Your gastronomic driving tour begins in the city of Bordeaux, where you’ll check in to the exclusive Intercontinental Bordeaux for your first night. The hotel is home to a two star Michelin gourmet restaurant – the only one in Bordeaux – by the world renowned chef Gordon Ramsay, who is famous for his many successful TV shows and several Michelin starred restaurants worldwide.
In Bordeaux the lover of art, culture and architecture will be in their element – this historic city is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, world-famous for its many attractions and monuments such as the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, the 18th to 19th century mansions, the notable art museums, the grand Place de la Bourse square overlooking the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool – and of course the wine.
Enjoy your first day exploring this city of elegant squares, authentic cafes, grand boulevards, beautiful fountains, historical monuments, and world-class restaurants…
Hotel: 5* Intercontinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel, Bordeaux – 29-37 m² king premium double room
After a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel the supercar you’ve selected for your gastronomic driving tour will await you outside the hotel. After a short car and tour briefing with a member of our team, you’re ready to hit the open road, and head straight for the beautiful driving roads outside Bordeaux.
Start your driving adventure with a stretch of the world-famous castle route, passing by several architectural masterpieces and well-known wine producers. Take a pause from driving and stop for castle visits, exploring the intriguing histories of these exceptional places, often owned by prestigious families. The journey continues towards the medieval city Saint-Emilion, located in the heart of Bordeaux’s wine region, where you can enjoy gastronomic cuisine in the heart of the village, or stop for lunch in the countryside and enjoy traditional local cuisine overlooking rows of vine stretching to the far horizon.
After lunch you’ll head to your next hotel stop, set on an 8 hectare estate, and once a small thermal station granted sponsorship by the wife of Napoleon III. The domain has been in the same family for more than 50 years, and today Les Prés d’Eugénie is a secluded retreat in a magical setting, with a spa and a three star Michelin restaurant by Michel Guérard, considered to be one of the founders of nouvelle cuisine. The restaurant has since 1977 received three stars in the Michelin Guide – a very special culinary voyage awaits…
Hotel: 5* Les Prés d’Eugénie Michel Guérard, Eugénie-les-Bains – 40 m² deluxe room with garden view
Driving time: 4-5 hours plus stops
Today is the day when you’ll be crossing the border into Spain and enter the Basque Country and the Rioja wine region – and also Spain’s most famous wine region – named after the Rio Oja river which flows through it.
The first leg of your journey takes you on sweeping tarmac through the lush French countryside in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, before conquering a low mountain pass running through the valley, with twisty bends dropping down to your gourmet lunch stop. In this two star Michelin restaurant housed in a charming rustic stone building, in the Navarre pre-Pyrenees countryside, you’ll enjoy innovative cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients. After a fabulous lunch you’ll be passing by the city of Pamplona, before heading southwards towards the Rioja wine region, with its rolling hills, medieval villages and far reaching fields of vine – with a stunning mountain backdrop.
Today’s overnight stop is a design hotel set amongst the vineyards – Marqués de Riscal. This luxury hotel combines design, art, gastronomy and wine. The unique building is designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry, also a Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, and one of his most famous work is the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, which was also his inspiration when designing this hotel. Marqués de Riscal also happens to be one of the oldest wineries in the region, and is renowned for its ‘classic’ Rioja, with the first bottle dating back to 1862. Tonight you can enjoy a pre-dinner wine tasting before it’s time to embark on a gastronomic journey, and sample the tasting menu in the hotels Michelin starred restaurant…
Hotel: 5* Marqués de Riscal, Elciego – 27-39 m² deluxe Gehry double room with winery and mountain view
Driving time: 4-4½ hours plus stops
Spend a morning at leisure in this beautiful setting before it’s time to fire up the engine and continue your gastronomic driving tour, today taking you to the stunning coastline of the Basque Country, and arriving in San Sebastian in the afternoon.
Before you leave the Rioja wine region we recommend a final visit to another famous winery of this region, also an architectural masterpiece, and surrounded by majestic landscapes. The place is worth it to stop by just to admire the design, however passionate wine connoisseurs might appreciate a tour of the winery, and the co-driver a glass of Rioja or two. Next you’ll be leaving this breathtaking scenery behind – make sure you memorise those exceptional picture postcards scenes – and start your drive towards the coast passing by the cosmopolitan port city of Bilbao. En route you can either stop at an exceptional three star Michelin restaurant, in a glass fronted building with striking views of the countryside, or if you’d like to save your appetite for the evening we can recommend a more light lunch stop in or just outside Bilbao.
To reach your hotel you’ll be following a panoramic road with spectacular vistas, leading you to the Akelarre, set on an enclave high on the Monte Igueldoa with truly wonderful sea views, and also home to two restaurants, of which one of them has three stars and is best known for its local seafood. Unwind in this enchanting setting, revitalise in the spa, and perhaps enjoy one more wine tasting before it’s time to tantalise your tastebuds …
Hotel: 5* Akellare, San Sebastián – 45 m² double room with sea view and balcony/patio
Driving time: 3½ hours plus stops
The last day behind the wheel of your high performance machine takes you back over the border back to France, where your gastronomic driving tour ends in an elegant castle surrounded by rows of vine – with one final Michelin starred dinner.
Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast at Akelarre before beginning your last day’s drive. Before leaving Spain you have the opportunity to stop by the coastal city of San Sebastian, on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. Its famous for its cobblestoned old town with its pintxo bars – the Basque version of tapas – located at the foot of Mount Urgull between the port and the mouth of the Urumea River, and the Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta, golden sand beaches framed by a picturesque seafront promenade. You can enjoy lunch in San Sebastian, or after crossing the border into France you have the option to stop in one of our two recommended Michelin starred restaurants for a gastronomic food experience.
The final hotel on this gourmet driving tour is an exclusive vineyard hotel in the Sauternes region, the greatest of the Cru Classé terroirs. Enjoy excellent wines and experience fine dining in this exceptional place, owned by the CEO of the brand Lalique, the world-famous French glassmaker. In the wine cellar you can admire a truly one of a kind crystal wine barrel, designed to celebrate the winery’s 400th anniversary, and enjoy a wine tasting where you’ll learn more about its viticulture and the secret of its sweet wines. The perfect way to end a gastronomic driving adventure is to head to the gourmet restaurant housed in the 17th century main building, with a glass extension offering spectacular views over the vineyard, and a ceiling decorated with a hundred and twenty Semillon leaves in gleaming gold crystal…
Hotel: 5* Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey Hôtel & Restaurant LALIQUE, Bommes – 40 m² suite
Driving time: 4-4½ hours plus stops
Enjoy a morning at leisure at this beautiful hotel in a relaxing setting. Should you be interested in activities today we can arrange winery visits to local vineyards, a round of golf at the 18-hole course Golf des Graves and Sauternes
along the Garonne river, or tours of some of the nearby historic castles.
The closest airport is Bordeaux airport, a 40 minute drive from your hotel, or should you wish to extend your stay in this beautiful region of France our team would be happy to assist with hotel recommendations, planning excursions, and more.