Cuisine and the Cantabrian Coast On this culinary trip we will
be based in San Sebastian, one of the most elegant cities of Spain, centre
of the new Basque cuisine. From In nearby Bilbao we visit the impressive
Taste of Spain This culinary tour gives the gourmet traveler a
first glance at the mosaic of cultures & cuisines that Spain represents:
Basque Country and Andalusia, completed with a visit to Madrid…more...
Break Basque Cuisine Cooking Tour Enjoy an unforgettable Cooking
Holiday of The Basque Country, situated in the green and wet northern Spain.
Its gastronomy is source of inspiration and influence for the high-standing
Basque country - otherwise known as Euskadi lies in the north of Spain.
It spans both sides of the French and Spanish borders, but culturally the
Basque country is very different from both of its neighbours. The
country's size and diversity makes it an ideal location for touring holidays
and short breaks. The three major cities; Vitoria, Bilbao and Sans Sebastian
each provide their own unique charm, while the coast has quaint towns and
small villages that are a joy to explore.
It is a country with its
own unique identity, beginning with its climate, which is wonderfully mild
all year round. It has managed to remain unspoilt from tourism and its
age-old cultural traditions have survived unchanged for centuries.
The Basque people have their
own language, Euskara, which is reported to be the oldest language in Europe,
although the majority speak Spanish.
The country is a place of
mystery with little being known of the Basque people's origins. They have
different ancestry to that of their Spanish neighbours and they have blood
group characteristics that distinguish them from the rest of Europe. They
share many characteristics with the Cro-Magnons, and they are thought to
be direct descendents of this ancient race who lived 40,000 years ago.
The Basque people take great
pride in their cuisine and it's considered by many to be the best in Spain.
It is renowned for its freshness and simplicity; no visit to the Basque
country is complete without sampling the tapas bars of San
Another place of interest
in the Basque country is the city of Bilbao. This is Spain's sixth largest
city and it serves as a great place to begin your exploration of the Basque
country. Many holidays to the Bilbao
are inspired by the controversial design of the Guggenheim Museum designed
by American architect Frank Gehry.
Vitoria in northern Spain
is less visited by British travellers than some of the Southern cities.
It's true the weather here is not as good as the South but with average
temperatures in the mid twenties during summer it is still a fantastic
place to consider visiting whilst you are in Spain. So if the sun doesn't
shine every day I would suggest hiring a car and seeing some of the fabulous
historic centers which make the Alava region so special.
Vitoria is the capital of
the Alava province and of the autonomous region of the Basque Country.
In fact Vitoria has two names it is officially Vitoria-Gasteiz. The Name
Nuevo Victoria was given to the city by King Sancho VI of Navarre, who
founded the modern city of Vitoria in 1181. Before this Vitoria as it stands
today didn't really exist, the closest inhabited area was the hamlet of
Gasteiz which stood on the hill around which Vitoria grew. Vitoria was
little more than a walled defensive outpost which belonged to the kingdom
Vitoria grew to the city
we know today mainly because of its strategic position between the table
lands of Castile and Northern Europe. The huge number of passing travellers
meant it became an important trade center. In the 13th century three weekly
markets took place and two very important annual fairs were held.
One of Vitoria's most interesting
historical elements was that the city held its own individual principals
that became laws. All inhabitants of Vitoria were declared equal, there
was no distinction between nobility and the general public.
Vitoria has a small airport
but you will find it difficult to get cheap flights into the city. Most
travellers fly to Bilbao airport. Bilbao is only 66 kilometres away from
Vitoria and is a relatively easy drive on good roads. If you arrive at
Bilbao airport I would definitely suggest hiring a car. This kind of service
is a lot cheaper than in the UK. In fact you can often save money during
your stay by hiring a car because you will avoid transfer costs and transport
costs during your stay.
A short distance away is
the town of Mendoza where you can visit the medieval tower and the dungeons
below. The medieval tower discovered in Donana is now known to have been
a dungeon used for prisoners and perhaps lovers in the Palace. The latter
possibility has been strengthened with the discovery of two bodies. A legend
says that courtesans kept their lovers there until death.
If you have had enough of
narrow cobbled winding streets and this city steeped in history an escape
to Garaio will come as a welcome escape. Your hire car will be perfect
for a day trip Garaio it is only 15 kilometres away, here you'll find all
of the activities which you can't enjoy in the city. Cycling, mountain
biking, hill walking, sailing and canoeing are all possible in the park.
For any serious twitchers
out there make sure you visit the Mendixur Bird Observatory.
These outdoor parks have
facilities for swimming, out door bars, picnics and space to enjoy the
beautiful countryside in this area of Spain.
Ensure you pre book your
hire car as far in advance as possible before your trip. Remember to take
into account the luggage you will be taking with you when you book the
car. If you're taking sports equipment make sure it will fit in with your
luggage. A smaller car will undoubtedly be cheaper if you are not planning
to use you car very much this will be best; but there's nothing quite like
travelling around Spain in the luxury of a convertible hire car.
de Hondarribia, Hondarribia, Guipúzcoa Founded by the Navarrese
king Sancho Abarca in the 10th c., this Parador rises up in a beautiful
castle which maintains the structure of a medieval fortress in a monumental,
coastal setting. Its defensive appearance, with thick walls, conceals an
interior recovered with mastery. The immense, naked stone of the
courtyard stands out, as do the beautiful views of the French coast and
the sea, which the guest can contemplate from the splendid terrace or from
some bedrooms. Beautiful nooks and crannies, spaces adorned with arches,
wrought iron and coffered ceilings envelop the traveller in an atmosphere
of indescribable beauty. Lances, cannons and armour make up the interior
decoration, offering an air of elegance in a most comfortable atmosphere.
General Alava Hotel, Vitoria AC General Alava is located
in the town of Vitoria, Spain, 800 metres from the historic old town and
the Cathedral of Santa Maria. Bilbao is 50 kilometres away. AC General
Alava is a 10-storey high-rise hotel featuring contemporary architecture.
Multilingual staff at the 24-hour front desk can offer currency exchange,
tour assistance, and the use of a safe-deposit box. The public areas
have wireless Internet access, and there is limited-hours room service.
Restaurant El Figon serves regional specialities and Spanish dishes in
a contemporary setting, and features show cooking. The old town of
Vitoria-Gasteiz, 800 metres from the hotel, centres on the Cathedral of
Santa Maria. The winding streets offer an authentic taste of old Spain.
Hotel Gasteiz, Vitoria Explore the city's 400 historic
buildings including the Santa Maria Cathedral, the Casa del Cordón,
and the Playing Card Museum in an old Basque home. In Vitoria-Gasteiz,
the sounds of jazz wrap themselves around medieval architecture and echo
through the old quarter during the week long international jazz festival
in July. End your day with a beautiful meal in the hotel restaurant where
the chefs pride themselves in their traditional, dishes made with only
fresh, local seasonal ingredients. The Barcelo Hotel Gasteiz features a
restaurant, piano bar, and disco. Artagan - Savor Basque and international
specialties in the hotel's restaurant. The Barcelo Hotel Gasteiz features
150 guestrooms; rooms can accommodate a maximum of three people.
Inn Express Vitoria Just 6 km from the centre
of Vitoria Gasteiz, this modern hotel helps you begin the day with a wholesome
complimentary breakfast and has stylish rooms. Sleep well in the sleek
rooms of the Holiday Inn Express Vitoria which have smart, en-suite bathrooms
and cheerful additions of bold colour in the modern prints which hang on
the bedroom walls. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and wake up with
an invigorating power shower. Located close to the village of Ariñez
and with excellent communications to surrounding cities, the Holiday Express
Vitoria is perfect for exploring the Basque region or passing through to
the rest of Spain. In 6 minutes, you can browse the charming centre of
Vitoria Gasteiz. In addition, you can easily access the Jundiz industrial