EXPLORE NAVARRA, LA RIOJA AND BASQUE COAST

JOURNEY OVERVIEW

Pamplona – Olite – Haro – Burguete

– Elgorriaga – San Sebastián

Navarra is a small region of northern Spain with Pamplona at the center, making this city the ideal place to make our home base for travel in the north. We are an hour away from each of the destinations within this one week culinary adventure into the heart and soul of northern gastronomy. Each day we travel from Pamplona for a fabulous day trip to somewhere unique to try the most delicious food and wine. 

Discover the hidden culinary gems of the north with seasonally-inspired expedition to savor regional flavors, from the rustic to the rare. We venture off the beaten track to discover such joys as the renowned Iberian Basque pork and the fine wines of the Navarra wine region. We sample some of La Rioja’s famous and beloved wines at exclusive and beautiful wineries. Following in the footsteps of American writer Ernest Hemingway, as we travel along the edge of the legendary Irati forest and river, we savor the fresh water trout ‘a la Navarra’ in the Pyrenees. And last but not least, sample the exquisite seafood of the Atlantic coast, as we wend through the picturesque Basque-Navarra, stopping in fishing villages along the way to San Sebastian.

ANCIENT NAVARRA

Discover the most emblematic places of the north of Navarra and venture into its gastronomy, traditions and culture. Each magical corner of this region offers you a unique perspective into the culture.

PICTURESQUE VILLAGES

Enjoy traditional dishes in quaint restaurants, and leave the afternoon for relaxation, such a spa session at a mountain retreat after a day of exploration.

 

HIDDEN GEMS

Gastronomy is one of the highlights of this adventure into Navarra. Discover the hidden culinary gems of Navarra with a seasonally-inspired expedition to savor regional flavors, from the rustic to the rare.

 

DEEP INTO THE REGION

Find your chance to live the culture, traditions, and gastronomy through out-of-the-box experiences.

ITINERARY

Pamplona – Olite – Haro – Burguete

– Elgorriaga – San Sebastián

Day 1: Pamplona

Pamplona is the capital of Navarra – explore this jewel in the raw. Find out why Hemingway was so captivated by its year-round festive atmosphere. Our journey begins with a gastronomic experience, cooking in a private gastronomy club from the 1920s, learning how to make and then enjoy traditional Navarran dishes. Then we go on a running of the bulls walkabout, followed by bar-hopping to try the region’s famous and delicious pintxos. Relax on a café terrace where Hemingway himself once sat, and watch the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago stroll into town. Join us through the charming cobbled streets in the heart of the historic quarter to discover 2000 years of history and culture. We stay in the beautiful Castillo de Gorraiz. 

Day 2: Medieval Navarra

Our journey brings us to medieval Navarra with gastro-cultural stops along the way. Breakfast in Puente de la Reina calls for a café con leche and a local pastry just before we take a photo on the beautiful 11th Century Romanesque bridge that extends over the Arga River. We make a cultural stop in Artajona, the backdrop of the 1976 film Robin and Mary starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. Enjoy a gastronomic surprise in the southern village of Ujue, voted Navarra’s most beautiful village in 2018. To complete the morning, we make a private visit to a majestic Navarran winery. Late lunch is served in a medieval castle, which we later explore in a private visit. Have a meander on your own through the spectacular courtyards and royal chambers with enough time to go at your own speed. We transfer back to Pamplona for the evening. 

Day 3: Hemingway in La Rioja

We follow Hemingway to his favorite wineries in the world-renowned wine region of La Rioja. Our first stop is to the Bodegas Franco-Españolas winery, where Hemingway spent his time in 1956. This winery was founded in 1890 when the French settled in the region and began replanting Riojan vines. Here, you will become an expert on the iconic Bordón wine during a fantastic wine tasting. We move on to Lopez de Heredia where we get to continue our experience sampling some of the best wines in the region in one of the most charming, authentic bodegas around. Our third winery is none other than the Conde de los Andes, another one of Hemingway’s stops. Here we get an underground cellar walking tour and we will taste a 2005 Gran Reserva, among other wines, paired with delicious Iberian ham. Finally we have lunch at a gorgeous fourteenth century convent-turned four star hotel in Haro, the Hotel Los Agustinos. As we move around the area we will enjoy views of a rural and agricultural paradise along the way. As Hemingway once wrote, “I learned to understand Cézanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry.” We transfer back to Pamplona for the night. 

 

Day 4: Hemingway in the Pyrenees

Here we find ourselves traveling along a portion of the Saint James Way and the famed Irati forest, following in the footsteps of American writer Ernest Hemingway. Our Hemingway day is a delightful visit to the Navarran Pyrenees. We visit his favorite trout fishing spot on the Irati River near Aribe, a place you can imagine spending the afternoon daydreaming away. We travel to Burguete to the very hotel Hemingway stayed at when he came up here to relax. We visit his room, kept the same as when he stayed there, and have lunch in the dining room he describes in The Sun Also Rises. After a delicious home-cooked lunch, we transfer back to Pamplona for more treats: another pintxo tour of the Old Town. 

 

Day 5: Hidden Culinary Gems

We discover the hidden culinary gems of central Navarra with a seasonally inspired expedition, to savor regional flavors from the rustic to the rare. We venture off the beaten track to discover the renowned Basque Iberian pork, sought after by Michelin star restaurants around the world. We go deep into a country landscape that will stimulate your appetite, as well as your sense of adventure. Today’s journey takes us to a hermitage perched at the top of the legendary San Miguel de Aralar. Then we travel to learn about the Euskal-txerris, the free-range, acorn-fed Basque Iberian pigs, one of Spain’s best kept secrets. This is followed by a fourteen course sampling menu of this amazing pork product,  and later, a digestif at a quaint neighbouring cider farmhouse. We save the afternoon for relaxation in yet another hidden treasure of this region: the natural salty hot springs spa at the hotel Elgorriaga, where we offer you a half hour massage. We transfer back to Pamplona for the evening.  

 

What we offer in the fall and winter:

The cider season in Navarra is the perfect time to visit rural Navarran cider farmhouses, where enormous chestnut barrels spout a fine flow of amber cider. This flow pours from a distance into tilted glasses, in order to aerate the cider and create the best fizz – a truly authentic display of cider tradition. The outstanding local cuisine offers chorizo cooked in cider, a salt-cod omelette, fresh cod fried with peppers, char-grilled T-bone steaks, and desserts such as walnuts and Idiazábal sheep cheese. 

Day 6: Land to Sea Through Navarra

For a late-morning snack, we try what is considered to be the best tortilla de patata of Navarra in the precious village of Lesaka, also known as the Venice of the Mountains. Our day trip on the Atlantic coast continues with a visit to a magnificent Basque whaling boat museum and then a light lunch at the best restaurant in the fishing town of Pasajes. A romantic 1920s schooner awaits us to sail the Atlantic coast to San Sebastian. We go at our own pace, so there is time to jump into the clear blue ocean for a swim while docked in San Sebastian’s famous Playa de la Concha harbor. Our afternoon is completed at the top gastro bars in San Sebastian to enjoy what they do best – the delicious bite-size wonders called pintxos, and perfectly paired wines. We transfer back to Pamplona for the evening.