Day 1. Flight to Spain. Bilbao airport (BIO). Optional flight to Madrid and transfer to the Basque Country. Reception of participants. Transfer to our accommodation.
Briefing of the trip. Depending on the arrival time, we will do a cycling or a walking tour of the city. Visit of the old town and dinner with the traditional “pintxos” to have an introduction to the famed Basque gastronomy.
Night in San Sebastián.
Day 2. Visit to Zarautz. Optional surf lesson, trawler paddle and visit to Txaboli cellar.
Transfer to Zarautz, one of the most famous coastal villages of the Basque Country and the Cantabrian coast. Its beach has been the cuna of great surf champions, and its waters are a frequent background of surf competitions thanks to the good quality of the waves. We will have the opportunity of enjoying a surf lesson with the Shelter Surf´s teachers, managed by Artiz Aranburu, the only Spaniard to have competed at the highest level.
The other option is an authentic experience with trawler paddle, one of the most traditional sports from de Basque Country, with several clubs in different locations, and which biggest event is Regata de la Concha in San Sebastián. Today, we will have the chance to raw with the Club Remo Olímpico Orio Arraunketa Elkartea, one of the most reputable clubs in the Basque Country. We will receive a lesson of team work while we enjoy the landscapes of Ría Orio. Let’s see what happens when we get to open waters!
In the afternoon we will combine a visit to a Txakoli cellar (a speciality link to the Basque Country) called Talai Berri, a small cellar located on the sunbathed slopes of Zarautz. From there you will have great views of Zarautz´s old town with its beautiful buildings and its “bares de pintxos”.
Day 3. Hike in Murrumendi, Mandubia Pass, in Astigarreta-Beasáin (Gipuzkoa). Afternoon in Tolosa.
The Basque mythology is a kingdom of devils, witches and fairies. A refuge for old legends, myths and fascinating landscapes for hillwalking. We will travel to Mandubia pass, in Astigarreta-Beasáin, where we will start an easy walk that goes up to the pastures of Pagota and the shepherd huts of Larrarte. The remains of an old dolmen can be found at this place. The path continues close to Murumendi´s summit (868 m). The walk is a comfortable stroll between birches, pine trees and American cedars that goes along the small settlements of Astigarreta. The last stage leaves the long-distance Trail on the left to climb up to the top of the hill. On the vertical rocks of the south face we will find Muru´s cave, one of the entrances to the Basque mythological word that inhabits the region´s underground.
Length 10km, elevation +500 -500 (There is the option to make the itinerary more or less demanding).
In the afternoon, we will visit the historic town of Tolosa, situated next to the river Oria. It is a very important location on the way between the kingdoms of Navarra, Castilla and France, and the Cantabrian sea ports. Tolosa was for centuries, the big toll of the north. It presents great urban design with magnificence buildings that show the importance and the character of the great old times.
Night in San Sebastián.
Day 4. Hike in Txindoki, Larraitz. In the afternoon we will visit a traditional “caserío” where we will see the elaboration of the Idiazabal cheese.
Today we step up on intensity to summit a first-class mountain, an important landmark for the traditional mountaineering in the Basque Country.
Txindoki (1.343 m) is an attractive mountain, with its sharp lines it is isolated within the orography of Sierra de Aralar, where the magic and the legends have their roots between archaeological remains, caves, birch forests and pyramid summits. Usually the routes start from Larraitz, attempting all ridges, faces, pastures and drops. The described itinerary follows the normal south face via Egurral and returns via Muitze corrie and Mallaki forests. In Larraitz you will find route markers for either the paths to the summit of Txindoki or for trails that disappear on the calcarean labyrinth of Aralar. Our route follows the markers PR-GI 2005 across the pastures of Gaztesuiko to the gully of Urruzti and the huts of Zirigarate, going around the west side of the massif to reach the col Egurral, below the imponent calcarean towers of Larrunarri. The route goes up to the top from the south face. The summit offers a magnificent panorama of Goierri or “high country” as it is called in the area of Oria. The way down goes returns to the col and continues through Urtzabal gully and Muitze corrie following the path on the east side, and leaves the GI-2005 before descending to the waterfall of Muitze, near the cave of Marizulo. The route draws a circle around the mountain with wiews to all the faces.
Length 11km, elevation +900m -900m. (There is the option to make the itinerary more or less demanding).
After the walk, we will visit a traditional “caserio” (Basque farm). We will have a guided tour to learn about the production of traditional cheese Idiazabal, one of the most famous cheeses from the Basque Country, winner of European and world prizes.
Night in Vitoria
Day 5. Vineyards and cellars of La Rioja. Day trip to Montes Obarenes and visit to Bodega Muga´s vineyard.
The landscape changes as we enter the most famous wine producing region in Spain: La Rioja.
We will start the day with a walk in the Montes Obarenes Natural Park, on the foothills of the Cantabrian Montain Range. Forests and gorges excavated by the rivers Ebro and Oca will predominate the landscapes. The abundance of cliffs favours the nesting of many birds like; Griffon Vulture, Egypthian Vulture, Golden Eagle,
Goshawk… A very rich landscape that goes with a rich culture as you pass by towns with lots of history like Frias, a place capable of taking you centuries back in time.
Later on, we will visit Viña Baltracones, one of the vineyards of Bodegas Muga: with extraordinary views, an especial climate and situated on the foothills of Montes Obarenes. The perfect place to immerse ourselves in an interesting journey to learn about the different aspects of the wine making process and, of course, to enjiy one of their wines surrounded by vines.
The visit gives you the option of doing Segway or a balloon flight.
Night in Vitoria
Day 6. Hike in Urbasa Natural Park.
Today we will visit Urbasa and Andía National Park, a protected space with a wide collection of valuable elements in geology, biology, ecology, landscape, archaeology and culture. Located between 835m at the lowest altitude of Urbasa and 1492m at the highest point in San Donato, it forms the transition area between the mountains and the middle area of Navarra, dominated by forests, meadows and rock vegetation.
We will go over the Shepherds trail that links the Information Centre with the Nature Hall. It mainly follows a cattle route used many years ago to take the sheep to the valleys or to go towards the mountains. We will be able to contemplate beautiful places, representative of the biodiversity of Urbasa; the meadows, the calcarean lands and the birch forests. With the passing of the seasons we can enjoy of the changing symphony of the rhythms, forms and colours.
Length 7km, elevation +60m -60m. (There is the option to make the itinerary more or less demanding).
Transfer to Valle de Hecho and nigth at the Hotel Uson, a rural accommodation built following the valley´s aesthetics (stone and wood). Situated in a pasture at 1000m high and at 7km away from the village of Hecho, that gives the name to the valley.
Day 7. Hike in Valle de Hecho. Circular route of Ibón del Acherito.
We will go up using the normal route from the bottom of the valley following the Foyas gorge and after that, turning to the west under the Mallos de las Foyas. We will start the return going to the west again to reach the head of the valley and then descending on the right-hand side of the river.
El retorno se hará saliendo hacia el oeste a la cabecera del valle y descendiendo por la margen derecha de su curso principal.
Lenth 11,4km, elevation +743m -734m.
Night at Hotel Uson. Visit to the hotel´s brewery.
Day 8. Day trip to the surroundings of la Mesa de los Tres Reyes and visit to Kortariko Gasna cheese factory.
At 2446m Mesa de los Tres Reyes is the roof of Navarra. Its name comes from its location in the borders of Navarra, Huesca (Aragón) and France.
Starting from Belagua, we will carry out a beautiful circular route with a unique calcarean landscape.
Length 18km, elevation +500m -500m.
Depending on the speed of the group we could go all the way up to the summit. There are no technical demanding steps but you will need to be used to walk on rocky terrains with some aerial steps as well as some short and easy scrambles.
Length 18km, elevation +1.263 m – 1.263 m.
After the walk, we will visit the cheese factory Kortariko Gasna, where we will have a guided tour of the the farm and the cheese factory. Also, we will have a demonstration of a shepherd dog working with a flock of sheep and a cheese tasting.
Transfer to Pamplona. Afternoon visit to the city.
Night in Pamplona
Day 9. Transfer to the airport. Outbound flight. End of trip.
- 6 nights of hotel **** in a double room with breakfast included, San Sebastián, Vitoria and Pamplona.
- 2 nights in a rural hotel with half board in Valle de Echo(Hotel Usón) http://www.hoteluson.com/
- 7 packed lunches (for the treks)
- 4 visits to caseríos and wine cellars (with cheese and wine tasting)
- All transfers during the trip (from Bilbao airport). Arrivals from other airports to be confirmed.
- Spanish and English speaking guide.
- Accident and rescue insurance.
- Travel insurance
- Surf lessons, trawler paddle, and baloon flight (optionals)
- Entry fees to museum and other visits not described on the program.