When planning a trip, one of the first decisions is to choose between a rural destination in a natural area full of mountains or travel to a place where you can enjoy its endless beaches. But why choose one or the other?
The Basque Route is a proposal that breaks all the schemes, since its 8 stages it offers the opportunity to discover the Basque Country in its entirety: its cities, its nature, its culture, and of course, its spectacular gastronomy.
Each route shows a different facet of our land. You decide which and how many you want to do, you just have to take the guide, your car or motorcycle and… start this new adventure! You set your times.
We leave you a proposal of what to do and see in each one of the routes, showing you the most spectacular places of each stage and focusing, above all, on our gastronomic culture.
Stage 1. Bilbao – Lekeitio
At this stage, you will leave from the great Bilbao, where you cannot miss the opportunity to taste a breakfast consisting of the typical sweets of the city: the butter bun, the rice cake, the Carolina… And once the batteries are charged, you will visit the Mercado de la Ribera, the largest covered market in the world, where besides being able to buy top quality products, gastronomic workshops and cooking classes are taught.
The first stop will be in Getxo, composed of 5 towns (Andra Mari, Algorta, Las Arenas, Neguri and Romo), and known for its beaches, cliffs, and the beautiful Bahía del Abra You can enjoy a nice walk along these 10 kilometres of coastline. One of the highlights is the Old Port of Algorta, where you can enjoy the best pintxos in front of the sea, take the opportunity to eat!
From one coastal town to another, the next station will be Bakio, a town that stands out for its beaches, coves, and palaces, but, above all, for being so close to one of our treasures: San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. We suggest you visit the Txakoli Museum – Txakolingunea, where you can taste this wine so characteristic of Euskadi and learn about its peculiarities.
To end this stage, you will arrive in Lekeitio, a beautiful fishing village where a lighthouse, an island, and its beach will leave you speechless. We recommend you have dinner at its cosy port full of restaurants and finish the day with grilled fish!
Stage 2. Lekeitio – Zarautz
This second route starts in Lekeitio, where you can have breakfast in the port overlooking the sea, and if you go during the week, you will see how they unload fresh fish and put it on sale in a small stand in front of the Prim grill or in front of the fish market.
From Lekeitio you will set off for Ondarroa, a coastal town with an emblematic old quarter full of medieval streets with a seafaring flavour. Here you can enjoy a simulation of buying and selling fish in the new fishermen’s guild run by Kresaltartin Turismo Neskatillak, where they will explain how they carried out this arduous job.
Next, you will leave Bizkaia to discover the sweetest part of Gipuzkoa, stopping in Azpeitia to tasteIgnacios, a dessert made with almonds, puff pastry and cream that will captivate you. The next stop will be in Zumaia, where as well as visiting the flysch paradise, the Geopark, you can take a gastronomic guided tour. And if you go in September, take note, because on the 19th Octopus Day is celebrated on Itzurun beach, where part of the seriesGame of Thrones was filmed.
Then, you should discover the town of Getaria, another charming fishing village in the province of Gipuzkoa. Once there, we recommend a stroll around the port and recover your energy in one of its restaurants. Afterwards, we recommend a visit to Gaintza, a txakoli winery where you can take part in tastings and guided tours.
You will finish this second stage in Zarautz, where, once you have walked along its beautiful boardwalk, you will enter its usual atmosphere to taste its most delicious pintxos.
Stage 3. Zarautz – San Sebastián
Once you have had breakfast and a leisurely stroll around Zarautz, take the car or motorbike and drive to Orio. At this stage, you will learn how to cook grilled sea bream, Orio style! And best of all, you will be able to taste it. If it is Friday, you’ll do it at the Xixario Restaurant or Orioko Barra…
The next stop is Hondarribia, where you will be fascinated by the old town and the lively neighbourhood of La Marina. Take a nice stroll before heading off to the next destination!
Set off for Pasaia, a town with a seafaring tradition and an extensive cultural heritage. Here you will visit the Albaola factory, where you can learn about the origins and tradition of the arrantzale and the history of the whalers who travelled overseas. You will also be able to see first-hand how a 16th-century ship was built.
On your way to San Sebastian, you will stop off in this city of cinema. We recommend a long stroll along its beaches and enjoying some pintxos in its lively old town.
You will then set off for Astigarraga, the birthplace of cider. We recommend a walk to get to know the town and have lunch in one of its famous cider houses. Once your belly is full, what better than shopping? Stop off in Tolosa and take a stroll around its traditional market where you can take guided tours and, if it’s Saturday, buy typical local products. However, you can’t leave Tolosa without first buying its most famous sweets: cigarettes and tiles.
Leave Idiazabal behind and head for Vitoria-Gasteiz. Take a nice walk around its marvellous streets full of history and murals and enjoy a good selection of pintxos to end the day.
Stage 5. Vitoria-Gasteiz – Laguardia
In the morning, have breakfast in the gastro bars of the Plaza de Abastos in Vitoria-Gasteiz and enjoy the daily hustle and bustle of this modern market.
The next stop will be in Salvatierra/Agurain, surrounded by forests of impressive beech trees and with an old town of artistic interest. In this municipality, you will have the opportunity to learn first-hand how craft beer is brewed by visiting Olbea Pilsner.
Before leaving for Elciego, we recommend you stop for lunch at a restaurant in the Llanada Alavesa. Once in Elciego, in the south of the Rioja Alavesa, you will be welcomed by the majestic forms of Frank Gehry’s hotel in the Ciudad del Vino, where you will also be able to visit the Marqués de Riscal winery. In Rioja Alavesa you will find a multitude of plans and experiences around the world of wine, not only visiting some of its numerous wineries, but also strolling and even having lunch among the vineyards, visiting the cellars or tastings with the winemakers themselves.
To end the day, we suggest you have a light dinner in Laguardia and take a walk through its streets at dusk.
Stage 6. Laguardia – Orduña
You will wake up in Laguardia, a walled town and capital of Rioja Alavesa. After breakfast and an early morning stroll, drive to Salinas de Añana to discover Valle Salado. Once at the interpretation centre, you can book a guided tour to learn more about its history and tradition, and you can even buy salt-related products.
Take the opportunity to have lunch in Añana before heading to Orduña, where you can book a guided tour with tasting in one of its wineries. It is a town declared a historic-monumental site, so get lost in its historic quarter and enjoy its many monuments.
To end the day, you can have dinner in one of its traditional restaurants or opt for a light dinner of pintxos.
Stage 7. Orduña – Bilbao
Have breakfast in one of Orduña‘s pastry shops and then set off for the Salto de Nervión, one of the most spectacular views that nature has to offer. Take a nice walk to make yourself hungry!
After expending energy, it is time to recover, and what better plan than a visit to a chocolate shop? Make a stop in Balmaseda and visit Kaitxo, where you can try their star products. Take the opportunity to get to know the town and stroll around its medieval streets, and if you’re up for it, try its famous putxeras (beans with sacraments). You have got the whole plan!
Nearby, we recommend a visit to the Galdames Winery, where, in addition to learning about Basque wine culture, you can enjoy our tasty wine.
On your way to Bilbao, we suggest you stop in Santurtzi and discover its seafaring flavour, taste a grilled fish or its variety of pintxos, and end the day strolling around the most nocturnal part of Bilbao.
Stage 8. Lekeitio – Vitoria-Gasteiz
Before touring the picturesque fishing village of Lekeitio, you can have breakfast at the Trinkete bar, next to a typical Basque pediment, one of the trinkets where pelota mano is still played.
The next stop will be Abadiño, where you can go to Alluitz Natura and learn more about the wool of the latxa sheep and how to handle their fibre. You can also bring a kit home with you.
After learning more about our culture, you can stop in Durango and stroll around this beautiful town with an interesting architectural heritage. Take the opportunity to have lunch in one of its succulent restaurants.
Next, stop in Olaeta, in the municipality of Aramaio, at the Atxeta cheese dairy owned by the Olympic athlete Maider Unda. You can take a guided tour where you will learn about the peculiarities of the latxa sheep (our native breed), see how cheese is made, and best of all, taste this prized delicacy.
To finish this last stage, head towards Vitoria-Gasteiz and after wandering around this pleasant city, visit one of the typical confectioner’s shops to take home a sweet souvenir.
These are our suggestions for you to get to know the best of our land and our gastronomy. You can do them all or combine the ones you like the most.
Get ready for a mouth-watering journey through the Basque Country!