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Guggenheim and Basque Coast

  • San Sebastián
  • Culture

A tour of a section of Basque Highway 101 through the greatest hits of the Basque coast (Did someone say “Dragonstone”?), arriving at the titanium museum that put Bilbao on the map. Spoiler alert: you’ll try a sport you’ve never played.

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Participants

From 2 to 7 person/s

Price

Price 2 pax: 485€
Extra person: +105€
Child (10-17) +65€

Child under 10: free

For groups bigger than 6 people contact us 

Not included:

Meals, drinks and tickets not listed above

Duration

From 8h to 9h

INCLUDED

Professional local guide

Private transport

Guggenheim Museum tickets

Water

 

DEPARTURES

Private tour 9:00am

 

LOCATIONS

Gernika, Urdaibai, Mundaka, Mirador de San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Bilbao Guggenheim

 

Where & how

A day trip in a van through back roads of the Basque coast, visiting historic town and unique natural landscapes, ending up in the most cosmopolitan city in the Basque Country. The road has curves (a few) but there will be plenty of stops to breathe the sea air and contemplate the horizon.

First course  

The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote: “Gernika is the happiest town in the world. Their affairs are governed by a board of peasants that meets under an oak tree and always makes the fairest decisions ”. And here we go, to the city bombed by Nazi planes in 1937 that inspired one of the most well-known paintings in the world, Picasso’s mural-sized “Guernica”. We will visit the city and, of course, the tree under which the (we hope) “fairer decisions” are made.   

Second course  

Memorize this name: ‘Urdaibai’ and try to pronounce it well (it’s not easy, we know) because you won’t forget it. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Urdaibai is a large estuary at which mountains, rivers, the sea and large stretches of sand come together. Depending on the tide and time of day, the landscape (and the dozens of birds that inhabit it) may be radically different. We’ll also stop at Mundaka, a hot spot on the world's ‘surfaris’ routes: its beach has one of the most (possibly the most) perfect waves on the planet, with a left-hand break. At the fronton of this adorable fishing village, we’ll challenge you to a Basque pelota match - the real thing, played with bare hands and a ball that looks like stone.

Third course  

Some call it “Dragonstone,” but its name is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, an islet connected to the ground by a line of 241 stairs and crowned by a hermitage. Gaztelugatxe became ultra-famous after appearing in the Games Of Thrones series disguised as Dragonstone: Though the 'castle' is a CGI effect, everything else (dizzying cliffs, sharp rocks, flocks of birds, the noise of the sea ...) is rabidly real .

Dessert  

The people of Bilbao have always claimed that their city was the capital of the world. When the Guggenheim museum opened in 1997, that prophecy came true and the building became an architectural phenomenon whose influence has spilled over into the rest of the city. The people of Bilbao say that the museum is actually the “doghouse” of Puppy, the iconic statue that welcomes you at the entrance (Basque ironic mode on). We’ll get to know the building and its main works of contemporary art. 

The End

A long day traveling the Basque coast can only end one way: C-O-C-I-N-A V-A-S-C-A. Either going for pintxos, or in a restaurant whose menu combines the best product with Basque tradition and new culinary techniques. You choose.

Book the experience Guggenheim and Basque Coast

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Guggenheim and Basque Coast: 2017-11-18

Four of us booked Ikusnahi for a day trip from San Sebastian/Donostia, taking in Bilbao (Guggenheim), the beach at Zumaia (amazing geology, Game of Thrones location) and Getaria (fabulous lunch, charming town). Mikel was a fantastic guide, ferrying us around in great comfort and giving us deep local insight that no amount of research and preparation would have equalled. He was also great fun; a delight to spend the day with. This tour would be worth the money if only to skip the queue at the Guggenheim! While hundreds of people waited who knows how long in a queue snaking all the way back to, and along, the main road, Mikel walked us around the building, gave us an overview of its history and the urban renewal it triggered, then slipped us in the group door with direct access to the galleries. We loved how completely flexible and responsive Ikusnahi was about building our itinerary after Bilbao. (I worked by email with Ernes to plan things) We went for a couple of charming coastal villages en route back to Donostia. The rock formations of the cliffs above Zumaia are a blockbuster sight, even if you're not a Game of Thrones fan. But even better for us when we learned we were going to the location of Dragonstone beach! Getaria is a fascinating town to wander around in. We had a lingering lunch at Kaia Kaipe, the only time during our whole trip we were completely surrounded by locals. 20 years ago I couldn't have imagined ""wasting"" two prime sightseeing hours lingering over lunch, much less paying for a guide to eat with me. Now I realise this is a precious and unique part of travelling. Food IS culture, and you can never really understand it unless you dive in with a local. Mikel guided us through what to order (including specialities that were off menu), explained the nuances of the local txakoli wine and, inspired by the characters around us, told us interesting stories of Basque culture and family life. The biggest benefit of working with Ikusnahi was having our eyes opened the the richness of the Basque Country, and its distinct differences from Spain. I came on our long weekend to Donostia thinking it was all going to be about the food, and there wasn't much sightseeing to be done. After our touring day, I'm thinking about returning to the region for a 2-week holiday (and am happily devouring Mikel's book pick: A Basque History of the World). One thing we would have done differently: If your arrival time is before noon, book Ikusnahi for an airport pickup and do Bilbao and the Guggenheim on your arrival day, en route to Donostia. Then book them for another day, to have an even deeper exploration of this fascinating country-that's-not-a-country.

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