Mountainous backdrop in La Rioja, Spain.
Brand New!

Hike, E-bike & Wine in Spain's Basque Country

5 nights
Easy

The ultimate foodie trip in Spain: hiking and biking the Rioja Wine Route and 'pintxo-hopping' in stunning San Sebastian

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with local, expert, English-speaking guides and sommeliers

Accommodation

4 nights in a hotel and winery, 1 night in a boutique hotel

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

E-bikes and helmets

Meals

5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, a welcome dinner & a farewell pintxo bar tour

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

Mountainous backdrop in La Rioja, Spain.
Wine tasting session in La Rioja, Spain.
The Atlantic Coast in Basque Country, Spain
Hiker past the famous signposts of the Camino de Santiago, Spain.
Selection of pintxos in San Sebastian, Spain.
Sailing boats crossing Santa Clara island, San Sebastian, Spain

Hike through the best vineyard trails, along the epic Basque coastline, and tackle a section of the famed Camino de Santiago

Dip into La Rioja to cycle a river trail through olive groves and beneath towering rock formations, ending with a soak in dreamy thermal pools

Bunk down in a winery hotel deep in Basque Country, sampling wines among idyllic rural landscapes with knowledgeable guides

Tuck into delicious regional food in local restaurants and bounce around San Sebastian’s famous pintxo bars – a true paradise for food lovers

Key Information

Day 1

Welcome to Basque Country

Hotel Eguren Ugarte, Spain

Touch down at Bilbao Airport – or roll into the train station if you are coming in via rail – and meet up with your host. Settle in for the scenic 90-minute ride south through rural Basque Country, as you make your way towards Rioja Alavesa in the Rioja wine region. You'll get your first glimpses of rolling vineyards and the area's quaint architecture before arriving at Eguren Ugarte – a wonderful hotel and winery set amongst stunning scenery, with its own vineyards and wine cellar. This is your base for the next four nights, so settle in, take a stroll around the vineyards and relax before enjoying a welcome dinner and wine tasting. You'll sample wines made directly in the winery here.

Day 2

Hike the Basque Country's Rioja Wine Route and have lunch in a wine cellar

Haro, Spain.

Hiking

3-4hrs · 10km · 150m up · 150m down

Enjoy breakfast taking in the scenery from your hotel, then get the legs moving as you head off to explore the hiking trails of La Rioja Wine Route. The Rioja wine region stretches from Rioja Alavesa in Basque Country and down into the neighbouring region of La Rioja, and today's trails meander through rural landscapes and vineyards, with mountains in the distance creating the backdrop. You'll pass the lagoons of Laguardia, a protected biosphere and one of the world's most important wetlands for migratory birds. Your hike takes you along the GR38 trail, also known as the 'Wine and Fish Route' – an ancient trade route between the lands of La Rioja and the seaports of the coast of Bizkaia, near Bilbao. After the hike, you'll head to some wineries for a guided tour of the vineyards and winemaking processes, with obligatory wine tastings and a magnificent homemade meal in the winery itself.

Day 3

E-biking, hot springs and bar-hopping in La Rioja

Two people relaxing in natural hot springs in Arnedillo, La Rioja, Spain

E-bike

3-4hrs · 23km · 300m up · 70m down

Cross into the region of La Rioja to explore further today, heading south to the expansive valley of the Cidacos River. Here, you'll hop on an e-bike and hit the Via Verde del Cidacos – a beautiful meandering gravel cycling trail. The route will see you pedalling past lush groves on the banks of the Cidacos River, through farmland, almond and olive orchards before reaching the towering rock formations of Arnedillo which flank the trail. At Arnedillo, you'll take a leisurely 600m stroll along the banks of the Cidacos River to a series of natural thermal hot springs with a mountainous backdrop. The water temperature in the pools ranges from 38-48ºC, progressively heating as you move through the pools. You can swim in the river to alternate between hot and cold. Soak away in this dreamy spot, eventually drying off and popping into a restaurant in Arnedillo for a late tapas lunch, Spanish style. Late afternoon you'll head to Logroño, a vibrant city rich in history, culture, and gastronomy. Stroll around the lively streets, including Laurel Street in the historic centre, renowned for its many tapas and pintxos bars.

Day 4

Hike a section of the Camino de Santiago

Hikers on a section of the long distance hiking trail, Camino de Santiago, Spain.

Hiking

4hrs · 14km · 250m up · 250m down

Another epic hike awaits today to shake off any lethargy from your time tasting pintxos in the bars last night. A short morning transfer to Santo Domingo de La Calzada will see you at the trailhead to pick up a section of the Camino de Santiago – the Way of St James. The hike runs through a transition zone from the plains of the Oja River to the foothills of the Sierra de La Demanda. The iconic waymarkers of the Camino de Santiago point the way along this ancient route which hundreds of thousands of pilgrims complete each year, though this section is much quieter than those on other parts of the huge trail. The route finishes up in Ezcaray, a charming town nestled at the foot of the majestic Sierra de la Demanda mountains. Linger here for a while and decide whether to have dinner here or perhaps back at the hotel to soak up the last of your time there, as you'll be departing for the Basque Coast tomorrow.

Day 5

Hike the coast and sample the best pintxos in San Sebastian

A man in Algorri cove on the coast in the Zumaia flysch, Gipuzkoa. Basque Country

Hiking

4hrs · 16km · 420m up · 420m down

Tuck into one last breakfast at your base before you say goodbye, packing up and hitting the road north to Basque Country's spectacular Atlantic coastline. You'll be hiking a section of the GR121 – known as the Flysch Route – a coastal trail that runs between Deba and Zumaia, with amazing scenery as the mountains reach the wild Atlantic Ocean. Follow the trail down to sea level at points to explore the wild stretches of beach beneath the rugged cliffs overlooking the Bay of Biscay. In the afternoon, you'll head on to the fantastic city of San Sebastian. This is one of Spain's absolute gems – an absurdly beautiful city nestled in a natural bay with three urban beaches, street musicians, parks, promenades and the famous old town. This evening you'll be joined by a local guide to explore San Sebastian's famous pintxos bars hidden in its labyrinth of old, cobbled streets. The atmosphere is incredible as food and drink lovers from all over the world partake in one of the planet's most memorable food experiences. Tuck into a variety of pintxos as you hop from bar to bar, all washed down with local beers and wines, and treat yourself to a slice of Basque cheesecake, invented right here in San Sebastian. Farewell meals don't get any better than this.

Day 6

¡Adios amigos!

A nice shorebreak during sunset at the Zurriola beach of San Sebastian.

Your trip comes to an end today as your host takes the group back to Bilbao Airport in the late morning, in time for onward flights home. If you are staying on longer in Spain, you can say goodbye to your fellow adventures and linger longer in San Sebastian, or get dropped off at the train station in central Bilbao if you are travelling elsewhere by rail. Maybe head west for some hiking in the Picos de Europa or a join a wild ride exploring the mountains and coast of Asturias.

Day 1

Hotel & Winery · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 4

Hotel & Winery · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Boutique Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Pintxos served up in San Sebastian, Spain.

Where to start?! This trip is a veritable foodie's dream. You'll sample a huge variety of local specialities at your hotel base, local restaurants, wineries and San Sebastian's pintxo bars. Breakfasts at your hotel & winery base is a buffet of fruit, local pastries and baked goods, meats, cheeses, and hot options of eggs and mushrooms. The house-pressed olive oil is always on display for making the perfect pan con tomate.

You'll have a packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit and snacks during the hikes on the Camino de Santiago on day 4 and the coastal hike on day 5. The lunch in Arnedillo will be tapas style with dishes such as croquetas, Spanish tortilla, patatas bravas and pimientos padron, while another lunch is taken at an award-winning winery with a strong emphasis on sourcing all the ingredients from within a few kilometre radius. You'll enjoy wine-tasting with your lunch here.

A welcome dinner and wine tasting at your base is included, after a stroll around their own vineyards and enormous wine cellar. Other dinners not included will be taken in nearby towns such as Haro (the wine capital of La Rioja), Ezcaray and Logroño. You'll be able to stroll the picturesque streets exploring the best options, with some help from your guides to choose the best spots. Budget €15-20 for each of the 3 dinners which aren't included (not including alcoholic drinks).

Finally, the foodie pinnacle of this trip is a farewell tour of San Sebastian's famous pintxo bars in the city's old town. This is a quintessential foodie experience, and some of the most fun you can have whilst also trying out serious food culture and fine dining. You'll hop from bar-to-bar, sampling pintxos; small finger foods served at bars and taverns throughout Northern Spain, and the backbone of the Basque food culture, all washed down with local beers and wines, including the ever-present, delicious and remarkably affordable Rioja. As if that wasn't enough, San Sebastian is also the birth place of Basque Cheesecake - you can even head for a slice at the pintxo bar that invented it.

See the FAQ 'What are Pintxos?' for some examples of what to expect.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form. If you are a strict vegan however, this might not be the trip for you. Spanish food culture is very meat and dairy heavy. Options will be limited, and the ever-presence of meat on neighbouring diners' plates in the restaurants and pintxo bars might diminish the overall experience for vegans of a more sensitive persuasion.

What is the accommodation like?

Hotel Eguren Ugarte

You'll spend four nights at the stunning Eguren Ugarte Hotel & Winery, located a short distance outside of Laguardia. The hotel surrounded by vineyards in every direction, and has an enormous wine cellar storing the fruits of the winery's labours. The on-site Vitorino Eguren restaurant serves a range of traditional dishes and a gourmet dinner, which you'll experience on your first evening here, along with wine tasting. There is also a wine shop and a lovely terrace overlooking the vineyards. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

Room at Hotel Antik, San Sebastian
San Sebastian

You'll also spend a night in San Sebastian at the end of your trip, after your pintxo bar escapades in the old town. Hotel Antik is a charming modern boutique hotel in the west of the city, a short taxi ride or a 20-minute stroll into the heart of the action. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, a private room can be booked for an extra charge – see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

This trip has been rated as Easy

No previous cycling experience is needed, only an average level of fitness and a fondness for being outside most of the day. Although the itinerary is quite busy to make the most of the time in the Basque Country, all activities will be conducted at a leisurely pace and are not particularly challenging. Hiking will mainly follow interior and coastal paths where a few hills can be expected - you should be comfortable hiking up to 4 hours, sometimes in hot weather in June and September.

The trip includes a scenic ride on e-bikes – bicycles with battery-powered assistance that comes via pedalling. The route will include some uphill sections and is mostly along easy gravel paths with the odd quiet road section in a rural part of Spain. No previous experience is needed, but you must feel comfortable on two wheels.

What if i need to skip an activity?

You can skip any activity you like on this trip. If you're not feeling up to anything at any stage, just speak to your guides. You are spending four nights in the same place on this trip, so some downtime is possible at the hotel base if you skip an activity.

What will I need to carry?

Your larger bag suitable for all your belongings can remain in the hotel base for the first four nights, and it will then be transported to San Sebastian for you. You'll just need a small rucksack to carry personal items during each day of hiking and biking.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Bilbao Airport (BIO)

13:00 on Day 1

Ends

Bilbao Airport (BIO)

12:00 on Day 6

Transfers

You'll need to arrive at Bilbao Airport by 13:00 on Day 1, in order to join the group transfer from Bilbao Airport to your hotel base which is about an hour and a half away, near Laguardia. On Day 6, your host will provide a group transfer from San Sebastian back to Bilbao Airport, dropping you off at approximately midday.

If you are arriving/departing at different times or on different days to the start days, your host can arrange private airport transfers for an additional charge, subject to availability. Please see Optional Extras for prices.

Travel options

Bilbao Airport is accessible via various direct flights from the UK and mainland Europe. Flights from outside of Europe are typically indirect.

UK travellers with a bit more time (and possibly a vehicle) on their hands can travel to the Basque Country using the popular Portsmouth-Santander ferry route. Rail travellers can get to Bilbao's main railway station – Bilbao Abando – which is well connected to various major cities in Spain.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Hardtail E-bikes and helmets

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for kitbag or rucksack

CLOTHES

  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof trousers
  • Fleece jacket or similar in case of chilly evenings in April, May or October
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Sleepwear
  • Hiking boots or trail runners (worn-in)
  • Trainers to cycle in
  • Flip flops or sandals for the thermal pools

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel - for use at the thermal pools and on the beaches in San Sebastian
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre (or x2)
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Single room in San Sebastian

Payable Before Departure

Single room in San Sebastian

Per Night

Twin/double room in San Sebastian

Payable Before Departure

Twin/double room in San Sebastian

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 171kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Tapas and pintxos are both traditional Spanish ways of eating with very different origins, presentations and styles.

Tapas is the well-known 'small plate' form of Spanish dining, with options varying from olives and cheeses to squid and shrimp, hot and cold dishes, and can vary from a simple snack to a more elaborate mini-meal. The term tapas means 'covers' or 'lids' in Spanish, alluding to the origin story where slices of bread or meat were used to cover drinks to protect them from flies.

Pintxos (also spelled – and pronounced – 'pinchos') are less well-known and quite different. These are small snacks or appetisers usually served in bars in northern Spain, particularly in the Basque Country. The Basque word pintxo comes from the Spanish word pincho, which means 'spike' or 'skewer', as these snacks are often held together by a skewer or toothpick. While pintxos are similar to tapas in that they are small dishes served in Spanish bars, pintxos are generally more elaborate and feature a variety of ingredients piled on top of a slice of bread. Pintxos are more synonymous with the finer dining food scene to be found in San Sebastian and other parts of northern Spain.

Pintxos are typically displayed on the bar counter, and you select what you want by pointing. They are generally eaten in one or two bites, often while standing at the bar. In the Basque region, it is common to 'pintxo-hop' – moving from bar to bar, having a small drink and a pintxo at each stop. In some bars in this region, a customer's bill is calculated by counting the number and colour of the toothpicks that they have accumulated.

Pintxos can include a wide range of ingredients such as seafood, meats, cheeses, vegetables, and sauces, with hot or cold options. Some examples of pintxos that you will find on your hopping escapades are listed below:

Gilda: an anchovy, an olive, and a pickled guindilla pepper on a skewer. One of the simplest and most traditional pintxos, named after a Rita Hayworth character.

Pintxos Morunos: typically made with marinated pork (although chicken or lamb can also be used), meat is marinated in a mixture of paprika, cumin, coriander, and garlic, then grilled and served on a skewer.

Tortilla Española: like the classic tapas dish, this is a thick omelette made with potatoes and onions, served at room temperature; but for a pintxo a small slice of tortilla is cut and placed on a piece of bread.

Pintxos de Chorizo y Queso: spicy chorizo and a slice of creamy cheese on a piece of crusty bread.

Pintxos de Gambas: cooked prawns in olive oil with garlic and chilli, skewered with a piece of bread and a slice of roasted red pepper.

Bacalao a la Vizcaina: a more complex pintxo of cod cooked in a sauce made from onions, red peppers, and tomatoes, served on a small piece of bread.

Your host is an expert in all things Northern Spain, running many other Much Better Adventures in the area over the years – so if weather affects anything on this trip, they have ample knowledge of alternatives to pivot to. We don't run this trip in July and August, as the heat can make active adventures less enjoyable.

There will be two guides on the trip for all group sizes of six and above; there will be one guide for groups of fewer than six adventurers.

You'll have the same base for four of the five nights on this trip, so your main luggage can remain there until your final night in San Sebastian, when your luggage will be transferred to the hotel there.

We recommend checking out the country specific information and also talking to a travel nurse.

Tap water is perfectly safe to drink in this part of Spain. Bring along a water bottle to fill up throughout the trip to take with you on the activities.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion and are non-compulsory on this trip. Of course, if you feel that your guides provided an exceptional experience then you are welcome to tip as much as you feel is appropriate. You should factor in tipping 10% on top of the bill in any bars and restaurants during the trip.

AWAITING ANSWER FROM HOST - Need make and model of bikes and ideally the year of the model too.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Our team of Adventure Hunters create exclusive adventures with highly vetted, specialist hosts. We only work with independent, local in-destination experts who know the very best places to explore and how to stay safe. Read more information about the local teams we partner with.

Private trip

Got questions? We've got answers

Our friendly and expert team is on hand to help you choose one of our adventures. So if you want answers to questions like "Who else is going?" or anything else about this trip – please get in touch.

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Connect before you go

You'll be invited to join a WhatsApp group to get to know each other before your big adventure together. Full details

DEPARTURE DATES

April 2025

Sunday • 20th April 2025

to Friday • 25th April 2025
Guaranteed to run
New Trip Offer - Next 2 spots available at 10% off
Private trip

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Forget complex logistics, we've taken care of all the details to ensure a hassle-free get together. All of the adventure, none of the faff.

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