Spain Basque Country Rioja Region

Basque Country & Rioja

A unique exploration of the Basque Country and Rioja Region of Spain

A cultural connection of walkers to landscapes and local life.

Self Guided Tour

You choose your departure date!

10 Days - 9 Nights

Connect with culture, history, community, and yourself.

Priced from:

Questions?
Call Us. +1 623.561.0846

$3398USD        

per person, double occupancy

$500 USD Deposit Due With Registration

WALKING

Walk quiet paths leading you through ever changing and colorful landscapes, from the rolling fields and Mediterranean forests of Navarre to the mountains and vineyards of La Rioja. Soak up centuries of history as you pass the churches of the Camino de Santiago and the hilltop villages of Basque Rioja's heartland. The beautiful surroundings are complemented by premium, small hotels and unique gastronomic experiences giving you a taste of a genuinely unspoiled part of Spain.

 

Complete this dive into the rural beauty of Rioja with two of the most vibrant Basque cities, Bilbao and Pamplona.

Although this is a self-guided walk, to be sure that you have the best possible trip, our Spanish coordinator is on call to help out at any stage. For the walking, we provide you with not only a GPS device pre-loaded with the maps and routes but also physical notes and maps for you to navigate with. A guide meets you in Pamplona before you start walking to talk you through the trip, the walking directions and operating the GPS device.

CONNECTION

This route takes you to the Spanish Toscana, a landscape of colorful, rolling fields, hilltop villages, vineyards and mountains. The area's rich historical past is marked by the Basque culture, the pilgrim’s way to Santiago de Compostela, and the medieval kingdom of Navarre.

 

This area is also home to some of the best wines in the world, great vegetables and meats, and some of the finest examples of modern Spanish cuisine. Our varied collection of tasteful small hotels make for a walking holiday where the exertions of your hiking are carefully balanced with time to relax in comfort.

 

The itinerary includes the vibrant city of Bilbao where you can visit the Guggenheim Museum and get an introduction to the Basque culture, that you will enjoy even more in Pamplona with our local guide taking you on a pintxos hopping dinner along the itinerary of the famous "running of the bulls".

Basque Country & Rioja Highlights

CREATE CONNECTIONS

Connect with your travel companion over a glass of wine and delicious regional fare. Take in the iconic architecture of the Basque Country and the delicious wines of the Rioja Region. This is known as the Land of Wine.

THIS IS WHAT ORGANIC LOOKS LIKE!

Fresh vegetables grown in this area are the ones that Spaniards consider to be the very best, especially the asparagus, peppers and artichokes. Traditional dishes include the gorrín (roasted pig) in Estella or a fresh menestra (vegetable stew) are but two local favorites you'll enjoy. 

BETTER WALKS, BETTER LIFE

Enjoy Basque Country and Rioja at a walking pace. This allows you to connect with the history and culture of the region, delve into the community and spend time alone!

Your Experience

Level of Activity

 

Although you will cover a good distance every day the walks are not very hilly, being mostly flat walks with some rolling hills. There are a couple of longer hills on two of the days, with a maximum 350m (1150') gain in one go, 650m (2130') accumulated height gain over the day.  

 

The paths are mainly wide trails used as agricultural and forest tracks, which makes it easier to admire the landscapes and enjoy the walk throughout.

 

Plan to cover an average of four kilometers per hour as you hike, explore and experience each day. Build your endurance so you are comfortable with the distance.

 

Based upon our experience we have paced the time and distance so you have a full experience throughout your entire holiday. At your option, on many days you can reduce some of the walks without missing on the best sections and we can arrange to give you a lift to the next destination.

Level of Comfort

 

The sleeping accommodations on this journey are "Countryside Luxury", always en suite, and always with lots of personality. Although star ratings are not particularly helpful when it comes to remote small properties, expect 3/4 star accommodations and excellent services along the way.

 

Most of the hotels are historical buildings that have been renovated, maintaining the cultural heritage of the area. We blend a variety of traditional properties that are in dramatic contrast to the modern architectural hotels. La Rioja is a blend of old and new.

 

Spring and autumn in Spain. Where is the weather better for walking and hiking?. May and June bring showers that are key to keeping the region so green. It is also one of the most beautiful times to visit. September is the dryest month and the harvest begins toward the end of the month. As the autumn colors kick in, October is also a fantastic time to hike!

Spain Basque Country Rioja Region Wine Tasting Restaurant
Spain Basque Country Rioja Region Guggenheim Museum

Level of Culture

This whole area is a living cultural experience rooted many centuries ago. The pilgrimage route to Santiago originated in the IXth century, but is very much alive today with many tens of thousands of people from all around the world making their way to Santiago across the same bridges and under the same church towers as their medieval counterparts.

 

Equally, the wine culture essential to the Iberian Peninsula dates back millennia, but is still thriving today with the quality of the wines and the whole world that moves around it (tastings, gastronomy, tourism, modern architecture…)

Aside from the wine, agriculture in general is very evidently the cornerstone of the economy here, and its products are justly renowned in Spain. For the majority of the trip, you are very much in the heart of rural Spain, a great thing in our view.

 
Spain Basque Country Rioja Region Wine Barrels Tasting

Day-By-Day

Please note that the details of this itinerary are subject to change. Many of the planned activities are organized according to availability, events or seasonal dates, appropriate weather conditions or the discretion of our guides. We make every effort to provide the experience described in the itinerary with the understanding that some things may change.

DAY 1
Bilbao

 

Arrive in Bilbao, where the rest of today is yours to explore the Guggenheim, or delve into the historic roots of this unique corner of Spain.

Meals included: No meals included today

Accommodation: Hotel Hesperia

Arrive today in Bilbao, where you take a taxi to your hotel before time at leisure to relax after your journey, or perhaps see something of the city or the Guggenheim. Frank Gehry's colossal hulk of titanium dominates a bend in the Rio Nervion, and is an easy walk from your hotel.

 

You could also spend time visiting the slightly surreal Askuna cultural center to catch the latest art installation, or the Euskal Museoa - ideal for an introduction to the archaeology and history of the Basque region.

As with everywhere in the Basque Country, food is taken very seriously, so you might like to try out one of our favorite restaurants for dinner.

DAY 2
Pamplona

 

Follow Hemingway's footsteps and enjoy a “pintxos” dinner in the streets of Pamplona.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Palacio Guendulain

After a morning to explore Bilbao you are transferred to the iconic city of Pamplona, made famous by Hemingway, and your hotel, a converted house of nobility in the heart of the city, built in the XVIIIth century by the Viceroy of New Granada.

To properly get to grips with Pamplona, and to really enjoy the fruits of its gastronomic culture, you need a friend who knows their way around. That's where your guide comes in, whose job it is to put it all into context as you walk around the old town this evening, and treat you to a dinner to remember as you bounce between pintxos bars. Pintxos are usually described as the Basque version of tapas, though they're often far more complex creations. Although not as famous as San Sebastian, or even Bilbao, Pamplona can certainly hold its own in the pintxos stakes, so dive in and see what you can find.

DAY 3
Estella

Walk with pilgrims as you follow the Camino de Santiago through some of its prettiest villages, before heading into the peaceful countryside.

Walk Distance: 18.7km

                     (360m ascent/395m descent)

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hospederia Chapitel

In the morning your guide will meet you in your hotel to brief you on the trip and give you a programmed GPS device to help you follow the route. After a 30 minute transfer, start walking along the Camino de Santiago. Soak in the ambiance of this pilgrimage which dates back to the IXth Century. For the first hours you will walk between cereal, fields, vineyards and small villages together with pilgrims, most of them in the early stages of their 900 km walk to Santiago.

This afternoon you leave the Camino behind to explore the quieter valley of Yerri on your way to Estella, a beautiful town rich with historical buildings thanks to its strategic position on the Camino.

Your hotel for the night is a fine house in the old quarter, tastefully renovated in a modern style, from where you can explore the city and enjoy a dinner in one of the delicious restaurants in the lively main square.

DAY 4
Mués

Walk through wide colourful agricultural landscapes dotted with picturesque villages.

Walk Distance: 24km (shorter option available)

                     (514m ascent/425m descent)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Latorrien de Ane

Start early for today's long but beautiful walk along the Ega river valley. Birdsong fills the air as you walk past fertile allotments, forests and cereal fields. If the length of the day feels too challenging you can shorten it by traveling with the luggage transfer in the morning.

As you approach the mountain ridge that takes you to Mués, there are fantastic open views of a landscape punctuated by villages, each one with its large church as a main feature. The landscape changes completely from season to season, from the greens and yellows of spring to the golden colours of summer and the rich reds of autumn.

Rest tonight in the tiny village of Mués, where a beautifully restored traditional house offers welcoming beds and tasty food in its restaurant, housed in the old cellar.

DAY 5
Genevilla

Discover new landscapes as you approach the cliffs of Sierra de Codés and cross valleys through Navarra.

Walk Distance: 19km

                     (670m ascent/570m descent)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Casa Usategieta

This morning walk gentle landscapes and villages as you approach the Sierra de Codés, the highest mountains of this holiday. Passing along the side of the range avoids the peaks but still involves the longest uphill of the week, 400m up over the course of 9km to the Genevilla pass. The northern slopes of the range are covered in thick forest showing the influence of the Atlantic as Mediterranean forests mix with beech trees.

A fairly steep downhill through the forest leads to the tiny village of Genevilla, and the welcoming home of Maribel and Guy. They will make you feel at home in their three room guest house with its unique blend of tasty Navarran wine, local Basque food, an eclectic art collection and wonderful Flemish beer!

DAY 6
Genevilla

 

After several days of walking, today is for you to rest and relax.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Casa Usategieta

Enjoy the peace of little Genevilla and give your legs a rest while you enjoy the hospitality of Maribel and Guy. You can relax on the roof terrace and read, stroll on the rural paths around the village, or admire the impressive XVIth century altar-piece of the local church.

On hot days you can go for a dip in the river pools in nearby Campezo, and if you are really keen to keep on walking, you can climb to the top of the Sierra de Codés.

DAY 7
Laguardia

 

Walk over the hills and into La Rioja as you reach the walled town of Laguardia with its precious wineries.

Walk Distance: 26km (shorter option also available)

                     (660m ascent/640m descent)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Parajes

Join another pilgrim route today as you follow the Ignatian way created by the Jesuits in the XVIth century to connect the Basque country with the Montserrat monastery near Barcelona. This path will lead you into La Rioja. The walk starts on a beautiful path through an oak forest before climbing gently to the pass, from where the wide Ebro valley opens up below. If the length of the day feels too challenging you can shorten it traveling to the pass with the luggage transfer in the morning.

Walking through the forest on the side of the valley, in the distance you will see the hill-top village of Laguardia. There is still some distance to cover as you walk beneath the cliffs through fields and vineyards to reach the walls of Laguardia. This pretty medieval town is entirely pedestrianized since cars would make the streets collapse into the hundreds of wine cellars below the streets.

Rest tonight in the heart of town enjoying the atmosphere and also the good food, wine and perhaps even a massage in the hotel spa.

DAY 8
Villabuena de Álava

Relax in picturesque Laguardia before walking your short final leg through vineyards in the warm afternoon light.

Walk Distance: 8km

                     (175m ascent/215m descent)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Viura

Have a relaxing morning and enjoy the town, walk the narrow streets, have a massage or visit one of the historic wineries. Have a snack in any of the dozens of little bars or a large lunch in a fancy restaurant. Explore the nearby lagoon or the megalithic dolmens… but remember that at some point in the afternoon you have to stroll across the sea of vineyards for a couple of hours to get to Villabuena de Álava. Along the way you will discover the variety of Rioja's vineyards, from small patches on the hills with gnarled, old stumps to modern vineyards prepared for mechanized harvest.

At your last hotel you will find a striking contrast of modern and traditional architecture. The great service and comfort of the hotel should mean a relaxing last couple of nights. At dinner you are treated to a tasting menu of new Basque cuisine, paired with selected local wines, to celebrate the end of your walk.

DAY 9
Villabuena de Álava

 

Soak up the atmosphere of La Rioja as you visit wineries, walk through vineyards, or ride bikes along the banks of the Ebro River.

Meals included: Breakfast, 

Accommodation: Hotel Viura

Today is yours to explore the area as you want, and visit one of the local village wineries. The village itself has many bodegas including the charming Luis Cañas winery. Just up the road is Bodegas Baigorri, an extraordinary piece of architecture and design, where gravity alone is used throughout the production process.

For a bit more activity we suggest that you walk or cycle a loop down to the Ebro and along the riverbank.

DAY 10
Depart

 

Transfer to Bilbao at a time to suit you in order to travel home or extend your trip.

Meals included: Breakfast

You are collected today for the transfer of around one hour to Bilbao. There are other options too as you can connect with the train in Logroño, from where there are good connections onwards to Barcelona and Madrid.

basque country rioja spain poppies

Where We Sleep

Quaint village luxury. The accommodations on this Spanish walking tour were carefully selected by Jo Ann Taylor and are in the style she has created and the Walking Connection has become known for.  They are very comfortable properties, but most importantly we believe they offer variety and character, making your accommodation a key part of your holiday. Your luggage will be transferred between locations and be waiting for you upon arrival.

Hotel Viura

 

El Viura wells up like a volcanic eruption next to the village church. Whimsically stacked cubes embedded in the hillside stone make first-time visitors feel like they're standing before a sculpture and not a building. 

Luxury accommodations in the "Land of Wine" leave nothing to be desired.

Casa Usategieta

 

This cozy bed and breakfast in the little village of Genevilla dates back to the second half of the 19th century and was completely renovated preserving its original charm. By principle mainly natural and ecological materials were used for the reconstruction.

Hotel Palacio Guendulain

 

Built in the 18th century by D. Sebastian de Eslava, Viceroy of New Granada (1685 – 1759), Palacio Guendulain is one of the most prominent buildings in Pamplona, located in the old part of town. 

Palacio Guendulain offers guests a unique balance between the comfort of a modern luxury hotel and the history and charm of an emblematic 18th century building.

People Love Traveling

with Walking Connection

"Everything was first class all the way and far exceeded my expectations.  Each day I kept thinking how can this get any better and each day it did!  I know you can't control the weather or animals, but everything seemed to fall into place as if you planned it.  The guides, the food, the service, and most of all our fellow travellers made this a trip of a lifetime.  I look forward to seeing everyone's pictures posted on your web site.  Looking forward to another trip!"

- Cindy R                  

"Its the places you go and the people I meet, that's why I have traveled with you for the last 30 years."

- Larry D., Arizona

Spain Rioja Basque Country vineyard wine

Questions?

 

Great! We love talking about walking in Spain! Give our FAQs below a quick look. You might find answers there. Or email us: info@WalkingConnection.com or call us at +1 (623) 561.0846 to speak with a team member. Either way, we are at your service, so please don't hesitate to reach out!

WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?

•Unique itinerary designed by Walking Connection co-founder, Jo Ann Taylor in partnership with our local team in Spain •Expert local driving guide for transfers and on-call assistance for daily walks •Private transfers from Bilbao to Bilbao •Daily meals, as indicated in itinerary •9 nights lodging at boutique hotels, as indicated in itinerary • GPS device and walking notes as well as a welcome briefing with a local representative at the start of your hike.  •Transportation of luggage each day •All activities detailed in itinerary •Detailed Know Before You Go information, including recommended website, reading lists, packing list, and weather forecast

WHAT DOES THE PRICE NOT INCLUDE?

•Local guide gratuities •All international and domestic airfares with tax (not listed in the above inclusions) •Airport transfers at beginning and end of trip •All items of a personal nature, including beverages and shopping •All passport and visa application fees, vaccination and medical consulting fees •All international departure taxes collected at airport of departure •Additional hotel stay pre- or post- scheduled itinerary •Early check-in or late check-out of rooms •Optional tours  •Photographs or phone calls •Discounts/Refunds on any unused portion of the tour •Travel Insurance •Anything that is not expressly stated in the itinerary or on the inclusion list above

WHAT IS THE CANCELATION POLICY?

Updated Covid Policy: Should you have to cancel your tour the following terms will apply: A full refund of your deposit will be given if we are notified 6 months prior to this trip. If your deposit was a credit from a previous trip postponement, the amount can only be used as a future credit. At the 6 month pre tour point we will evaluate the world situation as it pertains to Covid-19 and will inform you of any changes in our policy. For more information on this trip, please contact our office. 1 800 295-9255 or email

More Details!

 

Here is the fine print...

Would you like more details and the trip terms and conditions? 

Just click here, tell us what you are searching for. We'll answer your questions and email you a print and mobile friendly details page.

# # #

We're at your service...

Call us at (623) 561-0846 to speak with a Walking Connection Team Member. 

Walking Connection Newsletters
Newsletters to help you live healthier and go places!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
Your Reviews Matter!
NOW-Offset-Carbon-Icon.png
tap_badge250.png
LNT-logo.jpg

We are a minority and woman owned travel company, proudly established in the USA in1989.

All Images on this site are contributed and edited by Gene Taylor Photography.

Travel Agents | Frequently Asked Questions | Printed Tour Registration Form

The Walking Connection,  6635 W Happy Valley Rd A104-410, Glendale, AZ 85310 USA

Terms & ConditionsPrivacy Policy