DAY 1: BILBAO, SPAIN
Enjoy an afternoon guided walking tour of Bilbao’s Old Quarter, which dates back to the 700s. Since 1979, the Old Quarter has been a pedestrian precinct, offering 240,000 square metres of shopping, architecture, and historical sites. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, is widely considered an architectural masterpiece.
In the afternoon, we’ll embark on the Ocean Endeavour and begin our journey down the Nervión River, headed for the Bay of Biscay!
DAY 2: URDAIBAI BIOSPHERE RESERVE
The Urdaibai Estuary is home to a vast salt marsh, making it an important stopping place for migratory birds. More than 245 bird species have been sighted in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, which is also home to hundreds of varieties of trees, plants, and land animals.
DAY 3: GETARIA
Maritime traditions run deep in Getaria, the hometown of Captain Juan Sebastian de Elcano, who completed the first world circumnavigation after Ferdinand Magellan’s death midway through the voyage. We will have the option to visit local archaeological sites or explore vineyards overlooking the village.
DAY 4: SAN SEBASTIAN
In the historic city of San Sebastian we’ll find wonderful architecture and fabulous food. During a tour of the Parte Vieja (Old Quarter) we'll experience the heart and soul of Basque food culture. We’ll visit the Albaola Sea Factory Museum and the replica of the San Juan, a Basque whaling ship sunk in the harbour of Red Bay, Labrador.
DAY 5: ASTIGARRAGA
Astigarraga is famed for its cider. We’ll visit an established family of cider-makers. The Astarbe family have a special connection to Adventure Canada and were once cultural contributors on a Basque-focused tour of Newfoundland and Labrador. Here we will be greeted like family.
DAY 6: IPARRALDE, FRANCE
Just across the Bidasoa River from Spain, in Iparralde (Northern Basque Country) we'll find the town of Espelette, famed throughout Europe for its peppers and its picturesque Basque architecture of whitewashed facades and red roofs. Sare, a tiny village at the base of the Pyrenees, offers an option to travel by rack railway to the summit of La Rhune mountain, a sacred place in Basque mythology standing square on the border of Spain and France.
From there we cross the border back into Spain to Zugarramurdi, in the mountains of Navarre. Known as the site of the Basque witch trials, we’ll visit the prehistoric caves where the witches’ sabbaths were alleged to have taken place. This day provides excellent opportunities for hikers and cyclists.
DAY 7: BORDEAUX, FRANCE
The wine capital of the world, Bordeaux, offers cuisine, wine, markets, architecture, museums, and more. We'll have the opportunity for a guided tour of the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll be alongside overnight, allowing us to savour food, drink, and nightlife.
DAY 8: LE TEICH ORNITHOLOGICAL RESERVE
The Ornithological Reserve at Arcachon Bay contains dunes, marshes, reed beds, and meadows, providing habitat for as many as 260 bird species year-round. The reserve is also an important migratory stopover and wintering ground for a wide variety of species. Both long and short walk options are available, with blinds and raised viewing platforms that offer excellent bird-watching opportunities for all.
DAY 9: BELLE-ÎLE, BRITTANY
Brittany’s largest island, Belle-Île, is known for its plant life. There is excellent hiking and biking along coastal pathways and roads, many offering secluded beaches. Rock pyramids known from Claude Monet’s paintings form an intriguing geological attraction.
DAY 10: BREST, FRANCE
Heavily bombed during the Second World War and rebuilt in the fifties, Brest has been an important naval port for hundreds of years. We will visit the Maritime Museum housed in an eleventh century medieval castle, and the twelfth century Motte-Tanguy Tower, now houses the Museum of Old Brest.
This morning we bid farewell to the Ocean Endeavour and transfer to the airport.