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8 days
  • Food and wine discovery
  • Behind the scenes visits
  • Market and City Tours
  • Day walk on the Camino
  • 7 nights boutique hotel based in San Sebastian
  • 4 Dinners
  • 5 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts





Trip Code: BGG

Trip highlights

  • Escorted by the author, journalist and Basque food enthusiast Ben Groundwater
  • Dinner at a 3 Michelin star restaurant
  • An insiders tour of the best foodie finds
  • Handpicked restaurants you'll be talking about for years to come
  • San Sebastian food market tour with local chef
  • Pinxtos tour through San Sebastian's Old Town
  • Basque wine tasting
  • Visit Les Halles market in St Jean de Luz
  • Entrance to the museum of fashion house Balenciaga in Getaria
  • Art walk led by local San Sebastian artist
  • Walk a section of the Camino Norte pilgrimage path
  • Craft beer tasting in Gros

Join Ben Groundwater, Australia’s favourite travel journalist to discover the hidden gems he uncovered during his eighteen month sabbatical in the Basque region. Ben has come to know and love the food culture of the Basque people, and has been able to experience so many of the area’s culinary touchstones – which, for the first time, he is about to share on this deeply personal journey.

One of Spain’s most attractive and sophisticated cities, San Sebastian is a foodie’s paradise, the home of more Michelin stars per capita than any other area in Europe, and the heartland of both traditional and modern Basque cuisine. Situated on the seafood-rich Bay of Biscay, the beaches of La Concha and Zurriola are key attractions here, while the city’s Belle Epoque architecture makes for many a pleasurable stroll. San Sebastian’s Parte Vieja – the old town – and the neighbourhood of Gros are filled with pintxos bars, casual eateries where bite-sized food is elevated to an incredible level. To kick off our deep-dive into Basque gastronomy, we will sample some of the finest bites the city has to offer during a pintxos tour of the Parte Vieja, calling past traditional stalwarts, as well as bars pushing the boundaries with modern cuisine. And, of course, we’ll enjoy a few glasses of Rioja or local txakoli wine to wash it down.

Meals:  D

How can one small town have so much to offer? You will be pondering this after today’s visit to Getaria, a lovely coastal village west of San Sebastian. This is the birthplace of two very famous people: Juan Sebastian Elcano, the first man to circumnavigate the globe, and Cristobal Balenciaga, founder of the eponymous fashion label. Getaria is also the home of an iconic Basque dish – whole fresh turbot roasted over hot coals – and today, after a visit to the Balenciaga Museum, we will experience this simple and yet incredible dish at a high-end seafood restaurant. There’s also the chance to sample locally caught anchovies and crabs, as well as another product Getaria is famous for, txakoli wine. Back in San Sebastian tonight, there’s free time to explore on your own.

Meals:  B,L

We kick off today with a unique experience, joining a local San Sebastian chef for her morning trip to the local markets, to see where all of the Basque Country’s best produce is sourced (and enjoying a few snacks along the way). San Sebastian’s markets have been around for hundreds of years, and they’re both social gathering places and purveyors of the absolute finest meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables and cheeses. This afternoon, we’ll enjoy a private tasting of Basque wines at a local bar, with a few pintxos to match. And then, an experience like no other: dinner at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, one that is the birthplace of modern Basque cuisine, and still its pinnacle. This restaurant is an icon in the city and around the world, and we will be enjoying a full degustation menu, with wines selected by the in-house sommelier.

Meals:  B,D

Lace up your hiking boots this morning, because we’re heading out to walk a section of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrims’ trail. This section, known as the Camino del Norte, follows Spain’s northern coast, and we’ll be walking a few hours to the sleepy fishing village of Pasaia. Here, we will board a small local ferry, before a special lunch at a seafood restaurant that has been plying its trade on the riverbank here for more than 135 years. The fish and other seafood here is prepared traditionally and yet with incredible skill, and it goes perfectly with a few glasses of local white wine. After a bus ride back to San Sebastian (and a traditional siesta), we’ll spend tonight at a traditional Basque ciderhouse, enjoying a classic set-menu dinner of local favourites, along with all the cider you can drink, poured directly from the barrels – a unique Basque experience that can’t be missed.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we cross into France to pay a visit to “Pays Basque”, the French Basque Country, an area that has so much in common with its Spanish neighbour, and yet offers a unique and fascinating contrast. Our destination this morning is Les Halles, a 150-year-old covered market in St-Jean-de-Luz, where we’ll shop for local cheese, charcuterie, terrines and foie gras and maybe even a few oysters, before re-crossing the border to enjoy a long lunch at a farmhouse restaurant. This farm is the only producer of wagyu beef in Spain, and that specialty ingredient (perfectly paired with a hefty Rioja) features heavily in this traditional, though high-end restaurant set in gorgeous countryside. Tonight, a free evening to do your own pintxos crawl, or enjoy some of that French market produce.

Meals:  B,L

This morning we’re paying a visit to the world’s oldest covered food market (more than 750 years old!) in nearby Tolosa. The produce on offer here comes directly from local farms, and includes plenty of seasonal fruit and vegetables, as well as a huge range of mountain cheeses, and famed Tolosa beans. After the market visit, we’re booked in for lunch at the Basque Country’s premier steakhouse, a historic restaurant that pioneered the idea of cooking high-end beef over coals, way back in the 1950s. This is another icon of the region, and it serves some of the best steak you will have in your life. Back in San Sebastian this evening, join us at a local bar for a private tasting of Basque Country craft beers, plus a few pintxos, before enjoying a free evening.

Meals:  B,L

San Sebastian might be famous for its food, but this is also a well-known artistic hub, with numerous public artworks scattered throughout the city. This morning, local artist Dan Feit will take us on a walking tour of the city, explaining his favourite works, and the stories behind them. Dan will then join us for a light lunch of pintxos in the Old Town. Tonight, we’re having our farewell dinner at a classic Basque restaurant with a beautiful view over San Sebastian. At this restaurant, everything we’ve come to know and love about the Basque Country comes together, from the warm hospitality to the menu mixing beloved classics with modern gastronomy, paired with beautiful wine. This is the perfect place to enjoy one more incredible meal before bidding goodbye to new friends.

Meals:  B,L,D

Own departure from San Sebastian.

Meals:  B


  • Escorted by Ben Groundwater
  • 7 nights boutique hotel accommodation in San Sebastian on a twin share basis
  • 4 dinners including at a local cider house & at a 3 Michelin star restaurant
  • 5 sumptuous lunches at some of the regions finest restaurants
  • Evening pinxtos crawl
  • Basque wine tasting at a local San Sebastian bar
  • Craft beer tasting in San Sebastian
  • Visit San Sebastian market with a local chef
  • Day walk on the ancient pilgrimage path, the Camino del Norte
  • Visit the 150 year old Les Halles market in St Jean de Luz
  • Art walk through San Sebastian with local artist
  • Day excursion to Guetaria with local guide
  • Day excursion to St Jean de Luz with local guide
  • Entrance fee for Balenciaga museum
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Visit the market near Tolosa
  • An insiders guide written by Ben with all his favourite places to eat & shop in San Sebastian.

  • Travel to & from San Sebastian
  • Meals not noted on itinerary
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)

About Your Leader

Ben Groundwater tucking in to a delicious meal&#160;-&#160;<i>Photo:&#160;Ben Groundwater</i>

Ben Groundwater is one of Australia’s best-known travel and food writers, and someone who holds a deep passion for the Basque Country of Spain and lived for 18 months in the beautiful town of San Sebastian.

Ben is a newspaper columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, a feature writer, a broadcaster, and the author of five books. He loves to combine his twin passions, travel and food, and is so excited to share the Basque culinary experiences that were most memorable and formative during his time living in this unique area.


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