The uniquely cultured region of Spain is home to bright beaches and towering mountains, fascinating architecture and some of the world’s best restaurants.
Comprising the provinces of Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa and the more famous San Sebastian, this part of Spain sets itself apart from the rest of the country—locals call themselves Basque rather than Spanish, and they speak Euskara over the national language. Venturing through its cities, we admire the extraordinary feats of contemporary and avant-garde architecture, whilst the small towns are host to charming houses and cobblestone streets. From Bilbao, we visit the remarkable Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry and get a taste of the carefully curated cuisine. The region alone has almost 40 Michelin-starred restaurants—the most in the world after Kyoto, meaning dining experiences alone make for a formidable sojourn. From Bilbao, we drive to San Sebastian and wander along the sparkling beaches and through a city centre dotted with beautiful historic buildings. More eating beckons here, with dining options to suit every palate.
From San Sebastian, we take a scenic drive to wine country with La Rioja. The hillsides are oceans of vineyards, olive groves and rich pastures. Small vibrant towns pepper the province, along with old churches and ancient monasteries. Whether getting lost in the maze of medieval alleys or vineyard hopping to sample delectable wines, La Rioja has all the seductive romance of Spain.
We conclude our journey by heading to the capital. With its large expanse, we dive into the culture, heading to the museums, meeting with local artisans and, of course, sitting for drinks at tapas at any of the fantastic eateries at our disposal.
These are a selection of lodges that we feel combine well for this journey. However we do also have a range of options to consider in each region, and can tailor them to you preference.
The Gran Hotel Domine stands comfortably in the city centre, directly opposite Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Shopping, fantastic restaurants, and three delightful museums are just a short walk away. Have breakfasr on the roof terrace with magnificent views over the museum and the River Nervion. Room design is minimal, modern and inviting. The hotel also offers a Wellness Centre with fitness area, sauna and Turkish bath.
The restored Hotel Maria Cristina opened its doors in 1912 and has since been closely connected to the history and cultural life of San Sebastian. Experience warm hospitalit, with rooms decorated in sophisticated hues of greys and white, the rooms are a quiet sanctuary of modern amenities with familiar, classical style.
AKELARRE Pedro Subijana was born in 1970, tucked into the hillside on Mount Igueldo in San Sebastián. An architectural feat, rooms are modern, purist and elegant. Alongside is the three-Michelin-starred restaurant, where they have held that status for over 25 years.
Designed by the renowned Frank Gehry, this stunning 21st century chateau is a true masterpiece. Nested in "The City of Wine", the property is a feast for the senses with its unique architecture, dining overseen by Michelin-starred Chef Francis Paniego, and lush treatments at the Vinothérapie® SPA Caudalie Marqués de Riscal where you can soak up the benefits of the grape.
In the bustling centre of Madrid is where you'll find the unique Gran Hotel Inglés. Combining urban sophistication with the glamour of bygone times. the rooms are designed with relaxation in mind. The property is located in the capital's cultural, commercial and leisure epicentre, with modern-styled rooms and earth-toned hues.
Villa Magna is an elegant, distinguished hotel located in the heart of Madrid. With renowned museums, fantastic shopping, trendy restaurants and vibrant night life in close proximity, the hotel captures the vivacity of Spanish culture and the warmth of European hospitality-an ideal place from which we explore the capital.