner in an excellent restaurant in the bustling old town center.
Overnight in San Sebastian
Day 8: Departure
After breakfast we go on a guided city tour through beautiful San Sebastian. Our trip ends around 11 a.m. Hourly shuttle busses take you from San Sebastian to the airport of Bilbao (ticket included in the tour price). Please do not book your flight with a departure time earlier than 3 p.m. as otherwise the morning program has to be shortened.