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“You could make the argument that there is no better place to eat in Europe than the city of San Sebastián. There are more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita here than anywhere on Earth, but even the everyday joints are superb. The love of food, the insistence on the very best ingredients, is fundamental to the culture and to life here.”
—Anthony Bourdain

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What You’ll Love About Your Week in Spain’s Basque Region & Rioja

Join us as we travel to San Sebastian, Rioja & the Basque Region! Tucked away in Northeast Spain where the mountains meet the sea, you will discover a true gastronomy paradise. With our chef experts Chef Deborah Hansen of Taberna de Haro and Chef Tracy Chang of PAGU (see information below), you’ll immerse yourself in Basque culture and indulge in the best the region has to offer—extraordinary seasonal cuisine, top quality ingredients, stunning coastline, charming architecture, and more!

Enjoy a 7-night stay at the luxurious Maria Cristina Hotel in the heart of San Sebastian, with daily explorations of Spanish Basque Country’s highlights in gastronomy, history, and culture. We will visit pioneering Rioja wine producer R. Lopez de Heredia; learn about local cheese making; tour the Guggenheim in Bilbao; cook and dine at one of San Sebastian’s exclusive Gastronomic Societies; and learn from our chefs throughout the week. You’ll fall in love with eating pintxos, drinking local wine and cider, and soaking up the true essence of Basque culture and cuisine.

Registered Dietitians can earn continuing education credits.

Questions?  Please read our Travel FAQ here. To add your name to the waitlist, please call us at (617) 896-4861, or email us at Travel@OldwaysPT.org

Day-by-Day in San Sebastian, Rioja & Basque Region

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Check in and get settled, then join us for a welcome session and wine tasting followed by dinner in beautiful San Sebastian.

 

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Monday, March 20, 2023

Get oriented on our walking food and culture tour of San Sebastian, followed by lunch. Take the afternoon at your leisure before our cooking class with our chefs at one of San Sebastian’s exclusive Gastronomic Societies.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Today is Rioja Day!  We’ll travel south to visit two esteemed producers, one in la Rioja and one in Basque Rioja.  In between, we’ll have lunch in the town of Haro.  After a long day on the road, you’ll be free tonight to explore San Sebastian’s dining scene on your own.

 

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Today we travel to Navarra to visit a small, traditional cheese producer. Following our tour and tasting, the family will host us at their home for a lunch of the region’s specialties including an extra special dessert using sheep’s milk. Upon returning to San Sebastian, you’ll have some free time to explore the city before we meet for a spectacular guided pintxos tour.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

We’ll learn about Txakolina, the delightfully drinkable wine of Basque Country including the innovative Txakolina Rosé. After our tasting, we will hop down to the coastal town of Getaria where we will enjoy a lunch of grilled fish. In the evening, we’ll meet for a late night cocktail excursion.

 

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Friday, March 24, 2023

We couldn’t go to Basque Country with a visit to the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehrey.  Following our guided tour, we’ll return to San Sebastian for a cooking class by our chefs and dinner.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Starting in Pasaia to learn about Basque shipping, we will then travel to a local sidra producer to learn about and taste artisanal Basque cider. We’ll conclude the day and our week together with a fabulous final dinner in San Sebastian.

 

 

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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Adiós, hasta pronto!

 

See Your Luxury Accommodations 

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Photo from The Maria Cristina

Luxury is the word. The Maria Cristina in San Sebastian is called by the grand dame of the Basque Country, and according to Fodors, the Maria Cristina still reigns supreme as the favorite accommodation of celebrities, royalty, and the see-and-be-seen since its inception in 1912, when the Queen Regent herself became the first person to walk through its doors. This spectacular Bella Époque palace is ultra-luxury incarnate, with all the services and expectations that come with it.

For those who prefer to stay at a different type of accommodation, we are offering a price without hotel.  We suggest that you book a hotel or Airbnb close to the Maria Cristina, as we will be meeting each day at the hotel before setting off on our daily adventure.

Meet the Chefs You’ll Be Traveling With

Chef Tracy Chang
Chef/Owner, PAGU

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Photo credit: Brian Samuels, via The Food Lens

Tracy Chang is the chef/owner of PAGU restaurant in Cambridge, MA. She is a Boston College alum, with a B.S. in Finance. She holds certificates in pâtisserie from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. She trained with three star Michelin chef Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, Spain, and worked on his television programming, RobinFood, communications and public relations. She is also a teaching fellow at the Harvard Science & Cooking Program, founded by Chef Ferran Adria. Prior to PAGU, she founded a pop-up restaurant, Guchi’s Midnight Ramen and hosted events with restaurants, startups, nonprofits, and universities. She is an alum of the James Beard Foundation Bootcamp for Policy & Change, James Beard Foundation Womens’ Entrepreneurship Leadership Program, and a 2020 James Beard Best Chef Northeast nominee. She is also a 2020 Star Chefs Rising Stars Game Changer.

Chef Deborah Hansen
Chef/Owner/Sommeliere, Taberna de Haro

Taberna de Haro, est.1998, serves the authentic cuisine and unique wines of Spain. Since Deborah Hansen’s first trip to Spain back in 1983, she has been enamored of the country’s vast culinary and vinicultural offerings. She was immediately fascinated by the way Spaniards eat what is local and seasonal as an effortless tradition, and has since traversed almost every last corner seeking out traditional dishes and interesting wines. Ms. Hansen graduated from Bates College in 1986. She went on to receive an MA from N.Y.U. in Madrid and later her Sommeliere title, also in Madrid, where she co-owned and operated an upscale restaurant called Cornucopia. Her two daughters Camille and Inés were born in Spain before the family returned to Boston in 1998. Although originally a shared project with a partner in 1998, Taberna de Haro would eventually be led by Deborah alone as of 2007. She expanded the restaurant in 2012 to include more dining space and a bar, Straight Law Bar, the nation’s only Gin & Sherry Bar. Deborah’s all-Spanish wine list is the second largest in the U.S.A., offering over 300 different Spanish wines. Sherry is a particular passion of Chef-Owner-Sommeliere, and the 90+ options make it the largest sherry list in the country. Hansen was a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award in 2018 for this unique wine list. Her staff receives monthly wine tasting and instruction so that they, too, may advise guests on wine. Ms. Hansen teaches at Boston University where she delights in sharing her knowledge on all things Spain. She is also quite fond of holding wine tastings at Taberna de Haro, often showcasing very old wines from her cellar, and her penchant for coaxing guests into a deeper understanding of wine is unrivaled. Called a “mecca for foodies” and known for its “formidable wine list,” Taberna de Haro has been a taste maker in the Boston food scene for close to 25 years. 

Flights

Travelers book flights independently. Fly into and out of San Sebastian (EAS). Alternatively, it is possible to fly in and out of Bilbao (BIO), however, it is 90 minutes from San Sebastian.

Pricing & Tour Registration

To add your name to the waitlist for this trip, please email us at travel@oldwayspt.org, or call (617) 896-4861.

Price per person from $4,795 with hotel accommodation included.

Price per person from $3,550 without hotel accommodation included.

Prices are based on rates of exchange, taxes, and other costs as of the tour publication date. We reserve the right to correct errors and changes, and to increase program prices to cover increased costs, tariffs, and taxes received after prices are published and to reflect currency fluctuations.

If this trip must be canceled due to Covid-19, refunds will be issued.

 

Covid Protocols & Guidelines

On Oldways tours, our travelers’ safety and wellbeing is our priority. We’re ensuring that we follow the latest Covid regulations and guidelines on all of our tours. Below, please find more detailed information about the Covid regulations for travel to Spain. Last updated July 5, 2022

Arriving in Spain

U.S. citizens can travel from the United States to Spain if they show that they are vaccinated against COVID-19, or have a recovery certificate , or show a negative diagnostic test result  (NAAT or RAT) performed either within 72 hours prior to departure to Spain for a NAAT (e.g. – PCR test) or within 24 hours prior to departure to Spain for a RAT (e.g. – rapid antigen test).

Minors up to 12 years of age do not have to show proof of vaccination, a recovery certificate, or a negative COVID test.

Vaccines are valid from 14 days after the last dose up to 270 days. If more than 270 days (9 months) have passed since receiving the last required dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, U.S. citizens must show proof of having received a booster shot. The booster shot certificate is valid since the day it was administered.

Recovery certificates that are issued at least 11 days after the first positive COVID test, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling, are accepted as valid. The COVID tests accepted are those authorized by the European Commission and must have been performed by healthcare professionals after October 1, 2021. Passengers with a Recovery Certificate other than an EU Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent must also provide documentary proof of the diagnostic test from which the Recovery Certificate is derived.

Please read the Spanish Ministry of Health’s website for more detailed information.

Additionally, U.S. citizens traveling from the United States to Spain must present upon arrival in Spain a QR code generated through the Spain Travel Health portal , obtained through the website or by downloading the “SpTH app” in Google Play Store or iTunes App Store for each traveler, regardless of their age and duration of the trip, unless they have a EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC). To travel to Spain, it is not necessary to complete the SpTH health control form if you have an EU DCC, or equivalent EU certificate. The CDC vaccination certificate is not a digital certificate; therefore travelers from the U.S. who have a CDC vaccination certificate must still generate the QR code through the Spain Travel Health portal .

U.S. citizens who are traveling to Spain from a country that is not the United States should make sure they follow the guidance published by Spanish authorities on their local Spain Embassy website.

Returning to the U.S.

Effective June 12, 2022, U.S. citizens are no longer required to show a negative Covid test or proof of recovery before boarding a flight to the U.S.