Bold & Beautiful: La Rioja & the Basque Country
4 day tour

  • Burgos
  • Madrid
  • La Rioja
  • La Granja de San Ildefonso, Royal Palace
  • san sebastian

La Rioja and the Basque Country are like the intriguing stranger at a party, the one you’re dying to know. On this tour, you’ll discover everything that makes them unique. 

Tour map

Tour Highlights

Castles
Wine
Beaches
Cathedrals
Palaces

La Rioja - The famously delicious wines here perfectly complement the views of the Cantabrian Mountains

San Sebastián - The top beach town in the Basque region is known as both a surfer's paradise and a foodie heaven

Burgos - Walk in the shadow of the soaring Gothic cathedral and admire this majestic city, once the capital of the old kingdom of Castille

Basque Country - Explore this unique and lesser-known region with one of the oldest cultures (and languages) in Europe

Haro - Get to know the wine capital of La Rioja a bit better as your overnight destination on this tour

 

Your journey

 

Ever wanted to go somewhere a little less explored? The kind of place people ask “Where exactly is that?”… and you feel bad for them, because they’ve not experienced the same beauty and adventure as you have. But that’s for them to discover in their own time.

Instead, you sit there telling them about the incredible Moorish architecture and the way its beautifully intricate designs looked like poetry. You show them pictures of Celtiberian ruins, knowing that they won’t truly understand because pictures never do it justice. You try describing the smell of the seafood that was brought to your table in the wine capital of Haro, and suddenly both your stomach and your heart are longing to go back to Spain.

That’s La Rioja and the Basque Country.  

 

Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08:30 (tour departs at 08:45) - Madrid Pick Up Point, Hotel Porcel Ganivet, Madrid,
Finishes (approx.)
18:15 - Madrid Drop Off, Hotel Porcel Ganivet, Madrid,
Luggage
You're restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.
Discounts
Important information
  • Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a luxury mini-coach with a local driver
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking guide
  • 3 nights in 3-4 star hotels with continental breakfast
  • Rioja wine tasting and tour (not lunch)  
  • Admission to Royal Palace of La Granja of San Ildefonso (and gardens) with audioguide  
Tour exclusions
  • Meals, unless listed above
  • Attractions, unless specified above

Itinerary

Day 1

  • The Celtiberian fortress town of Buitrago del Lozoya really does have it all
  • Feel like an archaeologist among the ruins of Montejo de Tiermes
  • Figure out the best wine to pair with your meal in Haro, the wine capital of the La Rioja region

It’s farewell to the thriving city of Madrid for now but worry not – you’ll have plenty to fall in love with on this tour. And what better way to start your romance with Spain than with a bit of Moorish architecture? A 15th-century castle. A museum dedicated to Picasso. We’re talking about the historical Celtiberian fortress town of Buitrago del Lozoya. Try saying that five times fast.  

You’ll have a couple of hours here to feel like a true explorer and even grab a bite to eat before we depart and continue north towards the ruins of Montejo de Tiermes. This ancient Celtiberian town was cut from the very rocks around them, the ruins of which still stand today, including a Roman aqueduct.  

The day ends in the wine capital of La Rioja region: Haro. Wine bars, bodegas, vineyards, and glorious architecture. Wrapped up in the atmosphere of this wondrous town, you’ll consider yourself lucky to be spending the night here. 

 

Accommodation 

Eurostars Los Agustinos or similar, Haro

Day 2

  • Historical and religious, be enamoured by the village of Santo Domingo de la Calzada
  • Enjoy a guided tour and wine tasting at Winery Lecea
  • Step off the beaten track into the village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra

Make sure you have a big breakfast this morning because, as we leave Haro behind, it’s time to explore the wine region around you. We’ll pop in at the quaint old village of Santo Domingo de la Calzada this morning. Known for its historical and religious importance, it’s a famous stop on the pilgrimage route to the shrine of St James in Santiago de Compostela. 

And what holiday is complete without a little winery visit? We stop in at Winery Lecea for a guided tour and wine tasting which is included in your tour package. This family of winegrowers have been dedicated to producing their wine for more than four generations, and it's time they shared a little piece of La Rioja with you.  

We then stop somewhere a little off the beaten track. That’s our thing, after all! San Vicente de la Sonsierra may not be as well-known as some larger Spanish cities, but lying in the heart of La Rioja, with a historic castle overlooking the Ebro River, a 12th-century church, and traditional Spanish charm, we’ll show you why this little village is worth your attention. You have free time here to explore and even grab a bite to eat. 

We return to Haro in the late afternoon to give you a bit more time to explore this wonderful city before you settle in for the night. 

 

Included Activities

  • Rioja wine tasting and tour (not lunch)  

Accommodation

Eurostars Los Agustinos or similar, Haro

Day 3

  • Discover the little-known world of Basque Country
  • Devour the foodie heaven of San Sebastián
  • Relax as you wander the famous town of Pamplona

Today is all about the Basque Country. Not familiar with this region? You will be after today. Located near the border between Spain and France, at the western end of the Pyrenees Mountain Range, Basque is one of the oldest cultures in Europe with their unique language called Euskera. Among other things. Now’s the time to find out all about this rich culture.  

Everyone, meet San Sebastián, a foodie heaven with the highest number of Michelin stars per capita. You have time here to grab lunch and check out the beautiful blonde beach. 

You travel back inland to Pamplona. This town is famous for San Fermin, ‘the Running of the Bulls’. Fortunately, you aren’t going to have to run anywhere. Instead, you can stroll around the town’s splendid fortress walls and relax. 

Then it’s back to Haro for your final night, so make sure to take full advantage. 

 

Accommodation

Eurostars Los Agustinos or similar, Haro

Day 4

  • Be welcomed to Burgos, once the capital of the old kingdom of Castille
  • 'Wine-not' enjoy a glass or two in the city of Aranda de Duero
  • Explore Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, Spain’s ‘mini-Versailles’

We know endings can be sad, but we assure you this one won’t be. Your first stop of the day gives you a chance to walk in the shadow of a soaring Gothic cathedral on your way to sample some of the region’s favourite dishes for lunch. We’re talking about the town of Burgos, once the capital of the old kingdom of Castille. It still seems royal to us.   

Now how about a bit of paradise and a glass of wine? That’s what the city of Aranda de Duero is for. While we’re only here for about an hour, you’ll love this town that’s famous for its interconnecting wine cellars that run under the town. 

Next, you head further south to the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. Your included ticket to this stunning structure lets you wander through the rooms of Spain’s ‘mini-Versailles’ and wonder how much the gardening bill must be for its gorgeous grounds. 

As the day ends, you arrive in the country’s capital, Madrid. But the adventure doesn’t have to stop there.  

Included Activities

  • Admission to Royal Palace of La Granja of San Ildefonso (and gardens) with audioguide  

Accommodation

 

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay three nights in Haro. For examples of the accommodation, please see the tour itinerary.

 

How does the accommodation work?

A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.

So we’ve hand-picked three-star to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.

Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want a double room, a twin room, or a single room.

 

Are there any extra accommodation costs?

The price you see is for all your tour accommodation and for the tour itself. It also includes a tourist tax. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.

 

FAQs

Do I need a visa to take this tour?

You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.

 

Are the tours suitable for people with mobility issues?

Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it's worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.

So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email tours@rabbies.com .

 

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we start our trip from hotels located conveniently on the edge of cities. We choose hotels with good public transport connections to the city centre, so you can enjoy your evening explorations.

To make your tour more convenient, you can add an optional pre and post-departure accommodation in the hotel we use as a pick up or a drop off point.

 

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.

 

What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this time frame, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.

We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.

Click here to view full terms and conditions.

 

What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.

 

Can routes change?

Your friendly driver and guide are passionate about the places they visit and know all the local gossip. This means your tour itinerary can change a little due to festivities, attraction opening hour changes, and spontaneous photo opportunities.

 

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches offer a good view.

 

Are there toilets on the bus?

We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.

 

Do you take children on your tours?

We're unable to permit children under 15 years old on our Europe tours due to the nature of the activities that are included.

 

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

 

What are 'included activities' and 'optional activities'?

We've arranged experiences for you on your tour. The 'included activities' are already booked and paid for as part of your trip, whereas you can purchase 'optional activities' while on your tour. You also have free time in many destinations to pick and choose which attractions you visit.

 

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

 

What should I do if I have too much luggage?

It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.

But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to the majority of our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.

 

Should I tip the driver and the guide?

Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

 

What about travel insurance?

We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.

 

What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you book a tour with us. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.

 

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com, or check out our full FAQs.


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