(21 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)
Bilbao, Biarritz, San Sebastian, La Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Douro Valley, Porto, Lisbon, Marrakesh, Atlas Mountains
This private luxury tour offers an in-depth exploration of the Basque Country—a beautiful and fascinating region on the border of Spain and France—including its unique culture, cutting-edge architecture, and acclaimed wine and gourmet cuisine.
Begin in Bilbao, Spain, a city renowned for contemporary architecture. During private touring, visit the most interesting cultural sites old and new, including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a stunning building of swooping titanium curves designed by Frank Gehry.
Continue to Biarritz, an elegant seaside resort town in southern France. During private touring, see the highlights of the Pays Basque. In Bayonne, the cultural capital of the region, see half-timber houses and the city walls, visit the cathedral, peruse markets, learn about local culture at the Basque Museum, and sample Bayonne’s famous chocolate and smoked ham. Also stop in the traditional town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, which has charming shops selling local linens, espadrilles and gourmet food products. Also enjoy free time to relax at the beautiful resort and explore the town’s upscale boutiques, excellent restaurants and markets, and scenic coastal paths.
Next, you will be transferred into northern Spain to San Sebastian, the gastronomic capital of the Basque Country and home of some of the finest cuisine in the world. With your private guide, tour the picturesque old town and enjoy a private tasting tour to try the city’s best pintxos—the Basque version of tapas—and Txakoli, an effervescent white wine. Also enjoy a private tour of a local market followed by a cooking lesson at a private gastronomic society.
Continue to La Rioja, one of the world’s most renowned wine regions. Spend a night at Hotel Marques de Riscal, a luxury hotel with distinctive architecture designed by Frank Gehry. En route, tour vineyards, enjoy wine tastings at some of Spain’s top bodegas (wineries), and see outstanding winery buildings designed by celebrated contemporary architects such as Santiago Calatrava.
Continue to Ribera del Duero for a stay at Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, one of the best luxury hotels in Spain. During a private tour of the estate, explore the beautiful grounds and excellent winery. Also, visit other wineries and villages in the area, and enjoy the hotel’s beautiful interiors, renowned restaurants and extensive leisure facilities.
Next, explore the beautiful Douro Valley, a hilly wine region along the Douro River. Stay at a luxurious resort among terraced vineyards. During private touring, enjoy wine tasting at the best local wine estates, reservations at renowned local restaurants, and take an exclusive private river cruise.
Continue to Porto, the capital of Port wine and a city with a fascinating mix of architectural styles, including Roman, medieval, Baroque and contemporary. Stay in a luxurious hotel on a hillside overlooking wine cellars and the Douro River. During private touring, explore the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See highlights such as the Palacio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange), the Se do Porto (Porto Cathedral) and the Livraria Lello, a historic bookstore with ornate woodwork. Browse specialty shops selling porcelain and Portuguese design products, and perhaps opt to visit additional places such as the Serralves Museum, the Casa da Musica, attractions with beautiful Portuguese tiles, or the riverside neighborhood of Ribeira. Artisans of Leisure will also arrange a private tour and Port tasting at one of the city’s most renowned cellars.
Next, you will be privately transferred to Lisbon. En route, stop at favorite locations, such as picturesque villages with buildings covered in colorful tiles, important religious sites, historic towns or fascinating UNESCO World Heritage sites
Experience Lisbon as an insider during private touring with an expert local guide. Tour the historic Alfama district, the sophisticated Bairro Alto and Lapa districts and the riverside Belem district. See St. George’s Castle, Mosteiro dos Jeronimos monastery, Belem Tower and other impressive monuments of Moorish and Manueline architecture. Browse select shops offering Portuguese specialties such as azulejo tiles, embroidered linens, Indo-Portuguese furniture, gold jewelry, Portuguese design products and antiques. Sample local food specialties such as pasteis de nata custard tarts. Also tour museums according to your interests, including options such as the National Tile Museum or the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Other touring options include vibrant food markets, a tour of a historic tile factory, visits to beautiful gardens, stops at scenic viewpoints overlooking the city, and a private appointment to visit the Ricardo do Spirito Santo Silva Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation and reproduction of traditional Portuguese design and decorative art. One evening, enjoy a memorable fado music performance at a local club.
One day, enjoy a private excursion to Sintra, an aristocratic town of fairy-tale palaces and gardens among forested hills. During private touring in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, visit highlights including the romantic National Palace of Pena, the spectacular National Palace of Sintra and the narrow streets in the historic center of the town, including the former Jewish quarter. If desired, also visit the upscale seaside town of Cascais.
Fly to Marrakesh, a beautiful city of pink buildings, palm trees, bustling souks (markets), and upscale shops and restaurants. Stay at legendary La Mamounia, the premier luxury resort hotel in the center of town. During private touring, explore exquisite Moorish gardens and architectural highlights such as Jardin Majorelle, the Saadian Tombs and the Bahia Palace. See important historic monuments and districts, including the Jewish quarter, Koutoubia Mosque, and Ali ben Youssef Mosque and Madrassa. Also visit museums such as Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts, the Palmeraie Museum and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Take an insider tour of the massive souks where shops offer local products such as Berber carpets, lanterns, trays, tilework, argan oil, and Moroccan slippers. Also visit the spice souks, which are stocked with locally harvested saffron, cumin and other ingredients. Also explore Djemaa el-Fna, the city’s lively main square. Relax with a glass of Moroccan mint tea at one of our favorite spots, and enjoy reservations at elegant restaurants in restored ryads (guesthouses). If desired, visit the best boutiques and galleries in Gueliz and other parts of Marrakesh. There will also be time to enjoy your luxurious resort, one of the most exclusive hotels in Morocco.
Continue with your expert guide to the Atlas Mountains, and stay at Kasbah Tamadot, one of Morocco’s most acclaimed luxury resorts. Designed like a traditional Moroccan fort, the hillside resort has beautiful grounds and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. During private touring, enjoy activities such as village visits, hiking, tours of local Berber markets, and visits to local craft cooperatives. While at the resort, enjoy time to experience the Berber hospitality, boutique, pools, spa and other leisure facilities.
Return to Marrakesh, and stay at a luxurious resort in the exclusive Palmeraie district. One day, learn to prepare Moroccan specialties at a private cooking lesson. Also enjoy flexible touring with your private guide and driver, including shopping and activities personalized to your interests.