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Rioja and the Basque Country

8 days from £695 per person*

*based on sharing on a twin/double basis and a minimum of 40 paying passengers

Overview

Enjoy stunning scenery, authentic tapas, wine tasting and a visit to the famous town of Pamplona. The wonderful old city of Logroño is located along the pilgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostela. It lies on the River Ebro surrounded by vineyards in the heart of the Rioja Wine Country. It is a great base from which to explore the region. After an overnight stop in Santander the route towards Rioja offers picturesque views. Following an evening of wine tasting at the hotel in Logroño, we take a trip to the fascinating city of Pamplona and then onwards to Olite, once the home of the Kings of Navarra. A day exploring the Rioja Country begins with a tour and tasting at Bodegas Olarra, best known for its oak-aged red wines. The day also includes a trip to the village of Laguardia and the pretty village of San Millan for a visit to one of its monasteries. Finally, on our return we travel via Bilbao and will have the chance to visit the Guggenheim Museum.

Itinerary

Day 1
We leave our departure point and head to Portsmouth for our overnight crossing to Santander. We will be able to relax and enjoy a night on board the Brittany Ferries cruise ship.

Day 2
Today we disembark on Spanish soil and proceed to our hotel in Santander where we will have plenty of time to relax before taking dinner.

Day 3
After breakfast we travel to Logroño. We wind through the beautiful Basque region which is blessed with stunning landscapes and a coastline untainted by mass tourism. The region even has its own highly distinctive language, Euskera, which bears no relation to Castilian Spanish or indeed any other language in the world. It’s not just the mysterious language which sets this region apart from the rest of Spain but almost everything, starting from its cuisine to its highly individual art and music which reflects the special character of a people whose ancient roots span five millennia. After passing through the spectacular mountain scenery of Rioja we reach our hotel where we will have time to freshen up and relax before having our first introduction to Rioja wine with a tasting session, within the hotel. Dinner will follow in the hotel.

Day 4
After breakfast we have a full day guided Rioja wine tour with tastings arranged at Bodegas Olarra in Logroño. Rioja is the smallest of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions but its famous wines, no doubt some of the country’s finest, have made Rioja a household name throughout the world. This tiny region in the north of Spain takes its name from the Rio Oja, a tributary of the mighty Ebro River which is the longest river in Spain. The fertile plains of the Ebro valley have given rise to a wine producing industry which goes back to Roman times. The region’s rich soil and plentiful supply of water enable it to produce high quality fruit and vegetables as well which, together with its excellent cured meats, form the basis of some fine regional cuisine. We end our day of excursions at the pretty villages of La Guardia and San Millan where we will visit one of its monasteries. Dinner at the hotel this evening.

Day 5
Today we visit the fascinating city of Pamplona. There are many interesting things to see and do here such as visiting the Plaza de Toros, to this day used for bullfights, exploring its many wine routes and discovering many of its beautiful Roman mosaics. Pamplona is also a main city along the pilgrim’s route of St. James, the Camino de Santiago. We will later proceed to Olite, an historic site where traces of a Roman and Gothic presence can be found in its walled enclosure and in the splendour of the medieval Palace of Carlos III. Olite has two medieval churches: Santa María, dating from the 13th century with a beautiful façade and partly situated inside the palace where it was once its chapel, and San Pedro, the oldest in Olite with a Romanesque façade and cloister. It was built during the 12th century and substantially restructured in the early 18th century of which only the façade remains of the original structure. We return to our hotel for dinner.

Day 6
Today we have the entire day to ourselves to explore the area on our own. The hotel is perfectly located within walking distance of the town’s shops and tapas bars. Dinner will be taken at the hotel.

Day 7
Today we bid farewell to our Spanish hosts and begin our journey to Santander. En route we stop in Bilbao for some free time where we will have the opportunity to visit the Guggenheim Museum, one of the most important sights of Bilbao, completed in 1997. It is decorated with organic and geometric forms made of glass, titanium and limestone and at first glance resembles a small ship stranded along the bridge. Two other iconic images that make this museum an unforgettable sight is the spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, and the flower sculpture “Puppy” by controversial American artist Jeff Koons. The museum itself has an exhibition area of 11,000 sq.m. housing both a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.  We resume our journey to Santander for our overnight crossing back to Portsmouth.

Day 8
We arrive on home soil and proceed back to our original departure points.

This tour is also available by air.

Hotel

F&G Hotel

The 3 star F&G Hotel is located in Logroño’s historic old quarter within 5 minutes walk of shops and tapas bars. The hotel’s focal point is its triangular, three-storey atrium, which incorporates an arcaded section of stone wall dating from the 14th Century. The lounge, café bar and restaurant all face onto the central atrium. In the basement there’s a sauna and Jacuzzi and wine cellar. All en-suite bedrooms have a contemporary decor with wood floors, satellite TV, hairdryer and air conditioning.
Half board basis is available at this hotel.

Inclusions

What’s included
• Executive coaching throughout
• Return overnight ferry crossings
• 1 nights half board accommodation in Santander
• 4 nights half board accommodation in Logroño
• Porterage
• Welcome drink
• Full day guided Rioja tour
• Full day visit to Pamplona and Olite
• Time in Bilbao
• Two wine tastings

What’s not included
• Single supplement
• Travel insurance

To Book

Any of our tours can be tailored to suit your particular groups requirements.

For further details please contact one of the team on 01225 764205 or sales@successtours.com