North Spain Road Trip: a Food & Wine Itinerary

Difficulty

+440 km

Distance

7 - 10

Recom. Days

Food, Adventure

Trip type

Carlos Peñalba

Travel writer and photographer. Has lived in London and New York, spent 18 months backpacking throughout Asia. His travel memoir The Year I Became a Nomad narrates his Asian adventures.

Coutryside of the North Spain Road Trip

North Spain Road Trip Itinerary

This North Spain road trip takes you to fishing villages on the rugged Basque coast, to the enchanting city of San Sebastian, and on your way to La Rioja you’ll have the option of enjoying the natural beauty of the unspoiled forest of Sierra de Urbasa.

The Basque Country is not only one of the richest areas of Spain, but it’s also regarded by most as the one offering the best food in the whole country.

San Sebastian is, after Kyoto (Japan), the second city in the world with the highest number of Michelin stars per square meter. But you don’t need to spend big to enjoy Basque food. Local tapas, called pintxos, are delicious everywhere, as Basques are very demanding when it comes to their food.

La Rioja region is world famous for its excellent wines. Although most people only know Rioja´s red wines, the white ones, although rare, are of great quality too. 

Coutryside of the North Spain Road Trip
Pick-up in
Bilbao depot
1

Bermeo, Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve & Gernika

Get your campervan at Bilbao´s depot and in 30 minutes you’ll be in Bermeo, one of the main fishing villages on the Basque coast. Few minutes north of Bermeo is Gaztelugatxe, an islet connected to the mainland by an impressive man-made bridge.

On top of the island stands a 10th-century hermitage dedicated to John the Baptist, which might look familiar to you. That’s because, due to its dramatic landscape, the site was used to film some episodes of Game of Thrones.

Path in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a must-go on your North Spain Road Trip

To the south of Bermeo you’ll find the Urdaibai estuary, a Biosphere Reserve of wonderful beauty worth exploring. Further south you’ll get to Gernika (or Guernica in the Castillian tongue).

This old Basque town immortalized by Picasso on his famous picture condemning the brutal aerial bombings by German Nazi aircraft that the town suffered during the Spanish Civil War and that killed 1,654 people. Pay homage before resuming your North Spain road trip.

Visiting

Bermeo, Urdaibai & Gernika

2 - 3

Recom. Days

Main route

30 km

from Bilbao depot

30 min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Bermeo

Village with an interesting fisherman museum

Gaztelugatxe

Walk to the hermitage on the island and enjoy the sea views

Urdaibai

Stunning natural scenery around estuary

Gernika

Historic village, a symbol of peace for the Basque people

Eat at

Asador Cannon

€€€

Food as good as the stunning views, Bermeo

Almiketxu

€€€

Excellent traditional Basque food

Indie Campers have a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

La Pergola

Free

Free parking area in Bermeo

Gautegiz-Arteaga

Free

Ideal for visiting Urdaibai

Stay at

Camping Portuondo

€€€

Between Bermeo and Urdaibai. Great views.

2

San Sebastian, a culinary heaven

Drive your campervan towards the AP8 motorway and then go east towards San Sebastian, one of the most gorgeous cities in Spain. Its bay, Bahia de la Concha, is a shell-shaped area of extraordinary beauty thanks to its two beaches and an island in the middle of the bay.

San Sebastian is located 20 km from the French border and its architecture reflects this fact, to the point of its city centre being called by some a small Paris.

Top view from San Sebastian's bay, an important point of the North Spain Road Trip

Apart from walking around this small gem, the other great attraction is to taste some of the best food in the world. From 3-star Michelin restaurants to unassuming pintxos bars, San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque) is a paradise to food lovers.

Get to Parte Vieja, the old quarter, where you’ll find bar after bar of inviting pintxos laid on top of counters. Txakoli is a local acidic white wine that goes perfectly with pintxos.

Outside San Sebastian there are several small villages along the coast worth exploring. Getaria, Zarauz, and Hondarribia are all beautiful. If your North Spain road trip itinerary allows it, get a grilled sea bream in Getaria. It’s delicious!

Visiting

San Sebastian

2 - 3

Recom. Days

Main route

110 km

from Bermeo

1h30m

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Bahia de la Concha

Gorgeous bay to wander around

Monte Urgull

Walk to the top for the best views of the city

Getaria

Cute fishing village with great seafood restaurants

Hondaribbia

Do not miss its old quarter and the old fishermen houses

Eat at

Tamboril

€€€

Order the mushrooms

La Cuchara de San Telmo

€€

Top quality pintxos

Ganbara

€€

Great selection of traditional pintxos

A Fuego Negro

€€€

High-end pintxos

Indie Campers have a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Berio Motorhome Parking

Bike lane to city centre

Stay at

Camping Igara

€€

The closest to San Sebastian

3

Sierra de Urbasa, an enchanting forest

You’ve been eating like a king for a few days and feel like taking a rest and doing some exercise in nature. The ideal addition to your North Spain road trip,  Sierra de Urbasa is halfway between San Sebastian and Logroño, and an ideal spot for all sorts of outdoor activities. It’s a Natural Park, small and unspoiled, with a gorgeous beech forest.

A lake in Sierra de Urbasa, a North Spain Road Trip destination

There are several hiking routes 7 to 18 km long, as well as three routes suited for BTT (18 to 30 km). Idiazabal, cheese made from sheep milk, and wild mushrooms are some of the local main foods worth checking out.

Visiting

Sierra de Urbasa

1

Recom. Days

Main route

75 km

from San Sebastian

1 hr

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Hike or bike

Breathe in the beauty of this beech forest

Eat at

Asador Alai Taberna

€€

Grilled meat and seafood

Stay at

Camping Artaza

Best option to explore Urbasa

4

Logroño, the capital of La Rioja wine region

La Rioja region is all about wine. There are hundreds of wineries where you can taste and buy wine. Some have restaurants and even accommodation; so you can drink all you want without having to worry about driving afterwards.

Logroño, its capital, is a lively city where to bar-hop endlessly as you taste delicious tapas and drink local wine. One day is more than enough to visit its cathedral and walk around its old quarter.

Top view from a vineyard in La Rioja, the last North Spain Road Trip destination

On your way back to Bilbao, it’s worth stopping at Haro, the main wine production centre of the whole of La Rioja. Many wineries are located in the vicinity. The town itself is a great place to get some lunch before jumping back into your campervan for the last leg of your North Spain road trip itinerary.

Visiting

La Rioja

2

Recom. Days

Main route

80 km

from Sierra de Urbasa

1h10m

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Logroño

Try as many tapas as you can. Visit the cathedral

Haro

Visit the wineries

Eat at

La Arrancadilla

€€

Fusion food in Logroño

Peregrino San Juan

Fantastic tapas in Logroño

El Rincon del Noble

€€

Traditional Spanish food in Haro

Indie Campers have a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Pintor Rosales

Free

Free parking not far from Logroño's city centre

Stay at

Camping de Haro

Excellent location by the river in Haro

Drop-off in
Bilbao depot

150 km

from Logroño

2h10m

drive