For friendly, expert advice call: +44 (0) 1962 733051 Office open Mon to Fri 8:30am - 5:30pm and Sat 9am - 1pm

Spain - Best of the Basque Country

Tour Code: ESP48

A varied 9 day holiday to enjoy the birds, botany, gastronomy and historical sites of this most diverse region.

9 days from £1595(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1445 SRS: £160


This 9-day tour brings together culture and gentle birding: here is a place that differentiates itself with ease from neighbouring France and the rest of northern Spain, with its own rugged coastline and coastal paths, craggy mountains and lush, verdant valleys with their complementary plethora of wildlife, and a proud history.

  • Six species of Woodpecker
  • Nesting Osprey, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Spoonbill,
  • White Stork & other wetland birds
  • Belearic Shearwater & Peregrine Falcon along the coastline of ancient San Juan Gaztelugatxe hermitage
  • ”Days of Wine and Birds” experience at Casa Primicia’s vineyards
  • Golden Eagle, Bearded Vulture & Egyptian Vulture in the Sierra de Cantabria and Aralar Natural Park
  • World-renowned gastronomy in San Sebastian
  • Rare orchids on Azkorri Beach and further inland

Food

All included in the price except for excursion day in Zumaia and day 8 in San Sebastian

Accommodation

3 centred holiday on a circular route 2 nights on the coast in UNESCO site of Urdaibai, 3 nights inland near Vitoria (Green capital of 2012) 3 nights in Goierri, the Basque Highlands

Outline Itinerary Download

Situated on the elbow-crook of the Bay of Biscay, and in an area barely larger than Northern Ireland, the autonomous region of the Spanish Basque Country offers the visitor a spectacular and diverse range of habitats, a bounty of wildlife, and a unique cuisine and culture.

This 9-day tour brings together culture and gentle birding: here is a place that differentiates itself with ease from neighbouring France and the rest of northern Spain, with its own rugged coastline and coastal paths, craggy mountains and lush, verdant valleys with their complementary plethora of wildlife, and a proud history incorporating a long fight for independence and autonomy, an ancient autochthonous language, and long established historical pilgrimage routes. In addition, here are five UNESCO world heritage sites. The Basque Country is indeed one of the jewels of Iberia.

Otherwise known as ‘Euskadi’ (The land of the Basque Speakers), a diverse array of habitats paves the way for an abundance of birdlife. Spread across three centres in Bizkaia, Arava and Gipuzkoa this new tour offers an opportunity to look for six species of woodpecker in sheltered Pyrenean Oak forests, colourful European Bee-eaters feeding along ravines and Egyptian Vulture, Hobby and Bearded Vulture circling the mountains.

There is also opportunity to look for Peregrine Falcon, Little Owl, Cetti’s Warbler and orchids and other interesting plants nestled by the sands of Azkorri beach. Eurasian Spoonbill, Stork, Black –winged Stilt, Hen Harrier, Garganey, Black Kite and Osprey can be found in the great expanse of wetlands in Urdaibai and Salburua. Higher up, raptors such as Golden Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle soar around the peaks and cliffs of the majestic Sierra de Cantabria where the occasional Blue Rock Thrush can be seen amongst the boulders, whilst the streams and alpine meadows of Goierri provide a home for Citril Finch, Dippers, Alpine Accentors, Crossbill and Wryneck.

Not only does Euskadi’s landscape provide a paradise for birds and a haven for botanists but Basque cuisine also boasts a reputation of supreme excellence. With more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in the world and the Basque belief that good food can be perceived as a reflection of good character, you are sure to feel welcomed and indulged in the picturesque towns of San Sebastián - the 2016 European Capital of Culture, and the quirky riverside landscapes of Bilbao where we will sample traditional pinxos (Basque country tapas) and txacoli (local slightly sparkling dry white wine).

From the roaring swells of the Atlantic that batter the jagged coastline of the UNESCO Flysch Trail and the quintessentially Basque landmark of Gaztelugatxe (the castle on the crag), to the melodic cow bells that roll across the alpine hills of the Goierri Highlands; from the sociable sounds, sights and delicacies of Donostia to the vineyards and crumbling medieval villages of Rioja Alavesa - this is a place that commands exploration.

Atxarte, Urkiola Mountain RangeBasque CoastlineWinery in CarravalsecaRed Deer, Salburua WetlandsElantxobeHorses, AizkorriLapaul, LaguardiaHimantoglossum hircinum, AlavaOgoño Cliff & Laga BeachOrchis purpurea, AzkorriBird hide, UrdaibaiPeregrine Falcon on the Aizkorri massifSan Juan de GaztelugatxeSerapia orchidUrkiolaWhite StorksLa Ruta del Flysch, Zumaia GeoparkGriffon VultureGaztelugatxe IsletElantxobeBasque WineryAizkorri, Aratz Natural Park
Kathleen Tansey
Co Durham
Visit to the Urdaibai Bird Centre on the Biosphere Reserve was excellent. The Director of the centre was so helpful and interesting. The return visit to see and hear about the Osprey reintroduction programme was outstanding. Not to be missed. Forest walk in the Izki Natural Park to the tiny private bird hide was great fun. History of Gernicka fascinating. The walk to Sierra Salvada Mountain/cliff was definitely worth the trip - lots of birds seen and heard on route. Lunch at the Carravalseca Vineyard was superb. Food was outstanding as were the views towards La Guardia. Aranzazu Sanctuary visit was great. Superb scenery on route. Zumaia Geopark - a very interesting day and a lovely coastal walk and a boat trip gave us amazing views of the cliffs and rock formations. San Sebastián - a great city and a lovely contrast at the end of the trip. Our guide Pablo Perez had so many contacts in the Basque Country he was able to introduce us to a lot of experts which was great. He was very keen to please us and crammed a lot into our holiday.
Jane Hopcraft
Herefordshire
This was a busy and exciting holiday. I really enjoyed having the variety of activities often all in one spot.One could be watching griffon vultures amongst stunning scenery whilst sipping a glass of txacoli and with amazing variety of flowers all around. I loved EVERY day and cannot really single out what I enjoyed most of all. It was The Osprey project was very interesting to see and hear about. Other excitements included sitting in the hide watching woodpeckers;not only hearing but seeing a nightingale; spotting my first Bittern; trying to identify some of the amazing orchids we came across; wine tasting with the most delicious food and with the sound of birds and scent of herbs all around in a vineyard in La Guardia; walking a bit of the Coastal Path and seeing the sculpted rocks near Sakoneta. Pablo our guide was very kind and went above and beyond to ensure that we were well looked after. He introduced us to local naturalists who could give us further information and they all seemed to go out of their way to share their knowledge.
Show all details | Hide all details

DeparturesAvailableCost

Sun 20th May 2018 - Mon 28th May 2018

FULL

£1595

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1445 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Spain

Tour Downloads


View itinerary
View tour reports +

Can I help You?

Andy Tucker
Operations Manager

Email Andy

01962 733051

Tour Focus

BirdsCultureWild flowers

Tour Leaders

Tour Reviews

Visit to the Urdaibai Bird Centre on the Biosphere Reserve was excellent. The Director of the centre was so helpful and interesting. The return visit to see and hear about the Osprey reintroduction programme was outstanding. Not to be missed. Forest walk in the Izki Natural Park to the tiny private bird hide was great fun. History of Gernicka fascinating. The walk to Sierra Salvada Mountain/cliff was definitely worth the trip - lots of birds seen and heard on route. Lunch at the Carravalseca Vineyard was superb. Food was outstanding as were the views towards La Guardia. Aranzazu Sanctuary visit was great. Superb scenery on route. Zumaia Geopark - a very interesting day and a lovely coastal walk and a boat trip gave us amazing views of the cliffs and rock formations. San Sebastián - a great city and a lovely contrast at the end of the trip. Our guide Pablo Perez had so many contacts in the Basque Country he was able to introduce us to a lot of experts which was great. He was very keen to please us and crammed a lot into our holiday.
Kathleen Tansey, Co Durham