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Ford Vignale Lifestyle modern architecture and art in Bilbao and San Sebastian

DESTINATIONS

48 HOURS IN BILBAO AND SAN SEBASTIAN

Some of the finest food in the world, Fabulous, modern architecture. A breathtaking beach and surfers’ paradise. You’ll find it all here. Welcome to Bilbao and San Sebastian.

Friday

14.00 Getting there
By bus or hire car, the city is 20 minutes from Bilbao’s international airport. It’s Spain, but don’t expect heat. Bilbao has a maritime climate.

14.20 Check-in
Design Hotel Miró – 
The Guggenheim Museum is just across the street from this charming hotel, which has a beautiful rooftop garden. Gran Hotel Domine – This one has even better views of the Guggenheim Museum and looks like a work of art in itself. Again, there’s a wonderful rooftop garden. Basque Boutique Hotel – You’ll find this hotel in the old part of Bilbao, in one of the famous ‘seven alleys’. It’s small but comfortable and every room has a unique interior based on Basque history.

15.00 Arropame Concept Store
A must for fashion and design lovers. A classy store with collections from Alexander Wang and Helmut Lang and many others.

15.30 Guggenheim Museum
Truly one of the wonders of modern architecture, designed by Frank Gehry. The interior is no less spectacular than the mesmerising outside – and that’s before you consider the work on display by artists like René Magritte, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. Allow at least three hours for your visit.

Ford Vignale Lifestyle food, Guggenheim Museum and candles

18.30 Casco Vieja
Casco Vieja is the old city of Bilbao and its famous seven alleys are filled with boutiques and pintxo bars. Pintxo is the Basque version of tapas. It’s fresh and delicious.

20.00 Zortziko
Bilbao is a foodies’ paradise and Zortziko is a must-visit. It’s run by renowned Basque chef Daniel García, who brings his delicate, modern touch to many familiar Basque and international dishes.

23.00 Sir Winston Churchill Bar
A local institution. Old and young, hip and not so hip, locals and tourists, they all mix perfectly here. The award-winning bartenders are friendly and have phenomenal knowledge about cocktails.

Saturday

10.00 Bochoco
This so-called gastrocafé is legendary for its homemade pastries, candies and cakes. Try the confetti cake pops or the dense, dark, gooey squares.

11.00 Zubizuri bridge
Take a long stroll through the Enscanche quarters, with its 19th century neoclassical buildings and fountains. Walk along the river Nervión and cross the famous Zubizuri bridge.

12.00 The road to San Sebastian
The drive to San Sebastian takes about an hour. The road has beautiful, rolling hills and views of the Atlantic Ocean. Then you arrive at San Sebastian, with its nine Michelin-starred restaurants, three with three stars.

Ford Vignale Lifestyle blonde woman and hotel lobby

13.15 Check-in
Hotel Maria Cristina – The hotel has been recently renovated but has kept its grand old atmosphere. It’s close to the old city and beach. Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – This one is at the beach. Book a room with an ocean view. Hotel Zenit – A modern, hip hotel, close to the beach and with a roof terrace.

13.30 Kokotxa
Chef Dani Lopez has a great reputation for his fusion of traditional Basque cuisine with a Japanese and Chinese flavours. You can have an unforgettable lunch in this Michelin-starred restaurant for around €60.

15.00 Parte Vieja
Stroll through the old streets and alleys of the Parte Vieja (old town). Time stands still here.
 

Ford Vignale Lifestyle grocery store and chef preparing plates

17.00 La Bretxa Market
San Sebastian has one of the best food markets in the whole of Spain. It’s usually crowded but, as a tourist, you’ll feel very welcome.

20.00 Arzak
The Arzak restaurant is one of the world’s top 10 restaurants. Chef Elena Arzak is a fourth-generation Azark. Her father Juan won the third Michelin star, in 1989, and Elena has kept the three stars. Every dish looks like a work of art and the wine list runs to 49 pages. Dinner is about €175 per head and you must reserve your table at least six months in advance. It’s worth it.

Sunday

09.00 Playa de la Concha
San Sebastian is also famous for its surfing and the Playa de la Concha shows you why. Stroll along the beach, admire the surfers, enjoy the scenery and eat a light meal at a beach bar. Then relax. It’s easy. It’s the San Sebastian way.
 

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