7 nights starting from
Rich unique culture and history
Delicious regional cuisine
Spectacular scenery - rugged coastline and mountainous interior
Historic cities - with both a French and Spanish flavour
Modern art at the Guggenheim
Experience the festive celebrations of the Basque Country where, as well as enjoying a unique Christmas experience, you can submerge yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of this beautiful region. Based in the foodie capital of San Sebastián, the itinerary includes guided tours in Bilbao, plus entrance to the Guggenheim, Pamplona, Vitoria- Gasteiz and Biarritz with plenty of free time to soak up the local atmosphere.
|23 - December - 2020||£ 1395.00||Travel Info Book Now||booking-journey/#/start/XSS/23 December 2020/|
Departing: 23rd December 2020 at 07:01
Returning: 30th December 2020 at 16:13
Day 1: Travel by Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris and onwards to Hendaye by TGV. On arrival, transfer by coach to San Sebastián (approx. 40 minutes). Welcome dinner at the hotel this evening.
Day 2: Morning guided walking tour of San Sebastián with the rest of the day at leisure with festive Christmas Eve dinner at the hotel or local restaurant.
A picturesque resort city, San Sebastián sits on the calm La Concha bay backed by low, rolling hills. The city is best known for its beaches but it is so much more, with a lively, buzzing atmosphere that fills the streets all day and well into the night. The charming Parte Vieja (old town) nestles at the foot of the green Monte Urgull, whilst Centro, the shopping and commerical district has some lovely 19th century architecture. The city is also known for its food, it claimed to be Spain's gastronomic capital, with a brace of Michelin-star restaurants and plenty of fantastic local pintxos (tapas) to try.
Day 3: Day free to relax or explore at your leisure with Christmas Day dinner in the evening at the hotel or local restaurant.
Day 4: Full day tour to Bilbao with a guided walking tour plus entrance to the Museo Guggenheim.
A modern and prosperous city, Bilbao nestles in a narrow valley, the surrounding mountain slopes peeking through the high-rise buildings of the city centre. The arrival of the Museo Guggenheim (entrance included) in 1997 transformed the city into a tourist hotspot and although not as pretty as its near neighbours there is plenty to do here – the attractive Casco Viejo is a charming place to explore.
Day 5: Full day tour to the French Basque country – Biarritz, Bayonne and Saint-Jean-de- Luz.
Biarritz is a stylish coastal town, a playground of the French glitterati. Today the resort is a haven for surfers, its seafront lined with grand old buildings, including the gorgeous 1930s Casino Municipal. Being the capital of France’s Pays Basque, Bayonne has a palpable Basque flavour. This attractive small city is best explored with a stroll through the narrow streets of the old town where you’ll find half-timbered houses painted in traditional Basque colours. Visit the excellent Musée Basque to delve deeper into the culture. Saint- Jean-de-Luz, with its sheltered and sandy beaches and magnificent old town complete with half-timbered mansions, is one of the most popular and attractive resorts on France’s Atlantic coast.
Day 6: Full day tour to Vitoria-Gasteiz with a guided walking tour.
A flourishing medieval wool and iron trade created the elegant and undiscovered city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, filling it with Renaissance palaces, beautiful churches and grey-gold stone mansions. The medieval core of the city is arranged over a small hill and is a wonderful place to wander and discover plazas, palacios and excellent Basque restaurants.
Day 7: Full day tour to Pamplona with a guided walking tour, Best known for its legendary festival of Sanfermines, Pamplona is a wealthy and self-possessed city. Built as a fortress to protect routes into Spain from the Pyrenees before becoming the capital of the fiercely independent state of Navarra the compact Casco Antiguo (old town) is stuffed with quaint stone lanes leading to lovely churches and a magnificent citadel.
Day 8: Transfer by coach to Hendaye for return TGV to Paris and onwards by Eurostar to St Pancras.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 35 passengers.
Please note there is no Ebbsfleet option on this tour, an alternative is to use the High-Speed service between St Pancras and Ebbsfleet.
PLEASE NOTE: As with most trains, passengers are responsible for carrying baggage onto and off the train. Baggage can be stored on overhead shelves or at the entrance to the carriages. Trollies are available at St Pancras, but bags do need to be carried onto the platform.
Travel Editions recommends a luggage delivery service called thebaggageman, where your suitcase can be picked up from your home before departure and delivered straight to your hotel; therefore removing the worry about carrying your cases onto and off the trains. Please click here for more information and we have arranged a 10% discount exclusive to Travel Editions clients off the thebaggageman service. Tel: 01844 264890.
Hotel Astoria 7, San Sebástian
Housed in the historic Astoria Cinema by the River Urumea the Astoria 7 is a design hotel that plays on its cinematic roots with a décor that pays tribute to movie stars. Just a 15 minute walk from San Sebástian’s main sights, rooms are individually decorated and offer private bathrooms, air-conditioning, TV, minibar, hairdryer and wi-fi. The hotel's facilities include a fitness room, snack bar and restaurant.
Hotel Astoria 7 Website
OUR VIEW ON THE HOTEL
Don't be put off by the themed nature of the hotel, it is very comfortable and offers excellent service.
Pre-tour accommodation is available at the Premier Travel Inn, London King's Cross St Pancras, about a 5 minutes walk from St Pancras International, at an approximate rate of £120 per room. Bookings can be made direct with the hotel on 0871 527 8672 or visit their website.
This was a hugely enjoyable holiday, and I must commend Anita the Tour Manager who did so much to make it a success. She was presented with very difficult situations: one traveller had an accident and another became ill (thankfully both events were resolved much less unhappily than they might have been) and - beyond the control of Anita - unfortunate delays on the last afternoon meant that the return to St Pancras must have been an ordeal for her. I hope these experiences won't deter her from leading further trips with TE as she has an ideal personality and temperament to make a holiday enjoyable (certainly for this customer! :-) ) The hotel was wonderfully funky; San Sebastian was an excellent base and I very much enjoyed the trips, especially to Pamplona and to the French Basque Country. December 20 was a good date to start the trip, given that the following day is one of Basque celebration for the festival of St Thomas - San Sebastian was positively buzzing; there was a great atmosphere. I'm looking forward to my next holiday with TE! Iain Lindsay
Review by Lindsay who travelled 20-December-2018
Some of our fellow passengers were not capable of keeping up with the rest of the group, and made disproportionate demands on our leader. One effect of this was that there was a real and stressing scramble to catch the Eurostar from Paris Nord with only minutes to spare. Other than this, our tour leader was first class and a great asset to the tour - interested, interesting and caring - and it was a great shame that we were unable to thank her personally at the end of the tour. Thank you Anita !
Review by Joyce who travelled 20-December-2018
Review by Anonymous who travelled 20-December-2018
Review by Anonymous who travelled 20-December-2018
Excellent visits to interesting places. Brilliant tour guide (Anita)
Review by Anonymous who travelled 20-December-2018
I think emphasis should be given to the distances to be walked at the railway stations, especially with luggage. Unfortunately five of our group missed a connection on the return journey as they could not walk fast enough. I used the baggageman which was invaluable and highly recommended.
Review by Stone who travelled 20-December-2018
This was our first ever Travel editions holiday. Sandra McGill, was The Best Tour Manager we have ever had.
Review by Lester who travelled 22-December-2017
(1)I would prefer a city centre hotel close to shops and restaurants. Our hotel was too far out and the weather was bad. (2) A final night dinner all together would have been good. (3) Too little time allowed to cross Paris on the way back because the TGV was delayed. Fortunately, Eurostar was delayed by one hour so we got back to London alright.
Review by Dev who travelled 22-December-2017
Train: We paid for upgrades on both the Eurostar and TGV. On three of the trains our seats were in a foursome with people we did not know and we could not stretch out. We were always put in backward facing seats and away from the majority of the group in the same class which was a shame particularly on the return journey when we had got to know other members of the group. Hotel: We liked it! Except for the lack of a bath and having a very small window at the back. The food was excellent, particularly Christmas Eve, and the staff friendly and responsive. Tour Manager: Sandra was a mine of knowledge and always there. Even when she could have had a break on Christmas Day, she led us on a perfect excursion. Sightseeing Tours: The walking tours of San Sebastian and Pamplona were too long and although very interesting, would have benefitted from a break for coffee. Later in the tour, we had time for coffee after the coach journey and before the tours which was ideal! Overall: This was our second Christmas tour with Travel Editions and the organisation was very good. The only problem was the size of the group and a number of passengers did not meet the fitness criteria (four "footsteps" I think) which significantly slowed all movement - on and off coaches., walking tours, interchanges ... The return journey was fraught. We found ourselves at Hendaye station waiting over an hour for the train at 7am. Then there was insufficient time allocated for the transfer in Paris. Had the Paris traffic been as congested as normal on a Friday afternoon and had the Eurostar not been delayed, most would have missed the train. The next train would be a better time. Navigating Gare du Nord from the coach drop-off is not easy with inadequate signage particularly for those with walking impairment and heavy suit-cases.
Review by Richards who travelled 22-December-2017
Sandra was a very good and obviously experienced tour manage, always available and good company. The TGV was a little late arriving in Paris and therefore the timing to get to Gare de Nord was a little fraught, but when we arrived the earlier train had not left, maybe Sandra might consider having this app on her phone, as this information would have made getting the group organised at the station for the return journey less stressful for her. We didn't go on the final trip as we like others wanted more time in San Sebastián, but that was a personal choice. The hotel including the restaurant was good, clean and the staff very pleasant and amenable. It is a credit to Travel Editions that there were several on the trip whom we had met before - we obviously keep coming back!
Review by Stewart who travelled 22-December-2017
We thoroughly enjoyed this our first Travel Editions trip to San Sebastian. The Astoria 7 Hotel was excellent with spacious rooms and well designed bathrooms. Our tour manager Sandra was spot-on with all aspects of her organisation and her local and historical knowledge was phenomenal. The walking tours were all enjoyable and gave a good insight into every place visited and to the Basque Country overall. If only you could sort out the TGV's cramped seating arrangements on the train from Paris to Hendaye!
Review by Ms Isabel Dunn who travelled 22-December-2016
Review by Ms Susan Wonnacott who travelled 22-December-2016
Really good trip. Could perhaps benefit from rethink on tour e.g. Pamplona did not need 2 plus hours on bulls, and would have preferred full day in Bilbao spent in both museums. Sandra an excellent rep.
Review by Mr Robert Goodsman who travelled 22-December-2016
Review by Mr R Jenkins who travelled 22-December-2016
Great holiday, we will recommend you and will travel with you again
Review by Ms Jane Pagler who travelled 22-December-2016
Sandra is an excellent Tour Manager, one of the best we have had with all the companies we have used. Would have liked better food at the hotel dinners, the steak was very rare. Hotel was otherwise good, but we had to ask for bath towels on arrival.
Review by Mr Nevill Hewitt who travelled 22-December-2016
Great tour .
Review by Dr Anthea Symonds who travelled 22-December-2016
Lovely hotel and excursions. Sandra was very helpful and informative. We particularly enjoyed the three included communal meals.
Review by Mr Stephen Ledwick who travelled 22-December-2016
There was an excellent combination of visits and free time, including evenings when we had chance to go out for dinner on our own, which led to the right mix of group conviviality and the opportunity to pursue our own interests. The group size, at 44, was large but everyone was polite and punctual and Sandra, the group leader, was well organised and informative throughout. We had been hesitant about booking a group tour but enjoyed it tremendously and would have no such hesitation in future. Many thanks.
Review by Mrs Barbara Millar who travelled 22-December-2016
I would like to query why we arrived in one district of Paris only to have to tour Paris to reach the Gare du Nord to continue our journey, and in reverse on return? Sandra was indefatigable in her historical information, attention and care of her group.
Review by Mrs Lindsay Sainsbury who travelled 22-December-2015
Sandra, our tour manager, was extremely well organised and a mine of information on Spain.
Review by Mrs Jennifer Atterbury who travelled 22-December-2015
Review by who travelled 22-December-2015
sAndra the tour manager was exceptionally good and helped raise the standard of the holiday. tHe inclusion of a simple map showing the rail journey would have improved the travel experience.
Review by Mrs Denise Bynoe who travelled 22-December-2015
Our Tour Manager, Sandra, was excellent. She had thoroughly prepared for every eventuality and everything ran smoothly. She certainly ensured that EVERYONE had a great and enjoyable holiday.
Review by Ms Hazel Ingram who travelled 22-December-2015
We are seasoned European rail travellers although this is the first time we have used Travel Editions. This tour was spot on in all aspects and we would have no hesitation using the company again. The tour manager was excellent with extensive knowledge and the right level of control. The excursions were well planned and gave a good flavour of the Basque region. Thoroughly recommended!
Review by Mr Philip Round who travelled 22-December-2015
An excellent time to visit places that, during other seasons, would be inundated with tourists. At Christmas, it was mostly Spanish families on the streets and in the restaurants enjoying the festive season according to their traditions. We found San Sebastian itself to be an elegant unhurried city which deserves its reputation as one of Spain's foremost gastronomic hotspots. Apart from a hard mattress (not my personal preference), the hotel was superb and full of character, with delightful helpful staff. And the two Christmas meals the hotel served were excellent examples of Basque cuisine. Finally, thank you Travel Editions for arranging wonderful weather - not a drop of rain and temperatures at times approaching 20 degrees C.
Review by Mr Brian Goddard who travelled 22-December-2015
Our third Christmas trip with you, second with Sandra who was excellent throughout. Weather of course was superb which was an added bonus. Astoria hotel the best you have used. Minor adjustments to the time allocations suggested. Less in Bayonne and Vitorria and a bit more in Biarritz and Bilbao perhaps. Probably our best yet with you. Many thanks.
Review by Mr Kevin Izod who travelled 22-December-2015
Review by who travelled 22-December-2015
1. Hotel rooms and breakfasts excellent, main meals were pedestrian. 2. Tours all good, with the exception of the Bayonne/ Biarritz/St Jean de Luz outing. It is too rushed, and was poorly timed with regard to getting lunch. Doing two rather than three towns, with more time in each of the two, would be a distinct improvement. Beyond the church, there is little to see in St Jean and I would omit that visit. 3. Courier, Sandra, top of her class and one of the best we have encountered. Her 'stream of consciousness' commentaries were instructive and constantly entertaining. And she is a really nice person!
Review by Mr Peter Langan who travelled 22-December-2015
Excellent tour guide Sandra. She looked out for everyone and had an apparently encyclopaedic knowledge of the area and its history, including the scandals of the nobility; sme of it hilarious! Hotel was very comfortable and staff really helpful for those of us (the majority, I suspect) who had few words of Spanish. It was a busy week - also very good local guides so we missed out the final tour - not a criticism - just needed to slow down. It is a long train journey but comfortable. We would do it again!!
Review by Mrs Rita Stringfellow who travelled 22-December-2015
Review by Mr Robert Lewis who travelled 23-December-2014
Review by Mrs P Chattin who travelled 23-December-2014
Review by Ms Corynna Bridgwood who travelled 23-December-2014
A lovely hotel with good service. Breakfast was good, but other food was not so good
Review by Mrs V Ward who travelled 23-December-2014
We found San Sebastian one of the most pleasant places we have ever visited. Though the weather was mixed it was one of the best holidays we have ever had with probably the best tour manager ,from any company we have ever been with. It is strange two wonderful coincidences we had on the holiday. On Christmas eve travelling on a bus we started talking to a Spanish couple with three lovely children who wanted to talk English with us. On Christmas Day, a few of us converged at the Maria? hotel to meet up with Sandra. The same family walked in for a family lunch. Most beautifully dressed and came up to chat with us. The rest of our group wanted to know who our lovely friends were. If that was not enough, on the train from Kings Cross we found we were sitting next to a lawyer who came from Bilbao who worked in London. We had quite a chat about our holiday and it was obvious from him that we had been taken to all the right places. He was very glad to know that we would have 12 grapes to eat on midnight on New year Thank you Joy & David Mackay
Review by Mr Colin Mackay who travelled 23-December-2014
An excellent tour for Christmas with visits to a beautiful area and ancient cities. This was my 4th trip with Sandra and she was as good and as knowledgeablke as ever.
Review by Mr Douglas Peverell who travelled 23-December-2014
Sandra McGill superb, caring, considerate and so knowledgeable. The celebration dinners very disappointing, raw salmon one one occasion. No salad or veg. Staff excellent though. Hotel great. Pamplona guide not experienced and lacked local knowledge.
Review by Mrs Peggy Gosen who travelled 23-December-2014
Really enjoyed the tour, the places visited and the hotel
Review by Ms Sonia Richardson who travelled 23-December-2014
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