Navarra – Huesca – La Rioja – Bilbao
Based on 10 nights self-drive independent tour in Spain
Starting in Northern Navarra, at the great crossroads of the Caminos de Santiago, this route will take you into the high mountains of Huesca, the dramatic desert landscape of Las Bardenas, through Navarran wine-country to La Rioja and on to Bilbao.
Straddling the ancient kingdoms of Castile, Navarra and Aragon, borders hard fought in medieval times, here you’ll find some of Spain’s finest castles and Romanesque churches as well as some of its best modern architecture among the vines in La Rioja and, of course, in Bilbao’s iconic Guggenheim Museum.
Throughout the trip you’ll enjoy great walking, wonderful scenery, fine local wines and gastronomy and, of course, a warm Spanish welcome.
This circular trip combines well with the ferry service to Bilbao or Santander or flights to Bilbao, Biarritz, Zaragoza or Santander.
- Baztan valley & Basque coast
- Las Bardenas Reales & Medieval Uncastillo & Sos
- Castillo de Loarre & Mallos de Riglos
- Superb birdwatching & wild flowers
- Hecho and Anso Valleys – high Pyrenees
- Old-favourite wines of Rioja & Navarra
- Up-and-coming wineries in Huesca & Euskadi
Day 1 & 2 – North West Navarra
- Valleys of Baztan & Bidasoa – lost in time
- Picture-postcard villages of the French Pais-Basque
- Hondarribia, San Sebastian, Biarritz & St Jean de Luz
- Ride the train to the peak of La Rhune, stunning views
- Head south for vineyards, castles & don’t miss Pamplona
Day 3 & 4 – Huesca, Western Valleys
- Wildlife and birding in the Valleys of Hecho and Anso
- Glacial scenery in the Tena Valley
- Reindeer, bison, bears and more in La Cuniacha
- Gorges of Lumbiers and Arbayun
- San Juan de la Peña monastery, the spiritual heart of Aragon
Day 5 & 6 – Zaragoza & Las Bardenas
- Spaghetti-western desert landscape of Las Bardenas
- Romanesque delights of Uncastillo & Sos del Rey Católico
- Castillo de Loarre & Mallos de Riglos
- Monasterio de Leyre & Castillos de Javier y Olite
- Birdwatching, mountain biking, trekking…
Day 7 & 8 – La Rioja Alavesa
- Spain’s most prestigious vineyards
- Riojan & Basque cuisine – excellent local ingredients
- Stunning modern architecture among the vines
- Medieval Laguardia and Labastida
- Dinastia Vivanco museum of wine culture
Day 9 & 10 – Bilbao & the Basque Country
- Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim & its sister the Bellas Artes
- Basque cuisine, pintxos or something more substantial
- Basque coast, lovely beaches, spectacular rock formations
- Head for the hills, great walking just near the city
- Visit San Sebastian, Belle Epoque elegance by the sea
The itinerary includes the following:
- Accommodation in our listed hotels – 2 sharing 1 std. double ensuite, B&B
- Economy 4dr car hire
- or ferry crossings with Brittany Ferries (car + 2 berth interior cabin)
- Regional map and guide book
- Restaurant guide covering regions en-route
- Instructions to find all accommodation & regional road map
- Flights – but we are able to advise
- One-way car hire charges, where applicable (see your quote email)
- The following car hire extras – these can be added at pick-up point
- extra driver
- child seats
- Garage parking where applicable (mostly city stops) – please ask us about parking charges
A circular itinerary designed with ferry travel in mind, though equally suited to fly-drive:
- Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Bilbao – three times a week
- Four weekly crossings from Plymouth or Portsmouth to Santander also with Brittany Ferries (adds one hour at beginning and end of tour)
- From Stansted: Bilbao with Easyjet / Biarritz with Ryanair / Zaragoza with Ryanair
- From Gatwick: Bilbao with BA
- From Manchester: Bilbao with Easyjet
- From Bristol: Bilbao with Easyjet
- From Dublin: Bilbao with Aer Lingus / Biarritz with Ryanair
- From Edinburgh: Bilbao with Easyjet
Please note that hire cars must be returned to their country of origin. It is therefore usually convenient to fly into and back from airports within the same country.
NB: Flights are not included
For passengers travelling by air we will include a hire car as part of the package. Normally we include a 4 door economy class car but please let us know if you would like something different.
We will provide full instructions to arrive at each hotel, complete with GPS co-ords, as well as a touring map of the area.
What our clients say
We toured for 10 days from the mountians in the north and plains of Aaragon and Navarra. We saw lovely countryside and a wide range of wildlife, particularly birds of pray.
The hotels – 6 of them located in villages rather than towns – were all good and most outstanding and all about 2 to 2 1/2 hours’ drive from each other. Each hotel gave us info on what to visit nearby so we were able to make the most of this great holiday.
Our two-week fly/drive tour took us through the beautiful Alpine-like Basque territory, the spectacular mountain landscapes and medieval villages of Navarra, and the wine-producing area of Rioja. The tour was well put-together and went without hiccup.
Brittany Ferry to Santander then Pyrenees, fiesta in Uncastillo with bull running and Tudela cathedral, Bilbao and Guggenheim . A wonderful variety of locations. Excellent selection of small hotels, good food and historic sites. Sunshine.